Monday, May 03, 2010

Re: Doomsday

[A reply to a thread about backing up your personal hard drive]

Besides pictures and possibly purchased media (many times you can just re-download them if you beg CS), what terabytes worth of data are you people backing up?

For personal files: gmail has my mail, google docs and/or gmail usually have any important docs i need (what is your definition of important?). Taxes are all online.  Banking is all online.  All digital media that i "found" for free isn't worth anything to me (and even the stuff i paid for wouldn't set me back much).  Any code projects i am working on are on some server somewhere already.  Am i missing something?

And for photos, think about it:  If you have a DSLR and take decent pictures, you have an online account for sharing photos.  If you want to keep the high quality copies for printing, you would have printed them already.  If you wanted to share the lower quality ones, you would have shared them already (i.e. someone has a copy somewhere if you really need it, which you don't).  And if you just took them, they are still on your camera.  99% of the other photos you won't miss (and neither will the people you show them to).

A forest fire every now and then is a good thing.  It helps you know what is really important.  Here's a hint: it isn't much.  Do I need my 5th grade report on dinosaurs?  Do I need my failed iphone app?  do I need my 128kbps Mp3 rip of the Beastie Boys from 1998?  The answer to all of these is no.

And if there is something on your drive that you really couldn't live without (most likely, there isn't), then by all means, back it up.  But is a hard drive the best way?  Who has or needs a copy?  Your lawyer? Your bank? Your hospital?  Your mother?  Do they have copies?  Would it be hard to get them?

Yes, other techies will laugh at you (like they will laugh at me for writing this) but you can take it.  Most likely, the things you really need most are already backed up.  And they aren't on your hard drive.

Don't be a slave to your data.


(this only applies to personal data.  businesses should have their data backed up by the admins :)