Monday, June 6, 2011

Disaster Recovery

Living on the east coast of the United States, I sort of expect hurricanes to march up it and possibly threaten my home and community.  Generally, here in the northeast, we get more powerful storms like that in the winter.  The word nor''easter can bring fear to even the heartiest of New Englanders.  This winter was a perfect example of what can happen with three feet of snow in one month.

In the summer, hurricanes are a threaten again but are less certain.  So we will wait and watch.  The real deal breaker is we've started getting tornados too.  Several touched down west of me the other day and it got me thinking.  What would I do if my house was flattened?  Assuming I wasn't in it or was in the basement and lived through the event, how would I rebuild.

The answer is I probably wouldn't.  At least not the same way.  The clutter I've collected over the years is the result of years of living my life but it is sort of like cholesterol, threatening to choke the life out of me.  So if I lost everything, I wouldn't too upset over my refrigerator being crushed or my couch being shredded.  I can replace those.  The things that would upset me the most would be the items I can't replace.

Photos from my wedding, for example.  The lamp I made in wood shop as a kid, my grandfather's pocket watch, and, of course, my stories.  My unpublished stories to be more precise.  My published stories exist out in the world and are safe -- safer -- than my unpublished ones.  In fact, one only copy of those stories exist, my copy.

I started thinking about this and began to see I'd need several gigabytes of space to store all the data I would want to save.  Once I knew that I began to think about the best way to store it.

A flash drive or thumb drive is one option.  I generally don't carry such an item with me at all times so if it was in the house when the house was destroyed, my assumption is the drive would be too.

There are online services I could use but I really don't want to pay anyone.

I have space on GoDaddy, where I host my web sites, but I really don't want to suck up gigabytes of space there.

Then I realized I usually carry lots of unused computer space around with me without realizing it.  Where?  In my phone.  I have a 16GB iPhone, of which I use maybe 1 or 2 gigabytes.  It could easily house my data all I needed was a way to transfer it to my phone.  And since I usually have my phone with me, if I survive a tornado strike, most likely, so will my phone.

And so after a little perusal on the App Store I found something that turns my phone into an FTP server. This allows me to transfer data to it with the FTP client I use to upload files to GoDaddy.

The rest is history.  I now have a backup copy of my most important data in my phone as a precaution.  And I recommend any writer within the sound of my blog do the same.  Our most valuable asset is our intellectual property and that's our stories and ideas.  So it is paramount that we, as writers, protect it so that in the event of a disaster, like a tornado, we can recover from it and keep going.

I hope I never have to test my makeshift recovery plan but I'm glad I have a backup somewhere that's always with me just in case the worst happens.

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