I’ve been shifting files from my ancient Mac PowerBook over to my new(ish) Windows XP machine in order to put them onto ZIP disks and be able to take the PowerBook (still completely functional apart from a damaged floppy drive) to the computer recycling people.
In the course of going over these files, I came across something that might interest y’all: a Technostress questionnaire which I used to use when teaching Intro to IT at the University of Warwick. If anyone wants a copy, just ask.
I believe I was actually making backups when one of my floppies got stuck in the PowerBook’s floppy drive. It was my attempt to get it out that unseated the drive cable. (Apple does not advise you to open up your Macintosh. Neither do I.) I was preparing to move back to the US and had also quite recently bought a new PC and had a lot of information to transfer. After the floppy drive broke, I had to move everything by e-mailing to myself or uploading it to an FTP file server and downloading it again. (This was all by dial-up, too.) It’s a trick you might want to keep in mind in case one of your removable disk drives starts acting up—though most computers these days take more than one kind of media.
Speaking of problems with disks and drives, a geek friend sent me an article about yet another potential threat to your data CDs: homemade CD labels. Despite the fact that these are supposedly designed to be put onto CDs, the author of the article discovered that the glue had eaten through the top layer of the CD and down into the dye layer where the data is stored, and the CDs were completely unreadable.
I have put labels on my CDs for some time, and so far none of them appears to have taken any damage—but they are all less than 2 years old. Personally, I’m wondering what Avery and Fellowes have to say about this.
The other thing that this final cleanout of my old PowerBook prompted me to do was consider the fact that about half of you on this list are Mac users, and many of my comments so far have been generally Windows-related. So I thought I’d do a little checking into Mac backup software.
From what I can see, the main drive-imaging program for Macs is Dantz Retrospect. Iomega Automatic Backup and Apple’s .MAC get honorable mention in the search engines. Like Windows programs such as Norton Ghost, these are designed to allow you to restore your system—software, data, and all—in a very short time. I haven’t tested any of the Mac programs personally—comments are welcome.
Next week I’ll talk more about restoring from backups.
Thanks for reading!