Previous Tuesday’s Tools here!
Rule 1 of computing: Don’t trust the machine.
Rule 1.5: Don’t do what I did, which was trust the machine.
Rule 2: Have backups. Preferably more than one.
This all brings us to Mozy, a backup widget you install on Mac or PC. From there, it’s almost automatic and (almost) idiot-proof. For $5 a month, the program will upload your stuff to Mozy’s servers (hopefully in one of those automatically sealing Argonite rooms) whenever you make changes. If you have less than 2 gigabytes to archive, and for writers this should be more than enough to cover the essentials of notes, drafts, manuscripts, invoices, etc, you pay nothing! Holy cow.
Mozy isn’t perfect. It seems to get confused if you rename hard drives or computers (which is what I did in early November, and then I couldn’t be arsed to figure out what was wrong with it until late December–AFTER my hard drive had died, oops). So you have to be vigilant, at least until you’re sure you’ve got everything covered. And unlike Time Machine, you get one copy of each file–the most recent. If you delete or change something that you wish you hadn’t, Mozy can’t help you because it’ll have backed up the modified version.
But you can’t beat the price. And everyone–even arrogant ol’ me–should have a backup. Rule 3: You may be smarter than the computer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t throw you for a loop.