I’ve preached about the importance of backups and makin’ sure all the data on whatever computer(s) you operate is safely backed up. Over the years, a lot of folks didn’t listen. And ended up payin’ me substantial amounts to recover their data when their drives crashed. I had a fair amount of success if boot sectors went bad or some other form of data corruption came into play.

But every once in a while, I’d run into a head crash, and Timmy, ‘twarn’t much I could do there except offer consolation. You could sometimes hear things grindin’ and crunchin’ as the old HDD heads scraped across those platters, mercilessly micro-gougin’ them, beyond practical repair or recovery. Good times.

SMALLER DRIVES, SAME BIG PROBLEMS

Course nowadays, most drives are SSDs and we don’t have head crashes. But things still go south every now and again.

Why just last week I was workin’ away when suddenly somethin’ happened. Both of my backup drives just disappeared as my printer flashed, tellin’ me it was offline. No power surge, no ligtnin’ nor wind, no nothin’. Plus, I’m hooked up to a UPS that has more than adequate protection and 3 times the capacity I actually need. No idea what happened, but I figured I’d just shut my Mac down, wait a few minutes and reboot. SOP.

Sadly, that didn’t work. The drives were still missin’. I ran a few utilities, only to be told that my Mac couldn’t mount the disks. I was sorely bummed, to say the least.

Seems back in 2021, I scanned over a 120 years of family photos – discarding them after doing so – because I didn’t want anyone to have to lug a small truckload of slides, scrapbooks, tintypes and prints halfway across the country someday, only to throw ‘em away. Figured my daughter wouldn’t mind puttin’ a drive not much bigger’n a business card in her backpack, maybe to browse and have a laugh or two, or perhaps remember that trip we took to Niagara Falls.

MIRACULOUS RECOVERY

But in an instant they were all gone. And I’d practiced what I’d preached. Not just once, but twice. And at one point, the drive with everything I held dear had been mirrored to an external SSD, but somehow, those files got wiped out a couple months ago. Not all, but most, which I thought was pretty random. I was able to recover them from a backup after that blowout, but I gave up on mirrorin’ henceforth.

About an hour after this whole debacle began, and after I’d talked to some guy in California who told me they could probably recover my files for somewhere north of $2500, a window popped up, tellin’ me that my TMB drive could be read, but not written to. Whoa. I started copyin’ those files in an instant and recovered everythin’ I thought I’d lost forever. Still have no idea what happened, nor why, but I don’t much care.

TRUSTING THE CLOUD

When I related the story of my near disaster to others, a couple three recommended that I should entrust the The Google and its cloud with the safekeepin’ of my files. Seems those suggestin’ the cloud route had a considerable stake in this endeavor as well, bein’ that aside from my personal files, my Mac holds all my work files too.

I’ll acknowledge that usin’ one cloud or another is a good idea for some. It’s presumably a tried-and-true way to not only ensure the safety and integrity of your data, but to have access to it from anywhere you might be with your computer and internet access.

It’s just not for me.

Unlike so many, I have an inherent distrust of The Google and other digital megagigalopolies. Yes Timmy, that’s another kinda made up combo word. To me it represents the giants that aren’t quite monopolies yet but have designs on someday controllin’ every bit and byte in this world. The less I rely on them, the better I like it.

But for those of you who don’t share my disdain – or merely choose to turn a blind eye – have at it. I tried to warn people some 20 years ago, but few listened. It’s FREE they said. They didn’t say it would remain so. TANSTAAFL. Walk toward the light Brent.

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

As a result of my near-death drive experience and my contempt of the cloud, I now have 6 new SSDs. Three are working as TMBs, alternatin’ hourly backups on The Big Mac. One is backin’ up my MacBook. Yet another is in the safe, guardin’ all those family photos. The sixth is waitin’ on orders. I suppose I may see if I can get a mirror workin’ again, seein’ as I now have significant redundancies in place.

You may well think I went off the deep end, and I won’t argue with you. That’s kinda the way I’m built – especially when I do things right and still get bit in the butt. Let’s be kind and say that I’m leanin’ toward an over-abundance of caution at this point.

All of this bein’ said to hopefully keep even one person readin’ this from losin’ irreplaceable digital data. I don’t care how you do it, just do it. Maybe two or three times just to be sure.

WOW, WHAT A STEAL!

And now it’s time for Brent’s Catch of the Day – a slimy bit of spam caught in the nets this week.

We are a group of highly qualified ethical hackers who scan tens of thousands of sites every day for critical vulnerabilities and patch them for a small fee. On your site, we have discovered 5 critical vulnerabilities, each of which can give attackers full access to your site, databases and the server as a whole. Pay $3000 (0.15 BTC) by visiting this site where you will be able to copy our bitcoin (btc) address or scan the QR code with your device [web address was here]

And after payment within 12 hours we will fix all the vulnerabilities on your site and you can sleep peacefully without worrying about the safety of your site and server. If we are hired by well-known corporations, then we charge from $50000 for our services, so you are lucky that we offer you the same service for $3000 (0.15 BTC)

So I guess people didn’t respond all that well to your earlier attempts at outright extortion? You know – the ones I referenced in the “Spammers Still Suck” section of Lessons Learned back in December of ‘22. Seriously? You dipsticks think wrappin’ dung up in prettier paper is actually gonna work better?

And geez, I feel so lucky that you’re offerin’ such a great deal for you doin’ zip. I’m truly honored. So happy you added a QRC for my convenience as well. But just an FYI – you might oughta look up the word ‘ethical’ and see exactly how it doesn’t apply to you. Wuf.

So that’s about it for today, Timmy. Remember to back those files up! At least twice.

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