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Community Television How To Reviews Technology Television Trade News

Backing Up Large Video File Collections to AWS Glacier Deep Archive

Part 1 – Why AWS Glacier Deep Archive?

Backing up large collections of raw video footage and edit masters remains a real challenge for anyone working in the video production world. As the Executive Director of a local community media station, I’m responsible for maintaining a Synology NAS which currently holds 55TB of final edit master videos. The idea of incorporating “Cloud Storage” into our backup procedures has always interested me, but the expense has held me back.

Until recently, our backup was rudimentary. We utilized Archive.org, which is a wonderful organization operating an online digital library of print, audio, and video works. They allow users to upload high-quality MPG2 files to be added to the collection and unlike YouTube, they offer the ability to download your original upload at any time.

For us, this was a win-win. Archive.org provided a FREE way for us to share our content, preserve it for the future, and have an offsite backup if we ever needed it.

We love the Archive and will continue to support them. The main goal of keeping our content open and available to the public for decades to come is just amazing.

That said, the Archive is NOT a backup solution, but given our budget constraints, it was a quasi backup. We frequently said, “If the Synology NAS went up in flames, at least the videos would not be lost forever”…but the recovery process might take that long.

When I learned about Amazon’s Glacier Deep Archive service earlier this year I was instantly intrigued and thought this might finally be a perfect solution for our needs. At “$1 per TERABYTE per month” they certainly had my attention.

Glacier Deep Archive is a new product offering by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that falls under their S3 Storage product line. Deep Archive is the lowest cost storage class. When Amazon released the new storage class on March 27, 2019 their press release highlighted several use cases including media and entertainment companies:

“there are organizations, such as media and entertainment companies, that want to keep a backup copy of core intellectual property. These datasets are often very large, consisting of multiple petabytes, and yet typically only a small percentage of this data is ever accessed—once or twice a year at most. To retain data long-term, many organizations turn to on-premises magnetic tape libraries or offsite tape archival services. However, maintaining this tape infrastructure is difficult and time-consuming; tapes degrade if not properly stored and require multiple copies, frequent validation, and periodic refreshes to maintain data durability.”

Amazon Web Services Press Release, March 2019

There is some “fine print” to be aware of, although none of it’s a real concern for me. There are additional charges for recovering your data and the data is not instantly available, retrieval time is up to 12hrs, but that’s the trade-off for the low cost. Again, not a big deal for my use case. You can check out the Amazon S3 Website for more specifics. The whole idea of Glacier Deep Archive is LONG TERM storage, files that you need to keep and don’t want to lose but may never actually need to access if your local files remain intact.

For media professionals, I see Glacier Deep Archive as a great tool for:

  • Wedding and Event Videographers who want to backup raw footage, master files, and other assets.
  • Community Media Stations (PEG Access) looking to backup programs and raw footage.
  • Local Production Companies, again for all the same reasons.

Before I share my workflow and experiences with AWS Glacier Deep Archive let’s jump back for a second and talk about backup best practices for just a minute.

3-2-1 Backup

Peter Krogh’s 3-2-1 Backup Strategy is a well-known best practice adopted by IT professionals and the government. The 3-2-1 concept is rather simple:

3. Keep at least three copies of your data
The original copy and two backups.

2. Keep the backed-up data on two different storage types
Multiple copies prevent you from losing the only copy of your data. Multiple locations ensure that there is no single point of failure and your data is safe from disasters such as fires and floods.

1. Keep at least one copy of the data offsite
Even if you have two copies on two separate storage types but both are stored onsite, a local disaster could wipe out both of them. Keep a third copy in an offsite location, like the cloud.

With the 3-2-1 Backup goals in mind, I’d like to share my experiences with AWS Deep Archive in Part 2 of this blog post. I’ll share the workflow I’ve established after running into some issues initially.

Keep in mind, I’m new to the AWS platform and I’m a media professional, not an IT genius. I am a tech geek and enjoy the challenge of learning new things. If you have any feedback, tips, or suggestions please feel free to post in the comments.

Part 2 – Backup to AWS Glacier Deep Archive using CLI
Coming Soon

Categories
Community Television Computers New Hampshire Reviews Vacation

Hilton Hhonors Wifi vs. Verizon Hotspot

Our family is on a short two-day ski trip in New Hampshire, staying at Hampton Inn & Suites North Conway. The hotel is great, extremely family friendly, and the staff are nice. There’s an amazing mini-water park  inside the hotel, bingo night, movie night complete with popcorn. Just a wonderful place.

Unfortunately, I needed to sneak in a quick Skype TV interview for work Monday morning and was hoping the hotel wifi would be strong enough. In running some speed tests the night before and I was frightened by the results. I’m not a big business traveler, but I’ve heard the hotel wifi can vary significantly and often performs rather poorly.

I’m barely getting 1MB download and upload speeds and about half that:

Hilton Hhonors Wifi Speed Test Results
Hilton Hhonors Wifi Speed Test Results

To be fair, I was testing the wifi at the worst possible time, 9pm on school vacation week. I believe the hotel is nearly full, it will be curious to see if there’s any improvement in the morning.

Categories
Computers Reviews

FIX: Neatgear WNDR4500 Firmware Source of Internet Connection Dropping

Netgear WNDR4500 Internet Connection Keeps Dropping
Netgear WNDR4500

5/7/15 UPDATE: The solution described in this blog post (from September 2013) may no longer be necessary.  I recently (April 2015) performed a firmware update and “reset the router to factory defaults” and life is good, no performance issues.

The key “Revert to factory default settings.” step may have been the issue all along, something I don’t think I tired back in 2013.

Thanks to Phil for sharing this solution in the comment section along with links.

From Netgear’s Website:

Note: Please remember to do factory default after firmware upgrade. Enter “Backup Settings” in the web GUI and click “Erase” button of “Revert to factory default settings”.

Source: http://kb.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/25841

Below is the original blog posted, which is an alternative solution if still have issues.


For the past few weeks I’ve been troubleshooting a problem with my internet connection. I finally found the solution and want to share the solution, just in case others are having the same issue.

Symptoms
My WAN or internet connection was dropping at least once a day, sometimes 3-4 times per day. Power cycling (unplug/plug back in) the cable modem OR the router would temporarily restore the connection, but this never resolved the problem.



Neatgear Firmware V1.0.1.20_1.0.40 StableSolution
Firmware version 1.0.1.36 for the Netgear WNDR4500 was the source of my problem. I rolled back to the previous version V1.0.1.20_1.0.40 and BINGO, my internet connection was stable once again!

You can download V1.0.1.20_1.0.40 from the Netgear Support Website for the WNDR4500, click on “Get More Downloads” for the list of previous firmware.

Once you download the firmware, access the router’s admin panel through a web browser.  By default the address is: http://192.168.1.1/.  Once logged in, go to the advanced tab and select “Router Update” under the administration section.

Here is a screenshot of the router update:

Netgear WNDR4500 Firmware Update Screen
Netgear WNDR4500 Firmware Update Screen

From here it’s straight forward, click browse, find your V1.0.1.20_1.0.40 file and upload to the router.  After rebooting the system, you should be FIXED!

Hopefully Netgear is able to fix whatever issue they are having with V1.0.1.36, which was released in May 2013.  Running the latest firmware is normally a good idea, USUALLY fixes bugs and strengthens security of the hardware.

Hope this helps, what frustration! My broadband provider offered to come out and check the lines, with the usual warning…if it’s determined the problem is with your equipment, we will need to charge for the service call. Love that… I’m glad I said “no thanks”.



Categories
Camping Hiking New Hampshire Reviews Vacation

Five Reasons To Stay at Fransted Family Campground

Fransted Family Campground
Fransted Family Campground has been our vacation destination for years.

April 2012 UPDATE: Since I wrote this blog post Fransted Family Campground has been sold and is now managed by the new owners.

If you’re looking for a campground in the Franconia Notch area of New Hampshire, you need to check out Fransted Family Campground.

There are many camping choices in New Hampshire and the experience can vary greatly.

For example, the state campgrounds offer a low cost, no frills value in prime locations.  Perfect for Deb and I when it was just the two of us.  That said, the reservation system can sometimes be a pain to deal with and alternatively the first come, first served sites often leave your vacation to chance.

There’s also all kinds of private campground alternatives.  One that sticks in my mind promotes themselves with this, “Come experience the difference of no alcohol, no pets and no radio.“…OH JOY!  While I can appreciate this concept, it’s not for us.

Then there are what I call resort style campgrounds, with pools, boats, beaches, mini-golf, arcades, ice cream shops, hayrides, and playgrounds all in an attempt to keep guests occupied from dawn to dusk.  Although not in New Hampshire, Point Sebago in Maine comes to mind as an example.  This is where I went camping as a kid, the place was awesome, but has since grown into an over the top RESORT, at least in my opinion.  It now has a “Nationally Acclaimed 18-Hole Championship Golf Course” , offers cabins, fist class entertainment…it’s a resort .

For us Fransted Family Campground offers a perfect blend of all the examples above.  The reservation system is easy, with a wide variety of sites from private tent sites to RV sites with all the services.  The campground allows dogs, responsible use of  alcohol is permitted, they have a nice playground, mini-golf, and a modest beach area.  There’s also a fair amount of activities to keep you busy, especially on holiday weekends, but they don’t aim to keep you busy ALL day.  We really like this, kids and families should be able to enjoy the area without spoon feed entertainment all day.

1. JACK & RITA (and don’t forget the family)
Without question, owners Jack and Rita are the number one reason Fransted is so special, and better than most campgrounds.  The couple is deeply engaged in the business and seem to always be looking for ways to improve the campground.  We’ve been going for more than seven years now and we still get escorted to our campsite upon arrival…it’s so funny.  But it’s one of those little things that makes you feel like the owners care about your stay.

Jack and Rita also maintain good control over the campground.  They are very friendly, but don’t hesitate to remind campers of quiet hours if they get too loud.  We think this is good, it’s a family campground and we enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere.

Jack & Rita’s family are also a big part of the campground, many of them work on weekends and major holidays to help run the many of the activities.  It really is amazing how efficient the whole operation runs.

2. THE BATHROOMS!
Let’s be honest, good CLEAN bathrooms are critical to an enjoyable camping experience, especially if you have children.  ALL the Fransted bathrooms are CLEAN, the cleanest I’ve ever seen in a campground!  They always have a fresh coat of paint, hot water, and free hot showers.  The staff checks and cleans the bathrooms all day long, it really is nice!

3. WOOD CHIPS
AH, THE WOOD CHIPS!  OK, so this one might sound a little strange but wood-chips are HUGE!  A few years back Jack had wood-chips placed on almost all the campsites, except for maybe some of the RV sites.  A very generous amount of wood-chips, and I think he adds more each year.  Imagine pitching your tent on a soft bed of wood-chips….no rocks and no packed down dirt that feels like asphalt.  HEAVEN!  At first I thought it would attract a lot of insects or start to decompose after a few years and smell, it just seemed like a strange idea.  Well, we’ve not experienced any of those issues, it was a great idea, and everyone seems to love it.  In fact, it’s such a good idea that I can’t see myself camping anywhere else, the thought of hard packed dirt is a turn off now.

4. THE OTHER CAMPERS
The culture within Fransted Campground is extremely friendly, many of the campers are regulars, some have been going to Fransted for 10, 15, 20+ years.  We have met so many great people, heck some of the folks now attend our kids birthday parties and other social gatherings.  That’s awesome!

5. THE AREA
The White Mountain region of New Hampshire is a wonderful place, there are countless hiking trails, and nearby attractions to keep you busy.  Here are a few that we would recommend:

It’s true, I’ve become a fanboy of Family Fransted Campground, but for good reason.  We often complain about the products, businesses, and companies that do us wrong, but it’s not to often that we acknowledge those who provide superior service.

THANK YOU JACK & RITA for running such a great campground and for making our family vacations so enjoyable and memorable!

Categories
Photography Reviews

Sail Boston 2009 & Web Based Photo Editing


Tall Ships Boston – 2009
Originally uploaded by mediaguy4

Photography is one of my favorite hobbies, it’s relaxing and challenging at the same time.  I’ve also found that focusing on still images has helped me better understand a develop my skills in my profession, video and TV production.

This particular shot was taken aboard the Portuguese Navy Ship, NRP Sagres III, while I was visiting Boston for Tall Ships 2009.  Sagres III was built in 1937 and was incredible, although the long lines prevent anyone from taking too much time touring the vessel.

This photo was one of the better shots from on-board the ship, I liked the composition and thought it might have some potential with a bit of post processing.

As an experiment, I decided to try out the free on-line photo editing tools on Flickr.com. I had recently joined the Flickr community and ran across the “Edit Photo” button.  Curious, I clicked

and wondered how good or bad it would be.  As a Photoshop user of 15 years I knew a free web based photo editor would not compete, so my expectations were very low.

Picnik Advanced Features Panel
Picnik offers advanced "Premium Features", which provide incredible control over image editing.

Flickr uses Picnik, a third-party on-line photo editing service which offers both Free and Premium features.  Where this was just an experiment I opted for the free service.

Surprisingly, it was full of features, and the results were impressive!

I quickly added a sepia tone to the image, rounded the edges, added a thin border, text…bang….Not bad!

For those who are not looking to invest the time and money into a professional application like Photoshop,  Picnik is a fun little service with lots of neat features.

Beware!  There are “Premium Feature” teases all over the website offering expanded controls and clip art type effects you can add to your photos.  The premium service is reasonable at $24.95 per year.  Although I was unable to test them out, I was impressed to see features such as: Levels, Curves, Dodge, Burn, Clone, even Wrinkle Remover!  Ahh…Technology!

I always love to hear feedback on my photos, this particular image was fun to work on and open my eyes onto a neat company.