Tag Archive | staying right here

Hold The Phone!

Ignore my previous post. My banking issues have been resolved, I’ve paid my bill, and the domain is saved! That almost sounds like the plot for a fairy tale: the princess paid her taxes, thus saving her domain.

If I haven’t done so already, allow me to share Robyn’s First Rule of Computing with you:

BE PARANOID AND COMPULSIVE

I devised this rule back in the ‘70s, during the heyday of MS-DOS, as a reminder to always make several copies of your important data. The corollary to the First Rule is this:

IT ISN’T A MATTER OF IF YOU LOSE YOUR DATA; IT’S A MATTER OF WHEN.

At the time, I worked in a state government office where personal computers were just beginning to make an appearance. Since I was one of only two people in our entire division who knew anything about them, I was tasked (along with my regular duties) with the additional responsibility with making sure that everything functioned smoothly.

One of the first things I did as to enforce Robyn’s First Rule. I did this by location a free program to back up data. It worked like this:

  • On installation of the program, it added a line to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. That displayed a text message that said “You last backed up your data x days ago. Do you want to back up now?”
  • If you answered yes, the program then prompted you to insert the data diskette marked “Backup Diskette n,” where n was the current disk number. It then copied to that disk any files that had been modified since the last backup.
  • Once the diskette was full, the program prompted you to remove the diskette and replace it with a new, formatted diskette to be labeled “Backup Diskette n + 1” and continued until all the files had been backed up.
  • If, however, you answered no, the rest of the instructions in AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS were executed and the system continued to boot up.

I can’t tell you the number of times I got a panicked call from someone who had lost a file and needed help. Invariably, when I’d check the backup log, I discovered that their system hadn’t been back up for weeks—meaning there was no way of recovering the file, except at the byte level with a disk editor, a slow and complicated process that was rarely successful.

All of the above is by way of explaining why I am going to continue cross-posting to both this site and the new blog on WordPress.

I just wanted you to know that.