I spent last week bouncing around between conferences and meetings, which meant there was no time to review any new backup software, but all that zipping back and forth with the netbook and the iriver (does anyone else hate it as much as I do when companies refuse to capitalize their brand names) gave me plenty of opportunities to make backups and to think about backups.
Normally when I record something, I leave the original recordings on the iriver until I’ve finished my editing on the computer. This week there was too much too record, and too little time to edit. Tuesday at the Social Media Strategies conference I recorded 8 hours of combined sessions and interviews; that’s as much as the iriver can hold. When I got home (well, when I could move again), I copied them onto Mena (the netbook) and backed them up onto the Rebit. Then I copied them onto Enna (the HP Pavilion laptop) and backed them up onto the Metro drive, the second internal hard drive, and the Quattro. I still haven’t had a chance to edit them, but boy are they backed up.
Friday was the BACN meeting, which meant another four hours of recordings. These are supplementary, since we don’t use most of them in audio form, so I settled for copying them onto Enna and from there to the D, Q, and R drives. (They actually go to the R drive twice because I still have Memeo Instant Backup running.)
Yesterday I had another all-day event to record; I still need to transfer those files onto Enna and edit them, but this time I can leave the originals on the iriver until I get my editing done, unless I take a really long time to do it. It’s almost a month before my next conference.
Anyone who goes back and forth between computers is familiar with USB sticks. That’s probably why they hand them out as swag at conferences. (Though one of the ones I got at AWSMS09 was defective, and the other overheats awfully quickly.) I’ve been in the habit of keeping data that needs to go back and forth on one or another SanDisk Cruzer Micro U3 USB sticks instead of on Mena’s hard drive. Under normal conditions, a SanDisk Cruzer Micro looks like this photo by FSSE.info. The white part is a switch that retracts the USB plug; it flashes orange when the drive is connected and working.
Back in August, the BACN board was having a special meeting. We were moving the chairs around the boardroom table when one of them ran over Mena’s cord and yanked her off the table. The USB stick took the full force of the landing; the two halves of the black case snapped apart and flew all the way across the room. They were far too warped to fit back together. (The netbook, miraculously, was all right.)
Here’s the kicker, though. The stub of the Cruzer was still in its socket—and the light was on. It was still working. You know that thing about solid state drives being more shock-resistant? it’s true. (Mena actually has ordinary hard drives that spin, but I guess they weren’t doing anything critical at the time of the fall. I do keep her in a hard plastic shell, but mostly I think I was bloody lucky.)
After I got home and copied the files I needed onto Enna, I tossed the remains of the Cruzer into the drawer I usually keep it in. Though I’d already been wondering vaguely about getting some kind of case for it, I hadn’t really thought about proper storage for the poor thing. (Nor had I thought about the fact that it could pose electrical shock danger, as the Ur-Guru pointed out to me.)
I happen to keep my count-up, count-down timer in the same drawer. And guess what the timer has on the back of it? Yep. A magnet. So of course the next time I reached into the drawer to pull out the timer, the memory stick was stuck to it.
I was sure the data would be completely wiped out. Anyone in my generation has been warned about magnets and floppy disks, hard drives, etc, etc. I was curious to see just what kind of mess would be left, so I plugged the Cruzer in.
Everything was fine.
I swear, this thing is indestructible.
I would never advise you to mistreat your equipment this way. And the injuries my Cruzer Micro suffered are just one example of how easy it is for USB sticks to come to grief, so you should always make sure to copy any information on them to your computer right away.
But I would definitely recommend SanDisk if you want a tough, reliable USB stick. And I’ve been pretty happy with their MP3 players, too.