I believe that everyone offering advice to me is sincere and trying to be helpful. I am grateful to everybody. I see two very different points of view here. I don't know enough to know which is true, or maybe in some sense they both are. However, shortage of funds induces me to try to get this done on the cheap. If anybody has a specific idea or comes across a tape drive please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can only guess from your responses that you have no IT experience. So I could not attack you professionally, and I'm sorry you took it as such. I also believe you thought you were helping, even though it's clear you were only offering problems and zero solutions. The poster had a problem and no solutions. You offered none. Your post wasted his time and the time of everyone who read it. Now you resort to personal attacks. So let's address your most recent concerns.
1. While there are legal requirements to maintain data for a certain period of time, there are also business necessities that would make keeping data for longer periods. Medical data, legal data, compliance data, and on and on and on. There are many reasons a business would keep data past any legal requirement, and in many fields, the legal requirement is considered the minimum, not the maximum. There are also many government agencies that retain data for decades and even centuries. I recently ordered a birth certificate from 1824. So while your experience may suggest no one keeps anything longer than 7 years, surely if you would have thought about it a little you would have figured out that people keep things for a long, long time. Heck, people still program in COBOL and Tandem!
2. You claim no IT provider would keep 20-year-old equipment? Anyone who has ever studied how to take tests will remember that in 'true-false' questions, blanket statements are nearly always false. You claim that our experiences just differ, and I clearly stated every IT provider I have known keeps old equipment. Then you make a blanket statement like that? You are arguing against yourself. While not all IT people keep all old equipment, I have to meet one that doesn't have some relic of IT that they kept for business or personal reasons. It may be an Atari 5200 or a Commodore 64. Have you ever seen the size of the platters on the original hard drives? I have, because I met the guy who helped invent them. IT is a labor of love and we all have something we kept, even if just a calculator watch. IT people are as passionate about IT as car people are about old cars or art people are about paintings. Old doesn't mean 'landfill'.
3. You mention backing up to the cloud. While it is true that the cloud exists (metaphorically), it is not a magical place of wonder. The 'cloud' is actually hardware somewhere in a data center. And that hardware gets backed up. Having a file stored remotely is just another method of backing things up, even if it's just a copy on your home computer and another on your work computer. Or a copy in the Denver office and one in the Baltimore office. But even that hardware has to get backed up. So your entire premise is flawed and suggests you don't know what the 'cloud' actually is. It's hardware, just like the hardware you are typing on. Cloud is a marketing term that derives from the old visual presentations where your network line left the building and entered a puffy cloud-like area called 'the Internet'. There are no care bears or unicorns there.
4. Again, you make a blanket statement about companies no longer storing things themselves. This has not been my experience at all. In fact, a quick look at my client list and I know for a fact at least half of them have onsite backups (in addition to employing several backup methods). Blanket statements are easily proven wrong, so don't make them.
5. Drivers are easy to find and several websites will allow you to download them, no matter how old. And the drivers aren't really an issue since anyone with the drive will have the drivers. Like I said, it's probably on a CD-ROM with the drive. In the event the OP could not find drivers that would work, he could easily run a virtual box of an earlier version of Windows to get around this. Again, your answer suggests you don't have IT experience, because virtual boxes have been around for decades.
6. While the tapes ARE at the end of their usable life, that's not the issue here. He needs the data and these are the only tapes he has. Again, you are pointing out a problem with no solution, just to make it seem insurmountable. That's a pointless endeavor and lends nothing to the conversation.
7. I'm glad to see that you actually checked eBay. However, there are many drives available in Canada and the UK and we live in a modern era with airplanes and terms like 'globalization'. Thankfully, these drives are not protected hardware and can be easily shipped through customs. In fact, the drives look to be about $30-$50. But Amazon & eBay are not the only sources of hardware. Searchtempest.com will search Craigslist nationally. Facebook groups also have drives for sale. There are many LinkedIn groups of Network and DB Admins he could post in for people who have drives or are willing to do this. Or, like I suggested, he could simply contact IT support companies or colleges.
8. Offering encouragement is NEVER a waste of time and he specifically said he didn't have money to spend. So your entire answer, while being generally negative, was also ignoring his main point. He specifically said he didn't have the money to hire the services you recommend as his only option. He specifically said he wanted other options. But in the negative vein of your entire comment, you tried to remove any and all other options as a waste of time. That's just dirty pool.
9. I would never bill a ton of hours. In fact, my post was completely free and I specifically said he would have to be nice, let people he asked know he was a non-profit, and try to find someone willing to help him (not bill him). In my experience, most people are good and will help you if they can. Certainly he will meet people who can't or won't help (you, for instance). But if you knock on enough doors, you'll find an inn that lets you sleep in the stable for the night.
10. I have the utmost integrity. When I'm on your network, I'm God. I can do and see everything and anything. I have had to testify in courts against police officers and priests. I have had to testify before government agencies about policy decisions and cases involving real people and real companies. My integrity is unimpeachable because it has to be to do my job. My advice is based on what the OP asked for... a cheaper alternative than your solution. I specifically told him he would pay with either time or money, and since he had no money.... he needed shoe leather (aka hard work).
In the end, you just seem angry and negative and treat anyone who disagrees with you in the most contemptible fashion. You didn't answer the original question, you didn't add anything to the conversation, you offered no proof for your outrageous statements and you seem to be a bully. If you were here with me, I would give you the hug you so desperately need. But since you are not, you will have to trust that I am sending you my love and hope you have a much better day than you have been.
If you need good IT support, please feel free to contact me. Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
abbabbitt - if i understand you right, you think that there are drives for 30-50$ that could read my tape. I'm not finding any drive that says it could read a tr-3 tape. Can you point me in the direction?
I am Bill at:
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