Advise worth repeating – backup, backup, backup!

Hi research students,

this was an email reminder to the Ecolab honours students that is worth repeating:

Back up your project files on a daily basis!

Any computer, regardless of make and age, can be vulnerable, so a daily backup routine is critical. The mindset to adopt is to expect your computer to breakdown, for the hardisk to fail and the most tragic, for yourself to write over your own files! For the honours and UROPS students, as your computer use gets more intense, the probability of any of these tragedies will increase.

So start saving your files in at least two of the following ways:

  1. Email yourself a copy of the file when you're done, in gmail. 
  2. Thumbdrive – save a copy to a dedicated thumbdrive.
  3. Dropbox – the files in your dropbox folder (which you all opened at the start of the academic year) are backed up to your dropbox server space. 
  4. GDocs – this is new – GDocs now allows you to upload files without conversion, i.e. to store files

Note: if you have raw data stored solely on gdocs, remember to download and set aside a copy.  

Finally a couple of file management suggestions. Particularly helpful during that overnight grind to complete a draft:
  1. Organise your many files into folders. 
  2. Reduce clutter in your primary working folder by setting aside raw data you no longer access and early document versions into a separate, clearly labelled archive folder. 
  3. Label everything comprehensivel (filenames are no longer restricted to 8 characters!)
These corridors have witnessed many tragic stories. Exciting to hear about but dreadful to live through. So backup and have a Happy New Year!

Cheerio!

Otterman

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