For the last decade I’ve produced tons of personal information: photos, documents, drafts, notes, ideas, etc. Almost all these files are unique, since they were never published, and probably will never be. In most cases they are private and sensitive either for me or for other people I contact with.
Here is the short story of the ways I handled the information I had, of my mistakes, losses and torments up to the nowadays, and what I’m going to write about in this series of blog posts.
The problem of storing this information seemed not to be a problem at all in the later 1990s and earlier 2000s, when I started my IT carrier as a university student. I usually had one single computer with one single disk for data, and everything were stored there in properly named and more or less structured folders, and that computer was the only place to work with this information.
Unfortunately, this way of storing my information lead me to total disasters three times at least. First, the disk drive died unexpectedly. And as you know, this always happens just before the exams. Since then, I’ve started to make backups, lot of backups, on each and every significant change: to CD-RW drive, to DVD-RW drive, to USB drive. This helped for a while.
But later it became clear that CDs and DVDs like to get corrupted when on sun, on air, on each other, etc; and USBs like to get lost. My luck I had a lot of copies of my files, and HDD death was not a disaster anymore.
“Lot of copies” became a problem itself — to handle the disks, to decide which files are outdated and which are not, to unify the naming conventions over the time on read-only mediums – this is a mess, believe me. Imagine you have your degree work, which you were making for 5 months, and few exam works, and learning materials from your lecturers, and few photo sets, and each of this folders and files are dated and distributed all over the collection of CDs/DVDs.
To the year 2008 I was sick of all this completely. The next stage were external hard drives. They are more reliable than optical ones, and are capacitive enough to store a movie archive or whatsoever large, with almost the same price per GB as good DVDs were at the moment. As a bonus, they are easily writeable, so you can reorganize your files when you are in good mood for this.
Finally, this paradise has ended in 2009 when I had completely lost my whole photo archive for 2 or 3 years due to external HDD failure (it just burned out with a smoke). This had happened in a very inappropriate moment when for an hour or two there was only one single copy of the archive on that exact HDD. Hello, probability theory. It was a moral devastation for me.
So I decided to find some way to store information reliably, and devoted the whole 2010 to the researches. Slowly going, hobby researches. This is how I’ve came to online storages, “clouds”, etc, which I will try to describe in my next posts on this topic.
Meanwhile, — just to measure what I’m talking about, — since the last devastation I’ve produced 100+ GB of personal photos and 3 GB of different documents and GPS logs and other personal files, about 40 historic projects starting from university age and 2-3 software projects I’m working on these days. Note that I’m not a photographer who has TBs of photos, nor traveler with GBs of logs, nor office clerk with thousands of documents, nor open-source developer with hundreds of projects. Just a usual average web-developer guy.
And now I am about to save all my trash for generations (and for CIA, of course ;-).