Thursday tech musings,11.8.16: BACK UP!

Hey you. Yeah, you. Got a few minutes? Well, take a couple of those minutes and go read these posts from Borepatch and ASM826, then come back here.

All right. Back? Good. Listen up.

They pretty much spelled everything out, but I cannot emphasize this enough: As the owner of your electronic gadgets:

YOU ARE YOUR OWN IT/SYSTEM ADMINISTRATOR.

Here’s what that means in a practical sense, in more layman’s terms:

To put what ASM826 and Borepatch said in slightly different terms, every single electronic device you have is going to fail at some point. When this happens, unless you have the data backed up, there is a very real possibility of losing your data. Different backup options are available for you for whatever electronic gadgets you own, whether they be computers, phones, or tablets or some combination thereof. And if you call your gadget’s manufacturer, most likely they will be more than willing to tell you about those different backup options and even help you set them up.

But the gadgets DO NOT set themselves to back up on their own. You as your own IT/system administrator, AND YOU ALONE, are responsible for setting that up and making sure it is working correctly. Not your gadget manufacturer, not the salesman at the electronics store who sold you said gadget, and certainly not the tech support rep on the other end of the line when you call because you have a problem with your gadget.

Me? I have my phone (HTC One M7) backing up to remote servers (aka the ever-so-nebulous “cloud”) via a third-party app called Lookout. Every so often I import my photos taken on the phone to my MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro, in turn, I back up a couple of different ways: via the built-in Time Machine application to an external drive that I plug in periodically, as well as an online backup service called CrashPlan. $5.99 a month, set up your subscription, install the client on your computer, sign in with your username & password and as long as the computer is turned on and connected to the Internet, all your data is backed up to remote servers without you even having to think about it.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I will say this: I have had three Macs, and I have been very lucky with the first two in that I was able to yank the hard drive from the first one and manually transfer everything from it to the second computer via a USB-to-Serial ATA adapter. I did the same thing from the second to the third when the second machine shit the bed. Went off without a hitch both times. But that is absolutely not something I was counting on being able to do. I remember pulling the HD out of that first computer and connecting it to that replacement machine and thinking, “Man, I hope this works.” If it had not worked, if it had been the hard drive instead of the logic board that had crapped out on me, I would have lost, among other things, about 130 albums worth of music — most of which was ripped from cds that I had since lost, and thus would have been very difficult if not impossible to recover.Bu the time the second computer croaked, I had both my Time Machine backup and CrashPlan configured so I wouldn’t have to bank on it again.

Yes, I know. Data recovery is a thing. But it is a very expensive thing, whose prices often start in the mid three figures and often go into four and even five figures, and for that money you don’t even get a guarantee that your data will even be fully recovered (though, to be fair, you do get a money back minus diagnostic fee or something similar if they’re unsuccessful). Makes that $60 for an external backup drive and $5.99/month cloud service backup sound like a screaming good deal, doesn’t it? I see people asking in certain places, “My hard drive shit the bed, can anyone recommend to me some cheap, good, and fast data recovery software?”

And it drives me up the wall.

NO.

If it was important before you lost it you’d have spent the comparative pittance to back it up, and if it’s that important now, you’ll pony up for the recovery or write it off and take the damn consequences.

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