Wednesday, May 30, 2007

“I haven't lost my mind, it's backed up on disk somewhere”

So you are a the local library and you type something up but you want to save it so you can access it later at home. The question is what do you save it on? A floppy disk, CD, DVD, Thumb (flash) drive are all possibilities and they fall under the heading removable media. There are pros and cons with all of them but I want to discuss just the floppy and thumb drives today. 3 1/2 floppy disks, called this because they measure 3 1/2 inches, were useful at one time but I generally recommend saving the data to the computer and junking these things. Floppy disk are not just outdated in my opinion. If you buy a new computer today it most likely will not come with a floppy drive. The reason they are outdated comes down to their weaknesses. The storage size is only 1.4MB. Most of the time you cannot store good photos to the floppy. Also it is unreliable. If you get it wet,too hot, too cold or, the worst sin of all, put it near a magnet it will be erased. Now the plus is if you can find them at the store they should be cheap. I do not recommend these but I do suggest you reuse them as chic geek coasters. What is the alternative? USB thumb drives have become inexpensive very quickly. They plug into the USB port on the back or front (newer computers) of your computer. They work on any machine Macintosh, PC, Linux. It has a much larger amount of storage. The smallest and cheapest of the thumb drives will run you about $5.oo but will store the equivalent of 23 floppy disks. The largest size I have seen has been 8GB or 8000MB or 5741 floppy disks. Also it is very stable. Do not take these to extremes but hot or cold or near a magnet is fine. I have had friends that have left them in their pockets with the caps off and then washed their clothing.
They continued to work but I do not recommend doing this. The downsides are that some are coming with software preinstalled. Occasionally it will be a small problem for older operating systems like ME or 98. The other problem is that it makes a lousy coaster. You can get them just about anywhere even at the grocery store. Give a thumb drive a try.

Note: No matter what you use keep a backup somewhere on a computer or burned to a disc. Never rely on any electronic too much. It will let you down when you need it most. Be prepared!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is a $39 product called Datacatch Librarian from that catalogs your backup and archive removable media; it basically extends the Windows file management system so that you are seamlessly searching for files stored on removable media with standard Windows tools. What’s good about this is there is nothing new to learn.