43 Folders

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Irrational fear? Data loss

I have this fear of data loss. I fear that someday the proprietary software I use will store my data/lists in some format that will be unreadable by future software. There's so many apps out there (Evernote, wikis, GTD software galore, etc.) that have proprietary formats but I hesitate to use any of them.

I keep my lists for the most part in txt files that are backed up nightly. I'm fairly confident txt will be readable for the next 50 years. I keep a paper notebook for notes, but I don't maintain my NA lists in it because if I were to lose the notebook, that would be a catastrophe.

Am I being irrational?


enine's picture

I don't think its an...

I don't think its an irational fear, maybe because I've been there.
I start out with speedscript then geoworks on a commodore 64 then on to somehting on an amiga then wordperfect on a pc then ms word, etc. I've had to export/import documents many times and always lost somehting in the translation that I had to recreate.
I've also used apps like MS money 97 and bought the next version (Money 98) and found it wouldn't import my money97 file and a paid support call to Ms tech support left me with "your file is corrupt, start a new one" so I was stuck running the 97 and 98 versions on two differnet pc's if I wanted accessto my old and new data.
I've made it a standard that my files and software have to be open now and I'm finding that I don't really miss anything, the features of propritary software are somehting I find I don't use often enough to remember how to use them and in the time it takes to figure those features out I could just make something work in an open package.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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