Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Cloud Fine


When it first occurred to me that I should have some kind of system to back up all my literary output, rather than having it merely traced into pixel vapor, my friend Walter gave me a lot of good advice. Redundancy was the key. I should have my documents copied on all my computers. I should have all data sucked into an external hard drive. I should print out everything I write and mail it to a friend whose house is unlikely to burn down at the same time as mine. I should transfer all my files onto  a thumb drive nightly and strap it to a homing pigeon. I should engrave my novels onto granite slabs and rubberize them against acid rain.

And I took all that advice to heart and bought an external hard drive, parked it next to my computer, and put new batteries in the smoke detectors. I felt marginally relieved.

What the external hard drive does is copy all my files and jam them into a little box, and it does this faithfully for a couple months, and then it does a big stretch and a yawn for another month and then sends a little oopsie note to the computer, which says "oh, by the way--you haven't backed anything up for the last month." This earns the external hard drive a trip to the mothership via US Mail, and another one shows up on my doorstep in a week. The new one does the exact same thing. So does the third, but by then the factory is no longer interested in sending me a new one.

But times have changed. Now it is possible to Back Up To The Cloud.

This sounds like something a good Christian would do to get out of dying. But I am not a good Christian, and I have no confidence that the Cloud will have me. Walter sends new, updated advice and a link to a backup service. Inasmuch as he did all the research for me, I believe I owe him the effort of sorting through the reviews on the backup service. And there I encounter this:

"After many, many kernel panic crashes, trips to the Genius bar, and drive wipes, I uninstalled Crashplan and never had another problem."

Kernel panic crashes?! I'm unfamiliar. But if it's anything like suffering an abrasion of the dip-nodule or having your winkle spindled, I want no part of it. I'm totally on board with the trip to the bar and the wiping, so I tend to trust the guy. And the prospect of never having another problem is very attractive to me. So I'm going to uninstall Crashplan.

I'll have to install it, first.

37 comments:

  1. Flash drives are your friend. Back up your files onto those and keep them somewhere secure, and nothing can happen to them and nobody can get at them.

    "The cloud" is the current buzzword in computer faddism, and it's as fuzzy as it sounds. Store all your stuff on some vaguely-defined network outside your control, and you have no real idea how safe it is. Remember all those celebrities whose naked pictures got stolen and posted all over the net? That's what happened to them.

    Finally, for anything where security and stability are important, never trust any technology that hasn't been in widespread use for at least five years so all the problems can be discovered and worked out. Early adopters are sacrificial lambs. and where computers are concerned, nobody knows as much as they think they do, especially the people who think they know it all.

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    1. Baaaaa!

      I'd be okay with my naked pictures on the internet, inasmuch as they were all taken at least thirty years ago.

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    2. A caution about flash drives, with all due respect to Infidel - they can fail at any time, but especially after you've used them awhile. At least have a couple of them with the same information on both.

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  2. I'm old school. I don't really trust The Cloud. I just periodically (read: not as often as I should) back up my files onto dvds and hope for the best. Of course, since they are still on my property, this does nothing in the event that something untoward happens to my dvds as well as my computer. But I figure that in that event, I will have bigger fish to fry than lost scribblings and drawings.

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    1. Not me. As I look at the smoldering remains of my house, those scribblings are the FIRST thing I'll be thinking about. Because, of course, I would have grabbed Pootie on my way out the door.

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  3. "abrasion of a dip-nodule" and a "spindled winkle" is unfamiliar jargon to me. But I'm half English and live Australia.So I'm guessing that it's probably something akin to noddy-wonkler and is therefore to be avoided.Best advice? Find a goose and pull a wing feather (left or right, depending on your own dominance), sharpen quill, dive for a cuttlefish (to extract its ink) and Robert's yer mother's brother.

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    1. I'm thinking it's your top half that's English.

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  4. I have put some of my photos in the cloud to a place where they will allow hi-resolution downloads. It does no good in photos if you cannot get an exact copy back. But I have backups on hard drives, DVDs, thumb drives and I actually printed out my blog on my new house on paper. Most is in my house, so a fire would destroy it all. The real question is "does anyone besides me care?"

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    1. Oh you simply must answer Yes to that. Otherwise why do we bother? Nooo--can't even go there.

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  5. I don't trust the cloud...i'm old it is my job to not understand and or trust anything new. New being less than 20 years old.

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    1. Which would just about encompass all personal computers. I'm with ya.

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  6. I'm not sure of the exact details, but you can also backup to someone else's computer over the internet, and they to yours. If you want the details, I will have to summon my IT guru for consultation.

    Also, your external hard drive should be doing a better job. We use those at my place of employment and have had little to no issues with weekly backups. Is it possible that your backup program is the culprit instead?

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    1. Beats the hell out of me. I don't know how any of this works. I do know the hard-drive company was happy to send me new hardware for a few years before they said, you know what? We're done here.

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  7. I don't fully trust anything but redundancy works best. I use an external hard drive and cloud accounts. However, when I'm in the boondocks, I can't count on automatic backups. I forgot to backup to my hard drive before l left Momtana.Then when my computer crashed in Ottawa, I opened folders in the cloud and found them empty. A lot of this was operator error.

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    1. EMPTY FOLDERS IN THE CLOUD? Oh holy crap. I'm going to go polish up some thumb drives now.

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  8. I take it hard copies have gone the way of the dodo?

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    1. If I wanted hard copies, I'd need a way better printer and a lifetime supply of ink, which is as valuable as dragon jizz. I write a LOT.

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  9. How about just having ALL your stuff published, sold and thus kept safely in the homes of your loyal readers. Put me down for the complete set. Until then, maybe Pootie could use a tastefully sequined thumb drive attached to his collar

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    1. NOW we're talkin'! And Pootie would like it to be known that if he did sport a collar, it might be of the Eton variety.

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  10. How big were those external hard drives? You should be able to store heaps of stuff on them. Mine is 320GB I think, I'd have to find the instruction book to be sure, but I've been backing up twice a year since I bought it in January 2012. Each time it only adds newer files to the old stuff already on there, plus if I've made changes to any of the old files, it replaces them with the new improved content. It's a little black box called a passport, 12.5cm x 7.5cm and 1.5cm thick. My daughter has one which is 500GB and also a 1TB which is a much larger little black box. I back up my Friday stories with printed copies kept in a binder and photos go onto disc. I'm behind on that, I'll have to get onto it soon.

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    1. I don't think it was the biggitude. It didn't run out of room, it just got into a snit. If I had a clue how this worked, I'd be in better shape. But I think it was the actual hardware that (repeatedly) malfunctioned. Per advice, I'm going to get a little more up-to-date with my thumb drive copies, and hope for no house fires.

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    2. Get yourself a small fire-proof safe, I have one and my laptop, external hard drive, cameras and diary live in it when I'm not home. I only have four thumb drives, we call them flash drives, and they live in my handbag.

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  11. 3 years agoI was backing up all my stuff once a week and then got lazy. Then to my horrors one morning I turned on my computer and nothing! I got it to a computer doctor and he announced all was gone, my computer had died and taken everything! I lost about 50 poems and countless photos since I had not backed up for a month.

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    1. You're operating at a 50-poem-per-month pace? Dang, girl!

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  12. I'm a confirmed minimalist when it comes to backing up. I save absolutely essential documents and photos onto a memory stick and that's it. I don't even bother to save my blog posts any more as they're all in the Blogger cloud, and even if Blogger self-combusted I'd just shrug my shoulders and carry on writing.

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    1. Yeah, it's not like we'd stop or anything. People had TRIED to make us stop but we just keep going.

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  13. Replies
    1. Wow, at first I thought you were spam. Then I remembered you actually know stuff and this is probably a legitimate recommendation!

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    2. Also occurs to me that I have a 1 TB backup hard drive that's the size of a cellphone. Ain't hardly in the way at all. Plug it into a USB port, tell it what to copy, and ignore it. Made by Seagate. It's so little trouble I forgot I had it.

      Having had three internal drives fail in the last 10 years, I tend to be slightly obsessive about backups. I compose in Google Docs on the Web and post most things on WordPress' pages. That plus the hard drive keeps me all warm and cozy.

      Now the question is, does posterity give a big rat's ass?

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    3. Or would that be posteriority?

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    4. Well you know how I'D answer. So: what's the brand of your backup hard drive? Can you have it copy just documents or is that too fussy? BTW I did install Backblaze, which is comparable to Carbonite.

      Gosh, I guess everything is comparable to everything else. I mean, you can compare terriers and comets.

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  14. my computer recently died...and my work died with it (RIP). The IT fellow at work found a great computer for me...all the bells and whistles and he recommended the "cloud" for backing up. I looked at those bells and whistles and realized I had absolutely no idea what they did or how to use them. I called my son - he found me a nice computer for half the price - I recognize most of the stuff on it - and the kid promised to show me how to back up to an external hard drive - he told me my head was in the clouds enough as it was.

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    1. Who knew kids were going to be such an asset? I really missed the boat.

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  15. I'm sorry your external hard drive failed; I rely on mine to back up any new/changed files every day. Plus a complete backup once a week. I thought about the cloud, but with 500,000 GB of stuff, I think it would be expensive. Plus, I don't trust the cloud.

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    1. The cloud always said nice things about you.

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    2. Don't believe everything you hear. :)

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    3. Grandma, I don't even believe everything I think.

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