Your Own Mobile, Personal Data Vault: What Would You Put In It?

I’m scared of the Web’s impermanence. We’re putting valuable knowledge and memories into ephemeral forms stored on other people’s servers, and we’re not even sure those people will be in business in a year. So I channeled my angst into a unique repository for my most precious bits.

Friends of mine introduced me to an artist named Miss Sheets who carves wooden amulets under the name arc*hive adornment. One of her offerings lets you store your story on a tiny, water-resistant flash drive stored in a magnetically insulated compartment. Due to my fear of losing my data, I yearned to have one.

I decided to work with Miss Sheets on a custom design. She conducted an interview to find out what kinds of forms and images I liked, and that process was profoundly enhanced by the Web. I was able to show her my Pinterest and Instagram feeds, which gave a surprisingly good sense of my visual language. I couldn’t be happier with the piece she made me. (Seriously, like arc*hive adornments on Facebook. You'll get regular doses of beauty.)

I opted for the 32GB drive because, duh, I’m a geek. But something surprising happened once I donned the pendant for the first time. I didn’t know what to put on the drive! I couldn't decide what data I would want desperately and what I could tolerate losing. I made some false starts (pro tip: don’t bother trying to make Ubuntu boot on a Mac from a flash drive), but I kept starting over. Months later, the drive is still empty.

So I ask you: What would you put on a 32GB drive you wear around your neck in an ornamental amulet? What bits matter most to you? How would you use this disk? How would you back it up? Here are the answers I’ve collected so far. I’ll update with your ideas.