The Free Motion Quilting Project: Meet Silver and Tough

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meet Silver and Tough

I would like you to introduce you to my two new best friends in the whole wide world:

These guys are going to be my closest companions to whom I will share all of my secrets.

I will not even consider writing a sentence, filming a clip, or even shooting a picture without first consulting with these two amazing, multitasking, computer heroes.

Yes, Silver and Tough are backup external hard drives. While it may seem weird to need to NAME my computer equipment, I beg to differ.

We name pets because they provide us love, affection, drool, and pet hair.

I get so much more from my backup drive: loyalty, punctuality, personal dedication, and a continual desire to work hard for my affection.

I think that's more than enough reason to name my hard drives!

Obviously I've turned over a new leaf when it comes to backing up my information. In case you're just tuning in, here's a little recap of what happened last month:

I got a cold for the 2nd week in a row and rather than turn off my computer like a good little girl, I instead drug it to bed with me like a rather weird comfort blanket.

The idea was that, while prone, I could still edit all the videos for the dvd I was working on.

But in order to edit the videos, I needed my backup harddrive to come with me because I'd rather naively trusted it with ALL of my video files, family photos, and several rough draft articles.

So I set up my computer on my trusty laptop table and set the hard drive on the table to my right and connected the two with a USB cord.

Of course it was only a matter of time before nature called and I needed to get back out of bed.

This is when the fatal mistake happened.

Instead of setting the computer to the right where everything would be fine, I instead set it to the left, jerking the USB cord, which in turn jerked the hard drive off the table where it then promptly smashed first into the wooden side of the bed, and then crashed to the floor.

As soon as I heard the crash I thought "That sounded expensive." And it was.

This drive just happened to contain ALL of my videos from day 1 - day 125, plus the other 30 videos I'd shot on random stuff that I hadn't edited yet.

All the videos I'd previously edited, the whole volume 4 and 5 dvds which were already edited for DVD.

And of course, all of the family photos and videos we'd taken for the last 2 years. This last is what really hurts the most. There's no price you can put on a picture of your 2 year old doing something sweet and endearing.

Why were these videos and photos ONLY on this one drive? Great question!

Unfortunately, I really don't have a decent answer for that completely stupid mistake. Part of the reason was because my laptop was running out of space quick, so I dumped my whole documents folder into the drive to open up space.

Also it was laziness. It's just plain easy to save things in one place and not bother copying them to another folder on another drive. *sigh* I've learned my lesson.

I attempted to get the information back from 2 computer wizards, but both returned saying that the drive was too badly broken to retrieve the information.

They did suggest sending the drive to bigger, more amazingly talented computer wizards, but the price was going to run between $1200-$1400. Ouch!

I was teetering on the fence, trying hard to decide whether to just recycle the drive and be done with it or go with these ultra computer wizards and see what they could do.

But then I got a phone call from one of the computer people and his exact words were "Highly unlikely that you will be able to get ANY information back, and what you do get back will likely be corrupted."

Ah! Well, that made the decision easy. What's the good of spending a small fortune to retrieve information that won't even work?

So that original backup drive has been recycled and I've decided to move on.

And who should I find on sale today? Silver! This slim, beautiful drive is a Seagate Free Agent Desk drive with a whooping 1 TETRABYTE of information.

But I've learned my lesson from backing up in only one place. Never, ever again.

This is why I need Tough. This is a Hitachi Simple Tough 500 mb hard drive that is both water resistant and shock resistant.

If I knock this guy off the table, he'll just bounce! This little drive is covered with a thick sheet of rubber and, though lightweight, feels very sturdy and heavy duty.

This will be the drive that I store my working files on (copies of course on Silver). I need a drive I can carry with me that's not as sensitive as my former, smashed drive, who can take a little abuse, but still remain fully functional.

So why have I bothered to share all of this long, rambling story about hard drives on a blog about QUILTING?

Because I learned a very important lesson and I don't want you to have to learn it too!

Even if you don't work on your computer, losing pictures, documents, or even just music files can be devastating.

Don't make the mistake I did! It's a very hard lesson to learn, but once you lose it all once, you'll never want to lose everything again.

Also for extra security, I'm considering buying a third drive to back up with once a month and store out of the house in a safe deposit box at the bank.

I know this may seem like a little overkill, but I really think it's a good idea. What if my house burned down or was broken into? What if everything was taken or destroyed?

I'd rather be safe than sorry and even 3 drives and a safe deposit box is cheaper than what it would cost to try to retrieve all the information I lost from the original drive.

So with this lesson learned, Let's go quilt!

Leah Day


  1. It's not silly nor is it overkill .... it's smart. I too learned that lesson 2yrs ago. I also learned that anything I store on CD's and DVD's should have at least 3 copies made ... they do go bad.

    Now where did you find that Seagate?

  2. I learned my lesson the hard way too - lost my entire family tree! Ouch. I had a backup on diskettes, but the #7 of the 8 diskettes was bad.
    Now, I have an external hard drive, and I give CD backups that I put in another room of the house, and to my sister (another house in case something happens to this house) to keep for me.

  3. Office Max! They're running a President's day sale so many things are nicely discounted.

    It takes a bit of sting out of how expensive these little gadgets can run, but still, better be safe than sorry!


  4. One of the cool things I've learned about the Seagate drives is that on the software that's included, there's *automatic* backup software - IE once a week it will mirror over any information you want.

  5. I've been storing family photos on two different drives, and once a year I have the photos printed professionally and put them into albums. At the back of the album goes the CD that has the photo as another back up.

    Keep in mind, though, that when I had kids at home, it was pre-digital and all of the photos were in a large cardboard box waiting for albums. I didn't get to it until the kids were grown and out of the house. I have no idea how you do so much.

  6. Try - It stores backups off site, does it automatically (you don't have to remember to back up) and then you can reload any thing. It costs a little each month, but the way you are going, it could be a real savings.

  7. Instead of a safety deposit box that you may or may not have time to access while out doing errands, have you thought about online storage? There are a few sites that offer lots of storage for as little as 50.00 a year. it will keep your data secure and safe and is a simple upload. Just a thought.

    I enjoy your blog and you e-book has been worth 10 times what I paid. Thank you!

  8. Why not try Carbonite for a backup. It is done over the Internet, it is cloud storage and encrypted and happens seamlessly in the background.

    It would be infinitely easier than going to get a HD, back up to it, and then return to safe storage.

    Lots of luck.

    Beth-Near Chicago

  9. I started using Carbonite online back up.. so have my back up hard drive at home, and the online back up as well. So sorry that you went through this... ouch!

  10. I also back up my files. I should back up everything, but I don't. I back up my info. on disks, especially photos. You're right about a a safety deposit box. Important home papers, etc. should be kept in them. The only thing, I have to keep sorting and choosing what to keep in mine, and I have a large one. Really like your blog. Sorry about your computer, but just look what we learn from our mistakes. That's real important information you put on your blog. What about some quilt photos that can't be replaced? Good information from you!!!!!

  11. So sorry to hear about your hard drive situation. I keep two hard drives on my desk. One that is the "active" hard drive and one that is the backup. I keep the backup one unplugged from everything except when I'm backing up because we have a lot of power surges here. I keep another backup hard drive in a fireproof safe and alternate it in and out with the one on my desk. I would love to use something like Carbonite, but from what I understand, you can not back up from an external drive, only from your main computer.

  12. I am so sorry. That really, really stinks. I had heard about an online back-up site, Carbonite, a few days before we were moving from Florida back to NJ, and thank goodness I signed up, but not even a day after that, my computer crashed. I would have lost everything. I am definitely going to get an external drive too, though. You can never be too safe.

  13. Oh Leah, I'm so sorry. All your beautiful videos and images lost. Heart breaking. But I'm happy you have moved on and have a new hard drive. Sadly, I'm one of those that have had this happen to too (more times than I should have). I currently have two hard drives, but I'm so parranoid I'm looking for a 3rd).

    I'd love to have a really fast wireless terradata hard drive on my network, but I don't think they make them affordably yet!

    Thanks for sharing your story. While you inspire quilters from all over the world to quilt, it is also good to inspire them to back up.


  14. I burn my photos to dvd twice too. Can never be too careful with baby pics.

  15. In my former life, I was an email archivist for the government and you might want to consider one more backup safety, and that's some kind of offsite storage in case of a fire or flood. I am a quilt designer and once every quarter, I burn a copy of all my new files to DVD's and send them to my son's house for safekeeping. I also double save everything I do on my working files; once to my hard drive and once to a 12GB flash drive. I also have duplicate laptops that have the same programs so that if one is acting up, I can just pick up my flash drive and move it to another computer.

    You can never be too obsessive about backing up your work.


  16. It is not over kill at all! Several years ago I lost my computer to a crash and a lot of Genealogy research it had taken me years to collect, lucky I had given a copy of most of it to a friend to have out of the house;
    Now I use 2 external drives and backup everything I want to keep to Mozy.Com.

    I have had one computer crash since then and was able to recovery everything from Mozy or the External drives.

    You can never be to careful.

    I love your Blog and Utube sites and think you are a great teacher

    Baton Rouge

  17. I agree too. It's not overkill. Good luck with your hard drives! :-)


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