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It happens to all of us at least once it seems, data loss. Here’s my story, maybe it will get more folks to think about their data and how/where to keep it (better).

A couple weeks ago a flood hit my apartment/office area and soaked the desktop system, monitors, equipment *and* back up drive (along with a ton of other stuff) – luckily I have a daily back up on a Powerbook. But, of course the Powerbook decided to completely stop working while at our ETSY event before that could be backed up too. Zapping the PRAM revealed the hard drive failed, so the usual steps of Disk Util, TechTool and then finally drive removal and DiskWarrior were attempted – for the most part the drive seems completely dead – there might be a chance to recover some data under linux, or from a data recovery shop, but it’s not looking good. So, years of work, designs, presentations, papers, scans of my artwork, electronics schematics, source code from projects, book drafts, articles, contacts, finance records, 40k emails, videos, photos, articles, jeez everything really – gone, poof. A few lessons learned…

  • From now on, a monthly DVD backup of the real important stuff and store it off site.
  • Renter’s insurance would be a good thing for flood damage and other things, but data would always just be lost.
  • Getting a new computer now means that there isn’t a lot of data transfer to do, in fact none. It feels like a “do-over”.
  • Using Google calendar, Reader, Gmail and Flickr means some things aren’t lost. Using more web services, perhaps even an offsite backup would be nice. We’re getting IMAP at MAKE, soon email will live on our servers.
  • Using a Mac 24/7 for over a year might kill it.
  • Taking apart a 17″ Powerbook is fun, Apple really packs in a lot of stuff.
  • Photos tagged “deadpowerbook” – – Link & DiskWarrior report (any suggestions?).

So, things will be a little slow on email and posts – if there was something sent in that needed to be posted, there’s a good chance it’s gone. If there were emails or things in progress, again – likely gone until the flood stuff dries out and is repaired and/or the drive(s) are salvageable. Fun stuff, it’s an “opportunity to become stronger”…. and at this point how can you -not- laugh.

So Makers, post up your back up suggestions and/or data loss nightmares. Best tip and, er, horror story gets a MAKE Pocket Ref.

Update: Hot air gun on the back up drive 1-17-07 worked, so the only data that was lost seems to be “post flood” – not ideal, but not awful.


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