by Marc Cullison mcullison.com
I used to be a computer programmer. Now, I have a more sane life, if you can call trying to impart knowledge to teenagers sane. But I don’t have the hassles of crises anymore. At least, not the kind that requires hair-pulling and screaming at your computer for its obstinate refusal to do what you wanted.
I have always made it a point to learn something new every day. I love learning. It breaks the monotony of not learning, and it prevents me from becoming old, mentally. One of life’s most valuable lessons was given to me during a melt-down in one of my jobs as a programmer. One of our machines that we used to develop code lost a key library because someone inadvertently deleted it. Well, it took several hours before we found the last backup tape and mounted it. The library was restored with minimal damage. This could have been a disaster.
Ever since then, I have been a believer in backups. About six years ago, I purchased a MacBook, state of the art. A few years later, I acquired a backup drive for it. The disk was only about 120 GB, but 70 percent of it was occupied with files and applications, some critical to my job. I periodically backed up my disk.
Then the fateful day happened. Not all at once, but gradually. The computer operated slower than usual, taking longer to complete its tasks. And finally, applications started to fail, one by one, because of missing files. Well, I knew then what was happening and I ordered a new computer.
Fed-X delivered the MacBook Air to my door and I opened the box to marvel at the sleek, silver machine. I turned it on and went through the set up process. It asked me for the default language, date and time (set to automatic for my location), it found the wireless network and connected when I selected it, then it asked me if I wanted to transfer data from another computer, another disk, or not at all. I plugged in my backup drive and off it went. Twenty-five minutes later I was up and running as usual. Not even a hiccup.
Had it not been for the backups, I would still be trying to reconstruct the files on my new computer from the remnants left on the old machine. I know of friends who have suffered similar situations with less than pleasant results because they failed to backup their data. They resorted to spending hundreds of dollars to have a tech firm recover the data from the hard disks for them. All of this could have been avoided with the use of a backup drive that one can acquire for less than a hundred dollars.
Some lessons in life are precious. This is one of them. I’m glad I paid attention. And I love my MacBook Air.