Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Small Victory

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W

You may recall that a month or so ago, my Acer laptop computer which served faithfully for 4 years met a sudden death.   I had not sealed one of the portholes tightly and when it rained, water dripped on the laptop.  I replaced it with a new laptop.  I wrote about that too.  Now, I've also managed to recover all the files from the old computer.  Hooray!

Keeping any electronic gadget running while cruising in salt water is a challenge.  The constant moisture in the air, plus the hydrophilic salt conspire to corrode each and every electrical connection.   Electronics designed specifically for the marine environment fare better than general consumer items.   When it comes to something like a laptop computer, the best policy for cruisers is (1) buy cheap: plan on any consumer item failing in a year or so. (2) be sure to back up often because the disk will crash.

My backup strategy was an external 1TB hard drive with a USB interface that I bought a few years back.  1TB is plenty of space to hold numerous backups.   It worked for a while, but then the USB interface on the external hard drive failed.  I have been unable to create new backups for a while, and when the laptop crashed, I was unable to read any earlier backups from the backup.

Our friends on Calypso use online backup from Carbonite.  That sounds like a good solution.  However, before leaving to go cruising they had to let their computer run with a shore-based Internet connection for 3 weeks to establish the initial backup image.   That can't work for people like us who only get occasional WIFI connections, or limited bandwidth connections via smartphone.

The thing that saved me was an EBAY search.  There, I found a USB adapter for 2.5" hard discs that I was able to buy for less than $5 including shipping.   I took apart the broken laptop, extracted the hard disc, plugged it into this $5 adapter and presto, I had all my files back.   

Now, I can buy a similar USB adapter for the 1TB drive and start again making new backups.

p.s. The picture below really fooled us when it came.  Our daughter Jenny used photoshop to put our granddaughter Victoria on the cover of Vogue.  Excellent!   Of course, we're biased and we think she's pretty enough to make the cover without help from her aunt. 

1 comment:

  1. Dick,
    you might want to check out dropbox for your backups. it is free and comes with 2Gb of online storage. it has a bunch of other features that you might like as well.

    if you were to use dropbox in addition to the external drive you would have a rock solid backup solution.
    best of luck.



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