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Do you have important data to store?
The question is a rhetoric one. If you haven't yet backed up your important data, you should think well over this saying: There are two kinds of people. Those who haven't yet lost important data, and those who make backups often.
Oh well, I can tell a bit more about myself. I am a writer and a system administrator, so I combine the paranoia of both. I write my works either in LyX or in Geany. I use subversion to keep all the versions of both my source code and fiction works. Oh yes, I also use Truecrypt and GNU Privacy Guard to make sure no one can read my most private data easily.
Fine. So far my paranoia is satisfied. However, the final question: where to store the backups reliably? Many years of thinking led me to the below answer:
Do you think this is a joke? Think again, please.
All the modern data storage media a) do not live for long; b) require more and more sophisticated devices to operate; c) depend on electricity entirely.
Oh yes, I am told data CDs can live for decades without losing data. But what then? And who can guarantee there will be necessary devices to read those data storage units?
Please tell me where can I purchase a 5.25 floppy drive now.
Please tell me how should I read my IDE HDDs in, say, 5 years from now.
All the new data storage media gets obsolete in a decade, not more. And that means that, beyond storing your important data on the Net, you will have to copy your important data from one type of media to another and hope nothing gets corrupted in the process.
I have approximately 40Gb of data I wish to keep at the moment. My digital photos and movies; my masterpieces of coding and of fiction, and other things I wish to keep. And I came to a conclusion that most reliable way of storing data for centuries is still to write (print) them on paper.
Paper, when kept carefully, will survive for centuries.
Paper does not require hardware to operate.
Paper does not need electricity-driven devices to make use of. A good old sunlight, or a candle fire is enough. I guarantee that.
We live in the Age of Papyrus. It doesn't matter how the paper looks like and what is it used to make it: papyrus, parchment, wood, plastic... it's still the paper. it's still the book.
And it alone has chances to survive all those Yottabytes stored on HDDs, optical disks, flash cards and the rest of things we use every day.
If the very idea to print many Gigabytes on a reasonable amount of paper looks too good for you, I suggest reading this article