Creamed - A Public Service Announement

Hi, this is Chris again.  It's "Chris Talkin." (I'm the only American I know who watches Corner Gas).

Anyways, I just received this beauty of an email from Mr. Lady, who's without computer for a little while:

"It's my harddrive. Which is quite dead. Now would be an excellent time to cream me on my blog. If you're into that sort of thing."

Innuendos aside -- oh that's going to be tough -- I thought I would go ahead give my geeky public service message about backing things up on your computer.

It is not if your computer crashes, it's when your computer crashes.  And you should be prepared for that event so it's not catastrophic but merely an annoyance while you catch up on DVR'd shows (Lost?  Antitrust?  Oh how I like Rachel Leigh Cook as a computer geek.)

Here goes...

FIRST:  Sign up for an online backup service.  It's way cheaper than your txt message plan.   They work one of two ways:  either you check off the folders you want to backup, or it creates a drive (like C:\ or F:\) where you can save your files.  And the rest is magic.  Your files will be safely and securely transferred to online storage where you can easily retrieve them from another computer or get them back after yours is rebuilt.  It's so easy your mom can do it.

I know people who use the following services and have been happy with them:

http://www.jungledisk.com/

http://www.ibackup.com/

http://www.carbonite.com/

Make sure whichever service you choose automatically encrypts (protects) your files in case somebody evil gains access to them (all three services listed above do).

Speaking of evil, if you hate Rush Limbaugh then don't choose carbonite.com because they advertise on his show.  (Personally I kinda like El Rushbo, a fact which totally gets me laid at Tea Parties, weddings, and anywhere in Lubbock, TX)

Seriously though, this online backup stuff is super cheap and only takes a few mouse clicks (or clit tickles if you have a Dell or IBM laptop) to set up and it's so easy my 16 month old niece can do it.  Maybe not, but she can totally unlock my iPhone and scroll through pictures in the photo album.

[Mr. Lady should pay close attention to this item because I don't think she had a backup.  Scorch!]

SECOND:  All those cd's and pieces of paper that come with your computer?  Keep them.  Stuff them under the couch, in a drawer, or with your spouse's oil change records for as long as you have the computer.  If you're getting a used computer then make sure you get those disks from the previous owner.  If you no longer have the computer then you are safe to throw them away.  It's a mindless step, but it can save a bunch of time or money when you have to reinstall Windows or OS X.

THIRD:  Mac OS X and Windows Vista have pretty nice "time machine" or "restore" systems.  These basically take a snapshot of critical files which can be reapplied/reverted if the system files are corrupted.   I highly recommend you take a snapshot periodically because it there's a change it might save some trouble.

LAST:  If you have a computer for your kids, it will get toasted on a regular basis.  Save yourself some trouble and learn about Live CD's.  They are basically full computer systems on a CD -- no installation required.  Simply pop in the cd and turn her on.  The kids won't be able to break anything, and if something stops working then a simple reboot gets you back to a clean slate.  I like Knoppix because it's totally free and works well.  Edubuntu is for younger children and also looks interesting.

This concludes my public service message.  Happy porn surfing!