maximum redundancy

16 09 2010

Maximum redundancy is a good thing.  Not only in data storage but in parenting… which is weird.

I say a lot that kids need to be more like computers.  Computers may speak a foreign language, but it’s easier to learn and it doesn’t care if you’re having a particularly crappy day.  Computers act in predictable methods depending on input.  Good data in, good data out.

Kids are more like “good data in, good data in, good data in, GOOD DATA IN, GOOD FREAKING DATA GOES IN, DAMMIT GOOD DATA FROM MULTIPLE USERS ALREADY!!!”

The odds of good data out and bad data out are 50/50.

User error has very little to do with what the kids end up doing.

Then, this week, my main server got a virus and reminded me that computers are more like children than I thought.  It wasn’t a regular ole get caught in the strainer virus – it infected the virus software itself.  Now every time I load or try and connect to a virus or mal-ware scanner it kicks itself of the internet.  Everything works FINE until a virus software runs.

The original software to get eaten was Avira.  Fail.  The virus even latched on to the uninstall exe.  Next was AVG.  Fail.  Windows security.  Fail.

I had 1.5 TB in that machine and now all are being quarantined in a cardboard box until I figure out what this shit did.  I pulled all the essential data off onto flash sticks and those went into the cardboard box too.

The moral of the story is that it’s OK to be OCD when it comes to your computer stuff.  You’re the only one who cares that you have 50 flash sticks with different info (and the same info) on each one.

Next I’m going to update everything onto another set of flash sticks and put them all in my fire safe with my birth certificate and marriage license.

If that wasn’t enough geekery, read on.

Why flash memory?

CDs and DVDs don’t hold as much information and the burn process (and surface) are easy to SNAFU.

Portable hard drives have a disc inside that can be shaken and broken.  (Try it.  It’s possible no matter what the geeks at the Apple store say.)  I have a flash stick on my keychain that has 800 ebooks on it.  It’s pretty hard to kill.

Flash on a USB 2.0 is universally compatible with all OSs and most machines.  It also plugs into quite a few car stereo systems, most video game machines, TVs, WD TVs, your mom…

Small amounts of data on separate but redundant sticks reduces the chance of a bad file killing all the other files on the memory.  If it does happen, the data is still safe elsewhere.

Flash is relatively inexpensive.  Target has some toys with flash memory inside that are $15 for 4G.  They’re also skateboards.

Skateboards with flash drives.

The world is a better place for that.

As for the kids… all I can do is keep on repeating!

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