Make It So, Mr Data

Videotape lasts about 50 years. A commercially pressed DVD is supposed to last twice that. Paper documents can last centuries.

A DVDR lasts...maybe five years. That is, if you don't write on it, and you keep it out of sunlight, and, erm, don't use it.

I only mention it because I spent last night burning fifteen DVDRs of backup data, plus there'll be a similar number tonight, and it would be nice if they were more...well, permanent.

People who advise about these things professionally say you should make backups of your backups and store them in a dark, dry, clean space. Which might make sense if I were IBM, but not if I were, um, me.

Incidentally, if you think 30 DVDRs is a lot, I've spent the last month going through about 150, weeding out obsolete, duplicated or useless files.

So, how can I protect my files without

(1) spending the whole week doing nothing but burning backups

(2) spending all the money I don't have on expensive DVDRs that may or may not be less corruptible

(3) winding up with a suitcasefull of redundant copies after spending a month removing redundant copies


My solution is to wrap each DVDR in a homemade paper insert, inside the usual clear plastic wallet. The insert protects the surface from sunlight, provides some extra padding, and gives me something on which to write a description of the disc's contents - instead of the disc itself.

The small irony is, years ago before clear plastic CD/DVD wallets were common, I made hundreds of them from A4 sheets of paper. They were practical, protective, and you could write on them. Then I threw them away when plastic wallets and CD pens became common.


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  2. If you need really reliable backup of 2GB of your mission critical data, I reccomend free versions of online backup services like or

    I use both of them (Mozy for a two years, back on a PC & now on a Mac). Mozy is extremely robust & reliable, you can set it up and forget about it... until worst happens and you need to recover something. I love it.

    Both Dropbox and Mozy will give you 2GB of storage; hovewer, if you use my referral URL, you'll get 2.25 GB:

    I always like to evangelise on such great stuff. I wonder what the humanity will get from it.

  3. Thanks for that. I've signed up to Mozy - and now I'm trying to work out which 2GB I most need to back up :-).

    I wouldn't use an online backup system as my main backup, but as a second it seems very useful.

  4. I hope you bloody used my referral code!

  5. Yes, don't worry. You've got at extra .25GB.

  6. W00t, socialist unity... and capitalist tricks to get attract more customers :D
    Spread your own referral URL now (perhaps on Nightcharm forum... because, hey, unsafe data pactices are unacceptable!)
    Go for Dropbox as well, it's absolutely fantastic, no catches this time...

    Back to our telephone conversation: I'm installing Ubuntu VM right now to try experimental soft to communicate with my watch, I wonder if it will work...

    Random quote:
    Nineteen Eighty-Four was not a manual for statehood.