Possibly Lost Everything

I was not going to question the general recommendations here, but since it seems increasingly that you will find yourself under pressure in these forums for not jumping through certain hoops, or (what’s worse) forfeit your right to meaningful support, I would like to make a few technical remarks.

First of all, until this day I have appreciated the advice given by the Scrivener team in these forums. It was all very respectful and at the end, most of it was probably based on genuine concern for everybody’s work here. In a way, people carry huge resonsibility, and while they should be proud of the amount of great stuff that is facilitated through the use of Scrivener, nobody wants to see others lose important work because of avoidable mistakes or errors.

Yet, its probably time to understand what the advice to not work with removable media is based on. Until somebody tells me otherwise, I am assuming it is simply due to the known “fact” that SD cards are less reliable than mechanical hard drives. (Of course, if there are unknown peculiarities of the Scrivener program contributing to the concerns, it would be important to put them on the table.)

As for SD cards being unreliable: Unlike mechanical drives, SD cards have a limited number of write cycles until they wear out. To my knowlege, a modern SD card (consumer grade) is expected to do at least 10,000 write cycles before failing. But how much milage exactly will you get out of 10,000 write cycles? It depends on the use of the card, of course:

  • If you use the card on a Raspberry Pi, and you use the Raspberry Pi to power a busy internet server, 10,000 write cycles are probably not a lot. We are either talking automated writes here (logs, swap memory and whatnot) or many people contributing to the writes.
  • If a single individual writes to the card, its much harder to reach those limits. Let’s say, you’re a busy photographer. You fill up the entire card every day and move the photos to a larger drive in the evening. If you keep it up, it will take around 27 years to reach 10,000 write cycles.
  • Scrivener? Let me see: I am assuming an average document length of of 1000 words for my work - that is around 12-13k. Calculate 1000 writes per day, that is 13MB of saves. Lets assume an 8GB card - the 13MB will be moving around, as modern SD cards come with wear leveling, so data will always be written to a different part of the card to make sure you are not wearing out a particular sector. By those figures, it will take you about 20 months for 1 (one) write cycle. Multiply it by 10,000 and you will arive at 16-17,000 years.

Tweak the numbers to your liking. Add bigger texts. More frequent rewrites. Add photos. Add paranoia (=if you’re unlucky, your particular SD will not actually reach 10,000 write cycles, but maybe only 5,000). What’s the result? 1,600 years instead of 16,000? Feeling nervous already? Ok, you could always get yourself a 64GB card, that’ll bump the 1,600 to 12,000 years, and you’re back on the safe side. :unamused:

What am I missing? I’m happy to stand corrected, but I’d like to see reasoning, not obscure recommendations without substance. That’s no way to treat grownups.

If the laptop falls off the desk and the data is on a mechanical HD, the data is probably gone. If it was on an SD, it is probably still there. Mind you, not that I even have a mechanical drive. Who does? The SSDs on my laptops host Windows, they get MUCH more writes than my SD card does (which I use exclusively for Scrivener), so they will probably die in a few measly decades (likely much sooner than my SD card). Why should I put my data at such a risk?

It just makes no sense. The perfectly logic, obviously sensible and easy way to handle things is to work from the SD card and leave local backups on your local computers hard drive every time you are done. And NOT the other way round.

Once again - what am I missing? In my parallel thread in the BETA section, which I posted because I lost data (yes!) it was told the following:

So is that the reason - sloppy programming? Scrivener can’t handle a full stick, and if it encounters one, everything will go south? What if Scrivener runs out of disk space during a regular save - would that also be a “great” explanation why some files are missing in the end? If yes, then at least I would understand why everyone here is so scared of memory sticks. But if that’s the case, and in light of what I wrote above (the part about genuine concerns for everybody’s work here), maybe we should be told?