There is a statement that Information is power. It is as true now as it was when it was said and will be true after an event as well. We will find that the more information we have the better our situation will be.
Ranging from First Aid instruction through all agricultural techniques, building techniques as well as several areas that most of us don’t understand we have more information available to us than any single person or small group could use. This information has been gathered over thousands of years and is the foundation of our current society.
After an event the internet and 99.9% of the information we have built up will be unavailable. It’s a fact. So we have to identify what we need and store what we think we need now while we can.
Hardcopy is obviously the best way to go. Paper will be available without power and can be handed around and shared with others. Several people can learn or reference data at the same time and progress faster. The problem with that is that books are expensive, bulky and not very robust. The can easily be destroyed. Sunlight, damp, fire and vermin can destroy them easily. Still, I like books and have built up a collection. I should get shares in Amazon.
Of course many things we have access to on the web and want to keep are either out of print or have never been in print in the first place. To store these we need to print them out and store them. I have identified several hundred pages and short documents which I have printed out and stored in two identical folders. Certain, what I class critical, data sheets are also laminated.
That still leaves 99.9% of the data out there that will be lost. There are many files I have on PDF that I just can’t print out because I can’t afford to and I don’t consider them important enough but they have useful information in them that I would like to have available. Information that would be useful after an event. This means I have to have these electronic files available after an event.
My solution, and it isn’t the only one available, is to store all my files on a USB drive and put aside a computer to read the files.
So I have a small notebook. Windows, Office, PDF viewer, VLC and I could also put other programs on as well if I wanted too, Excel spreadsheet for calculating reloading data for example. I then take the battery off. I acquire a 12V power adapter as well as the 240V adapter. Wrap the whole lot in bubble wrap then cooking foil and put in a metal box. Putting the metal box in my faraday cage. That will keep it as safe as I can make it.
I have a portable solar panel stored in the faraday cage to power the laptop so I intend to use the 12V adapter after an event but with the adapters you can use whatever power you have available. Power for your computer after an event is a complex subject in its own right and I won’t cover it any more here. Information may be Power but it needs Power itself.
The USB drive is powered by the USB cable, makes it simpler, and I simply copy the latest version of my files on to the drive. Wrapping the drive in cooking foil and replacing in the box it came in which I put into my faraday cage.
Every time I upgrade my laptop I archive the old one and every time I make significant changes to my drive I update the master or add a new USB drive to the faraday cage.
The reson I don’t update the systems is that I don’t have the capability to test any new version and I know that the system and USB drive combination works. If I upgraded I could easily lose that. The USB drive is slightly different because I tend to keep the older versions of the documents, which means that only the newer documents on the latest drives may have issues. However, the risk is such that I keep them as matched pairs with additional drives with the latest on as the master. It’s not perfect but it gives me backup and at minimal cost.
In 100 years time your grandkids could be reading your old chemical books whilst they are known as the alchemists of their age.