you should already be doing it

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These are notes for a talk i am going to give. I'm a little nervous.

But it all turned out ok. I gave a talk for roughly four people, including my girlfriend. Not that great a turnout but it's ok, I'm not very keen on public speaking. Anyway, the talk I gave was about the importance and necessity of backing up your personal data. I was very nearly destroyed by a hard drive failure on the brand new laptop I just bought, but fortunately I had an accidental backup on the machine that I migrated from to begin with. I lost about 3 or 4 days work, but it could have been much worse.

My talk was basically to proselytize on the importance of backing everything up. Because hard drives will fail eventually, and other data storage methods will also fail eventually, so we should be prepared for this. Yes, your work is important, but also I want to stress the value of things like metadata. Timestamps on photos, play counts on songs, notes, location data, all of these things add to the data to make it more personal and valuable even if you don't know it.

Yes keeping important documents backed up is a good practice but ever better is a bit for bit copy of everything your hard drive. A very good method is outlined in a rant by JWZ from a while ago. Essentially what he says you should do is, whatever type of hard drive you have in your computer, get two of those. Put them into an enclosure of some kind, and make a bootable copy of everything on each one. Take one of them to a remote location (office, friends house) and update it every 6 months or so. The other copy, keep at home and update every day.

An important point discussed was that there needs to either be automation or some kind of routine, else the backups just aren't going to be made. More copies = good. Disk space is cheap, so buy as big a drive as you can afford. I found a Terabyte drive at Microcenter for $180. A terabyte! It's huge. Is that overkill? I don't think so. We decided that restraint is not a good thing to have when it comes to backups.

That was Barcamp for me. Unfortunately I couldn't stay due to some unplanned time conflict stuff, but I think I got enough out of one day there to have made it worth the drive out. I want to see this event in Detroit, and have started planning to make it happen. More updates to come as things progress in that arena.

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