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Long-term data, ejecting external media, Facebook face recognition

Keeping your data around for the long-term means that you should understand a bit more about how long different devices or media might last. Hard drives, solid-state drives, USB flash drives and CD/DVD discs are the physical options you have to keep your data with you. For short term, consider flash drives for data you are just moving around or want to keep for some months or up to a year. Conventional and solid state drives should be good for five years, less if you are using them all the time. It is not clear if solid state drives will loose data if just kept on the shelf. CD/DVD discs were originally thought to last 100 years or more, that estimate has been dropping as people buy cheaper discs and disc burners are becoming cheap. No matter what medium you use, you need to check it a couple of times a year and copy it to something new when needed or maybe every five years. If you don’t, you might find that ten years later you no longer can read your 3.5” floppy diskettes, for example. Cloud storage is only as good as the life of that company providing you that service. So, how long do you want those digital photos to hang around?

If you are counting on a surge protector to absorb power spikes you should be replacing them at least every five years, and more frequently if power spikes have tripped them. Each power spike degrades the surge protection, so review how many times one has tripped and saved your devices, then buy replacements as needed.

Should you eject external storage devices, like USB drives, before pulling out the plug? There is a reason for that warning on the Mac when you pull out that flash drive without having ejected it or dragged its icon to the Trash icon. The Mac tries to improve flash drive responsiveness by not immediately writing date to that external device. The trade off is that you might loose data if you don’t force the Mac to finish that writing up. Thus, you need to eject that flash drive to ensure no data lose. I always eject hard drives, even in Windows, just to make sure I don’t loose data, it is one of those two second tasks that makes life safer.

Facebook’s face recognition or “suggestion” can be turned off. When your Facebook friends upload photos, software is running to recognize and suggest matching faces and yours might be one. Although you can’t prohibit being tagged in photos, you can turn off Facebook’s ability to suggest you as a match. Since it is turned on by default, you have to open up Settings, among other places, under the slightly darker upside down triangle in the upper right of the top blue bar in FB. Then click on “Timeline and Tagging” and look for “Who sees tag suggestions…” and click on the Edit link to its right. Change it to “No One” and click the Close link. Then you are good. While you are in Settings, take a look around at the other sections to see what else you could actually control.