Since a number of us have been talking a lot about the state of new music and all that entails, I’m going to shift gears this week and get super practical. My mind is currently laser-focused on very earthly matters, as I write to you from among stacks of boxes—stacks increasing in size every day as we pack for a move at the end of the month. I’m not going very far, but nevertheless, I am acutely aware of all my stuff, and of the fact that this wonderful apartment I have loved living in for the past seven years has a fantastic amount of closet space. Just when I think I’m making packing headway, I open up a closet and am reminded that I am so not finished!
At any rate, the current attention to one’s stuff and one’s things is not only about the physical, but also about the virtual. We’ve all experienced the horrific computer and/or hard drive meltdowns that have led to loss of important documents, and it seems like no matter how strongly we resolve to back up our stuff after such an event, we too quickly become complacent and forget to archive on a regular basis. Last week my Better Half got out of a taxi with everything but the laptop—an anxiety dream come to life! Fortunately almost everything was either safely backed up on an external hard drive here at home (which happily had not been packed), or could be scavenged from the gmail archives, so although the computer was lost, not too much of the stuff inside went missing with it. Between that little drama and reading this post today, it just seemed like a good time for a reminder to set routine backups in place.
There are so many ways to archive the contents of one’s computer now—external hard drives come in a multitude of shapes and sizes (those heavily into video really need the most space), and of course there are lots of options in “the cloud,” like Google docs, Dropbox, MediaFire, and Evernote. I like to keep most of my stuff on external hard drives—I have a sturdy one that I use primarily for working on digital audio (250GB, FireWire 800, 7200rpm), and one that is dedicated exclusively to storage. The all-important scores, recordings, and associated materials are printed in hard copy and also backed up to multiple sources including Dropbox, and if ever I lose my several years worth of photos, at least I know that all my favorite ones are on Flickr.
Now if I could finish boxing up the apartment with the tiny amount of effort required to secure my important computer files and data!