Quick notes on photo scanning, securing and backing up Synology

OK, some quick notes on the logistics of managing the home IT. It’s a real job 🙂

  • I never could get the Synology DS-212J to work. It is so frustrating. I’m pretty sure there is a firmware bug, but can’t prove. The symptoms are that it worked fine, I did a firmware update and suddenly the two 4TB drives I had no longer worked. It works fine with SSDs, but not with real hard disks. The problem is that the drives are just not recognized by the firmware at all. I’ve tried basically every kind of HD. Stymied.
  • Synology. Wow they’ve really advanced their software. but if you have one of these boxes, here is what you should do: a) Make sure you are running RAID10 with modern drives, running SHR2 or RAID6 is very likely to cause a disk failure. Right now I’m in the middle of copying lots of data to make room for a RAID10 system with SSD speedup. The exact configuration is 4x10TB with 2x1TB SSD, this gives 20TB of storage that is vulnerable to two hits on the drives, but on the other hand, on rebuild, you are unlikely to have another fault.
  • Also you should really move to two factor authentication on everything and Synology now allows this. You go to your DSM manager and click on the upper right icon which is the picture of a face. You will get to a dialog and click on it. You should use Authy by the way on the phone and there is a nice Authy Desktop application to keep this. You might also think about enforcing two factor on all your administrator accounts.
  • Also for backup if you subscribe to GSuite, then you can use the new cloud backup with Cloud Sync if you want readable document or Hyperbackup to push all your NAS contents up to Google Drive (they allow up to 2PB, so that should be enough). You can even encrypt the contents so Google can’t read it. It is a good solution now that Crashplan is going away. You should probably also pay for another service, but this actually works pretty well. If you want something simpler you can also use Backblaze. The big advantage of Backblaze is that they store unlimited copies, so if you make a mistake you can still get your data.
  • Finally if you are doing the conversion of old photos to online, then checkout wirecutter for a good list of scanning services. You want one which will scan in high resolution and which also does touch up. It pays (no pun intended) to pay a little bit more because you are only scanning once. The alternative is to roll your own like me. Buy a good film scanner and get Vuescan, it’s complicated to use, but you get exactly what you want. For me that’s a good 8-bit Jpeg scan for older photos, but since storage is free, you can also do a 16-bit TIFF scan for true archiving.