Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back That Thing Up

I'm feeling a bit chuffed today because it seems I have finally, finally learned my lesson. When my Blackberry died this week, I was actually prepared, for the first time ever, having backed up all of my calendar information and phone numbers ahead of time.
Embarrassingly and depressingly, in the last 10 years (since I became tech-dependent) I have floundered my way through broken phones, a lost iPod, dead computers, and notably, one PalmPilot which took a swim in the toilet. And every single one of those times, I had to scramble to pull together friends' contact information and other lost info. I paid hundreds of dollars for data recovery and never was able to recover some files (which is why, at this point, I don't have a single paper I wrote in college or any photographs of the years 2004-2005). Why didn't I learn? Why? Because I'm an idiot, that's why.

Backing up your electronics is super-easy, only takes a few minutes, and actually makes all of your electronics work more efficiently and cohesively. Once a week (or even once a month if you aren't gadget-crazy), back up all of your electronics- digital cameras, Blackberries, cell phones, PDAs, and iPods to your computer. Using the "Sync" capability on your Blackberry, cell phone or PDA, you can link to your computer calendar and address book.

Then, I recommend that you back up all of the data from your computer onto an external hard-drive (they are available at electronics stores starting at about $60). Make sure you back up all of your photos, music files, and important written documents as well. If you have downloaded software that you have paid for onto your computer, you should back that up, too.

Alternatively, if you have a Google account (or if you are willing to register for one- it's free at you can also back up all of your contacts and appointments on Gmail and GoogleCalendar. (which backs it up on the internet, so if anything happens to your computer, you are covered). You can also back up Microsoft Excel or Word files using Google Docs. And you can back up all of your photos on an online photo website, like KodakGallery, which has the added bonus of making it so you can share them with friends and family. If you go the online back-up route, just don't forget to also back up your music files and software on discs.

Trust me (2009 me, not 2004-2005 me): the first time you do a massive back up will take half an hour, and then each time after that it will only take a minute or two. Which definitely beats years of regret. Baby got back (up).


vacanti said...

You should also check out this new website that's amazing for backing up your files:

Lily said...

Thanks for the tip!
I just downloaded dropbox and am trying it out. It seems great!
The url is actually