A voyager’s Internet archive

Limited storage is high on the list of liveaboard complaints. For me, it’s a particular hardship when it comes to papers and documents. Like many other boaters, I resort to a locker full of plastic storage boxes.

The locker isn’t always close by, especially when cruising. Therefore, I have stored most of my files of manuscripts, correspondence, financial spreadsheets, and so forth on the web. I upload these password-protected files to my G-Mail web address. Those documents not in digital form like birth certificate, marriage license, diploma, etc. I first scan to create a digital file and then upload in the same manner as word-processing files. At no charge, Google offers 2.5 Gigabytes of space, which is more than enough for a dozen book-length manuscripts, years of correspondence, and hundreds of photos.

When far from my locker, I can stop off at the nearest Kinko’s or public library, access my email account, and print out an important document or photo. I think of this as an important storage medium in case of a real catastrophe, like the flooding of my locker in a Florida hurricane or finding myself in some remote corner of the world with no identification. A copy of my passport, or any other important document, is as close as the nearest Internet café – they’re everywhere.

Alex on 12/29/2006 17:40

I’m also a fan of Google’s free email service with its cutting-edge spam technology and tons of free storage. In order to get a Google email account, you need to be invited. Any Ocean Navigator magazine subscriber who wants an invitation is free to contact me at the magazine in Portland and I would be happy to invite you to join.

I use the service to maintain copies of all my personal emails so I can delete them with impunity at home. (I’m considering adding a new account for the same reason for office emails.) I will also take advantage of Michael Frankel’s advice above.

Gmail also has a much better spam filter than I have at my pricey home email service so it makes it easier when I am on the road to keep up. Thanks, Michael, for this tip.

–Alex Agnew

By Ocean Navigator