Monday, January 02, 2006

Back up your data!

How many computer crashes have YOU had? How many times has YOUR hard drive died and the technician said: "sorry, we couldn't save your data" and then you tried to remember when you last saved your important stuff? I have to admit the number is THREE for me.

Click on these pics for a closer look; they're from PhD Comics...

And from real life, via Philobiblon:

Extracts from
Student Finds a Stolen Thesis
By Susan Kinzie for the Washington Post December 22, 2005

When Linda Cerniglia went back to school, it took her almost seven years to get through all the prerequisites, the labs, the research. And it took a thief just moments to grab her purse, with the only copy of her master's thesis stored on a tiny jump drive inside.

Grad school never came easily to Cerniglia, who majored in dance as part of the University of Maryland's Class of 1986, became a personal trainer and returned to the school in her forties for a master's degree in exercise physiology. She designed an experiment, analyzed CT scans, ran statistics, studied research and -- slowly -- began to write her thesis.

"It was so painful," she said. "I would rather go outside and dig a hole all day long than write."

Another student, Neil Doldo, told her to back up the data: He had lost his jump drive with his almost-finished thesis, spent three sickening days retracing his steps searching for it, until finally his dogs Zeus and Mela tired of it and left it on the floor near the dog bed.

One afternoon in September at Carderock Park, after doing some perfectionist tweaking of her almost-finished thesis, Cerniglia locked her things in the car.

An hour or so later at her home in Bethesda, she realized her purse was gone. Her bank cards, driver's license, Social Security card, $1,000 worth of checks from clients -- she didn't care. But the jump drive was in the purse. And she still had not made a backup, even after hearing Doldo's "the dog ate my thesis" story.

She raced to the police, who told her she would never find it; it could have been pawned, it could have been dropped, run over, flushed.

As the two of them called to cancel her credit cards, Cerniglia found that one had already been used, at 2:37 p.m. at a Target in Greenbelt. ... A few minutes later, another charge popped up. Another Target, another vacuum cleaner. Then another.

The next morning, Cerniglia began to think about what she would do if she were the thief. Get out of there fast, speed out on the Beltway, then dump the purse.

So that day, she drove to Greenbelt, and as soon as she parked she saw a big trash bin behind a Wendy's, like a beacon. It was perfect.

She started pulling out broken-down boxes. She didn't care about the trash, even if it was greasy slop from a fast-food place. "No cockroach, no rat, no creature from the dark was going to keep me from my jump drive," she said. "Nothing is as bad as the thought of rewriting that thesis."

She saw a flash of aqua cloth. Her heart pounded -- it looked like her workout pants. "Then I see my gym bag. I jumped into the dumpster. I'm throwing things out of the way. I see my driver's license."

And there, at the bottom, was her black leather purse. She unzipped it, reached in, and felt her fingers close around -- her jump drive.

People driving by stared: A 5-foot-4 43-year-old woman jumping up and down in a trash bin, screaming.

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At 7:33 AM, Blogger kenju said...

That is an unbelieveable story! Good for her; I would have lost it forever.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Norma said...

Why does your blog have no title? First time I've ever seen that. Are you shy? Glitch in the template? Independent?


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