“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.” Mary Oliver, poet

It’s February!  Happy Ground Hogs Day! Happy Valentines Day!  Happy half way to Spring!  Did you know Ground Hogs Day is the half-way point between winter equinox and spring equinox?  I don’t want to sound whiney and complainy, but I’m getting tired of packing firewood.  Which reminds me what Indians have supposedly said:  Indian build little fire, sit close, keep warm. White man build BIG fire, keep warm hauling wood!

Meanwhile, back in cyber land…

If you are stuck inside because of the cold weather, or any other ailment, here is a project you can tackle:

If you were computing in the 90’s, there is a high probability you backed up data, pictures and movies to CD’s or DVD’s.  In the 90’s they were touting the lifespan of CD’s to be up to 100 years.  Most of us assumed the disks would outlive us and that was a good thing. 

Unfortunately, the 100 year life span was only for the really expensive, gold backed CD’s that the average person couldn’t afford.    A US Library of Congress study concluded that disks stored in optimal conditions should last 30 years.  The life span of the affordable CD’s varies widely, with cheaper quality CD’s lasting a measly two years. Again, these results varied based on the brand of the disk and the storage conditions.  Optimal conditions is defined as: stored at room temperature of 50 percent humidity with no sunlight and no rough handling.

What/Where is the problem?  The data on a CD is stored on a layer of dye that a laser melts when it records the data.  The dye can break down over time and the reflective layer on the top of the disk can oxidize.  Missing Dye? Missing Data!   Got oxidation? Got problem!

So while you are stuck inside, you might consider making backups of your CD’s.  The first step is to figure out if your current computer can even read a CD!  A couple years back, PC manufacturers stopped including DVD drives in the computers.  If you are missing a DVD drive, don’t despair.  Drives are still available.  They come as external USB drives, and if your case will accommodate it, they are still available as internal drives.

Second step is to figure out a new storage device.  Depending on the amount of data you are backing up, you can use USB flash drives, or if doing larges amounts of data, I would consider an external hard drive. 

Once the replacement media has been secured, then it is just a matter of grinding through the transfer.  For data and pictures, a simple copy from one media to the other is sufficient.  If you are making copies of programs or movies, you might need to create disk images.  Complete directions and a longer discussion of this topic can be found here:


If you need assistance securing DVD drives or remote storage please give me a call.

Until next month, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy,


My Favorite Snow Sculpture

snow sculpture