Friday, September 5, 2014

If You're Gonna Shake it, Back it Up.


Once upon a time, there lived a rather lazy, rather forgetful young woman who loved buying hard drives—Or at least, that’s what seemed to be the case*. This woman, I’ll refer to her as “Airin,” didn’t actually love buying hard drives. She just never backed up her work, and she always paid for it.

*If she used a case for her hard drives she wouldn’t have had to buy so many new ones

Before heading off to her first year at Ithaca College, Airin’s dad gifted the naive girl 2 new 1TB MyPassport hard drives. He gifted her also with some words of advice: 

“I gave you two of these for a reason Airin. One is for your everyday use, and the other is for backing up everything you put on that hard drive. Technology is unpredictable, and you don’t want to lose anything important if your main drives crashes.” 

Airin nodded absently. She didn’t actually hear a word he said because she was busy coming up with names for her hard drives. 

             This is Joey.                                                                                            This is James. 

They’re both dead now.

Joey died 7 months after he was named. Erin lost every project she had shot/made that year because she never backed Joey up. Not even once. Her father, feeling generous,  got her another hard drive for her next birthday— this time a 2TB drive. 

He scolded her for not backing up her work and she nodded in agreement. Actually, she wasn’t listening again. She was trying to decide whether to name the new drive Joshua, or Jasmine. 

She named it Damien instead. 

Five months later, Airin lost all of her projects from that Summer and the Fall semester when she lost the hard drive. She didn’t back Damien up. This time, she learned from her mistake.

“I’m going to back up my hard drive everyday until the die I die!” Airin vowed. 

For Christmas that year, her father got her, YET ANOTHER 1 TB hard drive. It looked just like James, and she named it “King George III.”
King George III

She began using King George. She didn’t back up King George. Not yet. She fully planned on backing up King George. The time never seemed quite right. Why, OH WHY had she not learned yet? She'd back it up tomorrow. Yes, that's right. TOMORROW she'll back King George up. Tomorrow...  

Four months of tomorrows passed. During finals week, King George died. Right on cue. Airin lost all of her work from that semester before the semester came to a close. A wise Mexican professor did all he could to help— but alas, the hard drive was dead. All of the projects she was working on were gone. With 5 days left before her projects were due, she had to start over. 

Airin did all she could. Here’s the animation she ended up turning in:

Now, for the big reveal. This story, my friends, is not the strange fiction tale I made it out to be. No, the truth is, I am Airin, and I have a bad history with hard drives. 

So what was it that caused so many of my hard drives to crash? What types of hard drives work best for storage? Best for editing? Least Expensive? Most Portable? Best for dropping down the stairs? 

My name is Erin, and I have the answers.

So You Wanna Buy a Hard Drive: Part I

Owning an external hard drive or two isn’t just a “media person” thing anymore. Everyone uses a computer nowadays for work, gaming, correspondence, or porn. (Sometimes all of these things). Investing in an external hard drive is like buying insurance for all of the content on your computer’s drive. 

This post is already pretty lengthy, so this week I'm just going to touch upon the most basic distinguishing factors of external hard drives. Next time I'll go into further detail about connector speeds, hard drive security, portability, size, and which hard drive is right for you specifically. Don't believe me?  Just you wait. Until then, the basics.

Sure you can buy a new computer if the internal disk crashes; but you can’t buy back all those naked photos of your ex girlfriend that you hid in the folder labeled: “Emails to Granny.” 

“Leaving your content on your computer without backing it up is a no-no for several important reasons. For one thing, it slows down your computer. And for another -- and this is crucial -- you run the risk of losing everything in the event of a hard-drive crash.” - Lisa Johnston ’s post on You Buy an External Hard Drive”

In short, until the Cloud gets faster at downloading our files, owning an external hard drive is your best bet for insuring your important content; whatever that may be.

Now that you’re set on buying an external drive, you need to decide what type of drive will work best for your needs and budget. There are two main categories of external drives— Solid State Drives (SSD), and Hard Disk Drives (HDD)

If you own an external hard drive, chances are it’s a hard disk drive (HDD)HDD drives made up of platters (silverish circular discs) that store information on them. In order to read from or write to an HDD, an arm inside the drive has to move back and forth and make contact with different parts of the spinning disc. Because they have these moving parts, HDDs are more prone to break and slower when compared to SSD counterparts.

Solid State Drives lack the moving platters and have the capability to be extremely fast as well as safer than HDD drives. So why don't we all just use SSD drives you ask? 

Well, let me put it like this-- according to an article written by Joel Santo Domingo in PC Mag “How to Buy an External Harddrive,” as of February 2014 a simple 500GB USB 3.0 (spinning) hard drive (HDD) goes for about $80, while a 256GB USB 3.0 SSD goes for about $400. 


For most people, it's probably best to invest in a HDD and just try not to mistake it with your favorite maraca

(especially don't do this whilst you are transferring files and/or editing). 

If you have problem distinguishing your maracas from your hard drives, look for a drive that boasts “ruggedness” (reinforced exterior). LaCie, for example, sells one of the cheapest, most rugged external hard drives on the market today. Regardless, even the LaCie drive can't be jostled too much while it's transferring files.

If you don't love the orange, you can also buy accessory cases for most brands of drives. Please look out for my next posts going into further detail about drives.

For now, I leave you with this thought: If you're gonna shake it,  back it up. 

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