We've discussed institutional backups on this list many times. How about
personal backups? Here's a quick survey we've created to stir up discussions
on how we do or don't backup our personal data at home. We came up with the
idea of asking students and adults here on campus to chime in and also you
folks on the School-IT list.

Here's the link to they survey. We don't ask your name, but we do ask your

Many thanks for your time if you choose to fill it out! Adam

Here's the ditty I wrote up for the class to open discussions. Yes, my music
HD did croak this weekend!

I dropped an external hd yesterday and it has officially croaked from the
impact. The drive had my entire music library on it! BOOO! I have a backup
except for iTunes purchases I've made over the last year-ish though so that'
helps. I contacted Apple, explained the dilemma and I can download my
purchases again... a one shot deal. Full recovery. This... is a good thing.

The whole thing got me thinking about backups for the home... again. Without
this online data recovery from Apple I'd have lost a good bit of music
purchases. It's about time we get this conversation underway this year.

If you've been doing this media bit for awhile there's always the item of
converting things to new locations or new formats. Cave walls, stone
tablets, paper, reel to reel, technicolor, cassettes, VHS, Hi-8, even DAT
tapes go the way of the location or media player changes. One form phases
out and you are left to convert all your material to a new format. I still
have a stack of Hi-8 videos I'm converting to digital. So what's the next
step for digital music, photos and video?

Here are a few pitfalls with home based backups:

- Some folks don't backup at all or like me in the case above, forget to
backup a certain part of their material.

- They are not done frequently enough. You lose large chunks of data in
between backups.

- Backing up incrementally to dvds is cumbersome too with ever-changing
content. Music and photos are ever changing medium for me as an example. I'd
rather do many other things than backup data manually or sort it for backup
and archiving purposes.

- Backing up data to an external hard drive in your house is great... until
something happens to your house: Auto-Bot landing, black hole, fire, etc.
Catastrophes like this have always been a risk, especially for traditional
picture albums, record or cd collections and the like.

So, I looked around a bit for automated solutions to data backup and found
this one:

Online backups can be slow though. So I'm thinking rather than slow down my
workstation, I automate backups to one external hard drive and then backup
that external hd to a web service like Mozy online. Photos, videos, music
etc. No sorting. No incremental goofing around. Easy off site data backup.
Three copies: Local, external drive and offsite. That means at least two
workstations though in a home and a broadband internet connection. Not a
practical solution for some. Hmm.

Mozy is just one of many services out there. Likely as time goes by there
will be more.

Then... I think along the lines of sacrificing resolution and just putting
all my photos and video online anyway. Is preserving resolution of photos
and video really that important for the future?

I went the way of the web for my documents years ago. As we move toward
higher internet bandwidth, is archiving things at home on our own drives
even practical anymore? Are we in a transition period... a mixture of home
hard drive and dvd tinkering and online services or would you pick one or
the other?

Please fill out this online survey via the link below. I've asked some IT
folk in education to do the same. The survey will collect the data and we'll
see what folks have to say.

Thanks for tuning in, Adam