Weekend Reading: Backups

Blossoms at Sky Meadow State ParkNext Saturday is being billed as “World Backup Day,” with the appealing slogan, “Don’t be an April fool. Back up your files. Check your restores.” (This seems to have been born, like many great things, on Reddit–although, to be fair, “around tax time” was being billed as a good time to check one’s backup systems even earlier.)

Rather than extol my own backup system (external hard drive+Dropbox+Backblaze), I’ll simply point to the extensive archive of ProfHacker posts about backup strategies, including ones for social media feeds and WordPress blogs, as well the usual tips for backing up your computer.

Having a good backup system–one that you’ve tried to restore from, so you know it really works!–affords peace of mind in a whole variety of situations–and today’s services and tools make it a cinch. Why wait until next Saturday?

On to the week’s links:

  • Zen Faulkes imagines future nostalgia about scientific poster sessions: When we first went to Neuroscience, you had to print your poster on this big sheet of paper.
  • Anne-Marie Deitering defends, in a qualified way, traditional conference presentations: Lectures can be a super-effective way to get a lot of ideas out there to a lot of people really quickly.  Do I think we should build in time for reflection, time for discussion, time for debate?  Yes, of course I do, but don’t throw out the lectures.  See, I don’t need to do all of my thinking and all of my learning AT the conference.  Sometimes I want to get exposed to as much thinking and as many ideas as humanly possible while I’m there and I’m okay with doing some of my thinking and processing and conversation on my own time.
  • The only thing I don’t like about Mike O’Malley’s post about “the existential despair of teaching” is that it doesn’t include Marx’s quip about the tradition of all dead generations weighing like a nightmare on the brains of the living: But I’m will­ing to bet that in most fields there’s a bal­ance point, after which expe­ri­ence and knowl­edge become a dou­ble edged sword. Imag­ine you are a pro­fes­sional musi­cian. The longer you play, the more the weight of what you’ve already played before bears on the present.
  • Ernesto Ramirez at the Quantified Self blog interviews Stephen Wolfram about his “self-tracking and personal analytics practice”: I should say that quite a few of the systems are set up to send me mail each day with a report on the previous day (how much I typed; how many steps I took; etc.). I find this a useful form of self-awareness and self-management. But it has the side effect that it checks that the systems are still running. Systems that aren’t checked “on“ have a nasty habit of decaying and failing.
  • Audrey Watters explains what’s wrong with textbooks–or what *will* be wrong with them pretty quickly: Even if you have the most up-to-date edition of the very latest textbook, I think it’s recognize that the textbook — as an object, as instructional practice — is still a relic. It is a relic of a time when information was scarce. It’s a relic of the way in which we manufactured and scaled the industrial model of education — a teacher at the front of the classroom, assigning the lessons and readings from an authoritative text. One that was bound by print. One that was distributed state and even nation-wide. One that was uniform. Somewhere along the way, “textbook” became “curriculum” — and under today’s testing regime, that all became wrapped up in “assessment.”

This week’s video comes via Kristin J. Jacobson on Twitter, and addresses what I take to be a mission-critical problem for many academics:

The Tyranny of The New Yorker Magazine from Yuvi Zalkow on Vimeo.

Bonus!: Andrew Stanton discusses John Carter, which I liked even if it has been a colossal box-office flop.

Have a great weekend!

Photo “Blossoms at Sky Meadows State Park 1st day of Spring and old barn” by Flickr user vastateparkstaff / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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