Some things I have learned from this include:
1. Don't put your notebook PC on the top of your SUV and try to drive with it up there. It doesn't work (smile/frown).
2. Use a remote, offsite backup service for your most critical files using a service such as Connected, Fabrik or any other reputable online backup service that does "incremental backup"-where only the changed portions of files that are changed are backed up. [Note: if you have a MacBook, use the Time Machine backup software to backup your data to either an Apple Time Capsule (includes Time Machine software, a 500GB hard drive and Wi-Fi) or to your own external hard drive that sits connected to your MacBook. I have recently migrated my photos and music over to a MacBook Pro and find the Time Machine function very easy and painless to set up.]
3. Continue to use an external backup drive, and back up your photos, music and e-mail once a week. I always do that on Friday night. Make a habit of it and it will ensure that your files will not be out of date.
4. Consider installing Computrace's Lo/Jack for Laptops. It can help retrieve a notebook PC if it's stolen. It installs some "silent" software on the notebook that allows it to "call home" if Computrace is notified that the unit was stolen. There are wonderful case studies that the company has about stolen units that were successfully recovered.
I can assure you, if you don't have a backup of your critical data and you lose your computer, it will be one of the worst days in your life. It was almost exhilarating to be able to get a new notebook and restore my complete operating environment in less than two days. It took some work, but I ended up hardly skipping a beat to the outside world.
Take a little time right now to get your backup going. It could be the best thing you ever did.
For more than 16 years, Dr. Purdy has been consulting, speaking, researching, networking, writing and developing state-of-the-art concepts that challenge people's mind-sets, and developing new ways of thinking and forecasting in the mobile computing and wireless data arenas. Often quoted, his ideas and opinions are followed closely by thought leaders in the mobile & wireless industry. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.