Last Wednesday, I left my phone on the Piccadilly Line. This Monday, my Macbook’s hard drive conked out. Apart from stuff floating around in the cloud, I lost every single bit of my data. What follows are a few simple things that I’ve learnt over the last few days.
#1: Don’t leave your phone on the Piccadilly Line.
#2: Failing that, make sure you’ve got a recent backup/sync of the thing, not one from six months ago.
#3: Make sure you’ve got some kind of lock on your phone – PIN, anything. I took PIN protection off because I was sick of having to type it in each time – and whilst I changed all my passwords as soon as I realised, it was an uncomfortable morning when I realised that random strangers had access to photos of my penis.
#4: Do a daily, or at least weekly, backup. As opposed to a yearly backup, which is what I appeared to deem appropriate.
#5: When you damage your laptop by slipping up on ice and smashing it into the pavement, back up all your data immediately, rather than just thinking “I should back up all my data immediately”.
#6: Finally: when you’re getting out your backup drive to retrieve your data, DON’T DROP IT ON THE FLOOR SO IT DOESN’T WORK ANY MORE.
As it turned out, I ended up being precisely the luckiest bastard in the universe. Despite the multitude of sins I committed above – no proper backups, no PIN protection, being a clumsy loon – as of today, I have everything back. I filled in a lost property form, some kind person miraculously gave my phone in to the TFL lost property office, and I collected it today. Meanwhile, one of my kind work colleagues managed to scrape every last bit of data from the dodgy hard drive, by plugging it into an enclosure and dragging it out via USB. (Useful tip.) I went from having nothing, to having everything back, in a single morning. And it would have been quite ironic for me to have lost the everything but the final MP3 of this, considering how much I worry about TV companies losing archive material.
Backups are never fun. There is ALWAYS something more interesting you could be doing. It doesn’t matter: if you haven’t got one sorted yet, accept that you’re going to spend £50 on a hard drive and a boring hour of your time this weekend. (At least one hard drive – I’m now keeping two backups.)
Because there is absolutely no guarantee you’ll be as lucky as me when the day comes. And that is very much a when.