Last Labor Day, I had a delightful chat, for the podcast, with Benny Hsu of the Get Busy Living Blog and the creator of iPhone apps like Photo 365 and Gratitude 365. Ironically, he asked about my interview breaks and I told him how the Podcast Answer Man (Cliff Ravenscraft) freaked me out about using computers and software to do podcasts. Cliff highly recommends using state-of-the-art audio equipment where the audio is piped directly into storage. I’m not at that stage yet so I am using my trusty laptop, Skype, and a MP3 Skype recorder program.
Not If, But When
But since I am relying on basic hardware and software, there is always a slight chance of things crashing. I break up my interview into segments to avoid losing an entire interview due to a crash. If something were to happen, I would possibly lose a few minutes. My last four interviews went off without a hitch following this practice. I normally move my audio files to my editing station soon after the interview. But since it was Labor Day, I had some other obligations and decided to continue with editing the next evening. Sadly, disaster struck.
Seth Brundle Meet Buck Inspire
Coming back to work the day after Labor Day, I had a bunch of tasks waiting for me. I was tired, not thinking straight, and a little ambitious. I pushed a new software package to my production laptop for testing. Anyone remember Seth Brundle jumping into his transporter when he was drunk? We all know what happened to poor Brundle Fly. After the required reboot for the installation to complete, my laptop blue screened. I’ve seen countless blue screens through the years, but because my company encrypts their hard drives for extra security, I needed to go through the long arduous process of decrypting my hard drive before I can perform regular Windows troubleshooting steps.
Isn’t 96% An A?
The first decrypting procedure failed right off the bat. My second attempt required a manual decryption of each block. My laptop chugged along for four days and froze at 96% completion. I restarted my laptop and called for help. Tech support advised I do it again because there’s still parts of my hard drive that are still encrypted. A few more days go by and I am stuck at 96% again. Tech support advised to give it a few more days as they have seen it decrypt for as long as a week’s time. We’ll see how things go next week. It looks like we have a slew of backup issues as Roger the Amateur Financier rants Backup Your Data! 10 Ways To Prepare Your Site For Being Hacked.
The critical take away and morale of the story is an ounce of prevention prevents a pound of pain. Moving forward, if I have any file I consider critical (documents, pictures, audio and video files), they need to reside in two locations. If one location is accidentally wiped clean, at least I have a safe back up copy somewhere else. I also should not have tested on a production computer. My laziness, overconfidence in my recovery skills, and lack of the diligence caused me to lose two weeks of being able to work on my podcast. I am looking for alternative Skype recording solutions. But since I was pretending to be a Stay At Home Mom for Baby Buck, I almost had no extra free time and energy. I recommend Western Digital USB hard drives as they include a simple and easy to use backup software that scans your computer for documents, pictures, audios, and videos and copies them into the USB drive. I’ve been using this drive to backup my data. It is fast and hasn’t given me any problems. Sadly, I didn’t run this program before my outage.
How do you protect your critical data?