Skip to comments.Student Offers $1,000 for Data on Stolen Laptop [5 years working on thesis - never made a backup]
Posted on 04/26/2013 10:05:30 PM PDT by grundle
That's the price Jingming Zhang, 28, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J., is offering for the data on his laptop, which was stolen on April 19.
Zhang was so distraught that he posted a flyer on the wall of the Wright-Rieman building, from where his computer was taken sometime between 10 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.
"If you stole my laptop and now you are reading this letter, I would like to say that you can keep the computer and I would like to pay you money for my data under D drive," he wrote. "The data is my FIVE-YEAR work."
Zhang's laptop had been in an unlocked room in Wright-Rieman, which houses laboratories.
Moral of the story: Lock your door. And always back up your data.
(Excerpt) Read more at gma.yahoo.com ...
Not to pick on the victim, as it's not his fault - but how could he not make any backups on something that he worked on for five years?
I guess he at least learned 1 thing!
He doesn’t need the data. He isn’t smart enough to get through a successful life anyway.
I’ve saw a multi-million dollar company go under, once, because they’d never bothered to swap the tape in their automated backup system. We’d built the system, for them, to run daily incrementals M-Th, and full backups on F. We’d even eject the tape, when we were done. All they had to do was to put in the next day’s tape (or the next of the set of four F tapes), when they came in in the morning.
When their disk packed up, it turned out that they’d been pushing the Tu tape back in, every day, and their most recent full backup was ten months old.
We made sure they got our bill, before they declared bankruptcy.
I know plenty of smart people who lack common sense..it appears he is one of them.
It sounds like he suspects somebody in the government stole it. The thief gets to keep the computer and make a 1000 bucks if the guy gets his folder back. The thief has to be somebody in the government. Probably a politician.
Never underestimate the bandwidth of an SUV full of hard drives going the speed limit.
Must be working on Global warming.
Now that he has put out his desperation in mentioning a/the grand instead of mentioning just a ‘good/nice/fair etc. reward’, (the crook might have been thinking 50 bucks would be fine before, if a buy back was offered to him, but not now!!) The person with that lap top can now decide a grand ain’t gonna get it! The price of poker just went up imo.
PhD huh? Sounds like he’s got some work to do. Like a lot of “docs”, he’s not as bright as he thinks. I’ve known quite a few and they, for the most part, were pretty useless. Not in my foxhole thank you very much.
>>Not to pick on the victim, as it’s not his fault
But it is. No different than leaving your keys in the ignition when shopping. This was just waiting to happen and what with Dropbox, Google Drive, and many other drag and drop places to back up data, there is no excuse for it.
Also, a word to the wise - one backup is not enough. If it is corrupted for some reason, and that does happen, you’re screwed. Rotate versions once a week over the period of a month - doesn’t take long.
That is so true!
No backup on his life’s work, and he asks the thief to give him contact info so he can reward him ...
What a maroon!
All you need is Sugar Sync. It automatically syncs up with what you are doing on your laptop as long as it is connected to the internet. And most college campus have wifi everywhere.
I helped set up a few relatives in college with it. They get the paying editions for about $50/year. They have free editions which keep 5Gb in “the cloud” for you or a student
There are other services like Sugar Sync.
Say the student is typing a paper into MS Word. Every time he presses save button (or control+S) he is saving what he has done thus far onto his hard drive AND onto “the cloud” with Sugar Sync
This student with stolen laptop could have survived with the free 5GB edition I am sure. The paper he worked on for years could not have been more than 10-100mb depending on how much graphics
Was his master thesis titled “The Importance of Backing Up Information”?
Yes, this was how it was explained to me, as I remember on a particular occasion, after I was hired as a Ph.D. in 1979. I related a few years ago on this forum, when asked about my FR tag, how I was regaled with stories of Ph.D. new hires sitting all day and shooting rubber bands into the waste basket, and how I was given this appellation by a coworker in the spirit of gentle ( as I choose to believe ) ribbing. All in all, I made out OK. No complaints.
Hey doc. Not all PhD’s are useless I agree. But sometimes I have to wonder how some of them were able to put a thesis together. Our oldest daughter has just been accepted in to a PhD program at 46 so hopefully some of her life experience will guide her well. And, congrats on making it work for you. LOL!
His laptop that got stolen goes for good money on ebay. If this was his life’s work he should have backed it up on an external hard drive....less than $70 these days. Got one for a college student. He never used it but he did use Sugar Sync so if his laptop was stolen or hard drive crashed all his important work was backed up in “the cloud”
This guy has a bright future ahead of himself in the Federal government.
This individual is too stupid to deserve "phd" after his name.
Or perhaps that is an extreme demonstration of the current state of scholarship in the U.S.
I can't imagine even jr. high schoolers failing the "backup regularly" common sense test.
This story just boggles the brain...
He could have bought 900 2Gb memory sticks with that $1000. And 8 seconds each time he saved the document.
How do these people function? How is it possible, with all the changes, revisions, etc., that he would have made to his research over 5 years, did he not save a copy?
I’m taking a break right now while I’m writing a paper (I’m a professor & PhD). Even when I’m taking little breaks like this, I backup to two locations. How could he have functioned in school without backing up his stuff?
I’m in a semi-technical field and know a bunch of Chinese PhDs - I can’t picture any of them doing something so foolish. I feel bad for the guy.
Hey! I just thought - if he’s really set to defend, his chair must have a copy of the dissertation (or at least an email with the diss attached) because the committee had to read it before allowing him to set a date for the defense! Maybe he’ll be alright.
Read the same story at the University of Iowa 15 years ago, and read the same story before that at CU Boulder 20 years ago.
My instinct - someone’s got a critical academic deadline to meet, and they haven't done the work.
Computer disappears, then, they get an automatic extension.
Like the old biker says: “If you got a ten dollar head, wear a ten dollar helmet.”
And backups of really valuable information should be kept in a minimal of two locations, just in case his apartment goes up in flames and takes his computer and original backups.
No kidding! Has he never heard of a flash drive?
Everyone I know who has done a thesis in the last 5 years, immediately transfers it, for this exact reason.
Five years of work, I feel for the kid.
I wouldn’t call,him stupid. He simply trusted too much in that nothing would happen.
>>And backups of really valuable information should be kept in a minimal of two locations, just in case his apartment goes up in flames and takes his computer and original backups.
Sure, in the situation where you have lots of data that has to be backed up to hardware. I used to take a second copy of backup tapes home when I was an I.T. manager.
But what makes this such a no-brainer, is this guy likely just had document files and maybe some Powerpoint stuff or something that could probably fit in the 5 GB he could get free with Google Drive many times over. Just copy and paste for cripes sake. I have zero sympathy for him.
That is exactly what I was going to post. Happens often in FreepLand.
I made so many back-ups on CDs, flash drives and paper that I sometimes became confused as to what was the latest version. I carried the flashdrive with me!
I learned to do all that because of a story a professor told me years earlier: When he was a graduate student his car (with his dissertation inside) was stolen. He never saw either item again. Thankfully he had sent his father a photocopy of his work for safe keeping!
That is one of the things I love about Windows 8.....you get 5 GB free Skydrive space. More if you buy Office 2013.
Your Skydrive is in your folder, like a local drive.
You can access your files from any computer, even if it does not have Office on it.
Mr too. Either this is an internet myth or a scam to get more time to do the work.
How does this differ from DropBox, which has been around for several years, enables private storage, sharing peer to peer with prior user approval and provides notification of modification to all users, or entirely public files?
DropBox is available for free to anyone, no need for Windows 8. Works just fine on XP, icon right on the desktop if you want.
Lenovo Thinkpad T420S? I’m surprised it last 5yrs and didn’t crash long before that, losing all his data.
Back-up yer stuff.
You can also synch your Skydrive folder among multiple computers. MS has had the service for years now in several versions (livesynch, livemesh, etc) and it’s always been free.
Even a novice can see the problem with putting your backup “in the cloud”. As long as it is nothing you care anything about, you are OK.
A server somewhere in India or China may not be the safest place to store your data, even if “encrypted”.
DropBox is awesome; automatic backups to the cloud, auto sync to multiple devices, and automatic versioning of every document saved. This has saved me numerous times where I revised a document, didn’t like the result, and simply recovered an earlier version from a prior day.
Jingming means Bass in Chinese. Zhang means Dumb in Chinese. The Chinese have the last name first so we would call this guy who never made a backup of his work Dumb Bass.
An oldie but a goodie.
Tech support call from someone experiencing an ID Ten T (Id10t) error.
never made a backup? he got what he deserves.
Essentially, not very different, except MS has integrated Skydrive into the OS and Office now, making it seemless. No dragging and dropping....just save the file where you want.
Also, with my Windows Phone, every picture I take is automatically uploaded to Skydrive and instantly available on my tablet without my having to do anything.
I agree with you on business they should look closely at the backup options. So if you own a business you will not use carbonite or sugar sync for back up? You will back up to a remote computer/hard drive of your own?
You should not send data out. Data is held internally. Once it “leaves the building”, you no longer have control of it.
Data is held on servers, they get backed up and the backup media goes to a vault.
That was my first thought too. But that’s the kind of student I was...
Thanks and that’s the best way but you must admit plenty of businesses are using cloud backup services and this is all they use. Amazon S3 was a big early entry in 2006
Last time I heard that, it was a station wagon full of magnetic tape.
I’m sure it is very convenient.
As a person who does field support for laptops I have helped several people who have lost data. Most are very successful in their chosen line of work. They are people who are focused on their job in the company. Sometimes they were responsible for bring large profits to the company. Most of the time I was dealing with failed hard drives. Recovering data has a pretty good chance of success. Instead of berating these people I remember the profits they produce pay my salary. I am there so they can focus on their role in the company and not on IT. Security policy can make back ups difficult for many user. I told a financial adviser that “I understand the stock market and investments, but I still use people like yourself for advice, like wise you should have a basic understanding computer but expect support from people like me. “
After saying all that if an employee lost that much data in the business world they would probably be fired.
No backup on his lifes work, and he asks the thief to give him contact info so he can reward him ...
What a maroon!