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Many computers, one writer

I tend to feel a bit puzzled when I see that someone's computer died and took everything with it. I'm one person. I'm embarrassed to say that not only do I have redundant automatic backup, I have five computers.

One was supposed to run my TV and that thing stopped working right away. I've never had luck with ASUS machines. I don't know what to do with it. One is an old XP laptop that runs really slow and wrist-burning hot. The other is a slightly less old XP laptop that I use whenever I need to run something that doesn't run on mac. Then I have my old big iMac and my new big iMac. I bought the new big iMac when the old one was looking at retirement and starting to throw funky lines of colorful stuff across the monitor. I figured it was mostly dead. It surprised me, then, and ran for a couple more years!

Until today. However, I've become attached to it as my "standing desk" computer and I think I'll just see if it needs its graphics card replaced. iMacs run hot too, and sometimes parts of them fry. But they're very fixable.

Anyway, it feels really good to feel like I can fix stuff at my leisure rather than "OMG I JUST LOST MY LIVELIHOOD." Even the document I was working on when old iMac went funkadelic was automatically saved, cos scrivener is awesome that way.



( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 19th, 2013 06:19 pm (UTC)
I replaced my old netbook at the end of last year and decided I wanted it to be a proper backup to my main laptop, not just for out and about writing. So it's got a full version of Office Home and Student on it, so I can use the Track Changes and such (which you can't with the Office Starter thingy they put on new PCs these days.) It's still a netbook, so it's little and I wouldn't want to have to use it as my main one for long, but I would never be in a situation where say I couldn't do my edits from the publisher because I was having a problem with the main beast. (Well, barring the house burning down or them both being stolen!)

I also of course make backups onto stick and Google Drive of my data files. There is just no excuse for not making backups. I can't believe people risk losing their work by not taking two minutes to copy a file to a USB stick, and/or somewhere online or email it to themselves. Computers are replaceable. The work done on them is not.

Edited at 2013-03-19 10:20 pm (UTC)
Mar. 19th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
You know, I have Google Drive but I'm not entirely sure how it works. I also have google backing up my music now.

I'd say my second XP laptop is what I'd use as my netbook...though I also have an iPad that can be used as a laptop in a pinch. At least for writing and web surfing, if not for cover art.

As with you...barring the whole house burning down. Though I do have a dropbox contingency where my main stuff is saved as rtf and could feasibly be dealt with from a library or a friend's house :D
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
I don't have Google Drive downloaded, I just go to the website and upload files. You can even drag and drop them from a folder. Easy peasy. And once they are on there you can open them in Google Docs should you want to. I like having that offsite option. Though I always have my USB stick with me when I go out, and I hope I'd take it in my bag with me should the house catch fire in the night, it's still possible both that and the laptops could be destroyed, so gotta have that extra offsite backup.
Mar. 19th, 2013 06:43 pm (UTC)
Saying iMacs run hot is an understatement. I have one at work and I actually burned myself on it last week. If I had my way, we'd get rid of all the ones at work, but that's just me. What matters is that the ones you have work for you, dead graphics aside.

Mar. 19th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC)
There are some fan utilities you can tweak to make them not burn you... but yeah, they're hot.
Mar. 19th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
I have three working laptops (all Dell) that work,and though 2 are decrepit, I save everything to all 3. One I use for travel and internet only. Then I have a desktop I rarely use, but its a good computer, I just don't like sitting in an office chair. I do finances and business stuff on that one. I also transfer files to it. Plus I have Drop Box on my Smart Phone.

Last year, my fairly new laptop had a catastrophic meltdown and most everything was saved to an online backup. But later, it went down again and took a bunch of data that hadn't yet been saved, so I'm kinda OCD about it now. LOL!
Mar. 19th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC)
I so know what you mean. I used to back up on external hard drives but they died. TWO of them died!!! Then I subscribed to a service that worked initially, but stopped working for Mac. Now I use CrashPlan (online service) PLUS Dropbox. I just feel that you can't be too safe. And every time I see someone whose livelihood is crushed by a computer failure, I feel vindicated.
Mar. 19th, 2013 07:27 pm (UTC)
It just happened to JR Ward, of all people! LOL! She lost a big chunk of the new book and had to re-write. She said dirty words on Facebook.

I think the most devastating thing I've had happen was last summer, my "good" computer crashed, taking about 12K of my WIP with it. Then I used my back-up laptop during a trip and re-wrote it all...but better. (of course!) So I got home and started working again. I opened the document and watched the 12K I'd just written just disintegrate before my eyes. But no problem, right? I have daily online backup. Which started just in time to save the corrupted file over the top of the clean file.

I cried. And re-wrote the same 12K once again.
Mar. 19th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, holy shit, that's hideous.

My redundant backup consists of two things: I write in Scrivener which saves to Dropbox, which is stored both online and locally. I also back up to Crashplan (a paid service.)

Though since you had a corrupted file I don't know that either of these solution would have helped.
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:53 am (UTC)
I've got two things to avoid the corrupted file issue. One, when you upload a file to Google Drive it doesn't overwrite the earlier one, so you can do version control and go back to an uncorrupted one.

Also, at the end of a writing session I do a Save As and create a .txt version of the file. Text files are less likely to corrupt and easier to recover if they do. So if the worst comes to the worst, the text is there. You lose things like italics and stuff, but the words are there and that's the main thing.

Edited at 2013-03-20 06:54 am (UTC)
Mar. 20th, 2013 08:17 am (UTC)
I've never had a corrupted file (possibly that's more common for Windows?) but every time I've used a big external drive for backup, the whole damn drive crapped out. So I don't trust external physical backup at all, just cloud-based backup.
Mar. 19th, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
It only took once having that happen for me. Now I have 3 computers and a hard drive backup, AND Carbonite on my desk top. My XP finally needed to retire, so I have Windows 7 on my Dell desktop and an HP laptop, and Vista on another HP laptop. I'm going to get 8 get used out in the marketplace before I run off and get one.

Mar. 20th, 2013 08:19 am (UTC)
Your computer family is getting up there in years, just like mine! Both my laptops were used. For a simple writing/web machine, I always thought used was ample.
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:14 am (UTC)
Heh, I have 3 computers: New mac mini, which replaced the mac mini that had started to make funny noises, plus funny-noise mini, plus laptop. All backed up to my Time capsule (hourly backups), plus all the really important stuff gets saved off to a separate hard drive maybe once every couple of months. PARANOIA IS GOOD :D
Mar. 20th, 2013 08:23 am (UTC)
I have never figured out the time capsule backup! I think my CrashPlan service does the same thing, but I believe the Time Capsule is easier to rebuild from in the event of big-time computer failure.

Your funny-noise mini might do what my colorful iMac did and keep chugging along for a while longer than you expect. (Hm. I have an extra monitor...I could replace that iMac with a mini if it's non-repairable.)
Mar. 20th, 2013 09:36 am (UTC)
I have my iPhone, a Samsung tablet and an internetless laptop for storage and DVD watching :)
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Very portable array!
Mar. 20th, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
I only have one computer--my trusty old Mac G4--but since I got a physical keyboard for my iPad I feel like I have a laptop too.

I have two internal hard drives, one external always hooked up and a couple of others only to be hooked up for periodic back up of my photos. I run time machine and Carbon Copy Cloner, and back up my writing on drop box. You can never have too many backups.
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:29 pm (UTC)
My iPad has become my travel device of choice. I bring the keyboard with me but find that if I don't need to do more than compose an email, I don't even bother with the external keyboard.

Since I had two brands of external drive die on me, I just don't trust them. Hooray for dropbox, it makes putting stuff on the cloud so darn easy.
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
i have four computers and two clouds. couple of back up externals. maybe they're just not techie?
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:31 pm (UTC)
I can't figure having your whole career on a single, non backed-up computer. Unless that person's just been phenomenally lucky up til now. Of course, backups can fail, which is why I have multiple offsite backup. But yeah, maybe just not techie.
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:32 pm (UTC)
Especially those people who don't save multiple renditions of art files. Or name them properly. :D
Mar. 20th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ok I don't feel so weird now. I have two external hard drives. iDrive, Dropbox, AND a flash drive. I backup all my documents to both iDrive (it does it automatically every 24 hours), Dropbox, the external hard drives and my flash drive in addition to having them on both internal hard drives for my laptop and my desktop.

I can't imagine only having one computer - I've heard too many horror stories about people losing stuff. I even burn all our family pictures onto DVDs as a hard copy backup /o\

And when we move, the ext HD will be traveling with me in my suitcase.

BTW, I'm thinking about getting a Mac - but you say they get super hot - do they overheat??
Mar. 20th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC)
Wow, you're the queen of backup!

I would say iMacs run about as hot as laptops because they're thin. But there are many different kinds of macs so I'm not sure which you mean. I've never had one overheat but I do tend to tweak the fans when the machine seems overly hot.
Mar. 21st, 2013 06:17 am (UTC)
LOLL because I'm terrified of losing stuff /o\

I was looking at a MacBook Pro - laptop...
Mar. 21st, 2013 07:02 am (UTC)
I haven't heard anything bad about them. Those are the laptops all the Photoshop gurus use.

My oldest laptop is so hot it literally burns me. I keep it "just in case" I have a windows-only project and my other laptop dies. I also bought a USB fan thing to put beneath it.
Mar. 21st, 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
Well that's good then.

I have a Dell Laptop right now & have a USB fan thingie under it as well b/c it was overheating and shutting down /o\
Mar. 21st, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
The HD on my laptop died, suddenly and without warning, just before Christmas, and it was such a *relief* to know that everything was backed up elsewhere and I didn't need to stress about it overly, just fix the device and move on. Automatic back ups with version control FTW (I use Dropbox and Carbonite for a belt and braces approach, plus GDrive and email for the current project)

I'm not confident enough that I have everything to hand that I'd need to re-build my desktop machine, in terms of software and the like, though so - that's something to fix before it's needed.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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