It has been recommended here to archive not only tax returns but misc receipts into scanned .pdf format. Old paper receipts can easily have their ink fade away in a few years anyway. Don't you have to save receipts of home improvements even for decades, incase you downsize in the future and can't cancel out your residence capital gain without expanding the basis?
Anyway, I seemed to have found some snags in sending pdf's both ways between
apple and windows environments where they arrive looking corrupted. I havent
fully diagnosed this and my situation may be unique, but I thought I would dump
some observations as a lesson to be careful about your backup copies and maybe
try displaying them sometimes.
I decided to keep my financial and other data on duplicate usb disk drives
instead of the clutter of dvd disks or on computers which have multiple failure
modes. Originally it was just on Apples HFS+ format, then I duplicated it onto
Windows NTFS format disks. Occasionally I will put stuff in triplicate into
legacy windows FAT32 format which is easily read by any system including
Android, but easily accidentally corrupted (so I may switch that to NTFS).
But having these backups straddling systems has given me garbage pdfs when
seeking something generated on one side, but having to use the backup on the
other. It may have to do with my legacy Apple systems not being able to handle
new pdf formats (pdf variations are backwards compatible, but old pdf software
isn't forward compatible or upgradeable in some cases). Then I am stuck, because
while the Apple systems can read/write Windows new format disks with moderate
difficulty (MacFuse program), Windows only reads Apple format disks with extreme
So to be more concrete, I eventually noticed about a quarter of pdfs originating
from apple usb disks would show up a corrupted in the window usb disk copies.
Eventually I noticed the problem ones were all exactly 4kb long only, so you can
find them by listing a directory sorted by size. I am guessing that these are
new upgraded pdf formats which MacFuse (unsupported after 2008) cant make sense
of. If so, I guess I can find some other way to convert those few.
Another example is I generated tax return pdfs on windows8 and wrote it out to
Fat32 to slurp into a legacy Apple environment which had better printer
connectivity. Apple called this pdf corrupt even though I am quite sure it went
correctly from NTFS -> fat32 -> HFS+ correctly. I think that particular Mac
cannot recognize the new swizzle of .pdf because it has a pre-intel
microprocessor and nobody wrote software for new pdf format swizzles. My newer
Mac can recognize this pdf and display and print it properly.
Well, these may sound like quirky cases, but beware the the vaunted Portable
Document Format may not be so portable. If I had my windows usb disk crash, the
apple ones may be darn difficult to fall back to. While I have one apple machine
that can read the apple usb disk copy reliably, it is on death watch along with
the other machine and I don't plan to get another apple (they seem to be phasing
out usb ports in favor of cloud anyway).
Windows reads apple format only with tedious difficult software AFAIK. I cannot
solve it by converting to all Windows format usb disk backups, because many pdfs
originated on Apple and may not be able to survive the journey to windows format
(too tedious to check them all). Sigh...
- posted 6 years ago