10 May 2010

Data Management

I am traveling and will be out of town pretty soon for five weeks. But this doesn't mean that I will not be working during that time period. Thus, I needed a system to make sure that my data will never be lost.

I thus imagined perhaps all the possible worst case scenarios that might happen given the fact that I will be bringing my computer and flash drives over the ocean in an airplane.

This is my equipment: a laptop with enough free hard drive space, 2 USB flash drives (a 2GB and a 8GB), and a 300GB external hard drive. I decided not to use Internet storage, even though they come cheap nowadays, because I have so much files that it would be so tedious to upload them all.

Okay, so the worst case scenario is that I go board that airplane, and then the airplane crashes. I die. Period. No more worries. I cannot do anything about that.

Second worst case scenario is that the airplane crashes, and yet I survive. My laptop and flash drives don't however. So, that means I need to keep the files somewhere here in Buffalo, and that will not travel for the moment. So I backed-up everything I need, such as my dissertation files, my experiment files, everything that has something to do with my academic career, and saved into a folder in the hard drive. That will stay here. So even if the airplane crashes and I survive and get picked up by the Japanese or Russian Coast Guard in the North Pacific, when I finally settle down and sort things out, I can pick my dissertation up from where I left it.

Third worst case scenario is when my computer finally dies on me. I think my laptop is on life support already, that I am constantly monitoring the state of affairs for new computers, so when this finally dies, I know what computer I will get. Thus, between the two flash drives, I also have another copy. These two will travel with me. One contains all the PDF copies of the papers, articles, and other readings that are relevant to my work, while the other contains all my dissertation files and experiment files and others. One basically is my mobile library, and the other is my mobile work desk.

I know, I make contingency plans. That's just how I deal with things. Because I know that I will have a hard time if any of these disasters actually strike, and I am not prepared for it.

(Playmakers Theatre, from my University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Series)


  1. I'm kind of a plan A, B etc. person as well so I can understand. Love the way you thought of all the scenario though!

    I always send myself files as well, especially university notes, papers and scans of important docs.

  2. Zhu,

    Hehe! It has to be done, and being the type of person that I am, I can think of pretty much every relevant outcome that could happen.