Computing / Ok here's what were gonna do / science

Backing it Up

Cedar Sanderson

this is me, installing a 1Tb drive in my iMac. Geek-girl moment!

Sorry for the boring post, but I’m in the middle of a big project, have homework (always!) and will try to create a piece of art later. I have a lovely one in my head, we will see if I can get it out onto the screen (not using paper for this one).

Anyway, the big project is this: I am creating backups. I have a 2009 iMac with one foot in the grave, and it has an external backup drive (2 TB) that has been giving me odd problems. I have the drive partitioned into two sections, one for my iPhoto library, the other for Time Machine backups of the Mac. Ever since I upgraded to Mavericks, the drive has been having issues. Not the iPhoto half, just the backup half. Which makes me think it’s the Mac, most likely the OS upgrade, and not the backup drive. Argh. I’ve run Disk Utility on it twice now, repaired, and remounted. I need to do that again today. But it catalyzed something I’ve been putting off.

I’d gotten a new computer at the beginning of the school year, my old laptop (bought used 3 years ago, not sure how old it actually is) was unreliable, the Mac was getting overheating problems daily… it was time. What I didn’t do at the time was buy a backup drive. I remedied that this week and have a shiny new 2TB drive on my desk to start the process today.

I’d hoped, after a little digging around, to be able to plug the Mac’s external drive into the Windows machine, access the iPhoto library, and ‘port it over to the laptop. No joy. Ah, well, that would have been too easy. Looking at the size of the iPhoto library, it’s about 100 gb currently. So I ordered a 128 gb thumb drive. I’ll pull the photos off onto that to access with the laptop, and at that point I’ll have three backups of them, one on the Mac, the thumb drive, and the laptop external drive (I won’t keep that library on the laptop’s hard drive, just like I don’t on the Mac).

If you’re wondering why I’m worrying over the photos but not the documents, that’s because I already have them backed up, in Dropbox, a thumbdrive, and the Mac’s external drive as well as hard drive. I will be loading them onto the new drive, and making sure my backups are up-to-date, as well. It’s tedious, but I’d hate to lose any of my work.

Cray 1

Installing the Cray-1 in 1976

I’m also having a geeky moment about the raw computing power I’ve got sitting on my desk right now. Both computers have 1TB drives, both external drives are 2tb… In the year I was born, the Cray-1 was installed. The world’s first supercomputer, I have no idea how it would compare to my laptop in terms of performance – I suspect I’m comparing apples and oranges – but I know that we’ve come a long way just in my lifetime. Where are we going next?

Within the last week, the news broke that a major milestone for computing was passed: computers were able to look at a picture. Might not seem like much, but it’s been the realm of only human ability until now. A computer doesn’t ‘see’ like the human eye does, and the computing power needed to give it that kind of perspective is truly amazing. If you want more info, look here… 

But for me, I’m going to get back to the tedium of formatting and file transfers. Because one thing is for sure: a computer doesn’t last forever.