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Sunday, November 2, 2008

Watch and Learn

Hello, Wavers and happy Sunday. Or Monday as the case may be. I like to think that as much as I am an inspiration, I am also a cautionary tale. Because over the weekend something totally unexpected happened. My computer died. It began making a very funny noise and moments later, the screen grayed out but for a file folder with a question mark on it. Which went on blinking and mocking me until I practically wept. Goodness - what to do? Well, I happen to have one of the most gifted computer guys in the world, Greg Madore, and he raced over to my home and fixed it inside of an hour.

Good news, right? Yeah, not so much. Because I hadn't backed up my system since July 28th. I lost 3 months worth of data because I neglected to back up my computer on a weekly basis. This is going to be like having a hang nail; every day at some point, I'll search for a document and not be able to find it. Good times!

Everybody knows you should back up your computer. It's just common sense. I often go outside during the day to walk my tiny canine and I always double-check with myself as to whether to lock the door behind me. I'm just walking a block or two, right? And I always say to myself, well, lock it depending on how you feel about losing everything inside. Uh, okay. Lock. Just takes a second. Like buckling your seat belt, flossing, setting the alarm, changing the batteries in the smoke alarm. And backing up your computer.

So learn from me Wavers. How would you like to lose all the changes you made on your script for the past month? How would you like to lose the script you wrote last year? You cannot get stuff like that back. If you aren't backing up your computer, start doing it and start doing it NOW. Once a week or more often if you are very busy on your computer. Guess who will be an absolute obsessive about backing up now? Yeah. Me. Your own personal cautionary tale.

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Luzid said...

Wow, that's terrible. I feel you - lost a couple of screenplays a few years ago that way (of course, they were... not very good).

This is why, when I write, I constantly backup to an external drive via usb. Highly recommended!

Sorry to hear about your loss. :\

Julie Gray said...

Yes, it was terrible. But. I am going to get a recovery done on my old hard drive. It can be done, it's just going to cost me some major coinage. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my Christmas money from mom but there you go. :(

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just ran over to my drawer, whipped out my backup drive and let it rip! It's been like a month for me as well... I send myself files sometimes in eMail as a backup - but not everything.

Hope the recovery works. Let me know if it doesn't I know people who know people if you catch my drift ;)


Christina said...

I have this little external hard drive (not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes and doesn't need a power cord) that I have plugged into a USB port. It came with software that constantly backs up any folder I've told it to. I don't have to think - it's constantly backing up. I suggest you get some sort of auto backup program going.

chaia said...


Future Man said...

Same here, Christina.

A hard drive crash 10 years ago made me see the light. Windows was terrific because it had a built-in backup system, and the external drive was worth the hundred dollars.

When I bought into all the Mac hype and invested in a laptop, I was shocked to discover that you had to buy a third-party program to back up your files. Until recently Mac hadn't bothered to take care of one of the most important elements of your computer.

So I purchased SuperDuper for backups to the external drive. And as an added precaution I use an off-site backup called Mozy. Costs about $5 per month but it backs up everything, including all bookmarks, preferences in programs, etc.

MaggieB said...

My super computer guy (aka "husband") set my computer to back up automatically to the web everyday. He also pesters me all the time to make sure I get stuff off the external micro backup drive and onto the computer so it gets backed up to the web as well.

I recommend it for peace of mind. Having your entire computer backed up on the web is a relief. Everything else can get broken or lost.

It's unnerving the way these electronic devices give you no warning. One minute it's fine, the next it's completely hosed. Just went through that with a printer.

James 'Backup for Computer' Green said...

Wow, sorry to hear about all that lost work.

I would definitely recommend using a good online backup service. In my opinion it is so much better than backing up to an external hard-drive. For a start, your backups happen automatically so you can just set it and forget it. Secondly, you always have a copy of your data offsite which means it should be safe even if you are unlucky enough to have your house burn down!

Dave Scott said...

I agree with James. Online backup is the way to go. I used to backup to external hard-disk, but I was never very good at making the time to back up. When my laptop was stolen, I found out that I hadn't backed up in over 2 months!

Now, I use a backup service called Angel Backup. I feel so much happier knowing that my data is backed up daily.