Round 3 Wednesday Check-in 6

Be Prepared In Cases of “Busy”

No matter where you are in your writing (and daily) life, why not take a moment to tell us at the linky:

And then…

Today, I visited the dealership for some regular maintenance on our car.  Being one of the few days this summer I didn’t have to drive my son to an activity or half-way across the state to help family, I decided to take stay safe and ready for what may come.  I depend a lot on this vehicle to get me through the weeks and months… It has been an especially busy summer for me.  A very good summer, but a busy one.

I mention this because…  if you’re at all like me, “busy” takes over, often without my realizing it, and that leads to disasters.

I have managed to keep control of Busy when it comes to our vehicles, ensuring they are safe when I get on the road each day.  I’ve been less careful with my electronic life…  yes, the anti-malware and anti-virus programs remain up to date, and I regularly scan phones and computers for issues.  I’m a bit less careful when it comes to my hardware…  some of which could, in absolute generosity, be called archaic. Old hardware, hardware exposed to dust or frequent electrical “brown-outs”, hardware that has been used well…  These things can break down.

Not that newer (or more expensive) necessarily equates to better!  I’ve seen machines die a day after their warranty expires.  I’ve dealt with cut-rate computers, handed out as Black Friday “door busters”† that have lasted 20 years now.  One of them ran as our household server for over 15 years, and was only turned off because it couldn’t support the newer hard drive types.

To be more specific, that computer was turned off because of Busy.  The machine still ran (and still runs) fine, but Busy had taken charge and we never found time to order a part it needed to run a backup drive.  Eventually, after years of regular writing and reading of files, the hard drive started accumulating what are called read-write (I/O) errors.   Until one day, we lost access to nearly eight years of family pictures, stories, and records.

Hard drive (aka data) recovery is expensive stuff, usually involving laboratory settings like clean-rooms and people in full body suits.  In our case, it involved learning to translate a lot of Polish and Russian manuals‡; having a second, nearly identical hard drive (sequential serial numbers!); and a LOT of luck, panic and desperation.

Once we got what we could back (we did lose stuff)…  we initiated new measures to keep better care of that part of our world, including a shiny, new server with three hard drives that mirror each other daily and regular maintenance checks of our hardware.

What are you doing to protect your electronic treasures?  Your writing, your story bibles, your character-inspiration pictures?  And all those even more personal images and files that make your life?  There are a lot of options, from clouds to flash drives to whole secondary computer systems.  Each works, though not always for all people.  New options are being created regularly.

If you have a favorite, why not share yours for our upcoming “Writers’ Resources” pages.  Let’s help each other keep each other writing safely.  😀

† — those overstock items the stores couldn’t sell all year and used as promotional freebies to get people in the building in hopes they’d spend money on some real merchandise because the freebies were all gone

‡ — a semester of college Russian was not enough prep for this