So it's been three weeks since my last blog post. What has happened, has been a series of unfortunate events.
About six months ago, I decided that it was time to get a new computer. After all, to boost productivity, one must have reliable and efficient equipment to work from. With Zen's assistance, I went on a shopping spree for computer parts and later that afternoon, he built me a super computer.
For six months, I was extremely impressed with the boot-up speed of my computer. This was the core reason behind why we chose to go with a solid state drive (SSD). You essentially install the operating system on the SSD and then have a separate hard drive for programs and data.
SSDs are fast, cool (temperature-wise), silent, less susceptible to physical failure, and take less energy to read/write per KB than a standard HDD.
However, with no prior warning signs, a few weeks ago, it died on me.
I woke the computer up from hibernation after a typical night out - the blue screen of death appeared - and life was never the same again.
The computer failed to recognise the SSD, and thus failed to startup Windows.
I first freaked out thinking I'd lost absolutely everything but quickly realised that all my data (work files, photos, etc) were safe on the separate hard drive.
Then a sinking feeling hit me. I've just lost my Outlook - my contacts and email trails. And my saved passwords.
I was even more upset when I learnt that many others were experiencing the same issue.
I'm normally quite timely with my back-up process and actually had one of my back-up hard drives out a few days prior to this incident, but I was so busy with work things, that I pushed my back-up process down to a lower priority so I could meet some deadline. (This wouldn't have helped anyway as I actually never backup my Outlook!)
How is it possible that this product made it onto store shelves? I wonder what the QA process involved, and what type of regulation there is in the computer parts industry. A six month life for a relatively pricey hard drive is pathetic. What a piece of crap!
The next day, I frantically researched for data recovery companies and found a few reputable ones. One company inspected the SSD but then turned it away because Patriot SSDs use a Sandforce brand main controller chip with uses hardware based data encryption.
My SSD was still under warranty so I contacted the manufacturer (not that I would want a replacement, since I've now completely lost my trust in the technology and manufacturer) to ask for referrals to data recovery centres and I also inquired about in-house data recovery services. There weren't any real leads there.
To make things more insane, Eat Drink Blog 2011, which I was on the organising committee for, was fast approaching (and ended up being an enormous success!) and I was scheduled to move that very same week!
Where am I now?
I'm missing the grassy laid back atmosphere of Rozelle but I've settled in well to Surry Hills. I've been eating out for two weeks straight now!
However, I still don't have my files restored. I'm expecting a response any day now but due to the complex nature of this case, this will be costing me thousands.
The good news is that a lot of my stuff is done online including my bookkeeping system. Dropbox proved to be very handy too, so my both my businesses have virtually had almost no down time. And because of my separate hard drive set-up, all my photos and data files were unharmed.
I've got a back-up of a back-up now, and I'm back onto using a standard hard drive. It doesn't boot-up as fast but that's a compromise I'm willing to make for reliability. I'm also in the process of setting up an exchange server for my emails, and will soon have a RAID5 network set-up in place to auto back-up.
Back onto the bad news... I've lost my contact list so if you're a blogger, brand manager or PR person and have previously been in touch with me, I'd really appreciate if you could drop me an email with your contact details.
I also won't be sending out a newsletter this month, and I won't be able to update the Top 100 Australian Food Twitterers List. If in the last month, you've requested to be added or have sent across recommendations for new tweeps to add, please re-send your email as I will have lost it.
I've just re-installed all of my programs so I will be commencing my regular blogging routine very shortly. Thank goodness I didn't lose any photos!
The main thing I'd like to share from this experience, is the importance of backing-up. When was the last time you backed-up? And if you think doing it on a monthly or weekly basis is enough - can you stand to lose this month/week's data?
Please take this post as a reminder to back-up all your stuff today. I mean, now.