Last week was my first, full, uninterrupted week back at work. The trials of December had kept me away and not only made my work schedule irregular but also guaranteed that I was pretty well distracted even when I did make it in. The nature of my job means that there is not much that I can delegate to get done while I am away. All of the projects, tasks, e-mails, etc. just park there at my doorstep until I get back and am engaged enough to deal with them.

One of the first things I wanted to take care of once I got back to the office was to backup my PowerBook. With everything going on I had not been able to back up since December 5th – which from past experience I know is a dangerous thing.

But I was swamped. From the moment I arrived at the office I was deluged with an avalanche of items that had just been sitting there for me to return. Therefore, I was unable to even begin to backup until the end of the day. I was stressed. I was frazzled. I was tired… I also should not have been attempting to do anything as important and attention sensitive as backing up.

So despite the multiple dialog boxes. Despite the warnings and chances to say “no” to the question “are you sure” I plugged in my PowerBook and hit…


That’s right, instead of backing up I restored my machine back to the state of my last back up. On December 5th, 2006. A month worth of changes. Lost. Or so I initially thought…

You see, after a few minutes of sheer panic. I realized that I, in fact, had not lost everything I had done for the month. Actually, I lost very little. I had some aces in the hole. Here is a list of the things that saved this from being a catastrophic failure:

>IMAP – A couple of years ago, I switched all of my e-mail from POP to IMAP. Now, instead of my e-mail being downloaded to my local machine it is stored on the server. Therefore, zero loss of e-mail. I just launched and it was all there.

>iDisk – I am a slave to Apple’s .Mac service. Largely due to the iDisk. Apple’s iDisk provides up to 1GB of WebDav based storage. You can keep a local copy of it multiple machines that sync changes, online and off with the server. I have gotten in the habit of storing and backing up documents to the iDisk. Not just for added safety but also so that I can have access to them on multiple machines. Therefore, I lost none of those.

>Yojimbo – As I have said in the past, I have gotten in the habit of throwing any document it can handle into Yojimbo . It has quickly become the center of my Mac universe. Not only do I use it for general information and document storage but I use it for a good many of my text processing needs. If I need to write a quick letter, take some notes, flesh out an idea – I use Yojimbo. I also use the sync services capabilities of Yojimbo to keep all of this stuff synced between machines through .Mac. Therefore, I simply took my Yojimbo database from another machine, replaced the “old” one on my PowerBook and all was well.

>MacJournal – Everything I don’t write in Yojimbo I generally do in MacJournal. All of my journal posts, for instance, are written using MacJournal. It has a number of great features (the full screen mode is the best available in my opinion). The one that saved me though was “Download Entries from blog…” which synced all of the “missing” entries. Therefore all of the blogs posts that were missing from MacJournal were synced back. Zero loss.

These things, combined with the fact that so much of my other stuff is managed in web apps like Basecamp and Backpack, made all of the difference in the world. Through them, I basically have regular and consistent offsite backup. This, to me, is the real promise of the convergence of broadband, web 2.0 and online storage. The ability to not only have my information ubiquitously at any machine I am at but also to have multiple backups should anything go wrong locally.