disaster recovery

i'd heard of this term. my friend jason works with the term pretty frequently, helping his clients do all sorts of things to make sure that their data isn't ever lost. i remember once in college, this evening when i found myself sitting in the computer lab of my residence hall writing away on a paper that was due some time in the next - i'm guessing given my ability to wait until the very last moment all through school - 24-to-36- hours. i was working frantically through the night trying to make sure that the paper was finished in time for a thorought (ha!) review and some sleepytime. then the monitor of the little apple 2-c/e/x/p/whatever-it-was flickered. not one of those lines-down-the-front-of-it flickers. no, not anything that comfortable. rather, it blinked. then, diagonal lines ran all over the front of the little beige box. i quickly realized that the computer was dying, how long had it been since i'd.... saved? needless to say, i became a keyboard person after that. i figure, you've got your hands on the keyboard, chances you'll hit ctrl-s (or apple-s or whatever it was on that device) escalate profoundly. you save more, you have less frustration. something like that happened on a grand scale last night. my hard drive... it... it's so sad to say it.... crashed. i've heard of this happening to my peers. i'd heard the horror stories of the machine just slowing to a crawl, then turning off for no reason. that's what happened yesterday afternoon as i carefully replied to a colleague's email. it slowed, stopped, and then rebooted. blue screen after blue screen. safe mode, safe more with command prompt, safe mode with networking. nothing. all failed attempts. i'm a software guy, and i'm powerless to hardware issues. so when i learned of the hardware guy downstairs i realized there was a glimmer of hope. he located a disaster recovery software package he'd had for years. i drove to pick up another hard drive. together we booted the laptop up, copied some of the data. more crashes. the c drive vanished from the program's explorer window. amazingly enough, reboot attempts allowed us the chance to get pieces of the last few months' work. i was able to save all the files from my existing project save a few that were downloaded this morning once i arrived to the office. but my pictures, my emails, my code, all lost. thousands of memorable conversations, lost. sure, i should have backed up, but i'll tell you what - "things like that don't happen to me." you smirk when you hear it and realize that it's so like a professional coder to think things of that nature. you giggle inside if it's never happened to you, and chills run down your spine if it has happened to you. i think that a hard drive crashing is the equivalent of being, well, beaten senselessly by a complete stranger only to be left for dead once the beating is complete. you feel abused. you feel confused. most of all, you feel ashamed because you should have known better and you should have been backing everything up on a daily basis. in a way, i feel like i've been educated by the whole experience. in the end, i feel like it may have been, from a personal perspective and in no way involving my project partners who've been totally frustrated with me by the whole experience, it was a good thing. i no longer have those bad apps to "rely on" when i don't want to write the code again. i'll be forced to remember how those architectures i had on the machine worked, and those that i've been wanting to rewrite but hadn't found the inspiration will now be rewritten - from scratch and not from their problematic roots. in a way, it's a very cleansing experience. but painful at the same time. the good thing is, i've got the information i need to complete this project. i've got a new, bigger, faster hard drive. and, it's clean. lovely!

Brady Gaster
Hi! I'm a christian dad who lives near Seattle, where I work with the talented folks at Microsoft to create compelling demonstrations for conferences that instruct and inspire developers who want to party in the cloud.