Author Topic: Wake Up Call 2013  (Read 1418 times)

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Denver Road Doug

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Wake Up Call 2013
« on: July 23, 2013, 04:28:40 PM »
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Being in IT (and having lost data personally due to being lazy and forgetful) I used to post on the various train forums on occasion just to remind folks to back up their hard drives, since many of us have tons of photos and research that would be anywhere from time consuming to replace to impossible for some photos and scanned documents to be recreated.  Still holds true, and I still recommend allotting some resources (time and money) to that end....4TB drives are readily available now and 1-2TB drives are becoming extremely cheap, plus a myriad of cloud backup options.   $100 spent now really will be worthwhile when you're looking at spending $1200 or more for drive recovery services that may or may not be successful...and TONS of time and stress during the recovery process.

But that's not really what this Wake Up Call is about.   You see, I am currently an apartment dweller, and my worldly possessions (including a sizable n-scale collection and the beginnings of a small layout) have been at the mercy of that lifestyle over the past several years.   Meaning, not only my poor decisions or an accident at my home, but those from dozens of others, the inhabitants of which I know nothing of their decision making processes or regard for the safety of their surroundings.   Of the many instabilities in my life, that one weighed heavily on me even though in reality (I thought) the percentages of the proverbial lightning strike were pretty low.

I often spend weekends at the girlfriend's place and that compounds the issue....I couldn't really "react" even if it was advisable.   And of course, we know generally it isn't...life is too precious to risk over material things.  Yet we spend a lot of time and money putting together our model railroading collections and layouts and the thought of losing those possessions is pretty unbearable to even consider...but I digress.   THIS weekend was no different, and while watching the news at her house, I began to formulate understanding of the words and see the unbelievable video that had my heart sinking to the floor.   "Breaking news...3-Alarm apartment fire in MyTown in the 4100-Block of MyStreet this evening has sent two firefighters to Parkland Hospital and has destroyed 24-units in the MyComplex apartments."    :RUEffinKiddingMe:  MY APARTMENTS, fully engulfed in flames...25 miles away but right there in high definition for me to see.   Lightning quite literally DID strike--an isolated but very severe electrical storm was the culprit--with witnesses describing the sound of the strike "as if a bomb had gone off."  It was very surreal, very much a "life flashing before your eyes" type of event as I sat there taking it all in.

The first time I can ever recall a catastrophic network news event being so directed at me, and the ensuing couple of hours would be agonizing.   Fortunately, I would eventually learn that my unit was NOT part of the 24 that were gutted by fire that evening.    150 yards away from my front door lie the ruins and provide the perspective of how fortunate I was that day.   And everyone, really....all escaped major injury, although I do feel for those who lost their possessions.   :(

So, obviously this Wake Up Call is somewhat the same....BE PREPARED.   Not only the obvious...make sure your items are insured, and on a separate rider so that you can get somewhat close to the real value in the event of a catastrophe.  But also, be prepared that it CAN happen to you.   Make sure you are putting yourself in position to minimize your risk of something like this destroying your prized material possessions.   I have a lot of research materials that I've been intending to digitize so that I will have them available regardless of their physical state...but I've kept putting it off.   In all truthfulness, when I initially thought of material possessions the trains were not the first things I thought of....number one on the list was the cookbook that my mom put together for me, before she passed, with all of my favorite recipes she made for me growing up.    Why I haven't scanned that in up to this point is beyond me, but I retrieved it and the plan is to at least get cellphone pics of it tonight.    Anyway, also make sure you are following best practices for safe storage of chemicals and proper installation and use of electrical wiring, outlets, power strips, etc.   Check fire alarms, extinguishers, etc.

Don't ignore this.   THIS IS YOUR WAKEUP CALL, too.   :o
« Last Edit: July 23, 2013, 04:30:40 PM by Denver Road Doug »
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

dnhouston

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 04:37:41 PM »
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Dang man, close call!  Glad to hear everything's "ok".
And those are very sound words of advice.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 05:33:49 PM »
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Renters insurance. After a friend lost EVERYTHING because the house they were renting suffered a fire, I decided that it was an easy few dollars a month to spend.

Also, a good roster of what you own (including photos and receipts) is not a bad idea either. Make sure those records are adequately backed up too (Dropbox is great for this, as is Google Drive).

This is an excellent thread (although it might make it to the crew lounge at some point).

Glad you dodged that bullet.

djconway

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 05:57:49 PM »
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ouch scarry close call

I too am an IT professional and also known as the evangelist of backups at work, kept putting off making a backup of photos/inventory/research data on the home computer, until the darned thing fried something in the mother board.  No problem I thought I'll just pull the drives and get my stuff -- wrong! NT-Windows 98 - Win XP - security is doing its job you ain't the owner you ain't looking at the file.  Long & short of it I lost 15,000 or so photos.  Still have the HD and have a few more ideas yet to try. 

Make sure you can actually recover what you have backed up. :scared:  Test your backups every now and then.
That nice backup won't do you any good if you can't  get the info back.

pnolan48

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 06:06:49 PM »
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In terms of destroying your life, a fire is much more thorough than a break-in. I was lucky: the thieves stole my new backup drive, but not my old computer. I had an off-site backup, but it was months old. I guess I should back up to the cloud. Or to my new iPhone. Or something.

chicken45

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2013, 06:27:37 PM »
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I use Carbonite. Worth every penny. When I was in Baltimore, my 8 year old Dell was stolen.
Josh Surkosky

Here's a Clerihew about Ed. K.

Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
But mention his law
and you've pulled your last straw!

Alternate version:
Ed Kapucinski
Every night, he plants a new tree.
He asks excitedly "Did you say Ménage à Trois?"
No, I said "Ed's Law."

John

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2013, 09:03:13 PM »
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I just told my wife I need to back up my layout .. I am going to replicate the whole thing in another basement at least 1 mile away :) ... seriously though .. good advice

btsnyder27

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2013, 10:02:46 PM »
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I just told my wife I need to back up my layout .. I am going to replicate the whole thing in another basement at least 1 mile away :) ... seriously though .. good advice

John, I'm sure that went over swimmingly   ;)
Modeling Conrail in 1980 in N.
Modeling a modern fictional shortline railroad in HO.

peteski

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 01:43:50 AM »
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Close call!

I backup my data regularly. I also keep an "off-site" copy of my irreplaceable data. That way, I have at least 2 backup copies of the data at any given time. I also don't believe or trust in cloud storage. I think part of the reason for my paranoia is that in work I support iSCSI storage arrays and I'm always amazed just how many customers do not have good backups. When the array is unrecoverable, they are up the creek without a paddle!  I see this scenario way too often.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 05:13:25 PM by peteski »
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pnolan48

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 09:54:57 AM »
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A few years ago, I made a concerted effort to assemble all my writing and imagery into one place. This entailed using an old MAC Performa with a hand-wired floppy disk drive (since the original drive was long dead); an old G3 with a SCSI port for JAZ drives; a G4 with an operable CD drive--and so forth, all connected via Ethernet.

I succeeded, but also learned how little of my data was actually worth anything to me. First and second drafts of an annual report--or even the published version circa 1992--even when it is about the largest corporation in the world at the time--are utterly worthless today. I think I keep them because it costs virtually nothing to store. And I will never read them again because they have nothing of value for me today.

When I'm gone, my daughters will look at a floppy disk with perhaps 500K of data, and chuck it into the trash, because it will be too much trouble to read.

But the good stuff is now backed up three times over.

FrankCampagna

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 10:32:22 AM »
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You should consider sending your local fire station a note thanking them for saving your apartment.
"Once I built a railroad, made it run......."

Ike the BN Freak

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2013, 05:11:59 PM »
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I seriously need to invest in some sort of off site back up.

Been looking at carbonite, but heard they don't like have videos uploaded to them, or it won't do it automatically.

sirenwerks

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Re: Wake Up Call 2013
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2013, 09:00:19 PM »
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I'd been in temporary digs for a while and, during that time, started to inventory everything I own.  The problem was, half my stuff, including the bulk of my N scale gear lay in storage where I was living but in a manner I couldn't readily access it.  This month I moved to a new, decent size apartment; a condo rental.  I started unboxing everything for the first time in too many years.  It was like Xmas seeing so many possessions I hadn't seen in years but as I started to organize, compartmentalize, and put everything in its proper place, I cracked open the laptop and went back to completing my inventory.  My 'databases' (4 separate ones, all of sizable collection/value - trains, books, DVDs, and domestic possessions from computers/peripherals to kitchen appliances to artwork and furniture) are in Google and accessible anywhere via my Gmail account, even by my trusted insurance agent.  Each item is linked to a scanned receipt or photograph of the item, the files of which are stored in my Flickr account.  And it's all backed up to my MyBook on my desktop.  My insurance agent even gave me an extra discount for being so anal.  I'm hoping that by being so prepared fate won't f with me but I'm prepared to kick its a$$ in short order if it does.

Dealing with my Dad's estate got me thinking about all of this too and I'm forcing my siblings to hand over family photos and important documents so I can digitize them, through them up on Flickr and not only preserve them, to a degree, but make them accessible to even my most distant relatives.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 09:04:32 PM by sirenwerks »
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