Toting your data

I saw this thing featured on a few computer gadget sites lately. It’s an A-Data SH93 and I honestly have no clue how well it holds up to its claims of being shock resistant and waterproof to 1 meter for half an hour. I’ve never used one, and I don’t personally have much use for it in my current situation.

It did get me thinking, though, that a lot of us are geeks or at the very least work on computers a lot. I can see how a waterproof, shockproof high-capacity hard drive could come in handy for portable applications, music, and data you need to ferry between work and home. Note: I don’t recommend copying sensitive data from your employer to take home, at least without permission and some other layers of protection.

Other options include file synchronization/backup services. I like Spideroak because it’s free up to a certain amount of data, allows multiple computers and it’s encrypted. No one — not even Spideroak can tell anything about the files other than the overall size of your synchronized data. I think that’s cool.

I need a laptop at work, so I’m stuck toting my MacBook to and from.

Do you transport data to work? What are you using? An external hard drive? USB sticks? A whole computer?


  1. Steve

    I transport an iBook year ’round in Winnipeg, and it’s going on its fourth year. It’d sure be nice to just drop a little HDD in my bag, though that would mean fighting my family for time on the iMac every evening!

  2. William

    I stopped taking my iBook to and from work after it started to have hard drive problems. The first couple of years I wasn’t even commuting by bike on a regular basis. Its 5 years old but my employer (LAISD) is to cheap to replace it. Now I only carry a USB stick and my iphone.

  3. meligrosa

    wowza! I need one of those for my beloved point and shoot 😉

  4. Andreas

    I transport it either on a tiny usb stick (8gigs!) that I hang around my neck if I’m cycling or I upload essential stuff to dropbox where I can access it wherever. I have always been tempted to try out GoToMyPC if I did have more use for my files and computer while on the road.

  5. ha1ku

    That’s a nice device.

    I lug a work laptop, but all of the most important data is stored within my employer’s network. So, if I lose the lappy, it’s not a big deal.

    For my important personal data, I store it off-site at

  6. Charles

    Electronics go in my light waterproof jacket with big pockets, or one of the gallon zip-lock bags in my backpack (considered panniers, but the backpack is useful enough at carrying a camelbak that I hate to give it up).

  7. Iron_Man

    I’m a graphic artist, but still a geek, and tote things back and forth on my iPod. Which I also listen to while riding (sue me). If the weather turns for the worse I just stow it in my pannier. But it’s good through light sprinkles stowed in my back pocket.

  8. Elizabeth

    I tote files on usb flash drives (never big enough) in a ziploc baggy. Most of these files are for personal stuff that I may want access to on a break. Especially in the drastic weather temps (hot or cold) I would worry about the integrity of a hard drive.

  9. Guy

    Thank God I don’t need to lug a laptop around. I only have an old P-3 laptop I use for experimenting with Linux. It’s probably around 10 or less pounds I will carry it in it’s own laptop bag with some accessoies. If I do take it with me to work, it ususally stays at work for a long time. I do also have an old 2 gig usb key that I tote data around when needed. In fact, I got the key wet under water in a pool for about a half hour and it still works.

  10. Marrock

    I carry around a 4 gig Sony MicroVault Click with a bunch of toys from including diagnostic tools for fixing other people’s comps.

    It mimics just about everything I use on my desktop and I can run it from any comp that’ll allow the running of apps from a flash drive with nothing being written to the computer’s hard drive or registry.

  11. Marco

    I am new reading bike commuters but I am interested in what you use to carry your macbook back and forth, bag type or pannier?, why? how does it perform… thanks for any leads on picking the right transport for my macbook pro.

  12. AT

    I don’t transport data if I can avoid it. For personal stuff, I use jungle-disk ( It makes it so that private storage of files on the internet appears as a mounted disk drive on your computer. You use it like a normal disk and it takes care of syncing behind the scenes– the cost is 15cents/GB/month and 10 cents for each GB traffic in or out. The storage service is Amazon’s very reliable S3.

  13. Powerful Pete

    I mainly try to use a flash drive. Although once a week or so I tote my office laptop (a small footprint Lenovo) home in my arkel pannier. No special protection required… it’s only 15 km home anyway.

  14. Toby

    I’ve been toting hard drives around for a few months now and I haven’t had any problems. I wrap them in a towel for padding and put them in one of my panniers. I was anxious about it at first but I didn’t have any especially critical data so I figured I’d put it to the test and as I mentioned, no trouble as of yet.

  15. Noah

    Marco, I only just now saw your question. I lug my 13″ MacBook around in a neoprene padded sleeve, tucked into a pannier with my work clothes. This is ample padding and shock absorption, and has even survived a fall or two. In the winter, I usually switch to a bike/bus multi-mode commute and use a padded laptop backpack. The backpack isn’t bad for the shorter distances, and it saves me the hassle of messing with pannier installation and removal at bus stops. I’ve been doing it this way for more than 3 years now, and haven’t had any problem with hardware damage or ruined hard drives, even commuting in sub-zero temperatures.

  16. Barb Chamberlain

    I occasionally carry my Toshiba Portege in one of my panniers. I put something soft beneath it so it’s not jouncing against the bottom of the pannier, even though that’s pretty soft, and between it and where the bolts for the hooks come through the side of the bag.

    I also make sure I park the hard drive by turning it completely off, rather than just hibernating.

    I’ve had one hard drive failure but I can’t attribute that specifically to the bike transport. Usually I just carry a USB.


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