The Computer and Data Storage – From Speed to Hard Drive to the Cloud

Whether you’re a freelance writer, an author, an online marketer, or other, you need a computer. And, you need a place to store your files, pictures, videos, applications, and so on.

In the 90s, the computer was all about speed. You wanted enough MHz to do what you wanted or needed to in as short a time as possible. If you can remember the old dial-up internet access you can understand what I’m talking about. And, then you had to hope that all the lines weren’t being used or you’d have to look for another phone number to use for access.

In a blog post, Matt Cutts pointed out that speed got fast enough in the late 90s, and the focus then changed. Since speed was captured, next up was the size of your “Intel or AMD chip.” The size or capacity, which is actually a better word to use, determined how much data you could store on your hard drive. The more space the better.

I remember upgrading to a new computer each time the memory capacity of my old computer was at its limit. I needed more and more space. Of course, now and then came the harrowing crash or unexplained lost files that would put me in tears. That’s when the use of the personal zip drives grew. There were many sighs of relief.

Those who were smart backed up their new data every night, but unfortunately, even zip drives can crash. More tears.

Then, somewhere around 2010, the cloud and network storage for personal use came along. Computer capacity could no longer meet the demands of data. People needed something bigger and better and safer, and companies met the need.

Today, most people use a service like Google docs or Dropbox to save and access their data. And, they can do this from different locations and on multiple devices, making it very convenient.

I use Dropbox and absolutely love it.

The one drawback I’ve found when working directly from a storage network is if you come across a problem, the data is lost forever. An example of this is when the delete button on my laptop got stuck. YES, it was stuck and I couldn’t stop it. I watched as each character, sentence then paragraph I was working on disappeared. I frantically hit the Esc key. I tried Ctrl-Alt-Del. Nothing worked. Finally, the entire document was gone.

If I was working from my hard drive or a zip drive I could have restored the document from my storage network, but that wasn’t the case; I was working directly from Dropbox.

If I had thought fast enough, I could have closed the document after it disappeared, without saving it, but panic set in and I didn’t think. So, puff, it was gone. This happened to me twice. I have since removed the top part of the delete key and it hasn’t gotten stuck since (fingers crossed). It doesn’t look too good, but it works.

Interesting, the experience hasn’t stopped me from loving Dropbox. I just try to be more careful now and try not to panic when something goes wrong. And, as an extra safety net, I also have a Carbonite backup plan. I also occasionally backup my files to a zip drive.

Paranoid? Maybe. But hey, better safe than sorry.

What data storage and backup strategies do you use?

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