A ten year old backup came in handy today
I got volunteered into building a volunteer database for the 1997 Alberta Summer Games. (I later made some money off of the database later so my hundreds of hours did turn out to be somewhat profitable. But as I'm halfway through building the database and realized how much work I had left I was a little concerned at the size of the task)
Eleven years later a similar event in that same city decided they'd like to use the ten and a half year old volunteer list to get some volunteers. Turns out I had the Access databases on a CDR in my bank safety deposit box. So I converted to Access 2003, modified a report to suit their needs and sent off the PDF file. If they need it I can easily create an Excel spread sheet to simplify data importing purposes.
I made the following suggestion to the event manager to quickly figure out many of the folks who are still around or have moved out of the community.
I would suggest that you do the following:
1) Flag the volunteers you already have.
2) Hand this list out to the executive asking them to strike out those who have moved or those that they know are still in town. And ignore those that they don't know
3) However we all know that some executive will take their sweet time going through the list. Thus at your next executive meeting split this list up into six, or so, ten page chunks. Hand them out to each second person at your next executive meeting. Again have the executive mark those who have moved or those that are still in town. While the meeting is in progress and the person doesn't need to spend much time concentrating on the person babbling on have them go through their chunk of the list. Once they're done have them pass their chunk off to the next person.
(There are two kinds of meetings at Microsoft. Those meetings in which laptops/tablet PCs are allowed and those where they are banned. There are very few meetings where they are banned. The idea being that at any given moment in time only a few people need the exact details that the speaker is pontificating on. Therefore let the others keep an ear open while they attend to email. Of which they get many. Thus I figure your executive can time share their attention for such a relatively mindless task as name recognition.)
I did this backup on a 2X Hewlett Packard CDR burner that cost me $600. It died under warranty 9 months after purchase. HP sent me a refurbished unit but it did 14 months after purchase. And as it only had a one year warranty they refused to do anything. I've never quite forgiven HP for that. I'm sure I still have the letter I sent to the HP complaint centre somewhere but they didn't do any follow up.