Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Friends, back up your (thesis) data

I am a tad bit stonkered that no one else has mentioned this story, but it apparently is true, and happened recently.

(h/t Bruce Schneier, who got it from Geeks are Sexy, who got it from Reddit, naturally.)

(I have altered the photo to make it a slight bit more private, not that it matters a damn. I'm so sorry, dud(ette).)

Seriously, though, it pays to back up your data. 

15 comments:

  1. As someone who in fact also had their thesis/data stolen, let me additionally suggest backing up in multiple locations, and online. A laptop, external hard drive, and flash drive (as in my example) are insufficient when located in the same apartment/office, as I came to learn. Seems obvious now, but...

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    1. I am so sorry. That is horrible, awful.

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    2. Very good advice. I strongly encourage my students to use web-accessible backup (whether provided by my university or by a commercial site like Dropbox), telling them that it is never acceptable in my class for them to them claim that they "left their files at home."

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  2. how about even constantly emailing yourself files as you progress in your work ?

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  3. A review of offsite backup options

    http://www.macinchem.org/reviews/backup/backup.php

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  4. I was so paranoid when I was writing my dissertation (granted 12 years ago), I backed things up constantly on multiple CDs, kept one at home in a fire-proof box, one in the lab, etc.

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    1. I was so paranoid about something going wrong when writing my dissert 15 years ago (!) that I kept multiple *floppies* at different locations so if something happened, I wouldn't lose it all.

      Guess what? My hard drive crashed! But I only lost about 4 hours or so of work, due to my constant backing up. Phew.

      I will say that I was motivate by a very similar situation & sad story...in the early '90's, I saw a classified ad in the UCI newspaper, very similar to the story here...somebody doing a Geology PhD had their laptop stolen, and it had the only copy of their data, which was field work they had carried out in some remote location on another continent. It may be too late to help this person, but stories like this should be used to instruct future generations...

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  5. I just printed things after writing to proofread. Always kept a hard copy and a copy on a multiple flash drives.

    On a side note after my industrial postdoc went south, I had to finish my work in a Rutgers lab. During teaching hours, the doors to the building were always open but after that the doors were locked and you could only enter via keycard access. However, once inside the building, locked doors were a rare thing to stumble upon even when people were no longer in the labs and had left for the day.

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  6. There a reason Lord gave us SyncToy.

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  7. Find the uncensored version to make an easy $1000

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  8. Absolutely painful. I truly do feel sorry for this person, and I'm sure the fact that this tragedy was so easily prevented only makes him or her feel shittier. I'm not a pushy person by nature, but I really lay into my friends who don't have a good backup system...I've known too many people who lost years worth of files (mostly photos from their digital camera, but also data loss from work projects) There are lots of free and convenient solutions for backing up...as others have said, Dropbox or Sugarsync give you 5GB for free and you have to do nothing whatsoever except occasionally hook to the internet. That should more than cover papers / powerpoints and thesis files, and you get the bonus of being able to bring up the latest copy and work on it even if you don't have your laptop handy. Use SynchToy or TimeMachine and a cheap external hard drive or three if you need more space or just don't trust the cloud (but that's irrational too...physical loss like hard drive failure, laptop theft or a home/car break-in are each more likely than randomly being targeted for a hacking).

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  9. Most probably, we all labored a thesis research, so, it is easy to empathize with the poor man's desperation. But at the same time, there is the frustration over his negligence. He's definitely innocent of the crime, but he can't wash his hands clean from not backing up such important files. That is almost crime in this digital age! When did this happened, by the way? Ruby @Williams Data Management

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  10. It is certainly sad for the guy who lost his laptop. Just imagine how he spent grueling five years working on his thesis research paper. Backing it up would really be a good idea for all people to help thesis be secured, and it would not only for those who are writing their thesis. Anyway, I hope everything would be alright for the guy.

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