USB backups

The linksys family

Tim Bray has possibly made his last-ever optical media purchase.

USB keys are getting close in size and you can write ’em a whole lot faster, and they don’t occupy any more space, really.

A few weeks ago I bought an NSLU2. I have two 8GB USB keys in geographic rotation to perform always-on, silent, transparent backups for our critical data. I initially thought that I’d upgrade the firmware to Unslung, but it practice the native firmware has done the job so well that I haven’t had to do anything. I love this solution.

In the comments on Tim’s piece, “Thomas” comments:

Flash memory requires periodic access or the cells’ charge drops below the readability threshold. Optical media kept in cool dark storage should last much longer than flash.

This is a bit of a worry to me, as I was hoping to take all my photo CDs, stick them on a suitably large USB key, and lose it in a drawer somewhere. I wonder if this is the case for SSDs as well? If I don’t turn my Macbook Air on for 6 months, will I not have a hard drive any more?

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