OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: What gorilla?

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  • James Green,

    Back up your thesis too.

    Don't just back it up. Leave a copy in another town.

    Allegedly true story of a guy one of my lecturers knew. Physics PhD in early 80s working with lasers in prefab building. All but finished PhD, laser malfunctioned and burnt the building down...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Dave Waugh,

    Allegedly true story of a guy one of my lecturers knew. Physics PhD in early 80s working with lasers in prefab building. All but finished PhD, laser malfunctioned and burnt the building down...

    Did the frickin shark survive?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    Don't just back it up. Leave a copy in another town.

    I studied under a guy who was rumoured to have accidentally dropped his almost-completed PhD thesis down a stormwater drain. The pre-electronic world was a cruel place.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 434 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I once read a PhD thesis acknowledgements page which thanked 'my drug dealer and the Rolling Stones'.

    (Sort of irrelevant, but I love trotting out that anecdote.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3662 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The dog ate my homework...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2775 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I knew a zoology post grad who's homework ate his dog.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4941 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    I knew a zoology postgrad who ate her own homework. At least, her own research subjects, after she'd finished with them.

    Green-lipped mussels, before you ask.

    And it wasn't just the pre-electronic world that was cruel: I saw a note up at the Wellington bus station a while ago asking if anyone had found a USB thumb drive. "Contains entire year's academic work!" - yeah, that's the downside of portability, you've got to have a good backup regime to prevent this sort of situation.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Anyone who did computer support at a university in the late 80s or 90s remembers the horror and misery on the faces of graduate students who had inexplicably put everything they valued on one corrupt, unreadable floppy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2971 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I use a nice little program called Sync Toy from Microsoft (yeah, won't work on a Mac) its FREE.
    I use it to make a copy of my main hard drive and some of the stuff I have on other drives, to a USB external drive during the night.
    Very simple to set up, no problems for the last few years in spite of one major disk failure and a motherboard burnout.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4941 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Dropbox is quite nifty for back-ups, too. Sure, you only get two gigs free, and it's probably not the most secure system in the world if you're worried about business secrets - but for something like your thesis, it's perfect.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    Although it's not a great back up tool unless you pay them US$5 a month (for reasons), Evernote is very useful for academic work. It's note-keeping software that is tag-able, searchable, and syncs online so you can access it from any computer with web access, as well as iPhones and Blackberries. It can also search photos for text.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I was slack on backup for years, but by the time I actually did have a hard drive completely die on me, I was using Time Machine as part of MacOS 10.5.

    I had the computer back the next day with a new, larger drive and Time Machine had an incremental backup up till about 90 mins before the time of death. I simply imported everything back from that and started working again. It was extremely cool.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    My lesson is now to keep things on a dedicated backup USB stick.

    Evernote is pretty cool.

    I still prefer Zotero, although being wedded to memory hungry Firefox is starting to become a downside. Ironically, I lost a year of biblio when upgrading Zotero to their 2.0 web-snyc version, which was promoted as a way to back up your data and use it across machines.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2136 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    My graphics design tutor from polytech, said he kept backup zip disks in the garage, just incase the house burnt down.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2775 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    I do worry about that Steven. I have a Time Machine like Russell, but there's been a spate of burglaries around here recently, and I can't imagine the burglars would be kind enough to leave it behind when they nick the laptop.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I'm a paper person...ur, you all know what I mean.
    So, when I make a draft, I copy it, in paper, 3-fold (once for me, once for the van - my survival machine- and once for one of my family of the other, safer, side of the island. Annd, I have TimeMachine, and I have backups like USB drives...

    of course, when the meteor hits, all of this will be completely redundant, as in, ash.

    But, hey ho, it calms my natural pessimistic expectations of 'the best work ever' lost to the dog. Or whatever.

    I paticularly loved the comments "the homework ate the dog" and the postgrad ate the homework- yessss!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Murphy,

    By the way, back at the beginning this discussion was about imprisonment and the way we imprison so many people here in New Zealand.

    The people at The “Rethinking Crime and Punishment” project are people who apply themselves to this issue and more, restorative justice etc, and they are looking for money to continue with their project.

    They provide a credible, thought out alternative to the Sensible Sentencing Trust on the issues related to crime and punishment in New Zealand.

    Do check out their web site Rethinking Crime and Punishment and support them if you like what you read.

    You'll always be hearing from the McVicar side only if these guys quit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    A swift look to that site Brian, brought up 2 christian organisations running the site.
    Lost this atheist right then.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Brian Murphy,

    I suspect they are also white and middle class, but it does not seem to affect the rigor they apply to looking at crime and punishment.

    To me going in to bat against Garth McVicar and David Garrett counts more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Agree with that stance Brian - will not ally myself with christians (or ANY religious group whatsoever)however-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Can I suggest we look for the commonalities we have and accept our differences but leave them at the door. This way we can create a strong position on a selected issue we're all in agreement on?

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1147 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    If you must, here's also the Prison Fellowship, but Rethinking is rather more vocal and probably wider-focused.

    I think one does have to face the fact that a lot of the organisations out the doing good are Christian; in some cases this is incidental.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    Wot, no love for the Howard League? I have no idea if they're powered by Jesus as well but they seem to be saying sensible things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1569 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    How to empty prisons.

    1: Pardons. Yes, really, and lots of them. Go nuts.

    2: Repeal prohibition. Let adults be, well, adults. Give the poor, struggling chemists something useful to sell again. There were no more drug addicts in the world when it was perfectly legal than there are now, after a good seventy years of this nonsense.

    3: Stop putting people in prison for not paying their fines. Like, they owe you a couple grand, so you spend sixty grand making a point about it? Treat them like student loans, no one puts that lot in prison if they're too poor to pay. Oh, and make fines proportional to income, duh.

    4: Lower minimum parole back to 1/3 of the sentance, and cap the mandatory non-parole periods for life back to 14 years, and others proportionately. I mean, spend ten times as much monitoring parolees and it's still well under half the price of prison.

    5: Then, if you want to be fussy, create a new top tax rate at 45% over 250k, double the minimum wage, and cut the working year to 200 6-hour days, and ban absentee landlords: creating full employment, reducing the wealth gap, and giving everyone a stake in society.

    Since Nov 2006 • 484 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh, and make fines proportional to income, duh.

    A couple of years ago I was astounded by the news that some very rich bugger wouldn't be getting the $3,000 fine that the judge would have normally given for cocaine possession, because he was so rich that it wouldn't have had any effect on him. I believe I started talking loudly to the radio.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6217 posts Report Reply

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