[APG Public List] Free genealogical lectures on web

Ray Beere Johnson II raybeere at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 20 15:37:10 MST 2009

     Debbie has made some very excellent points below, which I've annotated to add a few thoughts and expand on one or two of her remarks.

--- On Sun, 12/20/09, Debbie Parker Wayne <debbie at debbiewayne.com> wrote:

> But what I do know is I can not afford to risk losing or impairing 
> access to my computer in the middle of a project by installing a 
> program with many problems reported on computers with a similar 
> configuration to mine.

     To those who have Silverlight installed and working for them, congratulations! To the rest of you, Debbie's attitude is wise. It is not something to install lightly. If you were thinking of getting it just for this - the potential trouble is not worth it unless you have a spare computer laying around you can afford to (possibly) cripple until you can restore it to its previous state.

> As I mentioned, our computers are important tools in our businesses. 
> Most of us can't afford to lose time restoring our computer after some 
> program has caused a problem. I was a test/diagnostic engineer for many 
> years and I am probably more cautious about installing programs than 
> many people are. Having been burned many times over the years I never
> install new software without investigating first to see what negative 
> impact there might be and making a FULL backup. One of my computer 
> goals is to always have a full backup--but never, ever need to use it. 
> <smile>

     If you rely on your computer for your business, this is the one of the best pieces of advice you'll ever read. Print it out and put it somewhere you will always see it. And pay attention to both parts of the advice: the caution about installing new programs, and the one about making backups. In fact, I'd go further, thanks to bitter experience.
     I _had_ a full backup. I had researched the best standards of care for optical media, and followed them as best I could. (Outside a few facilities like Iron Mountain, no one can follow them perfectly.) I even had a schedule for copying archived data after a few years, to reduce the chance of degraded media. One, very minor, disaster - a "flood" which didn't get within 10 vertical feet of the discs (less than an inch of water, a full floor away) and subsided within hours - generated enough humidity to wipe out all that optically stored data.
     Multiple full backups, using multiple strategies and kept in multiple locations, are best. This is especially true for irreplaceable information. What if a fire destroys your office? The computer and the backup would be worthless. LOCKSS - Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe.
                            Ray Beere Johnson II


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