The big story today is about Microsoft subsidiary Danger losing all T-Mobile Sidekick customer data from their servers.
While I sit and ponder the loss of data on a vast scale and wonder just what that means, I also get that nagging feeling that I have not done enough to protect my own data. I suppose it is only natural to have such stories trigger such emotions but I try so hard not to be just another human being. And often disappoint myself.
We all have stories of loss of data at some point in our technological lives. When Faye's hard drive bit the dust very unexpectedly a decade or so ago, it cost us big time to recover the data from it. More than the cost of 2 new large (at the time) hard drives. It taught us a lesson... Important stuff has to be backed up in the Real World also. It is not yet a paperless world.
I had already been backing up various things we stored on our computers but it was haphazard. Mostly just the main programming and not on a regular basis. An annoying chore I often put off.
I am one who has journeyed through the transition from the time when micro-film was cutting edge to Cloud computing's emergence. While it didn't make a cynic of me (I was born one or born to be one, I am unsure) it did nothing to dissuade me from that path.
In the late 60's, Ma Bell looked out upon the digital landscape and murmured "We should do that". She was already moving toward electronic switching systems and away from the old electro-mechanical stuff. Instead of clanking, whirring, humming, clacking mechanical devices connecting and carrying analog sound waves amplified by electricity, all sound would be encoded into bits of digital data and eventually into impulses of light (and across that spectrum) quietly and efficiently sent across the world.
I was a part of that. A small part, mind you, just another cog in the great machine. A rather unimportant one. But one who found a new task at work. Backing up data. We had not really done that before. Oh, we kept multiple copies of customer records but nothing like this. Boxes of daily paper printouts, weekly magnetic tape backups, duplicates of each. We now kept records of what our switching machines were doing.
This is the true legacy of the digital transition. Repetitive redundancy. The world of data had now become more fragile. I am wondering if the first scribes were ordered to make copies of the clay tablets they etched of the king's edicts.
A Night Unremembered
7 years ago