How often have you been caught up in writing your latest, greatest article and suddenly experienced the all-too-common cataclysmic computer crash? But no worries, you’ll just reboot, right? And that’s when it hits you. You forgot to hit the save button while writing your piece and all your hard work has now vanished in the blink of an eye, sucked into the endless dark depths of computer cyber world, leaving you sitting despondent in your overly-cushioned computer chair, teeth clenched in agony, shaking your fists at the heavens and screaming “No!” And just think it could have all been avoided by backing up your work on a regular basis. Here are some of the best ways to do so:
1. USB Flash (or “Jump”) Drives
These days you can purchase a USB (Universal Serial Bus) Flash Drive just about anywhere and for a relatively inexpensive price, depending on the gigabyte size. From Best Buy stores to Walmart and even some local gas stations, retailers are selling them left and right. Smaller than the old school floppy discs, lightweight (usually less than 30g) and portable, they are perfect for storing large amounts of data in an extremely condensed amount of space. Many are also rewritable and employ the use of a mass storage system supported by Windows, Mac OS X and other similar Unix systems. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors and name brands, so be sure to do a little research and learn more about the one that will best fit your electronic data storage needs.
After writing (and saving) your article(s), insert your flash drive into your computer or laptop’s USB port and back up all of your work, including any important research you may have done online. If your computer ever crashes and cannot be salvaged, your work will be on the drive and up-loadable to a new computer.
2. External Hard Drives
Larger than flash drives, external hard drives are typically capable of storing much larger amounts of data, including large video and audio files. While they may not fit in your pocket, they are handy for transferring entire computer hard drives, and the information stored there within, onto an external device. The majority of today’s external hard drives will connect to your computer or laptop via its USB port in the same way a flash drive will. However, an external hard drive will require a USB cable to do so. This should be included with the drive upon purchase. If not, they can be purchased separately.
I personally recommend Western Digital (WD) external hard drives. Check out www.westerndigital.com. Other notable name brands include Maxtor, now called Seagate (www.maxtor.com), Toshiba (www.toshiba.com) and HP (Hewlett Packard): www.hp.com.
3. Transfer to Your PDA: Blackberries, iPhones & Palm Pilots
These days you can’t go anywhere without seeing someone furiously typing away on their personal digital assistants or snazzy cell phones. Whether you’re notorious for using Palm Pilots, Blackberries or the ever popular iPhone, there are plenty of handheld devices that come standard with Microsoft Word and/or other document programs. Additionally, the majority of these devices include USB cables and can be synchronized to your computer and/or laptop. With this technology it is now easier than ever to electronically transfer your articles and research onto your handheld with the click of a button. And the great thing is, you can take them with you wherever you go!
So before you find yourself in utter shock at the loss of several months or even years worth of writing and research, start backing up your work now! Make a habit of performing a transfer at the end of every week or on a biweekly basis. This way, when the inevitable crash occurs, you will only lose the handful of articles that had not yet been transferred. Take it from me: this is one part of being a writer that is well worth the trouble and the money!