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(New Jersey 101.5)   Desperate doctoral student offers laptop thief $1,000 for return of thesis folder containing five years worth of research   (nj1015.com) divider line 267
    More: Sad, Rutgers University, students  
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9796 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Apr 2013 at 7:38 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-24 07:58:55 PM
It's vaguely possible that this is a setup, hoping that if someone contacts him, however they do so they'll be stupid enough to give enough information to catch him.

I'm thinking like 0.1 %.  But maybe.  Mostly likely just the idiot everyone thinks.
 
2013-04-24 07:59:41 PM
I don't know. I'm not sure I buy this story. Are we all really going to believe that "His dog ate his homework". That five years worth of data was on ONE computer? That he never emailed parts of his thesis to anyone?
 
2013-04-24 08:00:35 PM
I'm finding it really hard to be judgmental here, because I've been in situations where backups were just not practical. Before cloud storage and USB 3.0, I worked with enormous files that didn't really lend themselves to being backed up easily. I also once had sensitive data that could only be stored on a specific laptop that had to be kept at a specific (though not impervious) location. shiat happens.
 
2013-04-24 08:01:32 PM
Yes, it's sad. Yes, he's an idiot for not having offsite backups. Yes, fark you for reporting on Reddit stories.
 
2013-04-24 08:05:21 PM
When I finished my chemistry thesis about a year and a half ago, I had a backup on my internal drive, my external, dropbox, gmail, and I think a flash drive.  There was no way that I was going to lose that data short of a nuclear war and that point it wouldn't matter. Yes there is a ton of data (NMR, UV/Vis, MS, XRD, TGA, etc...) but the few hours it take to back it up you save yourself from losing 5 years of work and a chunk of your sanity.

In short she was dumb for not doing it, but I do feel bad for her because I remember the hell that was grad school.

/Still, I think she was an idiot.
 
2013-04-24 08:06:13 PM
owlie: I'm finding it really hard to be judgmental here, because I've been in situations where backups were just not practical. Before cloud storage and USB 3.0, I worked with enormous files that didn't really lend themselves to being backed up easily.

But this is a guy working on a thesis, in the year 2013 where we have cloud storage and fire wire and the like, and his files are not likely to be enormous or require secure storage.

And he didn't back up shiat for five years?

Judge away.
 
2013-04-24 08:06:23 PM
Thanks guys for a summary of the different storage options out there

Just starting my doctoral research and have roughly 10 TB of data from previous work. The sheer volume means I'm looking at multiple offsite storage options.

If anyone has any favorites let me know. Also leading up consolidating 25 years of research to develop in house database for research group.
 
2013-04-24 08:06:37 PM
No reason why you can't have a backup these days. A 32GB drive the size of my thumbnail costs under $30 these days. In most cases, that's more than enough for documents.
 
2013-04-24 08:07:12 PM

Banned on the Run: isn't the fact that she's still working on her doctorate 5 yrs in a sign that she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer


That used to be true. But not any more. That's more of a minimum in some fields now really. But as a Ph.D. I can tell you this: You don't have to be smart to succeed in Graduate School. The most important resource by far is ENDURANCE. People much smarter than I have failed to finish, just because they couldn't endure.
 
2013-04-24 08:07:33 PM

dahmers love zombie: It's called Dropbox. It's free. Look into it.


This.  I tell incoming freshmen about this during orientation.  It's a no brainer.

I once had a professor come in with a bad disk containing the book he'd been working on.  For 8 years.  With the only copy of it on a single 3.5" floppy.  I got most of it back, but he didn't get it all.  He did learn the importance of backups, however.

/still sucked to be him.
// and yes, this was probably 10 years ago.  I'm old.  Deal with it.
 
2013-04-24 08:07:44 PM
The laptop was not stolen, the research was worthless or badly flawed. That's how this story pans out.
 
2013-04-24 08:08:47 PM
I'm glad I have no data worth backing up. And what data I do have is on other people's servers, like Drew's, Google or Livejournal. (Yes I do LJ occasionally; in the unlikely event anybody wants the URL, EIP.)

There's nothing on this laptop that's worth a penny to me beyond the hardware itself, and that's only because the laptop was a gift I spent about $150 adding a hard drive and more RAM to. Since I don't do kiddie porn or plot terrorist attacks I can always use a better library machine with more bandwidth for free.

That said, I wish I'd kept more than one copy of my "Juvenalia" folder and/or that I'd taken the trouble to scan or copy that and post it to the Net: an ex-GF's father through out all the poetry of my youth in 1997. (Yes, I used to write poetry, that of course mostly sucked.)
 
2013-04-24 08:12:22 PM

Coastalgrl: Thanks guys for a summary of the different storage options out there

Just starting my doctoral research and have roughly 10 TB of data from previous work. The sheer volume means I'm looking at multiple offsite storage options.

If anyone has any favorites let me know. Also leading up consolidating 25 years of research to develop in house database for research group.


10TB?  Jesus christ, hopefully it compresses down to something more reasonable at least?  That much would command at least two NASes (little computers devoted to hard drives).  There's some online companies that seems to love storing huge data, here's a list http://online-storage-service-review.toptenreviews.com/  I think the trouble with those would be the sheer upload time it'd take to put the backup there in the first place.  My connection's upload speed for instance is 1Mbit/sec which is roughly 120KB/sec which would take 23 thousand hours to upload unless I mathed it out wrong.
 
2013-04-24 08:12:42 PM
farking idiot. Phd in 2009, research completed in 2008, one more year of finishing writing and processing data. Two separate backups of all data on two 300gb hard drives in physically separate locations. Sure, I occasionally lost some matlab code here or there or a couple raw data files, but nothing like that.

The real biatch is when you literally have thousands upon thousands of uncompressed SIF images taking up tens of gigs and then hundreds of uncompressed CINE files taking up a couple hundred gigs. It is aggravating backing that shiat up just because it takes serious farking time.
 
2013-04-24 08:14:40 PM

Sail The Wide Accountancy: I don't know. I'm not sure I buy this story. Are we all really going to believe that "His dog ate his homework". That five years worth of data was on ONE computer? That he never emailed parts of his thesis to anyone?


Yes. Yes. And yes again.

I knew people like that in law school. They thought I was mad! mad, I say! for keeping hard copies as well as multiple flash drive copies. Until someone spilled coffee on the table in the law journal office. As everyone scurried to save their laptops, I said calmly, "You can dry off paper copies..." Oh, and the people who stressed when their computers crashed the night before finals "WITH ALL MY OUTLINES!!!!" --don't you have backups?-- "NO!!!!!!"

So yeah, I believe this. It's extreme, but I totally believe it.
 
2013-04-24 08:15:31 PM
Dropbox for a project or thesis is a real good idea unless you share your files with someone on your advisement committee and they decide to delete the file.  So, the moral of the story is to have a back up on dropbox of your shiat on dropbox if you're sharing it at all, ever.
 
2013-04-24 08:16:09 PM
I'm sure backing up your sh*t costs less than a thousand bucks.
 
2013-04-24 08:17:11 PM

leevis: This link has inspired me to back up my music again. I've loaded more than 1,000 songs onto itunes since the last time.


I've been very happy with using Google Music for this. It will automatically keep an eye on your iTunes folder and upload songs to the cloud as they're added to your iTunes. Also has the benefit of giving you access to your music from any internet-connected device.

Of course, it doesn't work with any songs that have DRM. And I think it caps you at 20,000 songs for the free storage, so it's not ideal for massive libraries.
 
2013-04-24 08:17:53 PM

lordargent: MaxxLarge:
// this guy is lucky it just got stolen, vs getting dropped on train tracks and run over by a train or something. There's at least some small inkling of a chance that he could get the data back from the thief ... BUT you can't bribe a train!


Friend of mine works for Kroll (the data recovery people, there's more than one). Apparently they were the company that recovered data from the Columbia space shuttle. I don't know the particulars but it's pretty cool that that's even possible.
 
2013-04-24 08:18:15 PM

Somacandra: Banned on the Run:

isn't the fact that she's still working on her doctorate 5 yrs in a sign that she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer

That used to be true. But not any more. That's more of a minimum in some fields now really. But as a Ph.D. I can tell you this: You don't have to be smart to succeed in Graduate School. The most important resource by far is ENDURANCE. People much smarter than I have failed to finish, just because they couldn't endure.


Whereas I dropped out of 8th grade, got a GED four years later, and since then I've managed to accumulate a few dozen undergrad credits -- mostly in community colleges where I didn't have to pay tuition.

If the reasons for my lack of endurance ain't obvious to y'all farkers by now I discuss it in detail elsewhere.

This of course doesn't mean I'm not an idiot. In fact proving I'm not an idiot sounds harder than proving I'm not an antisemite: I'd rather crawl the AT north-to-south in winter.

(Maybe one of these days I'll copy my best Fark comments to Blogspot, just to be sure.)
 
gja [TotalFark]
2013-04-24 08:19:13 PM
I feel REAL bad for her, but it just goes to show you can have more degrees than a thermometer and STILL be dumber than a farking rock.

A very hard lesson.

/smh as this COULD have been a non-event in her life, now it will damn near define it.
 
2013-04-24 08:19:22 PM

lolpix: Yes, it's sad. Yes, he's an idiot for not having offsite backups. Yes, fark you for reporting on Reddit stories.


I'm just amazed at how many sites out there survive by poaching stories from them.
 
2013-04-24 08:19:34 PM
I noticed no one mentioned tape drives...

About $30 per TB and you can lock it in a fire safe. Of course, the drives cost $2000. Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of backup tapes.
 
2013-04-24 08:20:19 PM
Yes I believe you have my stapler
 
2013-04-24 08:20:24 PM

lordargent: A few years back when I built this machine, I thought I had tons of space.

[lordargent.com image 850x428]

But nope

[lordargent.com image 827x705]
// I've done some repartitioning as well, but the takeaway is, look at how much longer the bars are in general.


/dev/sda6/dump

If that's your porn stash, you are one sick bastard...NTTAWWT

/most used partition
//vague description
///must be porn
 
2013-04-24 08:20:49 PM

The Stealth Hippopotamus: always back up your research!!

Watched a guy try to fight his way into a burning building to try to save his research.


scanners and dropbox people, seriously. its 2013. /paper, i hate paper, i do not use paper.
 
2013-04-24 08:20:57 PM

Lego_Addict: No reason why you can't have a backup these days. A 32GB drive the size of my thumbnail costs under $30 these days. In most cases, that's more than enough for documents.


Except for...well, every single grad student doing laser imaging, high speed video, etc. I could burn through 32GB in a farking day of taking high speed video. As someone upthread mentioned, it is extremely annoying backing up massive amounts of data like that. RAID array is nice, but I have never seen one in a laptop, and then its still physically together. One fire or flood and game over.

You have to keep at it consistently when dealing with that much shiat. Then again, even if you only backup once a week...you only lose a week! Derp. Not five farking years.
 
2013-04-24 08:21:31 PM
I just have to pile on:

This is why I backup Time Machine, Backblaze, and have all of my grad school documents on Dropbox.
 
2013-04-24 08:21:32 PM
Backup to dev/null, It's got all the space you need.
 
2013-04-24 08:22:13 PM
I just bought my second portable hard drive since I figured my two partition backup plan wasn't that great. I kept my copies on one partition and my time machine backup on the other. I'd be double screwed if the drive died then.

/Media on the terabyte
//Time machine on the 500 gig.
///Happy I got the 1TB for $40 on clearance
 
2013-04-24 08:22:26 PM
What a moron. I keep my important data encoded into my DNA via a genetically engineered retrovirus. That way I ensure that even if I'm somehow separated into my component molecules by a freak supercollider accident, you can still recover my entire pr0n collection by getting a cheek swab from one of my kids.
 
2013-04-24 08:22:41 PM
About a month or two again, my friend knocked my external hard drive off the desk and onto the floor. On it was every academic work I had written, every picture I downloaded, every song I have, every half-assed writing project I began.

I had to switch to my back-up hard drive, which was about from November. I felt like a complete idiot for having not done backed up for over 3 months. It was inexcusable on my part.

This person would be an idiot if the research was only backed up a year ago. This person deserves everything that happens if you don't think "I should save this in another place" once in five years, especially as a grad student. I get nervous when I don't save a file onto my laptop and my hard drive immediately if it is important.
 
2013-04-24 08:24:15 PM

Gone to Plaid: lordargent: A few years back when I built this machine, I thought I had tons of space.

[lordargent.com image 850x428]

But nope

[lordargent.com image 827x705]
// I've done some repartitioning as well, but the takeaway is, look at how much longer the bars are in general.

/dev/sda6/dump

If that's your porn stash, you are one sick bastard...NTTAWWT

/most used partition
//vague description
///must be porn


I'm thinking its the WD trio there, trans, full and inc are code for category.  Maybe the questionable 76GB of 'images' too ;)
 
2013-04-24 08:25:02 PM

AniX: About a month or two again, my friend knocked my external hard drive off the desk and onto the floor. On it was every academic work I had written, every picture I downloaded, every song I have, every half-assed writing project I began.

I had to switch to my back-up hard drive, which was about from November. I felt like a complete idiot for having not done backed up for over 3 months. It was inexcusable on my part.

This person would be an idiot if the research was only backed up a year ago. This person deserves everything that happens if you don't think "I should save this in another place" once in five years, especially as a grad student. I get nervous when I don't save a file onto my laptop and my hard drive immediately if it is important.


If you have not done backed up, you are indeed an idiot.
 
2013-04-24 08:26:12 PM
BumpInTheNight: 10TB? Jesus christ, hopefully it compresses down to something more reasonable at least? That much would command at least two NASes (little computers devoted to hard drives). There's some online companies that seems to love storing huge data, here's a list http://online-storage-service-review.toptenreviews.com/ I think the trouble with those would be the sheer upload time it'd take to put the backup there in the first place.

That's a lot of data for an individual, but not for a group/business.

What some of these online storage places do is have you send them a disk containing the data for the initial load. Then you only have to do diffs over the network.

BUT, 10 TB of data means you would be sending them a shiatload of disks (5x2TB disks at about $100-$150 per disk).

// OTOH, one of the servers I'm working with has 100TB of disk space on it. I don't even want to know what the backup plan for that thing looks like.
 
2013-04-24 08:28:59 PM
I blame (shakes magic 8 ball) Steven Hawking. They see me rolling and they hatin
 
2013-04-24 08:29:11 PM
Odds are it's an elaborate hoax for smoking weed for 5 years on a research stipend.
 
2013-04-24 08:29:55 PM
10 years ago I started doing Duel backups. It might of been a 10GB drive then, I copied everything twice, always kept one drive unplugged and away from everything else.

Now I have two 2GB Drives and a 64GB solid state - When I want to mirror my backups, I walk over to my safe, open it up - and plug the drive in the network, make my backup, when I am done the secondary gets put back in the safe and locked.

I've lost countless backup drives, i've never lost two at once, when one goes back, I buy two more.

/Sounds stupid, but I lost one backup drive a while back, so I use two - and never had a problem since, its simply not worth the hassle of losing it to begin with. I still have my Western Digital Book from college, both run just fine, as my other backups , However due to age, I rather not risk using them.
 
2013-04-24 08:30:02 PM

meyerkev: Dropbox
Github
Farking Dropbox
Skydrive
Google Docs
A TB backup drive.
Hell, if it's THAT important, AWS S3.

/Or my personal favorite, A local git repo contained in a dropbox.  Perfect backup across multiple machines coupled with local revision history so you can blow away 6 hours of fail in 3 seconds.


Say that last bit again, but in English.
 
gja [TotalFark]
2013-04-24 08:31:03 PM
I have all of my data replicated between 3 (count 'em....3!) Time Machines.
The backups are mirrored to Carbonite AND Mozy. Every HOUR deltas are sent.
I make my living in I.T., and I practice what I preach.

Back your crap up peoples! HW dies, goes missing, fails, corrupts, is stolen, etc...
 
2013-04-24 08:31:54 PM
Gone to Plaid: If that's your porn stash, you are one sick bastard...NTTAWWT

Dump is the one partition that isn't backed up.

Dump ... does have porn on it.

Dump also has feature films, television shows, etc.

It's basically a generic dump site for transient files.

If I'm compiling something and need space, it goes to dump. If I'm building a 1GB panoramic image, I build it on dump. If I'm editing video files, I edit them on dump.

lordargent.com
 
2013-04-24 08:32:01 PM
I temporarily lost a folder (physical folder) with several months worth of field data immediately after coming back to campus.  That was a horrifying week.  Backing up physical, handwritten data in the field is smart, but far far harder than electronic files.

I immediately scanned everything when I found it again.
 
2013-04-24 08:32:50 PM
I haven't read all the posts on this thread, but would like to point out that while backing-up your data is very necessary, you need to test if your restore works. This is particularly critical because you may discover that, having bought a new laptop or hard drive, once you've restored files to your new hardware, you can't access the files. This seems to be a real problem with Win 7/8 machines. Google it to see the expressions of dismay and soul-destroying angst.

/my little bizness runs on my laptop
//backed up 4 different ways
///hope one of them works
 
2013-04-24 08:33:06 PM

The One True TheDavid: I'm glad I have no data worth backing up. And what data I do have is on other people's servers, like Drew's, Google or Livejournal. (Yes I do LJ occasionally; in the unlikely event anybody wants the URL, EIP.)

There's nothing on this laptop that's worth a penny to me beyond the hardware itself, and that's only because the laptop was a gift I spent about $150 adding a hard drive and more RAM to. Since I don't do kiddie porn or plot terrorist attacks I can always use a better library machine with more bandwidth for free.

That said, I wish I'd kept more than one copy of my "Juvenalia" folder and/or that I'd taken the trouble to scan or copy that and post it to the Net: an ex-GF's father through out all the poetry of my youth in 1997. (Yes, I used to write poetry, that of course mostly sucked.)


There's poetry that doesn't suck?
 
2013-04-24 08:33:20 PM
The guy's an idiot;  but I'm repeating everyone else's assessment. For myself I have a lousy 500 songs and nothing vital to my life on my HDD and I've got the thing backed up twice.  The dumbest people I've known over the years have been PhDs.
 
2013-04-24 08:33:21 PM

lordargent: That's a lot of data for an individual, but not for a group/business.

What some of these online storage places do is have you send them a disk containing the data for the initial load. Then you only have to do diffs over the network.

BUT, 10 TB of data means you would be sending them a shiatload of disks (5x2TB disks at about $100-$150 per disk).

// OTOH, one of the servers I'm working with has 100TB of disk space on it. I don't even want to know what the backup plan for that thing looks like.


Oh absolutely that's small potatoes compared to some of the SANs I work with as well, just thinking for the single person who isn't already into computers that's going to be a rough lesson in do-it-yourselfing or getting reamed by the pre-loaded NASes that commonly attach a 500-1000$ markup on the hardware involved.  Good point about the initial HDD delivery though, that'd make a lot of sense especially if they were willing to send you the drives back at cost of shipping.
 
2013-04-24 08:33:41 PM
I like BackBlaze. Glacier will be nice to use from AWS too once some software is fleshed out to use it.
 
2013-04-24 08:33:56 PM
We should at least consider the possibility this is a ploy to lure out the thief.
 
2013-04-24 08:34:16 PM
Carbonite costs less than $5/mo with automatic, nightly, encrypted backups with unlimited storage.  It also gives you access to restore your data to any internet connected computer in the world.  If your computer gets stolen you can restore your data to a new computer.

Seriously people.  Stop making life so difficult for yourself!  You're spending more than this on coffee.
 
2013-04-24 08:34:18 PM

Banned on the Run: I submitted this with a better headline, but it had the [DUMBASS] tag.

/also, isn't the fact that she's still working on her doctorate 5 yrs in a sign that she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer


If its direct PhD, no masters, then finishing in five years isn't bad. Even five years for a PhD after MS isn't all that bad. Possible.different setup or brand new code, maybe new advisor, a million things can happen. But please tell us how doing all the experimental setup design for something like an optical engine, making all the drawings, getting it made, writing all the control code, setting up all the experiments, taking all the data, processing it and then writing a 300 page thesis is "simple" and that based on the one "five years ZOMG" piece of information you know.the person is an idiot. Now try pulling that shiat off while a shiat advisor uses you for nonthesis bullshiat and constantly tries to hold you back.

Man, did grad school fill me with hate. Here's how you get out, imo.

1. fark everyone else, fark em. If they aren't doing something for you, fark em.

2. Is what you're working on right now for your thesis? No? Then fark it. If it isn't earning a favor from someone important, fark it. If you were expressly ordered to do bullshiat, switch advisors, take a TA, fark that shiat.

3. Write as you go. Get whatever you can published, yeah, but at least write it up so you don't forget what the fark you did and so you can paste it in later. The writing process will also show things missing in your research or.thinking.

4. If your advisor is a piece of shiat, strongly consider switching. Just...don't stick around for that.
 
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