I was copying over everything in the universe from my ailing PC, Wilson,* to a 160 gig USB hard drive.
Wilson has been rebooting at random** lately so I was copying all the stuff*** in the universe. Wilson rebooted, again. The files are gone**** from Wilson.
No problem, because the USB hard drive is... making a depressing, teeny-tiny clicking noise*****.
Fortunately, last Christmas, I got paranoid and burned to DVD 3 sets of the photos, and gave them to some folks to celebrate Jesus' birth.
That means I've only lost every single download I had in the universe, including board game files that are long-gone in the wild, all my music******, any software I hadn't moved to my alternate teeny-tiny USB backup, and miscellaneous******* files. Oh, yeah, and any alternate game design files that were in my current working set for 18IA et al., and all the photos and video that I put on the computer since mid-December 2009.
What's not lost? The board game designs I emailed to myself on Google as a backup, photos I posted on my blog, anything else I emailed to people with Google, and stuff I backed up on other weird computers around the house.
Today, imagine that your primary data store failed. The tower catches fire, the hard drive turns a lonely face to the blank wall, your laptop gets stolen by love-sick crackheads. It's gone, gone, gone, just like 5 years of my digital life.
I have failed as an IT professional. But not completely. That backup is the only reason I'm not going to take a toaster to the bathtub.
What I tell you three times is true: back it up in multiple copies offsite, back it up in multiple copies offsite, back it up in multiple copies offsite.
* the Beach Boy? House's foil? The blood-faced volleyball? They all work!
** not really random. It's a driver problem that involves something where I use the integrated sound features or tax the I/O in any way. I need to take heavy measures, but first I WAS BACKING UP MY FILES.
*** every photo Lee or I has ever taken, every video we've ever shot, all my own music, all my board game design files, all the collected downloads of the last 5+ years, etc.
**** gone like Gondwanaland (my own personal favorite reference), gone down the American river (q.v. Howl)
***** clicking means it is completely FUBAR.
****** only about 12 gig worth, I got sick of having it bloat last year and pared it down to the necessities, i.e. the Sneaker Pimps.
******* PDFs of every shape and size, comic book samples the creators released like Wizzywig, my favorite lolcats, etc. - ephemera that is painful to lose, but ultimately no huge loss to humanity.