Don’t Just Back Up Your Data. Back Up Your Life!

People often worry about losing their photographs and data. Naturally some people choose to back up their data so it is safe from being lost. A photograph after all is a way to back up your memories in case you forget; but a photo itself isn’t the only way to back up a memory.

Sometimes you hear something that has an impact on you, or you come up with a new idea. Although these thoughts may be important to you, they often get forgotten. The scariest thing I ever realized was that there are unknown unknowns. You don’t know the things that you don’t know! So for me it was a very scary to think there are things that I forgot, but I can never know I forgot them in the first place!

I think that thought itself is what has fueled me to be a pack rat; causing me to save the smallest pieces of paper with writing on them, to useless binders of previous classes. Eventually this became a problem for me.

Logically there was no reason to keep all that crap behind, but some of it was really important. It was also very risky leaving around all these weird scrapes of paper; most of them had no explanations, and if anyone picked them up they might get the wrong impressions!

For example:

“I donated the jar of mayo to charity, and your mom wrote me a letter saying thanks.”

I could explain something like this to anyone, but what if someone saw a similar note and didn’t tell me. They might think I’m nuts.

I had to come up with a solution for saving all my experiences, memories, etc. It sounds like all my problems would be solved if I started keeping a journal; but journals were not the option. In my opinion if a dude keeps a journal and no one reads it, then it’s a diary; only girls keep those. [Joke]

Diary of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809–1871)

Diary of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne (1809–1871)

The true problem was that a journal or diary takes too much time for me to update. My handwriting is terrible, and I would never have the time to paste stuff inside. Also, what if my house burns down? So does the journal.

Enter The Cloud

I love technology and utilizing it in every way imaginable. I thought to myself why don’t I transfer some of my scrapes of paper to digital versions, encrypt everything, and back it up on the cloud? It sounded like a great idea and that’s what I ended up doing. I eventually realized the encrypting everything would be a little too paranoid for my information. In the end I resorted to using Microsoft’s OneNote to create digital notebooks, and backed everything up using Google Docs.

How You Can Do The Same

Microsoft OneNote actually has an option to save directly to your cloud account. If you buy OneNote you can automatically just hit save, and everything is backed up forever. The best part about OneNote is that it is actually designed to be used a notebook.

If you can’t afford OneNote there are other alternatives out there such as Evernote. It can backup automatically to the cloud, and you can also pay for various premium features.

If you only want free software you can use Tomboy, Nevernote, or CintaNotes in combination with Dropbox or Google Docs. Write up all your notes and save to the cloud. Doesn’t get any easier. If you require encryption you could look into TrueCrypt.

My Digital Notebook

I have a page dedicated to things that people have said to me, that I want to always remember. My recommendation for AP World History came back on a notecard from my teacher as such:

-Maturity … learn to do everything at a high level.

That meant something to me because people are always telling me to be more mature. In this particular case nothing was mentioned about being more or less mature, just “maturity.” Also my teacher said to learn to do everything at a high level. This refers to the fact that I love to outdo myself on projects that I find fun, but am also known to turn in garbage on things that I don’t find worth my time. He basically said to find a balance, for being mature and doing my work, keeping everything consistent.

On the same page I also have my Latin 1 teacher’s advice on life. He was about 70 years old and it was his last year at my school, it was also the last day when I asked him if he had any advice. It went something like this.

You know where the line is but you often cross it. Don’t cross the line.

You have a brain, use it more often.

You have a heart, I’ve caught glimpses of it, you just have to show it more often.

Again I found this to be spot on, and it really made me think about the way I act and why.

Another piece that I have in there is how the webmaster (Kevin) of Appreview4u describes my role here.

 (Writer & App Reviewer): The best and most enthusiastic writer I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He is mad about tech and has a versatile, dynamic and succinct writing style. Octavian is multi-talented in graphics, website design and in many other areas. If I need a second opinion or advice, he’s the guy I turn to. 

In another page I have my favorite paragraph of all books. It comes from Holden Caulfield, from The Catcher in the Rye on page 204. I literally tore this page out of a school book because I felt it was so spot on about life.

That’s the whole trouble. You can’t ever find a place that’s nice and peaceful, because there isn’t any.  You might think there is, but once you get there, when you’re not looking, somebody’ll sneak up and write “F*#k you” right under your nose. Try it sometime. I think, even if I ever die, and they stick me in a cemetery, and I have a tombstone and all, it’ll say “Holden Caulfield” on it, and then what year I was born and what year I died, and then right under that it’ll say “F*#k you.” I’m positive in fact.

A couple of days before or after reading this page, a message of “F*#k you, by George,” appeared on my mailbox. I also think this paragraph applies to unsolicited spam that degrades people’s lives for no reason. The whole thing kind of ties in with the movie The Box.

In this movie the human race is tested; a non-human offers random couples a million dollars if they press a button that will kill another random human; they also have the option to not press the button. The whole idea of selfishness ties in with this. Although you can hurt others without hurting yourself, it doesn’t mean you aren’t hurting the very society you live in through these destructive actions.

My notebook: I also have a page with my favorite words. So far I have:

  • Weltschmerz
  • Mamihlapinatapai
  • L’esprit de l’escalier
  • Misanthropy

I like these words because they are all words I can relate to, but often can’t describe the situations they occur in. These words make it easier to describe :)

I also have a list of over 60 favorite songs. My list has songs all over the place, anywhere from classical music to heavy metal. Honestly I like anything as long as it is good.

Having all of this on the cloud gives me peace of mind. I only wonder what I will think when I see these snippets and notebooks in 20, 30, or 40 years from now. That’s what makes it interesting, but also the fact that I don’t forget the stuff I find important now.

Article written by Octavian Ristea.

Octavian is a technology enthusiast and blogger. He enjoys writing for App Comrade and keeping up with current trends. The last thing he would ever do is buy a pre-made computer from a store. He believes building your own computer is a great experience that everyone should try in their lifetime. On the side he likes experimenting with Linux, servers, and programming. He is not "l33t" or ever wishes to be, but he can manage well enough :) On top of running this site he also runs a web design service, an app marketing service and a web hosting service.
4 comments
Kevin Robert Baker
Kevin Robert Baker

I really like the idea of saving life snippets and backing them up to a cloud. Like you said, if you just save them in paper form they can get accidentally thrown away, get caught in a flood or a fire or just dogeared and old. I've never used drop box or a cloud, except on my iPad. This is a fantastic idea. I use a Mac now, so Evernote as you said might be a good idea to get. I like the idea of saving pictures and music too as some things can't be expressed in words. This is such a good idea and more secure than a diary lying around too.

Kevin Robert Baker
Kevin Robert Baker

This is a real treasure trove of links and good advice. A comment isn't warranted here by myself yet as I need to spend a good few hours checking out the links and soaking up the information in this cracking article. I will submit a comment when I've fully explored this post. More thought is needed before giving my thoughts to this post. On Monday I will post up a longer comment. This is a 'crossroads' post as I call it, where you can go off into many different directions. I'm going to give this post the time it deserves before commenting properly - Monday or Tuesday :)

Octavian Ristea
Octavian Ristea

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!" -- Carl Sagan, Astronomer "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence!" -- Donald Rumsfeld, Military strategist I rest my case. It is a scary world indeed!

Octavian Ristea
Octavian Ristea

I'm glad you like the idea :) I certainly agree that it is better than having a fragile nontech diary hanging around :P With Google Glasses coming out soon we will be able to record mostly anything relevant that happens in our lives. I guess it will come to the point where we ask ourselves, what is too much? Are some things meant to be forgotten?