Being stateless

The practice of reducing the exclusive invovlement of something stateful in life’s everyday matters. The most frequent subjects of this practice are one’s own mind and their digital devices. Following it reduces anxiety and increases productivity.

Human mind

I was raised in an environment where using my brain was a virtue, relying on anything but one’s own memory was perceived as a weakness and frowned upon. It’s a slight exaggeration, but conveys the message. However, this sentiment focuses too much on a human brain’s potential abilities: the intention is to bring them out through needing them, but trying to do so “at any cost” is a harmful affair. Humans are inherently different from each other and what worked on one may not work on the other.

Augmenting one’s thought process with external means, like notes, automation and delegation to others, allows a weaker mind to achieve greater goals.

Digital devices

Some owners treat their devices in such a way that they are constantly anxious that this device might one day malfunction, losing everything stored on it as a result. Issues can range from software issues (OS corruption, malware) to physical damage (burning down with the apartment).

Trust beats anxiety. So the fix to this is a backup strategy that you can trust.

A typical rule is 3-2-1:

  • 3 copies
  • 2 different mediums
  • at least 1 copy in a completely different place

Backups can be made in many ways:

  • You could make a backup on an external drive. Which is laborious (you have to synchronize changes manually or employ extra tools), but simple, relatvively inexpensive (purchasing the drive is a single payment) and secure (it cannot be accessed from the network when not plugged into anything).
  • You could make a backup in the cloud, i. e. using a service that provides disk space on their servers for you to use. There are many companies that offer this today, like Dropbox, Google and Mega. But most of them reserve the right to access your data without making it obvious, thus making storage of sensitive data this way rather risky.
  • You could make a backup on another one of your devices. There is even a kind of device that is engineered to be less susceptible to data loss — NAS, or Network Attached Storage. That said, less isn’t not at all, so while it’s a major improvement, it’s still not sufficient for satisfying 3-2-1 on its own.

In addition to defeating anxiety that you may one day randomly lose your data, this allows you to conduct various experiments that would’ve otherwise been very risky or laborious due to the necessity to copy your data back and forth, but may make your life more convenient when they work out. These can include switching devices or switching an existing device’s operating system for something more promising.

(TODO Starting the process, isolating the data worth preserving, establishing storage tiers, reducing the number of datastores with portability)

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