Can the end-user be trusted?

One of the undeniable truths of backups is you never really respect their worth, until you lose data that you value(d).

Interestingly enough, as more homes become more digital centric, more forensic data recovery services are cropping up to save people from themselves and that accidential, click happy spree that we’ve all enjoyed (until the sickening reliasation hits that we have deleted the ORIGINAL digital photo / video / document that we’ll never be able to recover  (by ourselves)).

Don’t get me wrong, I love that fact that I have 300+GB of digital memories avalible from a central location in my home, and displayable on a number of screens throughout – but I’m ever mindful of the possibility of hardware failure taking them all away in a heartbeat and so I do have a fairly stringent backup procedure in place. One of these measures is via scheduled backups of my machines to my shared network storage, but that only fires when the machine is left on. Another measure is a Windows Home Server, which I am on the Beta programme for (so I don’t really know how much I can discuss without breaching the NDA). If you are interested, the developers are keeping a blog of their progress prior to launch which makes for interesting reading. My point is this – my memories are no longer kept in an analogue format which I can pickup off the bookshelf as I run, screaming like a little girl, while the house burns down around me. My memories are increasingly being helf on fragile pieces of magnitised material, spinning at ridiculous speeds, and – if it wasn’t for the magic of external hard drives and USB connectors, the only copy of these memories would be held in my home. (Note to self, refresh my offsite backup – and say hi to my folks while I’m picking up/returning the external HDD from their place)

So – what’s the solution to this ‘eggs in one basket’ approach?

  • An offsite backup regime like I run (via a USB HDD and infrequent trips to my parents) is fine, but only as long as I remember to do it – and it would really suck if my house burnt down on the night where I was pulling my digital memories backup onto my external HDD, or if that unit also suffered a failure when I needed to restore.
  • Perhaps then a transfer via the network to my parents place? Well – that would work if they had an always on connection, but the initial sync would destroy both of our data caps, and the smarts around historical copies would be hard to implement as well
  • So – what about an online community such as Flicker and/or YouTube where I can upload my stuff? Well – resolution issues aside, if I wanted to share only with a select group – they would need to join that community (who honestly needs yet another identity to remember?) – and, what’s worse – these communities could have the plug pulled at a moments notice (it’s happened before)- and THEN where is your data sitting?

Which brings me back to my original question I posed at the top of this blog (see, I got there eventually) – “Can the end-user be trusted?” My feeling is no, they can’t, or at least I as a sample size of one, who does appreciate the need for backups, form speaking to some of my friends and collegues I can extend this statement to say we (royally, as in ‘most of us’) are bad at doing backups – if we have to think about doing them, then they don’t get done.

So, when the Web 2.0 bust comes along and whole communities of user generated content are lost (as predicted by Laurel in this blog post) there will be crying and gnashing of teeth. And out of the ashes, the phoneix of Web 3.0 will rise blah blah… My question is this – can we as an online community afford to lose this content?, is it an intergral part of the history of how content has grown in the online space?, will any Web 2.0 companies stand up, place their hands on their collective hearts and say “Yes – we believe your content is important, and this is how we plan to protect it should our business model/service fail”

Any takers?? – I’m off to backup my blog database…

I’ve been Social Networking with Laurel Papworth

Wow, and ouch – my brain is full… I’ve just spent the last 2 days with Laurel Papworth, University of Sydney lecturer, and online communities consultant. She’s been over this side of the Tasman to chatting about the opportunities and futures in the online communities space, specifically around the social networking area.

Without sounding too much like a gushing fan-boy (too late?) I must say I was thoroughly impressed with Laurels depth and breadth of knowledge, couple that with her ability to go off on interesting tangents in our discussions (and the fact that she plays WoW), and she fitted right in to the team!

On a personal note, as you may have gathered from the recent flurry of activity on this blog, I’m going to try (once again – I know) to be a little more disciplined with keeping posts rolling over. No one likes a stale site, and to be honest, since I’m using a straight RSS feed to syndicate this content, I’m not entirely sure if anyone is even bothering to visit or subscribe anymore… Sigh, all these little pearls of wisdom may well be decaying out there in the digital ether… it’s all a bit sad really!

But, I can rejoice in the knowledge that ‘Brand Rob’ isn’t subjected to the same scrutiny as most corporate communications, and I can bask in the refreshing reality of being able to express my own opinions and thoughts without adversely affecting my share value. Of course the share price of ‘Brand Rob’ tends to only affect my major stockholder, who initiated her friendly takeover 4 years ago this coming Thursday (awwwww <wink>).

New Shirts – w00t!

Sweet, my t-shirts have arrived from Think-Geek!
I looove think-geek – I also looove my friends Karen & John who let me add my shirts to their order (Thanks Karen & John).

I got a couple of shirts this time and didn’t go crazy like my last set of purchases (but hey, I was single and didn’t have to seek permission (or forgiveness 😉 back then! ).
I got these shirts:
STFU UniversitySTFU University
Their descriptions are very Gonzo Marketingesque, in describing the STFU shirt they say

“…”STFU” and “Subsiste Sermonem Statim” printed on the front with a strangely-gagged mascot in white, orange, and blue. … For the non-Latin-inclined, the motto translates to “Stop Talking Now.” And, of course the year the University was founded is 1337. No qualms there we are certain. …”

I also got v1.0 and v2.0 for myself and my wee boy, and I [heart] my geek for my lovely, long suffering wifey – who might have felt left out if she didn’t get a t-shirt… getting her to wear it, especially in public, may prove to be more of a challenge.

v1.0 T-Shirt v2.0 T-shirt I love my geek T-shirt