Posts for Tag: time machine

Laptop thief backs up victim's data, mails it to him

... around a week later, the professor says he received an envelope. Inside was a USB stick ... The thief, it appears, took pity and spent perhaps hours making sure that the professor got all of his unbacked-up information back.

As a victim of laptop theft, this is a confusingly heart warming story. Let me not beat you to death about this (of course, I will), but everyone should have a "set it and forget it" backup system in place. For those of you using Macs, go buy an Apple Time Capsule. Don't fret over the price - JUST. DO. IT. Last time I had a hard drive failure, it cost about $1000 to retrieve the data off the drive from a data recovery company who had to remove the platters in a clean room. Since I've had my Time Capsule in place, I've had two hard drive snafus. Both times, I didn't sweat one bit. Took the laptop to the Apple Store, had them fix the problem and then brought the laptop home and restored from the Time Capsule. ZERO DATA LOSS plus I didn't have to reinstall any programs (Time Machine handles that for you). $1000 each time or $278 once? You decide.

For my PC brethren, go use a service like Mozy. It's great and stores all the data in the cloud so you don't physically have to be near your backup drive in order for the magic to happen. It's free for 2GB or $5 a month for UNLIMITED storage. Not a bad deal, if you ask me. The restore process isn't as seamless as the Time Capsule for Mac (and you'll have to reinstall your programs) but it's good enough.

But remember, if someone steals your laptop there is no way to recover your data. Stories like this one are the overwhelming exception to the rule.

Some words of wisdom regarding backing up your data

So my car was broken into on Friday and my Macbook was stolen.  This isn’t a post to discuss that incident.  What happened has happened and in honor of the fast approaching lunar new year, I’ve decided to be more Zen – Possessions Are Fleeting.  This is more about the events after the theft. 

I did the usual things like filing a police report, getting my window fixed, and cleaning up the car.  Next, I needed to get my digital life back on track.  First, if I had actually used Time Machine like I was supposed to, the backup process would have been super simple.  That was strike one.  I use Mozy to backup my work files so those were easy to retrieve.  Since we migrated to Google Apps earlier this year, all of my email was stored on their servers so getting access to that was easy.  What was not easy to get back were my personal files – mainly music and photos.  Luckily, I sync those items with my iPhone so technically I have a copy of those on the phone.  The difficult part is actually getting them off the phone and onto my spare laptop.  Every time I try to sync with iTunes, it tells me that it’s going to wipe all these items off my phone and replace it with the items on the laptop (which at this point is nothing).  I’ve got a Genius Bar appointment tomorrow to try to figure out how I’ll be able to have my photos and music somewhere other than my phone.

So the morale of the story is back-up your computers.  Don’t rely on copying files periodically from your laptop or desktop to an external drive.  That’s a very ineffective way of doing things.  If you have a Mac, use Time Machine.  Have it set to backup at least every 24 hours.  If you have a PC, use Mozy.  It’s free for the first 2GB and only $5 a month for unlimited storage - use this link and promo code "FEBRUARY" for a 10% discount!  $5 people.  That’s less than two lattes or one lunch out or half a movie every month.  The point is it’s not much and well worth it.