Friday, August 20, 2010

Back It Up!

You are backing up your important files, aren't you?  I was reminded just last week in a discussion with a faculty member that not everyone is, but most of us would be devastated to lose the stuff we keep on our computers.  Here's a quote from New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, whose computer's hard drive failed several years ago, leading to the loss of all of his files: "There's two kinds of people in the world: those who have good regular backup systems and those who will."  Pogue was able to recover most, but not all of his files through a data recovery company, but it cost him a lot of money

An external hard drive is a good place to start, but it may not be a sufficient solution alone.  The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has a good article that details the issues, threats, and options concerning backups.  They advocate the 3-2-1 rule: three copies (primary and two backups), two types of media,  with one copy stored off site.  While professional photographers might find the expense of online backups to be prohibitive due to the size of their professional archives, scholars and students may wish to consider a service like Dropbox. See Ryan Cordell's article over at ProfHacker for more information.

ASMP reminds us that the threats to are data are numerous:
  • Device failure
  • Viruses
  • Malicious damage
  • Volume and Directory glitches
  • Transfer corruption
  • Lightning strike/Voltage surge
  • Theft
  • Fire or water damage
  • Human error
There is a reason why the data recovery company with whom David Pogue worked keeps a suicide counselor on staff.  If you haven't already, find a good, automated system for backups today.  Start with these articles written by Jason B. JonesMerlin Mann, and John Gruber

Image: Eric Hart (Eqqman), Filed,  2009.  Available from Flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.

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