Friday, February 03, 2006

400 Gigs of Porn

Not really, but at least I got your attention. The last time I bought a high capacity hard drive, my brother and I joked about filling the whole thing with Internet porn. That was "only" 200 GB, but this week I got a Seagate 400 GB external hard drive.

I've been in dire need of disk space since my desktop died and I decided to use my new ThinkPad exclusively. Since that hadn't been the original plan, I only ordered a 40 GB drive inside the notebook. Needless to say, I've been doing some complicated data juggling over the past few months. Every time I finish shooting a memory card with my 7-megapixel camera, I have to find something to delete on the hard drive before uploading.

Bigger hard drives are inevitable. Think of George Carlin's old routine about having a place for his stuff. Ultimately people buy bigger houses to hold all of their stuff. After ten years of home computing and Internet use, I have a lot of digital stuff, and now I need a bigger hard drive to hold it all. Fortunately, the technology is advancing at just the right pace so that I pay the same amount or less every time I upgrade. Hence, 400 GB from a quality manufacturer only cost $240 after rebate at Buy.com. Two years ago, my 250 GB hard drive was about $10 more after rebate, but it was from CompUSA so I never got my rebate (caveat emptor: it happens a lot with them).

Thanks to luck and foresight, I've never lost much data to a hardware failure. I'm fanatical about redundancy. Even when I had to carry the equipment across the country on my bike, I made sure I wouldn't lose a photo by saving it three times -- to the hard drive, a back-up hard drive, and a CD-R (which I mailed home). So if a gravel hauler in Arizona had turned me and my Panasonic ToughBook into a greasy spot on the highway, at least my wife would have had good pictures of my final adventure to show at the wake.

My redundancy strategy paid off this summer when my desktop PC died and left me with an unreadable hard drive (it uses a special controller card that I can't connect to my notebook). My last full back-up was three weeks earlier (and I had been out of town for two of those), so I didn't lose much. As soon as I finish loading data onto my new drive, I will back up its contents to two smaller drives. At the moment, my ThinkPad is just a USB data transfer hub.

1 comment:

Chris said...

You and Kim are cut from the same cloth! Only we're not religious enough about it ... did I just jinx myself? Uh-oh, what if I lose a whole year's worth of PowerTap data?? FOR SHAME!