Here’s a glimpse into the kinds of things that are happening in Carl’s and Fran’s world…
- We’ve issued fraud warnings with the credit bureaus, closed Fran’s checking account, and placed warnings on my and Rhiannon’s accounts (because the thief got our information due to my doing the taxes with TurboTax, and also helped himself to four books of Fran’s checks);
- We are shopping for a safe.
- We are shopping for a home security system.
- We’ve signed up for .Mac so that we can use its web-based backup feature.
- We’re setting up a professional account with Flickr so that we can archive Fran’s photos (the ones that we still have, thanks to having them archived on CDs; we realize that CDs are vulnerable to a fire, so we want a more secure way to archive them.
- From here on out, we will be scanning receipts and barcodes of new major purchases and archiving the PDFs of those items on iDisk; we’ll also be meticulous in saving receipts with owner’s manuals (let’s just say that up until now we have been very casual — read: disorganized — about this kind of thing).
Fran and I are aging hippies. Up to now we have gone through life with a rather smug sense of pride that we were not so gripped in the jaws of materialism that we had to armor ourselves with a safe, alarm system, etc. etc. Well, that pride now has been painfully purged away.
I’m writing all this not just to beat the breast of my own shame, but to shout out loud and clear: we suggest that you lock your barn before your horse gets out. I spoke with Linda, my agent, yesterday, and she said she would be telling my story to all her other authors — especially about having an offsite backup — because I’m living proof that an author’s worse nightmare really can come to call. Thankfully, I was in the habit of emailing files I was working on to myself at work, using Gmail: so my loss is by no means complete. But I’ve lost a lot of my most recent work, and I have the hassle factor of going through Gmail, downloading the various files (often the same file in different permutations) and piecing it all together. Kind of a literary archeological dig.
So do your backups my friends — and don’t just use a memory stick, which is what I was doing (and which like a fool I left plugged into my computer Friday morning, and now it’s gone). Do it. Every day. To an online destination.