Monday, October 18, 2010

Virtual document and data storage, part 3

External device backup (storage)

Sometimes, knowledge is not power. Sometimes knowledge is just pots banging together until you get a headache.

Decision point #1:  What kind of external device do I want for backing up my files?

My decision: I decided to alternate two usb drives for my external-device backup.

Why:  I want to be as portable as possible. Space in my rootlessness state is very limited.

Thus, I ruled out DVDs (doh! not just for movies, I discovered) and external hard drives. Nothing wrong with these. I just don't want to carry around a stack of DVDs. And although there are small external hard drives, like Brother1's beloved Passport, I wanted the even-smaller portability of usb drives.

But why go with alternating usb drives? Several reasons:

  • If one gets corrupted or stepped on by an elephant, I want the spare. 
  • Loss or theft.  
  • Avoid the Glad-I'm-Not-That-Guy-in-Alaska scenario.
  • Redundancy, redundancy.

Decision point #2:  What capacity do I want on my usb drive?

My decision: 16G in each flash drive.

Why: Because I could, due to price and availability. I wish one of the 'whys' was that my technical know-how informed me it was the right capacity for my needs. But, frankly, I don't have a clear understanding of my needs, and this ignorance also led me to go big (at least as far as flash drives go).

Decision point #3: Do I want my usb drive to be backup-ready or do I want to mess with that myself? 

My decision: There's software out there that will make my flash drive backup-ready. I'll choose the one that I think is the best fit for me.

Why:  I would have preferred to get something like the Sandisk Ultra Backup Drive, with its stupid-proof backup button.

But I found that the more I pored over reviews (which are a mixed blessing, anyway), the more paralyzed I became.

For whatever reasons (none particularly logical), I moved away from the Sandisk Ultra Backup Drive. Maybe I felt stifled; don't know.

Well, maybe I do have an inkling. I've got a Sandisk 2G already. It feels flimsy to me; I don't like how it seats into the usb port; and just the other day, it went strangely kaput on me in the desktop PC. An important lesson: I was willing to suspend my own experience with a brand in favor of a bunch of strangers and their presumed superior technical know-how to mine. On the other hand, I find some Sony products shine (e.g. my Walkman mp3 player) while others completely suck (e.g. anything to do with a CD player). 

It seemed I could choose from a much broader range of products if I took the backup-readiness out of the equation.

From there, it was a little easier. I went with these two:

Where's the aspirin?

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