There are few things more disheartening to a nerd than trying to retrieve data off a hard drive that is in the process of failing intermittently. It’s like playing a kind of backwards slot machine: how much data will come off in this session? 10MB or 10GB? And how long until it fails catastrophically and you’re stuck with no way to get the data off entirely? Who knows!
Big hard drives are nice. What would be nicer is if a good backup strategy existed, beyond, “duh, buy more hard drives.” Um, yes. So I can have a collection of variably viable devices lying around the house, the failure of any one of which might leave me without access to my files. Yeah, okay, I know about mirrored RAID and all that other fun stuff, but damnit, you still need some kind of offline backup strategy!
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss tape.