Never let your most important data be trapped

One of the lessons I’ve learned recently is to never let your most important data – such as personal contacts, records, and so on – be trapped in a proprietary file format.

For example, my friend Barney has recently been going through hell because his massive contact database is stored in Outlook/Exchange. While its true that you can export the individual entries of the database as a flat file, what’s missing is the relationships between those records (such as groups and mailing lists) which cannot easily be extracted. And in Barney’s case, a large proportion of the usage value of that database is those relationships.

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