[conspire] mystuff on external media

roger at rogerchrisman.com roger at rogerchrisman.com
Sat Dec 5 16:55:17 PST 2009

I'm sure many of you have experience with this. Suggestions and tales welcome!

I am experimenting with keeping a copy of my stuff (work in progress
files, config notes, some images, some music and some reference files)
on external media, in this case a USB thumb drive and or an SD card.

- it's a backup of my work and current files
- easy to take my files with me when I use different computers

- if I lose my thumb drive who knows who might end up with my files
- if it sticks out of the computer it might get whacked and broken
- if I goof up my rsync invocation I could turn the disk(s) into a --toad

My files aren't secrets and don't need to be encrypted. If thumb drive
gets broken I can buy a new one. If toad, then reload from other
computer or the other thumb drive.

I'm experimenting with a USB thumb drive, and an SD card.
- USB thumb drive is a 4Gig PNY metal swivel case USB thumb drive
($15.00 at Frys, thumb drive isle) that looks and feels sturdy and
only sticks out 5/8th of an inch when I plug it in with its metal case
swiveled 90 degrees instead of 180 degrees.
- SD card is a 4Gig Kingston MicroSDHC flash card bundled with a USB
adapter, an SDHC adapter and a MiniSDHC adapter ($21.00 at frys, other
end of store in memory isle). I wanted to try this one because my
laptop has a SC card reader slot in front that (a) has a transfer
light that flashes when the SD card is being read or written and (b)
caries the drive safely inside the computer with only 1/8th inch
sticking out.

To sync files from the computer to the removable media:
rsync -auv --del ~/mystuff /media/disk

To sync the files from the removable media to the computer:
rsync -auv --del /media/disk ~/mystuff

Slow SD card reader
For some reason the SD card reader in the front of my laptop is slow.
Write speed to the MicroSDHC card in its SD card adapter there is

Fast USB
Write speed to the same MicroSDHC card but now in its USB adapter
plugged into USB port in my laptop is *much faster*, ~9Mb/sec.

Group permission not writable
Both above removable media have their original FAT32 file system, with
group permissions set to "root" user. I don't seem to be able to
change their group permissions. This causes rsync to report inelegant
errors when, per the -a flag, it tries to preserve my computer files'
roger:roger permissions and fails to. Um, I gather FAT32 has no group
permissions. What to do? I'd like to avoid routinely generating error
messages of course.

Anyone had success formatting flash media with a more UNIX oriented file system?

What experiences have others had with this sort of thing?

What command line invocations do you like for this kind of thing?

Palo Alto
(Laptop is an old, 2003, Compaq Presario X1000)

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