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Subject: Removable media

Removable media

From: Lisa Mibach <heritage1>
Date: Saturday, August 14, 2004
Robin Siegel <rsiegel [at] ngs__org> writes

>I have started using my camera's Compact Flash cards to carry files
>from one computer to the other, and also to back up my computers in
>case of a failure. I work on our disaster preparedness committee,
>and I'd like to be able to recommend this as a good backup medium,
>but I don't know if there might be a reason not to.
>Does anyone else use these handy little cards (or the equally handy
>thumbdrives) as backup media? Any information would be appreciated.

I bought a number of CF cards on e-Bay a while ago to fit both a
digital camera and my Handspring Visor (a now obsolete Palm Pilot
with expansion slot for digital chips that I use for survey
databases in FileMaker, GPS module, camera, and bar code reader).

Since our PCs at work don't have floppy or CD drives, I got a $17
(Canadian) PNY Compact Flash Single Slot Reader USB 2.0 to use these
chips to transfer files to colleagues and for work at home. (You
will have local sources; for examples see


        **** Moderator's comments: The above URL has been wrapped
        for email. There should be no newline.

This is a non-aesthetic version of the elegant "thumb drives", with
the advantage of being cheap and allowing unlimited volume by
switching chips.

I'm really delighted with the speed, and it doesn't need drivers, so
will work on any PC or Mac.

*However*, I would not recommend this as a primary backup mechanism.
If you need to find lost files and are labeling carefully, it might
work, but if you have serious computer problems you will have count
on a couple of days (or expensive help) to restore applications,
preferences, shortcuts, and essential but incomprehensible helper

I have used Retrospect Express (<URL:>) for many
years: it is inexpensive, easy to set up and use, and blissfully
reliable when you need it, restoring in a single click all those
aforementioned tangles. It walks you through setting up a script for
automated backup; I don't have a raid or tape system, so use CDs:
Retrospect starts up at a time I specify and tells me which disk it
wants. Be sure, whatever software you use, to create alternating
double sets (MWF and T-ThSat). If a single disk in the series gets
damaged (which can prevent a complete restore), you always have the
other one. This also helps if you are keeping your sets in separate
locations (hint, hint).

For those in private practice there may also be legal reasons to be
able to find obsolete files.

"In order to go forward, you have to back up."

Lisa Mibach
Ottawa, ON Canada

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:13
                 Distributed: Tuesday, August 17, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-13-005
Received on Saturday, 14 August, 2004

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