So, yesterday my harddrive crashed. I don’t mean hold-the-power-down-and-reboot crashed: I mean erase-reformat-and-reinstall-the-operating-system crashed.
Given my present participation in NaNoWriMo (although, you wouldn’t know it from my lack of writing this past long weekend, but we’ll get to that…), my first thought was, “Oh crap!” when I realized that I last backed up my Macbook Pro to my external drive some months ago. Given that I had written some 30,000 words of the story so far, at least half of that in November, this was potential disaster for my story.
The biggest problem with backing up my laptop is that I’m lazy, forgetful and I get bored easily. In order to back up my data, I have to remember to plug in the external drive and then wait for Apple’s backup program (Time Machine) to do its thing. It’s the perfect sort of thing to let happen overnight, but that’s where the forgetful part comes in, because when I’m tired and ready to go to bed, I have little capacity to remember things like making sure my data is easily retrievable. Portability also plays into the problem, since I frequently work away from home (and, thus, my desk).
Fortunately, I know all this about myself. Forearmed with such knowledge, some time back I decided that, while I would continue to use my external drive to make local backups from time to time, I should also take advantage of some of the great cloud services that does that kind of crap for me — automatically and without the need to be in any particular place at any particular time. I did some research and found several services I could use for free to keep my files safe, or at least accessible in the event of a disaster like the one that manifested yesterday. Specifically, I use:
Dropbox (referral link) — A popular collaborative service that lets you “drop” files and folders you want to share with other people. I’ve used it for collaboration, but I also use it to back up my Writing folder. Through referrals and various promotions, I have 7GB of storage space free through Dropbox.
MozyHome — Specifically a backup service, Mozy offers 2GB free for personal backup use. It’s easy to use and very customizable. I backup all my personal files (including my Writing files — redundancy rules!), excluding music and video, with Mozy.
Evernote — This is more of an incidental backup service than a planned one. I’ve grown to enjoy the accessibility of Evernote on my multiple devices (laptop, iPad, iPod touch, and my Android phone when I still had it), but it also acts as a de facto backup service for my notes. Awhile back I had begun saving, and even writing, some of my short stories in Evernote, and even if I had lost my NaNoWriMo story completely, I would still have had all my notes about it, including the outline and language notes, because I wrote them in Evernote.
I know there are some people who are still wary of cloud services, and others who have promoting them since before the term “cloud” was adapted to them. I was never wary of them per se, but I honestly never expected them to be as valuable to me as they have been over the last day or so. You might say that I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of being Cirrus.