On Saturday, right after #satchat, I went to work on my dissertation. Between the chat and starting the dissertation my computer was left unplugged and the battery drained to the point of the computer shutting down. When I turned it back on I got the death screen of blue with information about an error that had occurred. In a panic I did everything I knew how to do with a computer problem which amounted to turning it off, back on, off again and remove the battery and then on again. Blue, blue, blue screen. The problem was that I had just spent the better part of a week making revisions , adjusting, and adding additional content to chapter four of my dissertation without backing up that work. This was an unusual practice for me but I was in a groove with my dissertation work. In the end I broke the golden rule of technology, which is back up everything.
In an effort to repent for my sin I’m providing a list of backup options for everyone so you don’t have to feel my pain on whatever project, paper or collaboration you are working on now or in the future. Here are some options for backup beyond saving on your computer:
1. Email yourself updates of your work after every revision or at the end of the work day. It’s simple and free. Create a file on your email service to save each of these messages with the work attached and you will have a chronological file of revisions to your work.
2. Use Google docs. It saves automatically and it’s cloud based. Save the versions with new names or V1, V2 so you have the progression of the file. I’d also save the file on your computer as Google docs does not do this automatically.
3. Use an external storage device. This can be as simple as a memory stick or a large storage device. Either way you will have it off the computer. Just don’t forget where you put the small memory stick as they can get lost easily.
4. Use Dropbox. I’m exploring this service right now for my material. It’s free and you can save all kinds of files in this service and share them.
5. Use Carbonite. Another service providing storage for files. This service has a fee associated with it.
There is no pity to be had for my mistake. Today we use and rely on our computers and technology for everything. Because they are such an integral part of our lives we have become accustomed to these devices and services working consistency. However, they are not 100% perfect. Things happen to technology, stuff breaks, and thus we must provide backup of our most vital information. It’s my hope that my mistake will be repairable and files recovered. This hope now sits with a group calling themselves geeks who work in a squad! Go to work guys and gals!
Share your comments on how you backup your information so others will have options beyond the five I have provided.