Monday, July 17, 2006

Oh Bother, Part Two

Two weeks ago, Miriam's laptop (goodie) decided it needed a new hard drive. I'll s-pare everyone the technical details, but suffice it to say, we were able to recover nearly all of her documents, and, more importantly, the pictures of Mason II. And, as luck would have it, googie was still under Apple Care, so Apple replaced the hard drive for free. The laptop camer back today, so I have been starting the re-install process. It should be wrapped up tomorrow. A few observations:

  • I'm embarrased that I didn't have the laptop backed up. The problem is that I had a "grand plan" of setting up a backup server running something like Retrospect. The reality is that, while I was waiting on the grand plan, I should have put a simple plan in place.

  • I'm also embarrassed at how long it took me to recover the data. I'm a UNIX systems administrator, for crying out loud. The ultimate solution was very simple. But I freaked out, and assumed I'd have to sen the disk off to a data recovery specialist.

  • If youaren't backing up your data, for the love of God, start today. You can pick up a cheap external hard drive that includes Retrospect Express for a few hundred dollars. Remeber, you aren't buying a peice of computer hardware, you're buying insurnace for all your data: pictures, letters, work and school documents. They may not seem important tuntil they are gone. The $200 - $300 you spend on a hard drive today is worth it to spare you the heart ache when (not if) your computer fails. If the house catches fire, you can grab the external hard drive much faster than any scrapbook (although off-site storage would be ideal ... but there I go with my "grand plan" again).

Now, in lieu of a grand plan, I have setup Apple Backup to remind Miriam (and me) to backup goodie once a week to the external hard drive in the office. I had actually been playing around with Retrospect, but it was just taking too long to backup a laptop over the network (I was limiting it to /Users/, and even excluding Movies, Music and Pictures). I may consider buying a second external hard drive, but I think Apple Backup is good enough for now.

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