Backup Plan

I’m using my qualifying exams as a test-run of my dissertation backup plan. Having heard umpteen-million horror stories of losing both print and electronic dissertation drafts, and having written novels in file formats that no longer exist and further exist on only floppy disks (for reals–I know), I’ve pondered this issue for awhile.

Here is my current backup plan:

  • obsessively: click control-S to save as I’m typing
  • several times a day: Time Machine is set up to backup everything on my Mac
  • at least once a day: save quals documents to my Dropbox account (it’s free!)
  • at the end of each day: email them to my gmail account
  • once I’m completely, finally done: email, Dropbox, and print final copy

Not that I’m obsessive or paranoid. I have this vision of myself at age 120 (I’ve decided I’m living at least that long, a subject for a future post), muttering, “better safe than sorry.” And then I go yell at those kids who keep hoverboarding over my lawn.


7 thoughts on “Backup Plan

  1. Colleen Harris says:

    Hee, yes to all of this. I also keep print copies of different draft versions in addition to my hard-drive, USB-stick, and Dropbox copies. Also, this is a good reminder to see if I can get anything off that old stack of floppies I have at home…

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      Luckily I printed just about all my grad school papers from 1999-forward; my undergrad stuff is mostly lost on floppies, but I think we can all agree that’s no big loss! πŸ˜€

      But yes, should I decide to want to do anything with my old novel manuscripts, I’m working off the paper copies or finding a circa-1995 machine. Egads!

  2. Bryce says:

    LOL You’re awesome. I wish that undergrads when we were in college had done this. Don’t forget to include version numbers in file name. πŸ˜‰

    • Starr Hoffman says:

      yep–actually keeping track of version numbers is too hard for me, what with using multiple computers. now i just include date/time in the filenames for version control.

      i’m told this will be really helpful in my dissertation, because i’ll be able to go back to older versions when a Prof says, “hey didn’t you have a great paragraph you cut when you sent this to us last May?”

      • Jared says:

        Have you considered using an actual version control system like Subversion? Not to mention a good diff program?

        I for one still have a working computer with a floppy drive, by the way. Also a Zip drive.

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