Saturday, September 20, 2014

A farewell to Data

Subtitle: Keep only what is important!

This week has been an almost tearful one in the Marcus and Agata household.   Events here in Switzerland and in England have forced a painful re-evaluation of what information and data we keep on ourselves and others.

What has prompted this re-evaluation

I suppose the Eureka moment came when I was making suggestions to family members about what I consider their disorganisation and physical hoarding.

As with all such conversations it leads you to also analyse your own behaviour.

People in Glass houses should not throw stones!

And so we have tried to evaluate 

  1. What data is important to me?
  2. If I'm keeping safe information from others maybe it's time they look after their own data!
  3. If I'm keeping records and journals or say physical or ripped media, will I ever look at them again?
  4. Can I just repurchase it online if I want that 1 title in 1000 I inadvertently discarded  anyway?
The above diagram represents an Electrical diode. Current can pass from Left to Right but not back again.   It's like Marcus's Datastore, which over the years has grown out of all reasonable proportions

Morality and Temptation

From an ethical standpoint here in the West most of us have an oversupply of food, clothing and possessions.  Even if you have the funds, do you deserve an abundance of items that you might never even use?

What are the Savings

Time: Although automation is used, this backing up, and especially the offsite copies, takes a lot of effort.  We are looking forward to relaxing in our twilight years. 

Refocus: Our interests have changed!  We are not so Computer fanatical anymore. Today we might prefer training for [another] Ultra Marathon rather than reading some old Electronics journals of 40 years ago.

Focus on living your life today not /only/ preserving your past.

Complexity:  When you have backups, media and information and automatic backup and computer processes generating and moving and storing data, it is difficult to know what the hell is going on.

Duplication: /Original/ Data gets stored multiple times!  And since we have a 3 copy backup strategy it becomes a real drag.

Clarity:  When you keep /everything/ it's difficult to find and use or look at the items you really value

Cost: Over the years we moved from 100GB disks to 4TB disks.   It's been costly and it has to stop!

Freedom and Mobility:  Too many Physical and Digital possessions become a restriction.  An anchor that limits your mobility.   Instead of owning them, they begin to own you.

The Rule

  1. At the end of every year if you did not use it put it onto the /to be deleted pile/
  2. At the end of the second year delete it, gift it, sell it unless its of legal import, very small, simple, trivial, very space efficient
  3. Every decade re-evaluate any exceptions 
  4. NOW apply these rules to physical and digital stuff

(This excludes old digital photographs and legal documents, which we've checked: Over 100 years of those take up less digital space than a single year of photographs from 2013.  We'll keep that old stuff!  Exceptions must be just that!)

So farewell to unimportant data.

We will not miss you

And to friends and relations who are also hoarding.   If we can stop it, then so can you.  We now proudly say an end to digital and physical hoarding.   How about you?

Compulsive Hoarding
Digital Hoarding