Updates & Thoughts on Virtual Portability

I’ve updated the layout and design of the blog, trying to differentiate it from the original theme it was based on. There is more work to be had, but it’s getting closer to my ideal.

Virtual Portability
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our lives are tied to this technology that we use daily, and yet most of us don’t carry much with us that would prove useful. At one point in my life, I was using only Windows machines, and I carried a 2 Gb USB thumb drive around with all of my important data on it. This was enough to keep a portable Firefox installation on it, my fledgling writing career, and any of the various projects that I was working on at the time.

As with anything of the sort, it reached the end of its life, and all too soon. I was a fool, in retrospect, for not backing things up to multiple sources. I became a victim of modern technology, and lost with it months, even years worth of work. I had just begun writing The Good Doctor, and already had the first three chapters completed. This was probably the best work that I had ever done in a literary vein, and yet, it’s all gone.

I became (and still am, I admit) very discouraged about this, and kept myself from writing more out of baseless fear than anything. Those few gems of creative flair are gone, and with it my trust in modern technology portability.

We’ve used a few iPods, one used, one refurbished, and one brand new, which was quickly broken (We are indeed on our fourth, which is still in pristine condition). And we’ve owned three laptops since my precious data was lost. I’ve not completely abandoned the idea of data portability, but I have certainly shied away from it at all costs.

Now is a different animal in technology. Things are increasingly easier to configure and use, at least to the technically-minded, and we are now in possession of technologies with ever-increasing power and storage.

I am using 3 different platforms on a daily basis (Ubuntu 8.04 x86_64, Windows XP, Mac OS X Leopard), and with that brings a whole lot of intricate curiosities in attempting to use my data each interchangeably. Now, for the most part, the data is easily used between platforms, but there is hardly any uniformity between programs used.

I make due with a variety of nostra, including the wonderful Foxmarks Extension for Firefox. This extension allows me to keep all of my bookmarks synced across platforms, but is far from the ideal in this situation.

The Future
I would like to explore in more detail the idea of platform-agnostic data and process portability.

My wife just recently purchased me an OCZ USB 2.0 32GB Dual Channel Rally2 Pen Drive thumb drive. This affords me a lot of leeway in the realm of portable storage, without having to option for an online storage system.

Two reasons why an online storage system is not what I’m looking for:

  1. I have two web servers (development and live) and have no need for an extra storage service.
  2. What about the occasions when I do not have internet access to accomplish the tasks that I need?

I am going to be exploring these topics in greater detail over the coming weeks, and I hope to reach some interesting conclusions as to the pertinence of these ideas in our ever-expanding technological society.