Where Are Your Data?

kinnon —  July 31, 2005 — Leave a comment

Many years ago (when a 460MB hard drive was considered huge) I had a rather painful data loss experience. I had animations in our Chyron Max (a character generator/graphics device for TV) that had taken hundreds of hours to create. Realizing the need to back them up, we’d purchased an external Bernoulli drive. In the formatting process of that drive, we discovered a bug in Chyron’s software. If the actual Bernoulli cartridge was not loaded (our engineer had popped it out), the software decided it would format the C drive instead – and it erased all my work. I screamed, I raged, I almost threw up. (It became a very expensive software glitch for Chyron.)

My good friend, Christopher, an IT lawyer pointed his brother Jonathan (an Episopal Rector) and me at this article.

Chessen, who once was a manager for a suicide prevention hotline, now works in customer service for DriveSavers Data Recovery Inc. "This is a lot like my old job," she said. "Oftentimes the most helpful thing we can do is just to listen and to let people get whatever they are feeling off their chests."
"The challenge is to recognize which of the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance — a given customer is in, and respond accordingly."

Christopher comments:

Perhaps some material for a sermon here: "Where your data is (or "are" if you are a pedant like me), there shall your heart be also." Copied to Bill in case he hasn’t covered this theme yet in a blog posting.

If it is any comfort, we do some work with data forensic guys who will tell you that it is almost impossible to destroy data if you try to do it deliberately. Examples have included people who have tried to destroy hard drives with hammers, shotguns and by dropping them in canals. In each case all the information was recovered! However, sods law is such that it is not too difficult to lose data that you want to preserve.

I have over 8,000 photos in iPhoto. They are backed up on three different computers with DVD backups of the first 6000. All my documents (including the photos) are backed up to an external firewire drive using Apple’s iBackup utility. (However, my last backup was four weeks ago.) I also have all my product serial numbers and other critical data backed up to the .Mac server and stored on my Gmail account. Call me paranoid – but sometimes even paranoids are right! Where are your data?



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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