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We all want things to last. People always got photo albums handed down to them. With everything being digital and possibly cloud-based, what is there to actually "hand down?" Just ones and zeroes. The data itself needs to be archived.   Archiving is permanent storage for safety and posterity, as opposed to backups which are for safety and short-term storage. When I say short-term, I mean a single person's lifetime. What then? The data gets bequeathed and downloaded to the next person, while storage formats and devices constantly change? Do we just think the "cloud" is everlasting? Where's the real permanence? Data would last much longer stored on paper than on any kind of tape, hard disk or flash based devices we have today.   Only optical discs offer that kind of potential timescale for storing digital data. While it's true CD-Rs don't hold a lot of data (less than 700MB), the formulations that use gold are as permanent a storage... read more

As the iPhone 6 is released, many people are being notified on their older models that iOS 8 is available for download. And as usual, many people are blindly clicking through the upgrade without stopping to understand what they're doing and why. Most are also disregarding any warnings to back up their data before performing the upgrade.   Here's a post I saw from just today. It's a response to a friend who had "issues" upgrading: "My friend lost pics of her recently deceased father..."   Please, don't walk around with irreplaceable pictures on your iPhone and nowhere else! You can't keep just one copy of valuable data on a single device that could easily end up in the toilet bowl tomorrow. The iPhone is a smartphone, but that's still a phone. It happens to have a good camera and some slick software, but would you walk around every waking hour with a digital camera that held every one of your pictures, and the only copy... read more

  If you have a Mac and you've suffered a hard drive failure, your search for the term "data loss" or the like has brought you to this article for a reason, so please read on. I promise I'll get to the point.   How do you classify different computer users? How many kinds are there in the world?   Would you go by skill or experience, like Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced? Would you classify them by the type of computer they use? Windows/Mac/UNIX, etc? Nope. The answer, my friends, is two. There are ONLY TWO groups of computer users in this world, and you must always remember who they are:   Group #1 are those users who back up their data.   Group #2 are those users who wish they had.   That's it. Simple, right? I impress this on all my students. Unfortunately, we've all be in that second group at some point, especially those of us who've been using computers a long time. Losing one's data... read more

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