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 age.


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: mozy.com/home

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