Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blue-eyed backup beasts

From now on, like somebody with a pacemaker, I'm going to have to learn to live with this pair of blue-eyed beasts purring away on my walnut desk behind the iMac screen. They're a pair of identical disk drives, each of which can store some 300 gigabytes of data. I've spent the last day or so studying the complicated Retrospect software and developing scripts to handle my backup automatically every night, starting at 3 o'clock in the morning. Yesterday at midnight, when I set my Retrospect scripts in action for the first time, I realized that the operations would take a long period of time, since everything on my iMac would have to be copied. In fact, the computer churned on all night and all day, up until the end of the afternoon. This lengthy time was exceptional. From now on, Retrospect will only need to copy things that I've modified during the day.

If I were really conscientious, every morning after feeding the dog, I would turn off the blue-eyed beast that had performed backup during the night, and I would take it down to my neighbors' house for safe storage. Then I would bring back its twin to my house and turn it on. In that way, if my house happened to be demolished by a falling helicopter or meteorite, my computer work would not be lost. Dédé and Madeleine have been happy to look after my sheep and donkey at times, but I'm sure they would soon get tired of caring for my metallic beasts on a daily basis. Of course, I could always envisage building a tiny tree-house for my disk drives, down alongside Gamone Creek. But wouldn't I look silly if the tree-house and its contents got struck by lightning, or if a squirrel or a weasel got into the tree-house and started gnawing away at my precious disk drive. For the moment, I'll leave both blue-eyed beasts where they are, hiding more or less safely behind my computer.

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