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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Data storage



Even in this day and age, the most secure form of information storage is a good quality book printed on acid free paper. There are exotic long term storage methods, but they are well beyond the reach of the average person.

Digital storage is a problem. Home computers have been around long enough for people to experience a number of storage schemes. Odds are you’ve lost at least some information that could not be retrieved from obsolete equipment. Recently, I discovered some personally important information was only stored on 3.5 floppy disks. Luckily I was able to fire up an old lap top and moved data to a USB jump drive.

Personally, I like e-books. Being able to carry around the equivalent of hundreds of pounds of books in my hand is a technological wonder. I can’t imagine trying to carry all that around in my small sailboat. Project Gutenberg is a good source for free books. Great place to get all the classics.

That being said, all my practical how to and reference books are paper. A few are also duplicated electronically, but that’s secondary. Paper is the thing. E-books need an electronic device to read them on. It doesn’t have to be something as nasty as an EMP -just dead batteries are enough to make them useless. Wouldn’t you feel silly if your only copy of your generator repair manual was electronic?

Recently, I bought a new printer and printed out about a 100 pages of information. The information did not exist as a normal book, so a printout had to do. If you are really hard core about long term storage, it is possible to purchase high quality paper and archival quality inks. Fortunately, my printout isn’t something I plan on leaving for the grandkids. Regular paper and ink is fine, and a whole lot cheaper.

There are many paper books on my shelves over 100 years old. None of my original digital information from 10 years ago is stored on its original storage device. Some of those formats are completely orphaned. For the average Joe, paper is the way to go.

-Sixbears




11 comments:

  1. It's sort of ironic that I'm currently getting my family tree info put on DVD's and USB's stored elsewhere, in case my house would ever burn. And yet, if unprotected from EMP's, the paper might be the only copy left.

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    Replies
    1. All your eggs are not in one basket.

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    2. If you stick a USB flash drive in a good all-metal tool box, it should be safe from any EMPs... stick a tablet PC and and a solar charger in there too and you should be good to go (until a rock hits the screen and renders it useless...)

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    3. Problem is I'm using all my PCs, so I can't stick one in a box. Flash drives are cheap enough that one of those could easily be stored, just in case.

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  2. Thought you might enjoy this link. An American couple sailing through South America. Very interesting, even for us non-sailors.

    http://www.ginnyandsteve.blogspot.com/

    Bigfoot in TX

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I've been watching their expolits for a few weeks now.

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  3. I preference paper for most things.

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  4. I do have to love having the ability to "just print something out".
    I can't tell you how many hours of frustration I have saved myself by looking up a wiring diagram or a repair manual chapter and printing it out so I could lay it on the fender for a handy reference.
    I once printed out several e books on old technology and survival references but printer paper seems to suck big time when it comes to storing. It is too big and bulky. Think boxes of reams of printer paper. It gets to be too damn unwieldy.

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    Replies
    1. It is bulky as all heck, but what can you do? Sometimes it's the only way.

      I print out diagrams and manual pages all the time for the same reason you do and it saves headaches.

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  5. It is good that you are taking data storage very seriously. And I totally get your point. Having back-ups is the way to go if you want to protect your data. Whether you go for a paper/document back-up or an online storage is up to your style. But it wouldn’t hurt to have both.

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