Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More tips on Preventing Computer Disasters

It was nearly a week ago that I wiped out 5 years of stuff that I'd been transferring from one computer to another, by accidentally reformatting my hard drive. Actually, the computer was supposed to have made back ups before it did the dirty work, but nope.

Yesterday I presented a list of 270 online office helpers, which prompted a couple of questions/comments.

So, here's a couple of tips. And I am all for tips that save money so everything I'm about to tell you about is under 20 bucks.

First of all I urge people to back stuff up on-line. A year ago there where services that would give you 1gb, or up to 5 gb of free online storage space. Well, I found a place where I can back up 50gb at no cost and that's what I have done. AdDrive.com is my new favorite place to store back ups with no cost.

I urge anyone that is using any outside company to check on a regular basis, such as weekly to ensure that the company is still around. We do not know what will occur in the future with the economy and the health of any company, big or small.

My son has an external hard drive that he uses with his laptop. I have considered that option a couple of times, but for me, that would cost money which I don't want to spend and then there is the problem of having your back up and your computer in the same place, perhaps even the same carrying case and what happens if that case gets stolen, lost, or damaged? You are still up the creek without a paddle.

I have been able to restore many if not most if the important lost items because of the way I have been moving certain aspects of my work to online services. This includes email and bookmarks.

Instead of using the bookmarks, or favorites feature on my browser, I use Delicious.com

When I set up my current laptop in January, I set up my email account for the radio stations I work for, to send a BCC to a Gmail account every time I sent an email from that account. There are 1400 emails stored in that account from the past 9 months. (I also have my old computer which has emails stored from the previous 5 years that I can move back into this computer.)

Speaking of Gmail, Google, the company that hosts Gmail, continues to expand their suite of services and there are numerous ways to move your office to the virtual world by signing up for an account (or two or three). Go to Google Apps and get started. The only cost you may incur is to set up a domain name, which they will help you do for as little as 10 bucks a year.

Zoho is another company that I have worked with and they continue to expand their services, most of which are free.

Click here for links to Zoho and other services.

The reason I was able to recover after a few days, even without having a complete back up plan in place, was because I already was doing a lot of my work using online services, and a lot of what I needed that were radio station related are stored on the servers we have at the stations, which we back up regularly.

One concern about storing stuff on line is security. My friends, we live in an era of high security and no security simultaneously. So, don't store bank accounts, passwords and other extremely valuable info where someone can hack into it. My parents had a safety deposit box at their bank as a place to store certain documents. You can still make back ups on cds and dvds, encrypt them and store them somewhere safe.

Good luck and may you learn from some of my mistakes and some of my tips.

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