So I didn’t get a chance to write this reminder yesterday. I might have managed to squeeze it in there somewhere, but I was too distracted to think about what to say. I considered just pointing you over to the lengthy discussion of a hapless consultant’s attempts to retrieve hundreds of lost photos from a friend’s machine at ComputerWorld, but I kept getting interrupted when I tried to read it.
The Ur-Guru suggested I should write something entertaining, in honor of the impending vacation, such as “Ten Reasons Not to Back Up.” I was much too stressed out to attempt to be funny (not something I’m all that good at under the best of conditions), but he gave me a start:
- If your office or home gets raided by what passes for some kind of enforcement these days, no incriminating evidence will be found.
- Saving money on storage media like CD’s and DVD’s.
- Some hacker probably has made a backup of all your important data anyway and you usually can buy it for a small fee which would balance out with the cost otherwise incurred by the backup process.
- Never again have to say “the backups were unreadable”. Since there were no backups, they can’t be unreadable either. Save yourself the frustration.
- Backing up is for people who prefer not to move forward.
You get the idea. 🙂
But, as it happens, I did get presented with a backup-related situation. Good timing as far as this Reminder is concerned, if not so great otherwise. Indeed, it pointed out the real disadvantage of storing files on a friend’s computer as a backup method, particularly if you have to go get them in person.
I have a friend who is about to move out of the place she’s renting and put everything in storage for a little while. That includes her computer. She asked me to store her files for safekeeping. Since she mostly has Word docs and a couple of photos, and I have this big network drive, I said “Sure.”
On Wednesday she handed me a borrowed memory stick; I brought it home and copied the files onto my Z drive. This took all of about 5 minutes and was no problem. Later she came and picked up the memory stick so she could return it to the person she’d borrowed it from.
Yesterday I came home with ten minutes before my first phone conference and found two agitated messages on my answering machine. It was my friend, on her way to buy a memory stick of her own, wanting to know “how many megabytes it should be.”
So I called her back and said “512.” Not that it would hurt to have a bigger one, but she’s on a limited budget and she only had about 140 MB of files.
I then unplugged my phone, grabbed my headset, and dialed into my phone conference with Skype. (Among other things, it’s easier to record that way, and since I have a memory like a steel sieve, sometimes I need to go over and check on what we said.) We were about 20 minutes into it when my doorbell rang.
It was my friend, memory stick in hand—well, in package. I was not feeling very sociable, and of course I missed the most interesting topic of the entire business meeting when I went to answer the door. (Good thing I have that recording.) But when else was she going to do it? I’m about to leave town for a week, after all, and she’s moving today.
So after I put the headset back on, I sliced the new memory stick out of its package and stuck it into a free USB port. It turned out to be a U3 memory stick, so it had to go through a few extra hoops during the course of the Add New Hardware routine—which appeared at one point to think that it was a CD-ROM drive.
It kept asking me if I wanted to install the U3 software, and I kept refusing. It’s not my computer that the thing needs to emulate. Eventually it stopped asking and I was able to drag my friend’s files from the Z drive onto the memory stick. That only took about five minutes—during which the quality of my Skype connection notably declined, which you’d think I might have expected since it’s a network drive and using the same ethernet connection that ties me to the Internet.
Then I had to figure out how to eject the thing, because it didn’t show up in the usual “Safely Remove Hardware” dialogue. Of course, if I’d been less distracted, I might have noticed the large red “Eject” button in the U3 window sooner.
My friend asked me about U3, which the clerk at the store had recommended. I’d read about it sometime back, but my current memory stick doesn’t have U3 capacity, and I couldn’t remember very much about it. The idea is to put software (and things like bookmarks) on the memory stick, as well as your documents; you can find out more about it on the U3 website. But for me, since it was now past the time I was supposed to meet a client on WebEx, the idea was to get my friend out the door as fast as possible.
Now it’s time to get myself out the door. That means disconnecting and packing Enna, and disconnecting and packing my X drive. (I’ve already packed the webcam which will let the Ur-Guru join us on vacation.) I’ll only be down one backup method, since I should still be able to do my online backups, and of course the second internal drive travels with the computer. The network drive is definitely staying home.