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Dr John Hawkins

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My Life on a DVD

Posted on 2006/07/03 16:05:23 (July 2006).

[Monday 3rd July]
After running almost solidly over the weekend, the first complete backup of the Maison came to an end some time today (I'm guessing it was about tea time). Whilst the words "backup" and "monumentous occasion" do not typically appear in the same sentence, I am filled with a surprising sense of jubilation. It has been a project that has taken a few weeks to come to fruition - requiring not only some software to be written, but also a hardware purchase or two (most significantly the Mac Mini).

The problems we had with the site a while back were a real eye opener, and a glimpse into the abyss of what I'd stand to lose should there be some kind of catastrophic server failure. Whilst it may not look all that much to some people, this site has been more or less ten years in the making. Realistically, this has probably been the single biggest thing I've ever worked on - although I am slightly embarassed to admit it, I've probably put more man hours into the 'Maison than my PhD.

The thought that all of that could be lost in a flash had been playing on my mind a lot recently, and so it is a tremendous relief to finally have it all backed up and stored in a safe place.

To my slight surprise, it turns out that the whole site will fit on a single DVD.

Let's not forget in this age of mass storage that four gigabytes is still quite a lot of information - if that was all text (which a lot of the site is) - you'd be looking at over four billion key presses to have typed that lot in. OK, a lot of that data is photographs etc, but even then, there are several thousand presses of that shutter release button to account for.

Anyway, whilst some will read this and wonder what all the fuss is about (it's only a website), I on the other hand am filled with a sense of inner peace, and I shall sleep soundly tonight because of that.

Comment 1

Silly sod!

Posted by Mum at 2006/07/03 17:58:55.

Comment 2

p.s. that interprets as "well done, you are a genius, we all love you".

I expect you knew that, though.

Posted by Mum at 2006/07/03 17:59:45.

Comment 3

Are you sure you will sleep soundly knowing that at any moment a burglar could break in a steal the only DVD backup of Mds or you might confuse the MDS backup dvd with the 'Coaster' version that went wrong and get it covered in Tea and Jam? Perhaps you should get a glass cabinet made ( with an alarm ), sort of like those platinum record thingies pop stars get.

Also carry a copy with you everywhere, in a secret pocket.

Posted by Kev at 2006/07/03 21:30:48.

Comment 4

Kev is right. I'd nuy an extra 800 gigs hard drive (you neve know) for extra backup....

Posted by Lox at 2006/07/04 15:28:19.

Comment 5

Mum: thanks! - although I am choosing to overlook your first comment. :)

Posted by John at 2006/07/05 14:06:03.

Comment 6

Lox: 800 gigs is not as crazy as it once sounded - the Bic Camera in Shinjuku (which I'm using as an example of a pretty regular electronic goods shop) has external disks over 1 terabyte which aren't that crazily priced.

There will come a time when we will look back and laugh at the concept of a 1 terabyte drive - in a few years time it will seem pathetically small.

Petabyte is a fairly unfamilar word right now (I had to look it up on wikipeda), but only in the same way terabyte was pretty much unheard of five years ago, and even gigabyte was a stranger to our ears ten years ago.

Posted by John at 2006/07/05 14:10:05.

Comment 7

Actually, having looked around on the web, it seems that around the 750 or 800 gigs mark may be the biggest hard drive which is generally available right now. So perhaps that external unit I saw had more than one HDD in it or something.

Anyway, my point remains, in a few years time this will seem laughably small!

Posted by John at 2006/07/05 14:25:33.

Comment 8

...or maybe the days of the hard disk are numbered - I just read an article about Sony releasing a laptop with no hard disk in, just flash memory.

So maybe the laughable thing in a few years time will be that we ever used hard disks at all!

Posted by John at 2006/07/05 14:27:50.

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