Hi, my name is Gavin Impett and I’m here to provide you with your weekly motivation to backup. I met Sallie just over a month ago at a Podcast Meetup. I’m starting a video kitty-match-making, used cat service, www.kittysingle.com for the San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Toni’s Kitty Rescue ,and anyone else who’s willing to show me their, ahem…adoptable—meaning ready for love—cat.
This had the immediate effect of bringing my current web host to its knees, and I decided to find a new host, which meant I needed to not only find the “back up site” button on my cpanel, but also learn how to use it, since I’m packing up and moving on.
So I sent Sallie and email to Sallie, saying more or less, “Here I am, dutifully backing up my site. Golly, I wonder what this ‘destroy all data button’ does. I wonder if anyone I know knows anything about backing-up and stuff. You wouldn’t have any thoughts on that backing-up subject, would you Sallie? Help me, for the love of god, I’m on my knees here.” To which Sallie replied, “Hey, I have an idea: you could write this week’s reminder.” Maybe I was too subtle.
Fair enough and as it turns out, I am uniquely qualified on the subject of backing up. Some years ago, I attended a Wilderness Medicine with my Physician girlfriend in the mountains above Aspen. (There’s nothing like listening at 9,000 feet to a lecture on the symptoms of altitude sickness, checking off the symptoms, and saying, “Yep that’s me, I got that. I can die up here! Rockin’!”)
An Army doctor gave us his lecture to the troops, on the subject of the differences between frostbite and trench-foot. He made a joke about his medical title and what the Army really thinks of its soldiers. My sweetie leaned over and explained, “He’s a veterinarian.”
“You don’t see trench-foot too much these days,” he said, “that’s why the war in the Falklands was so great. This guy was in a water-filled fox hole for a week. When we took his shoe off, his whole foot came off. Next slide please. Now if that doesn’t make you change your socks, nothing will.”
Let’s just say, the photo left an impression. The reason I mention this seeming digression is it comes to the subject of backing up, I am uniquely qualified on this subject, not unlike the Army doc dealing with something now rare, but once common and responsible for the loss of millions.
I was one of the first human beings to own a computer. No, not the Atari, but the now long-forgotten Apple IIc. When the San Francisco Museum of Modern art had a display on ancient computers, my IIc was older than anything on display. I remember laughing at people who wanted common monitors for their computers and attended the very first computer art class offered at San Francisco State University. While every other student was figuring out how to make squiggly lines move in random patterns in the class, I attempted to see if it was possible to write a short story on one of these computer things. With AppleWorks, you could write about 400 words before the Apple IIe ran out of ram.
In those days, you had to save the file to a floppy—a real floppy, mind you—and if you were smart, you backed up to a second floppy that you stored next to the original so it wouldn’t get lost (not so smart). Then someone pointed me to AppleWriter, which allowed me to have a forty-page file, and life was good. So I wrote, backed-up, tried to remember which was the original, which was the back-up, and so on. One great happy adventure, except when the power went out, or I hit the magic delete-the-only-record-of-these-forty-pages button, which happened on more than one occasion.
Since those happy, innocent days of floppies, I have learned the obsessive joy of backing-up to 5.25 disks, CDs, DVDs, MyBook. My current jones is for a Blu-ray (50 gig a disk!) burner.
My obsession for back-up stems from the two simple facts. First, I can no longer have printed copies of everything. Video, photos, blogs, websites, are not printable in any functional way. Many of my files can now only exist on hard drives and servers.
The second reason dates back to when it was time to move on from my trusty IIc, which if you held the conversion box just right, could still print to the old dot-matrix. I needed a better quality printer and it was time. So I printed everything I had written on the IIc, walked into the Apple Store, money in hand, and asked a fateful question. “Mac supports IIc files, right? I will be able to convert these files over, right? Apple makes both products, right?”
So I walked out of the store, bought a PC and haven’t looked back. In fairness to Apple, many of their support people and Mac aficionados everywhere have assured me over the years that it is possible to convert IIc files to the Mac format. In my defense, I will say, no one I have ever spoken to or contacted on this subject has actually attempted or managed to accomplish this task. Apparently, the necessary hardware is stored in a secret mountain village in the Himalayas that appears only every eighty years or so, because next to Apple’s file conversion secret is the secret to eternal life and world peace and 90 per cent of the world’s computer users just aren’t worthy.
Now if the next slide doesn’t make you back up your files to a usable format, nothing will.