Observations about the universe, life, Lausanne and me

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Data-loss and backup

Edit: 03.09.08: Like an idiot, I linked the wrong product. I meant Allway-sync, not Allsync.

Data-loss is the spectre that has graduate students waking up screaming in the night. If your definition of fun is being cruel to lowly beings, try creeping up on a graduate student during the coffee break and whispering: "Your PC is on fire, mate!" Have the defibrillator handy though, especially if he or she is already writing up. Ahh, good times.

Data-paranoia is a frequent symptom of the after-effects of having once lost data. A (relatively) sane individual like yours truly will have a couple of backups: In the lab PC and the office PC (in case the lab PC dies or the lab catches on fire), on an USB-stick you constantly carry on your person (just in case the fire in the lab can not be contained, and spread to the office), on your PC at home (in case you don't make it out of the office when the university burns down), on your external hard-disk (in case your laptop gets stolen by thieves who use the opportunity of the burning university distracting the police), and on a RAID-array on a server in another city (in case the fire cannot be contained to the university, and engulfs the whole town).

Severe cases of data-paranoia can express themselves in various ways: A friend of mine burned all his data to a fresh CD each day, and then hid them in the most unexpected places in his flat, his mates' flats and (so I suspect) in the apartments of unsuspecting strangers like a demented squirrel with a doomsday complex. That was back in the day where CDrs still cost quite a bit, so his habit was expensive to feed.

New technology of course makes your data-paranoia easier to bear. I just found the nice freeware program Allsync, which automagically syncs my usb-stick when I insert it in my office computer. I can breathe easier now... for a while.

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