The Survival Buzz #179: Prepping for Redundancy

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Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.  The topic this week is something I rarely see mentioned in the preparedness community; namely being prepared for a computer hard drive failure.

Let me begin by saying that most of you probably do not have a laptop glued to your hip like I do.  That being said, chances are your computer is still an important part of your life.  The computer, and more specifically the hard drive, is where you store copies of important documents, cherished family photos, a music library, and quite possibly a large collection of electronic books, operating manuals, and other items that for all intents and purposes, have been just a keystroke away.

Prep for Redundancy | Backdoor Survival

How would you feel if this collection of bit and bytes were suddenly gone? Chances are you have thought about this and put the most important items on a flash drive of backup drive. But what about everything else? This happened to a close friend recently and he lost years worth of data.  This was not due to an EMP or power surge but rather mechanical failure.

I spent a good portion of my career in the technology industry, mostly in software, and during that time I learned a thing or two about computers.  The weakest part of a computer is the hard drive.  It is not a matter of if it will fail but when.

Today’s message is simple:  periodically make a backup copy of your computer’s hard drive.  Use the program that came with your computer or use one of the many free options you can download online.  I happen to like and use Easeus Todo Backup Free which you can download here.  I have used this totally free software to restore a computer after a hard disk failure and it works, although it is a tedious and time-consuming process.

Beyond that, however, I want to tell you about my most recent prep.

Because I am so dependent on a computer, my biggest fear has been to lose my hard drive due to a mechanical failure. I am so paranoid about this that last week I came within minutes of ordering a second computer.  Fortunately, I came to my senses, did some research, and ordered a second hard drive and cloning software instead.

All I can say is Oh My Gosh.  In about an hour and a half, I was able to clone my hard drive, take the original out for safekeeping, and pop in the drive.  About ten minutes more of testing and I was good to go.  I am now prepped for a hard drive failure.  The current drive goes poof?  I will install the clone, restore just my latest data backup, and will be good to go.  No installation of Windows, no installation of applications, and best of all, no fiddling to get all of the settings just right.

This may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was huge.  So why am I telling you this and what does it have to do with prepping?

Each of us has something that is very important in our lives; something that if we lost it or it became inoperable would cause us a ton of grief.  For me it was losing a hard drive and becoming be dead in the water both work and blog-wise until I could get a new one.  For you it might be something else.

This week’s challenge is for you to look at your own life and find areas where you need to build redundancy.  Then take steps to learn a second way of doing something (a skill) or to purchase extra stuff (gear).  This can be today, or  next week, or even next month.  The important thing is to come up with a plan then follow it through to completion.

Whew.  I did not mean to get preachy but some days are like that.  Make a plan and do it.  And that is all I am going to say about that.  For now.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

While we are the subject of electronics, this email came in from “Sam R.”:

I am a relatively new subscriber and this is my first time writing, but I hope you can address this question in your blog or emails you send out.

Regarding your recent EMP preparations email on how to build a Faraday cage, it seems to suggest that to actually be prepared, you’d have to keep your electronic gear in the Faraday cage 24/7 because you can’t predict when the threat might happen. Is this correct?

If so, doesn’t this suggest that you’d need 2 of every piece you’d want to protect – one to use and one to keep constantly protected? If not, what am I missing?

Here was my response:

Technically you are correct; you would need two of everything.  That said, what I do (and what a lot of people do) is keep older, outdated electronics in a Faraday Cage (or garbage can!) along with fresh batteries and quality flashlights.

What it all gets down to is how large you consider the risk versus reward (extra cost of duplicate electronics).  If we do suffer a major EMP, in many respects the older electronics may do as well or better since there is less to go wrong with them.

In the event you missed it, here is the article on building a basic Faraday Cage:  How to Build a Simple Faraday Cage for EMP Survival.

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways

The current giveaway is for a Flamelite BurnBox plus two alcohol burners and a bottle for storing alcohol.  The Flamelite also burns twigs and wood.  This is a terrific product; enjoy the review and enter to win!

Emergency Cooking with the Flamelite BurnBox + Giveaway

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway. 

Are We Headed Toward a Cyber War?

With all of the weirdness going on, prepping for a cyber-attack should be high on your list.  (Here I am talking technology again.)  You know it and I know it.

To get a sense of what life may be like following a cyber-attack or even a cyber-war, you might want to read a couple of novels by Backdoor Survival contributor, Richard Earl Broome.  Between now and Sunday night, he has lowered the price on his first two novels to just 99 cents.  Here are some links:

Leaving The Trees (Leaving The Trees Journey Book 1)
Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey Book 2)

You also might want to read the article Are We Headed Toward a Cyber War?

Replay Available:  Emergency Water Webinar

In case you missed it, for a limited time a replay of Wednesday’s Emergency Water webinar is available for viewing.  Even if you think you know everything there is to know about emergency water, you will find useful information that you may not have known about before.

Click Here:  Replay of the Backdoor Survival Emergency Water Webinar

For more information on water, you can also read Survival Basics: Water and Water Storage.

The Final Word

We had our first good rain in ages this week and I am positive that my garden will be thankful. On the other hand, the first tomatoes of the season are almost ready to pick and they are early.

I would love to hear how your gardens are doing.  Have they been adversely affected by the drought or the rain?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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Bargain Bin: For your discernment, a selection of items based upon today’s Survival Buzz.

Apricorn Notebook Hard Drive Upgrade Kit with USB 3.0 Connection:  I could not believe how easy it was to clone my hard drive using this cable and software combination.  The nice thing about it is that it can be used over and over again.  I am so thrilled that I just had to share.  In addition, this is the hard drive I purchased.  It is smoking fast! Seagate 1TB Laptop SSHD Drive.

Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy: These two novels by Richard Earl Broome might change what you think about the fallout from a cyber attack.  Each is currently on sale for 99 cents for the eBook version.  Recommended reading.

DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite, 1-Pound:  This is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite.  As of this writing, the price is under $10 with free shipping.  I purchased Ultima Pool ShockThe Sunday Survival Buzz #128   Backdoor Survival which is 73% Calcium Hypochlorite.  For more information, read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

AquaPod:   Have you considered storing water in your bathtub?  The AquaPod is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. (I call these “disruptive events”.)

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items   Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2 oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.

Ultimate 55 Gallon Water Barrel Combo:  As of this writing, $109.95 which is a great deal. Everyone should have at least one.  Remember, if storing in your garage or on pavers, place the filled barrel on a wooden platform and not directly on the concrete.

Fluidmaster 400CR Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair Kit:  Speaking of water, this is one of those items you don’t think of stockpiling but believe me, we now have a couple in reserve for emergency purposes.  Why fuss with adjusting a tank valve when you can replace the whole thing for less than $12 and 10 minutes of your time?

AquaPod:   Have you considered storing water in your bathtub?  The AquaPod is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. (I call these “disruptive events”.)

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Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.

Preptember

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Comments

The Survival Buzz #179: Prepping for Redundancy — 8 Comments

  1. I am across the country from you in the pocono northeast. While our weather patterns are different from yours, we face the same challenges all gardeners do. Too hot, too cold, too little or too much rain, beetles, bugs and worms!! This year was a good year and the garden has been blessed with abundance! For two years my green zucchini did horribly so I planted fifteen extra plants this year. We are drowning in zucchini now!! Green beans are off the hook and tomatoes are juicy and sweet. I usually grow only black beauty eggplants but this year tried Japanese eggplant. Sooooo good if you get a chance to grow them, please do! I even cut my kale back twice this year and it keeps growing back! Good year for gardening on our end of the world.
    Good lck!
    Jody

  2. I love your adjustments you made to your garden….things here in Pa are doing pretty well, but not as well as yours….congratulations! Happy eating to….I just read that all produce and even some organics have industrial toxins in them due to the ground having been contaminated at some point….this is scary stuff….and they ended by saying GROW YOUR OWN!!!

    • I envy the space you have for such a prolific garden. I have a small bed that is shaded most of the day and a dozen or so large pots. Some passer-bys commented about the pots of tomatoes in my front landscape but in a nice way.

      How do you cook Japanese eggplant? I have never tried it.

      • Gardening has become a passion! I started with two patio pots and an earth box and now 7 years later we grow 25 crops! I am happiest being up with the robins digging away! For the eggplant, saute some onion and garlic in peanut oil. Add a few Thai peppers to taste. Add your eggplant (sliced on diagonal, 1″ thick) and fry till tender 4-5min. Stir in 5 spice mixture to taste and some prepared general Taos sauce. Serve over basmati. Yummmmmmm!

  3. After 35 years in Blaine, WA and 14 years of living full-time in our motorhome, we bought a house in Spokane (our hometown) last fall. I decided to have a garden this year and watched some youtube videos on rain gutter gardening. I had to use a different system, but learned a lot from him. One thing I knew was to use a mulch. When my neighbor cut down their pine tree I bought some of the chip. Mistake, big mistake. Not in using it for ground cover, but to use it for mulching my veggies. My tomatoes have developed blossom rot. I checked you tube again (I love it) and found I needed quick acting lime. I think I see some Improvement. Next year (God willing) it will be grass clippings for veggie mulch.

  4. My tomatoes and Thai chili peppers along with my herbs are doing great. Here in SW PA we have had humid weather which helped my plants make it to maturity.
    On the computer back up, I have 2 old Dell Laptops for redundancy, I don’t use the cloud or keep important documents on my IPad, I prefer to print and keep in a save place. I too worked in the tech sector and hard drives were the most replaced item, unfortunately, too late for the client who didn’t keep back ups.

  5. The eighty year old or so next door master gardener says this was the worst year ever for her garden in the Midwest.
    Hearing that, I felt better about my dismal-ish crops.

    Side bit: EPJ has a blog entry about El Nino which was interesting, inland seas in California as a result of rain in the 1800’s. Wow.

  6. SO far so good, even with all the rain we’ve had. Squash is going great, My Brussel Sprouts are coming along just fine.DaHubs planted peas, tomatoes, peppers, onions carrots and Strawberries. He mulched most everything and the peppers weren’t doing too good so He removed the mulch and now they are starting to perk up as well as the tomatoes. Now if I can just keep the baby bunny outta the brussell sprouts, I’ll be happy LOL.

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