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I just keep them wherever.

by jonadab (Parson)
on May 15, 2008 at 20:54 UTC ( #686810=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to I keep the secret files...

I'm something of a packrat. Especially when it comes to information.

For instance, I graduated in '97, but I still have all of my class notes and many of my assignments from college, high school, and certain junior high classes. I've got boxes in my bedroom closet that were originally packed up in the eighties, when I was in elementary school, and although I've dug through them and pulled out things I was specifically looking for at various times over the years (albeit, not very recently), and I've added some other stuff over the years, many of the original contents are still there. I've even got multi-decade-old folders full of stuff I wrote down when I was just fooling around -- doodles, "secret codes" I made up when I was in fifth grade (mostly a lot of variations on the mono-alphabetic substitution cipher, because I just didn't know any better at the time), lists of interesting uses for peanut butter, ... you know, miscellaneous stuff.

My computer's hard drive is much the same way. I've got whole directory trees that are nothing but the entire contents of old drives, including system directories. In fact, I've got that nested to a depth of at least three: one directory on b4 (the volume where I currently keep most of my data) contains the entire contents, including system directories, of an old Windows Me install. Within that, one big fat directory is nothing but the contents of an old Windows 95 install. And then there's the directory containing the contents of a DOS 6 install. And somewhere one of those directories has got a directory full of directories each holding the contents of one of the floppy disks I used on college (both the 1.4M disks I used with the school computers, and the 360K disks I used with the computer I personally owned at the time).

And those are just the data I know I want to keep. There are also whole directory trees copied over from old installs (mostly old Linux installs, and one FreeBSD install) that I kept because they *might* contain something I forgot to copy over. I generally save the whole /etc tree, for instance, on the theory that I've probably hand-edited a number of files in there and might want to reference some of my changes when I'm setting up the next system. Then because they don't take up much space I usually don't get around to going back and deleting them. I've also got /home trees from a number of old installs, including temporary users I set up to test this or that and never bothered to delete. Including, in many cases, a browser's disk cache.

Yeah, I know I'm a packrat.

Oh, yeah, I also have all the email I've received since 1995. Including mailing lists, some of which I only ever read sporadically. I don't even delete spam. In fact, I wrote a Perl script that runs statistics on my spam (to tell me things like how many messages came from various IP address ranges and whatnot). So I've kept it all. What the heck, it's only a few gigabytes of mostly text. The cost of retrieving it from my ISP was way more than the cost of archiving it.

Did I mention there's a fair amount of redundancy? I often back up files from one computer onto another, in case of hard drive failure, and then when I retire each of the computers their stuff all gets copied lock stock and barrel onto a newer computer, and I often don't bother to weed out the dupes. Run that for a few iterations and I bet I've got ten or twelve copies of some of the older stuff. I could go through and look for duplication and delete the spare copies, but I never bother because my time is worth more than the storage space.

Yeah, I know, I'm a real packrat.

So anyway, I figure the best place to store secret files is right in amidst everything else. The only way anybody's going to *find* any of it is if they specifically *grep* for certain things, because it's way too much information for anybody to bother sifting through in its entirety. And if they're going to grep for certain things, they'd have to already know what they're looking for, in which case, the secrets would already be most of the way compromised, wouldn't they?

We're working on a six-year set of freely redistributable Vacation Bible School materials.

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