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Nürnberg, Mittelfranken, 2005-06-08 - 12:58 a.m.

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For Murphy's sake, save your data!

Last night I read in Alison's place alithinks.typepad.com that she had lost 5 weeks of archives from her older blog in AOL. That remembered me instantly, that it's high time to save all my important stuff, like collected e-mails, my diary archives, pics etc - The last time I did that was maybe a year ago. - And I deeply hate data loss.

But you get careless, if for a long time nothing happens - lucky, innocent & careless you play around in the meadows - but if then destiny frowns & data loss strikes - & by then you know: you shouldn't have been that careless!

So I did 4 hours of datasaving of my 2 PC's - to an external USB-HD-Drive, searching millions of directories, to find the save worth files - the amount was more than 10 Gigabyte.

I'll have to sort that out, what of it really is worth burning on CD & maybe a lot of data exists already twice in these directories, cos I had a lot of data already copied from my older PC to the new one.

Advice:
& dear people, you should also regularly save your important data - don't trust your hard disc too much - it may crash totally & then also a win xp recovery system etc. won't help anymore.

Save your data to quite another place - a second hd, CD or DVD - & think about, that all data storage can erode, spoil, get damaged - even burnt CD's can sometimes get unreadable - so for really important data (may if you're writing the story of life, your thesis etc. - copy your work continiosly & store them on different places.

Sometimes I read in this artificial diarylanders & bloggers world (all these telling people) , that people wrote something, a longer entry etc. & while trying to post it, it all got lost & they had to write it again - & we all know: while you write something a second time, you're all the time suspicious, that the first one was the better, the wittier, the real one & you miss something by re-writing it -

I wouldn't trust an online tool to post something that is longer, than only few lines - it's only a formular & by sending it, there are chances, that it can get stuck somehow, somewhere to Nirwana, but never arrives where it was supposed to go, neither there, nor anymore at your own editing place - oops just lost & gone - how annoying!

To avoid this scenario, I use for my entries just a simple text-Editor (notepad), not even word or programms that format the text with fonts, height etc. - but you can use any simple text-editor. While I write I save often & that's it. Later on you copy & paste & if something goes wrong with your sending it, you have still the original text already saved.

In my last job I worked in a software company, we programmed databases for clients clubs for VW & AUDI. A small company, with about 20 collegues, most of them programmers - I was the "Sicherungs-Beauftragte" (Sicherung = Saving - & Beauftragte meant, that I was responsible for saving our important software sources daily, on a lot of circulating different tapes & controlling the succes of this saving process, that ran all through the night. - I even wrote a VB programm for the control of these tapes.

We even had our first server (where the most important data were central stored) mirrored to a second hard disc - that means all what was written on hd 'I' was permanently copied to hd 'II'.

How safe our system was!

But then came the day x when Murphy's law struck.

It happened like this. Firstly our tape recorder for the saving broke. No problem. I ordered a new one, which would be delivered within only few days. OK - these days I couldn't tape save, but that didn't had to be too tragic. 2 days later our system administrator informed me, that our server No. 'I' wasn't available anymore, a virus had destroyed something there & even the mirrored hd was out of reach, because the virus in the first hd had also infected the programm, that was needed to reach to mirror copy -

A lot of important sources were on this server, mainly documentations etc. but luckily not the real database - but we still had our tapes - so when the recorder came - I plugged it in & tried to restore our precious data, made out of month's & month's of work. But then the first tape I put in couldn't be read, neither the next one, nor not even at least one of them. (We had cycling daily tapes, cycling weekly tapes, cycling monthly tapes till a tape from 3 months ago)

I was the man responsible for saving in our company & then on the day of catastrophe, all I could tell them: "sorry people - it just didn't work!"

- I remember the time, when I was alone in the server room trying to restore, knowing that all hopes of our developers layed on my shoulders & damn - it just didn't work - after a while you just think about in what appropriate words you could tell them the desaster. (Same feeling I once had when I lead a pottery course in a youth communication centre & burned regularly their clay art in the oven - & then one day forgot about the degree I had to set the oven to & put the clock of temperature to 1200 degree Celsius , that was 150 degree too high. By this heat all their pottery work melted like plastic - it looked funny though - but I was responsible. I hope I never get a job as switchman for trains, & thus responsible for lifes)

We had a partner company & we tried to let our tapes be read by their save recorder. That didn't work either! - So we found out, that our old broken tape recorder had an ill justed writing head, that wrote data in a way, it could only be re-read by the same recorder - that was unrepairable broke.

Well - we had to live with this desaster & at least none of our software sources were lost, only most of the documentations & a lot of them we could get back from our partner company.

They didn't even fire me - because it was the writing heads fault, not mine (always find a good excuse).

A half year later we bought a bigger tape recorder with multiple drives for saving, cos we had about 6 or 7 servers by then & needed more storage for saving.

I still had stored these useless old tapes in the lowest drawer of my desk & some days on I had the idea to try them in our new power drive - & yes - it could read them, we had our old data back - but by this time they weren't needed that much anymore, the important stuff was already re-written, the neglectable stuff remained unimportant..

So you see, if Murphy strucks, no data saving is really save - if the world would blast to pieces & you would just in time send your data by NASA rockets to moon, Jupiter & Neptun to be saved there - by Murphy's law the entire sun system would blast then too - or the exterrians that maybe find them some million years later, would just use these discs as frisbees & anyway - do you really think your data are worth to be saved for a time after our world has been destroyed?

& if you want to save your life: just make a copy of it on the new bio-data saving power-dvd & hide it on a safe place. Then you can always get re-loaded, if you have someone who cares enough to press the button for your re-loading! - Was your life worse getting re-loaded?

I hope I could help you with this high-tech informations..

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