Forget my hard drive, I’m moving to the cloud

BSOD Stop c218 by Justin Marty
"BSOD Stop c218" by Justin Marty

A couple weeks ago, I pulled out my laptop and noticed a suspicious splash of water sandwiched between the plastic case and the computer. Pressing the power button yielded nothing but a sad, whirring fan. I was seriously bummed about losing my expensive laptop, but I took solace in the fact that I’ve been obediently backing up my computer with Time Machine and an external hard drive for the last year.

So imagine my dismay when my external hard drive refused to be read.

As it turned out, my hard drive’s moodiness was only temporary. It’s now working fine, as far as I can tell, and my dissertation and other crucial files (adorable photos of my dog!) are now residing peacefully on my new computer.

Still, those heart-in-throat few days were enough to scare me out of complacency. As far as I knew, the only documents to survive were those that I’d stored remotely: in my online Dropbox and in Zotero‘s online storage option. It’s not hard to imagine situations in which both my computer and my external hard drive would be toast: a roof leak, a fire, a poorly placed cup of coffee. Plus, all hard drives fail after a while. That’s just how they’re built.

So I’m moving to remote backup of my data. There’s a lot of hand-wringing about storing data in the “cloud” (a term applied to Internet-based storage and services): privacy issues, reliability concerns, etc. But I have absolutely no doubt that my data will be safer in the cloud than in my accident-prone paws.

Mozy is probably the best-known option for remote backup. But after doing some research (and getting Andy to try it out) I discovered that many Mac users find Mozy’s client to be buggy and slow. Instead, I’ve gone with Backblaze. Like Mozy, it’s $5 a month for unlimited storage, and so far it seems to be working just fine.

Then again, that’s what I thought about my hard drive.

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