Saturday, May 2, 2009

Insurance Insurance

I recently got a small (if you call a terabyte hard-drive "small") portable back-up for my computers at home. It plugs in and automatically copies any new files or changes since the last time, once an hour if you'll let it, and makes a full back-up every week.

This is so if (when) my computer crashes, I can restore almost all my information onto my next future door stop. The key is that I have to keep the thing plugged in, or at least have done so 5 minutes before my digital storage and work device goes south for the winter.

I'm not sure what the best strategy is for back-up. Once it's full it apparently begins to piece-meal write over itself, and the clear headroom it needs is now clogged with old "back-ups." Is it a back-up if you never use it, or does it merely have the "potential" to be a back-up, unrealized and impotent until it's cured, released to fulfill its destiny?

There's no instruction manual - well, there is but it's 26 pages in 13 different languages. That's not a manual, that's a collection of inserts stapled together. Once you plug it in, it automatically loads the full complete manual onto your computer's hard drive (and then proceeds to back it up for you, back onto itself).

If you don't install it with the pre-loaded software, the manual doesn't load and it asks you if you'd like to.

It knows what you've done, or didn't do. It's post-modern; it refers to itself. It's recursive in that it needs itself to work, to create its own presence for you to figure out how to work it (assuming you even read how).

You can otherwise merely let it do its magic without a thought and have a blissful and unfounded faith that everything is now "safe."

I don't know if I want my back-up to be so self-aware. I appreciate not having to be in charge, but if it's infringing on my need to not think about it by being so insistent, I'm shopping for a different back-up strategy that's a little less needy.

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