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I have lost everything. Everything. Now what?

By costas in Technology
Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 02:28:47 PM EST
Tags: Help! (Ask Kuro5hin) (all tags)
Help! (Ask Kuro5hin)

Two days ago, my laptop was stolen by some baggage carrier somewhere in Europe. With it I lost about 2-3 months of good computing work, 2 years of company e-mail, and my last vestige of faith in humanity.

How do you recover from something like this? Do you sue the airline? Do you offer a reward for the contents of the hard drive? Do you ask your friends and coworkers for copies of everything you sent them? Do you just shrug it off and keep on living? Do you consider it a re-birth, a chance to start anew? Do you bang your head against the wall muttering "backup, backup, you moron"?

On Monday, August 20, I boarded a flight from SKG (Thessaloniki, Greece) to ATH (Athens, Greece). For those of you that haven't been in that corner of the world, well, a) go there, and b) I should point out that late August is the busiest travel season in Greece. I had with me a small carry-on --one of those wheely things everybody carries these days, but not a laptop bag by any means. In it, my company laptop, a few clothes and toiletries and pretty much nothing else. The airline (Olympic) made me check the bag in. Since I was returning to work from a vacation, I didn't feel like taking the laptop out of the bag and checked everything in. Mistake 1.

The flight was late. Really late, about 45 minutes, due to some computer failure or other. I got off at ATH, 20 minutes before my connecting flight to LHR (London's Heathrow). Somehow, luckily I thought at the time, Olympic granted me the connection and I made my flight. My carry-on didn't.

At this point another player enters my story: Air France, Olympic's baggage handler in LHR. I should point out that in my extensive travels, I have never seen a worse airline, especially when it comes to luggage handling. So, I registered my bag with Air France and waited. And waited some more (Mistake 2). After I didn't get the bag that same afternoon --at which point you know something's wrong-- I started calling them every hour. No sign of the bag that day or the next (the 21st).

I finally decided I had enough of Air France, and went to LHR myself. After 30 mins of arguing with AF that I should look for the bag myself and 3 mins of actually looking for the bag, I found it. Its tags were gone, both mine and the airline's (which explained Air France's denials that they had it) and the combination lock was intact. I was ecstatic, a burden lifted.

Of course, as you may have guessed by now, when I opened the carry-on, the laptop was gone, along with the power adaptor. Everything else was in there. How did they open the bag? picked the combination lock? opened the zipper manually and re-zipped it? I don't know.

So now, I am trying to recover. I do have partial backups of most of my work on there, but not for everything (Mistake 0).

What should I do? What do you do? I don't care about the laptop itself, I just want my data back, somehow...


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I have lost everything. Everything. Now what? | 49 comments (49 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Count it to experience I'm afraid (3.50 / 6) (#1)
by simon farnz on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:13:24 AM EST

It may not even be a baggage handler who nicked the laptop; security at LHR is extremely lax (if you're feeling dopey, you can walk straight into "secured" areas without being challenged or noticed). All you can do is report the theft to the police, and claim against AF for the monetary losses.

Looks like you'll be backing up more often in future; remember not to leave anything valuable in hold luggage!

Sorry for not being more hopeful, but I have had first hand experience of this sort of thing as well.
If guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns

You won't get your data back (4.40 / 10) (#2)
by wiredog on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:14:54 AM EST

Do you bang your head against the wall muttering "backup, backup, you moron"?

Yup. That's what you do. You also tell everybody the story so that they, hopefully, will learn from your mistakes. Thus allowing them more time to make their own mistakes. I do a full backup of the data on my home machine to CD-R, about half a gig of text files, monthly. Incremental backups, to a second hard drive, weekly. Whenever I travel with a laptop I ensure that all the data on it is copied over to a workstation before I go, and I never check it.

Note, however, that there are people who wait at the end of the x-ray machine to grab laptops before the owner can get there, although the airports (here in the US) are getting better about stopping that.

Why is it so hard for people to get in the habit of doing backups? It seems that most of the people who do them have either:

  • a. Worked in a computer center as tape monkeys or
  • b. Lost vital data

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.

In my defense (3.00 / 2) (#6)
by costas on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:49:02 AM EST

I have to defend myself; I am usually pretty good with backups, but that particular laptop was just rebuilt. It's previous incarnation didnot work with a network card, and didnot have a CD-R or any other means of doing a high-speed transfer to the outside.

So, no backups for about 2-3 months at that point, not including e-mail because I was using Exchange for storage. When it was rebuilt last month, I switched on Remote Mail and downloaded everything on the new image. At the same time I got a CD-RW, and I meant to do a backup, honest, but I went on vacation. You know the rest.

My karma (my *real* karma) ain't that good these days...

memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Don't beat yourself up (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by Defiant One on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 02:08:58 PM EST

Despite what some have mentioned here, you seemed to have done pretty much what could be expected of you in regard to backing up, but for a simple file backup before your trip.

On that note, I like to RAR (less common than ZIP, which possibly adds a bit of geekish security) my critical files together, put the brick (archive) in a couple of different places, either on another partition or on a LAN server, and then even FTP the brick up to my dotcom site at the ISP in a very private directory underneath the public stuff. I've lost data too, but mostly it was a bunch of emails which got mangled after a double upgrade/regrade from OE4 to 5 to 4 to 5 again. I consoled myself that it wasn't anything more than conversations, such as this message, and many company mails, but the packrat in me felt cheated. I've vowed to reduce the dependency upon email programs, of which Outlook Express is probably the best, and get the mails into a database or at least a Sendmail box. But, alas, emails are generally not critical data.

You should also consider a bookbag. I've taken a bookbag with me all over the world, usually as my only bag, and I've never had any trouble. Part of it may have to do with my height, but mostly it's because the bookbag never really reveals what's inside and hangs on your shoulder(s). Laptop carry bags and related cases are a dead giveaway to crooks, so I've never trusted them.

Further, reconsider why you think you need a hunking laptop in the first place. They are a pretty poor solution to what is actually for many people a nonproblem. Many times, files and email can be handled via cybercafé's or one can use a paper notebook and be free of the problem entirely. Palms and other similar devices also spring to mind.

So, don't beat yourself up. What happened to you is just part of life in the modern world, but you can learn, if painfully, from it, and take steps to eliminate the possiblity in future travels...

"What can I say, I believe in total, honest democracy. I also believe this American system can work."
- Woody Allen, Stardust Memories

[ Parent ]
Thanks, but... (3.00 / 2) (#12)
by costas on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 02:20:20 PM EST

... I do have a backpack (one of those fancy businessy looking ones). Just because I was coming back from a vacation, I had a few clothes that wouldnt fit in it, so I put everything in a regular carry on "wheelie". Nothing said "laptop in here" from the outside of the bag, except maybe the extra weight. I am guessing they X-rayed the machine for security, saw the laptop, the "delayed" special-handling tags, and snatched it. I still kinda doubt that this would have happened if the bag was in the same flight as me.

I wish I could do my work on my Palm Vx... Unfortunately I develop ERP system prototypes on my laptop as part of my job, so a super-slim or an ultra-light wouldn't cut the performance requirements...

memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
In that case... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by Defiant One on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:50:58 PM EST

...you're only mistakes where what you already know.

I NEVER check luggage, because it's easier for me to simply assume it will be lost and plan accordingly, than to fret over whether it will or won't be lost. If what I need won't fit into two carry-on shoulder bags, then it isn't going with me. I don't think they can make you check a shoulder or book bag. I've spent weeks abroad with nothing more than a shoulder bag with my book bag folded inside for day trips. I use old (but professional) camera equipment which apparently offers no interest to crooks (which shows how little they know). Light travel is the only way to go.

Since you apparently need a laptop for more than a status symbol (although you might consider one of those mini-laptops), I suggest next time you treat it like your passport, ID's and money: You wouldn't put that stuff in a checked bag, so the computer can never leave your side. I know, ethically, we're supposed to trust and respect people, but when traveling with valuables, never trust anyone with them. It's an unfortunate but effective strategy.

"What can I say, I believe in total, honest democracy. I also believe this American system can work."
- Woody Allen, Stardust Memories

[ Parent ]
I don't know about Europe... (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by azool on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 01:30:37 PM EST

...but airlines in the U.S. can make you check what would normally be considered carry-on if the flight is full and storage space becomes scarce. I believe that, in that case, most would limit you to one carry on, and make you check the other.
"What if I don't _want_ to check my carry on?", you ask?
well, IIRC, failure to comply _could_ result in a 'flight irregularity' being filed with the FAA (as can any failure to comply with the requests of flight personnel). Or, it could mean nothing at all...

[ Parent ]
Backing up (2.00 / 1) (#27)
by MicroBerto on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 09:41:04 AM EST

This article made me realize that I haven't backed up my stuff EVER, and I'd like to do so on a bunch of CDr's.

Does anybody have any docs that will point me to tarring a bunch of my mp3s on 700 meg cds? I have probably 6 gigs of music, but only 2 gigs of space free. Any recommended or automatic ways of doing this? I'm running Linux (mandrake! with reiserfs), so I should get this going.

Thanks! And yes, you know life is good when the only thing you really need to back up is music and a couple txt files (GAIM and dream logs)!

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
[ Parent ]

find a wall NOW (2.75 / 4) (#3)
by prana on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:17:40 AM EST

You're gonna need it!

I won't go into backups or insurance; you will delve into those topics yourself once you find the wall.

Heathrow (3.75 / 4) (#4)
by pallex on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:36:34 AM EST

I guessed it was Heathrow you had had trouble with. I live a few mins from there - its the busiest airport in the world. People have been sent in as undercover baggage handlers, only to be absorbed, borg like, into the web of crime. Its a tough one to crack, as they make millions from stealing things. Cant see it being solved any time soon.

Fortunately, its fairly easy these days to make backups with cd-writers, zip drives etc.

Of course, real men dont make backups.... :)

2 years of company e-mail (3.62 / 8) (#5)
by Abstraction on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:42:05 AM EST

I'm sure you are really missing that...

There is nothing you can do. (3.50 / 6) (#7)
by theboz on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:53:44 AM EST

I don't know what carrier you used, but if it is Delta you are fucked. When reporting stolen luggage, they do nothing about it. I think this may be fairly standard procedure with other airlines but I've only experienced it with Delta.

They won't even answer phone calls or return your voicemails, and if you complain to others that work there nothing gets done. The only thing you can do is take them to small claims court and then they finally pay you. There's not much you can do when dealing with these bastard airlines that steal your luggage and refuse to even acknowledge the fact that it was stolen or pay you.


Theft isn't the only way... (3.00 / 4) (#8)
by Xeriar on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:35:10 AM EST

Incompetant roommates and bad hardware (Syquest 1 gig drive) can do it too...

M. never cleaned the room. Never. I gave up doing it our second semester, and our room gathered way too much dust. Something happened to the Syquest drive and disks that, because of too much dust, they would ruin eachother even after replacements were procured.

I was ready to KILL M. He should be thankful for every waking moment of his life...

I eventually got over it, but I lost a large portion of my life...

When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.

syquest sucks (1.00 / 1) (#32)
by jchristopher on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 11:48:25 PM EST

Fuck those damn Syquest drives. I paid $300 for an external SCSI model that died in 6 months after very, very light use!

[ Parent ]
Syquest 1G actually works? (none / 0) (#45)
by Blarney on Mon Aug 27, 2001 at 10:54:14 PM EST

I bought one of those drives once. Perhaps due to dust or something, it ground itself to death while I was attempting to install it and had put the first cartridge in the drive. Naturally, panicked and called my bank, only to find out that debit card transactions can't be stopped. After an hour or so in phone hell, I actually got an RMA number. Took that to the store, got my precious lovely $$$ back, and learned two valuable lessons:

  1. If some piece of hardware looks flimsy and weak, it probably is.
  2. Never buy computer hardware with anything but a real credit card.
When I brought it back to the store the salesman said "Another one of these? That's gotta be the 4th return." Why did he sell it to me then! Aaargh. At least yours lasted a few months.

[ Parent ]
Never check bags (4.14 / 7) (#9)
by Sikpup on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 12:33:26 PM EST

Going to Heathrow. I think every crook in the UK outside of politics works there. I've had my heavy duty Haliburton cases broken into there. Thieves were pissed - the only thing in it were books to keep me sane through a 4 1/2 month tanker job in the Persian Gulf. Anything of any real value will disappear in this airport. Never had problems at Gatwick, but I'm sure they exist. If they used middle-eastern justice, I wonder how many employees would have only one hand?

You checked your laptop? (4.20 / 5) (#10)
by kostya on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 01:35:08 PM EST

I must admit to being shocked. I'd never check my laptop. Ever. First, what would I do on the plane? Second, have you watched baggage handlers? [shudder]

Additionally, my laptop is mine--paid for out of my own pocket. If a work laptop got snatched, oh well. But my baby, the apple of my eye? Black sack-cloth and ashes, my friend.

Do you bang your head against the wall muttering "backup, backup, you moron"?

Probably. I'm horrible at backups. I'm thinking about creating a script attached to the network card that signals my laptop being connected to the network. Then one of my servers will grab my source code, email and document directories.

2 weeks ago I lost 3+ weeks of work because I thought all my source code was on a partition--and it was, except for the project I had been working on for those 3 weeks. When I wiped the system for a fresh RH 7.2 beta install, I had to almost laugh at my stupidity. Symlinks are a bad thing in the hands of fools.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
Rugged Laptops (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by Nitesurfer on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 02:34:30 PM EST

Second, have you watched baggage handlers?

I agree that I would have checked it too..... but there are laptops that can withstand the roughest of treatments...... Check out the laptops at Itronix .... Shoot --- I want one of these for traveling too!!!

David Byrd

CEO --- Twenty First Century Technologies, Inc.
Home of the Nite-Surfer Illuminated Keyboard

[ Parent ]
That's one way to force backups... (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by reeses on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 09:07:19 PM EST

I'm thinking about creating a script attached to the network card that signals my laptop being connected to the network. Then one of my servers will grab my source code, email and document directories.
While kicking off rsync when you hit the LAN will work, and will be relatively easy, you might want to have a peek at the coda filesystem. It's early code, but you might be able to contribute to something more closely approximating the right solution.

[ Parent ]
Do you use coda? (2.50 / 2) (#35)
by kostya on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 12:43:12 PM EST

While kicking off rsync when you hit the LAN will work, and will be relatively easy, you might want to have a peek at the coda filesystem. It's early code, but you might be able to contribute to something more closely approximating the right solution.

Thanks for reminding me of coda. I looked at the HOWTO. Do you use coda yourself? It looks to be a bit more involved that just setting up an NFS share.

While I'm sure I could get it eventually setup, it appears to be a lot of work when a simple tarball of the directories in question on a remote server would serve me just as well.

I'm not dissing coda as a concept, it just appears from the documentation that is is still very early beta quality.

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
[ Parent ]
Fight Club (2.88 / 9) (#14)
by Leoa on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 03:15:59 PM EST

So now, I am trying to recover. I do have partial backups of most of my work on there, but not for everything.

well, then you are better off than the fight club hero! You still have something (or is it nothing?).

What should I do? What do you do? I don't care about the laptop itself, I just want my data back, somehow...

Why don't you look for your hidden alter ego, find some shabby basement, invite the people from the airline and start your own "fight club"? You would get the opportunity to beat them up, get rid of your anger and become someone to found an underground society to blow up all airlines...

...or maybe this is not such a good idea and you should maybe call, call, call and threaten with a lawyer.


...but what do I know?
...but what do i know
You know you didn't take appropriate precautions (5.00 / 6) (#15)
by maveness on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 03:18:02 PM EST

... you checked the laptop in regular baggage, and you hadn't backed up.

Nevertheless, you were ripped off and now you feel violated and victimized. Someone broke the social contract by helping themselves to your property and it sucks.

In addition to learning the practical lessons, let's note that this is one example of the misery inflicted when people don't play by the rules that most take for granted. It's a pretty obvious -- and obviously criminal -- example. But there is a whole spectrum of such behaviors, and each violation of the protective norms that most of us rely on causes some attendant pain.

Road rage, customer or server rudeness, lack of netiquette, casual pilfering... each one of these kinds of behavior gradually wears away at our sense that the world is inhabited by largely decent and trustworthy people, and makes the social environment increasingly unpleasant for all of us. We all start behaving more suspiciously and defensively, and ultimately less generously, ourselves.

Sometimes breaking the norms or violating the laws is actually a positive thing to do (civil disobedience in the name of human rights, for example). But in a way the worst thing about being the victim of a crime -- I'll never forget coming home one evening to find my front door swinging open on its hinges and my entire apartment tossed over and everything of value gone -- is the feeling that your hopefulness about your society has been permanently damaged.

Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.

all that needs to be said. (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by coffee17 on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:14:46 PM EST

... you checked the laptop in regular baggage, and you hadn't backed up.

Especially if it's a laptop. what if you drop it? Perhaps it's just my experiences, but laptops are relatively flakey (well, maybe not, after all my desktop doesn't get the beating my laptop does), and I wouldn't keep any data on a laptop either unencrypted, nor unbacked up. Laptops walk off if they're left in the office long enough, much less at air ports.

That said, yes it sucks that the laptop was stolen, but suck it up, the data should have been backed up.

As for what to do now, I'd think send an email to people you do business with, let them know what happened, and that if they have anything they think you should have for them to resend it.


[ Parent ]

Don't check laptops (2.50 / 2) (#21)
by magney on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 06:18:11 PM EST

I did make that mistake once - it came out with the LCD screen cracked. For once, I was glad the CompUSA folks had talked me into buying the extended warranty.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

You Lost Everything? (4.20 / 5) (#16)
by Stevie_G on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 03:44:19 PM EST

You haven't lost much. Yeah, loosing my laptop would be a Bad Thing™, but honestly, there are a lot worse things that could have happened to you. Loose a few years of email? Bad, but not irreplaceable. Three months of computer work? It sucks, but it definatly could be worse.

Lessions learned:
  • Back up anything important to somewhere else before traveling
  • Never, ever check your laptop
  • Know your insurance agent
  • Be grateful that you didn't have to deal with something worse.

Tightness (2.12 / 8) (#17)
by zek93 on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:05:22 PM EST

Please see this page [goatse.cx]. "This is a moose. Moose rhymes with loose. These are your shoes. Shoes rhymes with lose." Honestly, I don't see why people type "loose" instead of "lose". It can't be laziness, since "loose" has one more letter. I guess it's a failure of the educational system.

[ Parent ]
AFSL == utter crap (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by Tau on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 05:55:21 PM EST

Air France, Olympic's baggage handler in LHR. I should point out that in my extensive travels, I have never seen a worse airline, especially when it comes to luggage handling.

I would like to second this. Let me tell you about one (mis)adventure I had. I was going to visit my grandparents who were near Seoul, South Korea at the time, earlier this year. I had to take an AF flight to Paris and then connect to a Korean Air flight on to Seoul and then take another national hop to Changwon. Anyways, same thing with me, I checked my stuff in in LHR at 12noon (I live in London) and got on to the AF flight. Well, I got to CDG, savoured the feeling of flying totally on my own for the first time ever, and made my way to the departure gate on my connection boarding pass and waited.

And waited.

The boarding time came and went and I noticed a rather odd thing - there was no plane at the gate. This struck me as more than a little bit odd seeing as the plane typically gets there something like three hours before. I asked the assistant and I was told that the flight had been cancelled at 6am.

Six AM.
I had checked in at Noon.
Let me do the math for you - thats SIX HOURS LATER and not only had LHR's AF staff NOT been notified of this by then they (effectively) quite happily checked in my luggage to /dev/null (or is that a null pointer dereference?). Suffice it to say the entire thing lead to me buying some tickets for $100 back to LHR (managed to do some of it in French too ;), me being intercepted by AF staff and generally handholed and treated like some sort of infant (although I suppose every airline does this with 'young' passengers by default... I was 15 at the time, perhaps a bit young to go anyplace on my own but I do do a lot of travelling), my parents trying to get me back home, failing, AF barring me from getting on a flight back home because they didnt believe my parents were who they said they were, parents in a tearing rush to Heathrow, passports in hand to prove their identity, and a general load of stress, and not a word of apology from AF, just some flight vouchers (oh yeah you guys fucked me up the arse I'm really gonna fly with YOU again -_-).

At least I got my baggage back in the end. Suffice it to say, DONT fly with AF. Fly with British Airways for or something but just done use bloody AF.

Never check in anything going to CDG with AF (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by costas on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 05:05:27 AM EST

CDG sucks. It's like the black hole of time and luggage. A) It must be the worst designed airport in the world; it's impossible to go from point A to point B without walking around the entire airport, B) Air France luggage handling there is the worst.

I have personally lost a bag once with AF to CDG in maybe a dozen trips. The rest of the times, I *never* got my bags in less than 40 minutes after landing. I remember this one occasion where I could see our plane from the window (one CDG terminal is built so that plane->baggage claim->exit is less than 150ft in a straight line) and for 1h 20mins bags were coming out in twos, with like 1-2 minutes between each pair. It was like someone was carrying them by hand from the cargo hold to the claim belt...

Another anecdote about the World's Worst Airline: my manager has flown 80% travel for 3 yrs around Europe and Europe<->US, most of which on Air France. So, when I lost my bag my first time, I asked him: "how many times have you ever lost luggage": "well, 7 that I got back and once that I never saw the bag again"; "wow, that's pretty frequent, which airlines?" "Air France".

memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Some rules for the future (4.00 / 4) (#22)
by Kasreyn on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 08:18:03 PM EST

If you are travelling with a laptop:

1. Never let it out of your sight.
2. NEVER check it.
3. Don't assume that briefcase locks or padlocks are all that secure, professional thieves have no trouble getting past them.
4. Back up before you travel.
5. Put on a BIOS password and encrypt the HD to a seperate password. Why? It won't save your laptop from being stolen, but it will:
a. prevent company trade / business secrets from being stolen (which may be the reason for the theft in the first place), and
b. give you a nice spiteful satisfaction that no one will be able to make any use of the machine. ;-)

As you mentioned, your major mistake was checking it. I'm sorry you got burned, but hopefully you'll learn from this mistake. As for what to do now, then I'm assuming your company will replace the laptop. If not, the drop in your productivity would seem to be their fault. <shrug>


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
NEVER check it ? (2.00 / 1) (#49)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 02:03:33 AM EST

"NEVER check it"

I've seen a couple of other posts saying that to.
I don't do much air travel. What do you mean my never check it? Switching on the laptop to make sure it works? Or something to do with checking in luggage at the counter?

[ Parent ]

Look at the bright side.. (3.33 / 3) (#24)
by Rainy on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:00:41 PM EST

If it wasn't stolen you'd use it for another year or two and then HD would crash. All your work plus the work you'd do in that year or two would be lost.

I personally have an entry in crontab that emails me to do backup every 2 weeks. And this isn't even a laptop. Then I just log in as root, pop in the next cdrw disk and print backup.py<enter> (that's a small python script that I wrote that clears cdrw and writes my homedir and /etc dir to that disk. Also, I keep these backup cds in separate places so that if my appartment gets robbed, there's little chance that they take all of these backup cds.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

fight club (3.25 / 4) (#25)
by stepson3 on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:01:51 PM EST

"Its only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything".

-Tyler Durden

Sorry, someone had to say it :)

That movie... (2.00 / 1) (#29)
by nstenz on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 11:12:59 AM EST

After about the 4th time watching it, that movie made so much sense it almost scared me.

Anyone wanna blow up a few multinational corporations? My credit rating is pretty good now, but who knows what a few years will do to it... =)

Seriously though- Could anyone else picture that actually happening to them someday?

[ Parent ]

A word to the wise (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by spring on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 12:08:34 PM EST

Dude, do not read the book. Go see the movie all you want, but the book is poison. Specifically, the ending in the book is dramatically different than the movie ending, and the book ending is weak, sad, and all-round terrible compared to the movie. The end of the movie brought tears to my eyes, I liked it so much. The end of the book was pathetic.

[ Parent ]
Thanks for the advice, I guess... (2.00 / 2) (#36)
by nstenz on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 01:12:12 PM EST

That's not something you hear very often about movies based off books... but ok.

[ Parent ]
It's not that bad. (4.00 / 2) (#28)
by nstenz on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 11:09:39 AM EST

I even bothered to make backups once before wiping a computer to set up a new one- too bad I didn't check to make sure the backups were good before wiping the old machine. Never use unreliable media like Zip disks to backup important data! Also, never use unreliable media that's been ejected onto the floor several times. I learned my lesson. =\

Losing the laptop sucks, but the pain of losing the data will (hopefully) go away. I still miss some of the stuff I lost, but I rarely looked at most of it. It was nice to have around though. I'm still slightly annoyed at my last stunt, which lost me ~7 gigs of MP3's- but that just gives me an excuse to rip my CD's again as VBR at a decent quality level this time.

At least you'll be making backups now. I brought home an old tape drive from work so I could backup my stuff at home. However, I haven't been able to get the thing working yet. Tapes just plain won't go in it- Anyone know how to fix a HP Colorado T1000 drive? And yes, I am using TR-1 tapes... I suppose I could backup to CD-RW. I think I'll buy some discs next week and do that.

costas- Thank you for posting this. We all need a little reminder to save important stuff once in a while. I'm sorry you got screwed over. However, look on the bright side- anything that annoyed you about your old system is no longer an issue. With a clean machine, you generally try a little harder to set it up right this time, and it generally takes a few more months for everything to go to hell. =)

No problem. (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by aonifer on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 02:32:10 PM EST

Just do what this guy did.

Combination locks (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by Tsuraan on Fri Aug 24, 2001 at 11:55:26 AM EST

I don't know if you were using the standard luggage lock (three wheels, ten digits each, slot machine style), or a real master lock type, but either way, they're worthless. I had a friend who could open the master lock kind in a few minutes, just by feeling where the thing locked in (I couldn't do it, but that's how he claimed it worked). And, given an hour or so, any monkey can open the three-wheel lock, just by trying every combination until he gets a match. Of course, it's not to hard to pick the average luggage lock that requires a key either, so I guess I'd have to agree with the old advice not to travel with anything valuable. Oh yeah, make backups too...

Talking from experience (4.66 / 3) (#37)
by decaf_dude on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 02:29:32 AM EST

I worked for an undisclosed int'l airline as a lost baggage tracing in-charge to pay for my university.

  • Never check-in anything of value: airline liability for checked baggage is US$20 per kg, not exceeding US$400 for any given bag, unless additional bag insurance is purchased in advance. Situation is (slightly) better in the USA but not much.
  • Suitcase locks keep your bag from opening accidentally - they don't pose an obstacle to a baggage thief.
  • Airlines assume no liability for fragile or "inadequately packed" (basically anything not packed by their own cargo units) items.
  • Not sure about US (again, FCC poses a different set of rules to IATA, which governs the rest of int'l carriers), but basically airlines can force you to check in any hand luggage beyond a book, a coat, small bag of baby supplies, etc. All carry-on luggage allowed is subject to over-head bin capacity; many airlines practice removing hand baggage at the boarding gate and loading it in cargo bay, and you may even be charged for Excess Baggage.
  • Checked baggage gets pilfered often. Items stolen from a checked-in bag will be compensated at the rate of US$20 per kg, weight determined by comparing checked-in weight and the weight of the bag received. Your compensation for laptop would probably be around US$80-100 (that is, if you're lucky).
  • Always carry your toiletries and at least one change of underwear in your carry-on: your bags will often arrive on the flight later than your own.
While the percentage of bags mishandled (lost/pilfered/damaged) is low, the odds are against you if you travel a lot and are getting worse the more flights you change on a particular route. Your best bet are direct flights and connections on a same airline through the same terminal. Once you start changing airlines, terminals, or even airports within a same city (Heathrow to Gatwick, Orly to Charles De Gaul, etc.), your bag is as good as lost. Good luck and I hope you're religious: praying to any chosen diety seems most effective in getting your bags intact and on time.


Damn acronyms (none / 0) (#41)
by decaf_dude on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 01:39:24 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You'll get used to it, or You'll backup (2.00 / 2) (#38)
by darkfader on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 05:24:19 AM EST

I've got a rate of about 3months/year missing from my email, it just _happens_ with my. No matter if I do backup or not. Once I lost data from a corrupt MFT on a 10GB partition (I have not always been networked ;) . With it some _very_ personal emails from a person I care about a lot. Apart from that, I'm not sure, what else I have lost. MP3's, of course but I'm not really sure what else. I just always make the wrong decision in terms of new hardware vs. a backup device.
But, at that point I was close to bringing to disk to ontrack and have them fix it. After I calculated i'd be paying of for four months I low-leveled the whole HD. Since then I _try_ to get a proper backup done, but it's getting me more and more paranoid. :)

OT travel, laptop related question. :) (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by darthaya on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 09:44:03 AM EST

What do you do with your laptop in a hotel? Do you lock it up in your suitcase? Or you just leave it in the open?

What to do with a laptop (3.50 / 2) (#44)
by JonesBoy on Mon Aug 27, 2001 at 09:24:02 AM EST

If you are in a decent hotel, you are probably safe just leaving it in the room. If you are in a shady location, or if you have a really good laptop, bring it to the front desk. Many hotels have a safe for valuables. They will hapily store your laptop for you. This also (sometimes) gives you additional insurance if it gets lost. Check hotel policy to see.

Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
No sympathy: Why didn't you have a backup? (4.50 / 2) (#40)
by Mr.Surly on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 01:30:18 PM EST

Years ago, I was employed repairing (among other things) PCs and laptops. Many times, the problem was that the hard drive had crashed. Here's how they conversation went nearly every time:

Me: "Hello, is this Mr. Smith?"

Smith: "Yes."

Me: "This is Mr. Surly from the computer repair center."

Smith: "Oh, good. What's wrong with my computer?"

Me: "Well, your hard drive has crashed. I'll have to replace it. It will cost about $200, plus tax."

Smith: "Sounds good. Will you please copy all my files from the old hard drive to the new one?"

Me: "I'm afraid I can't do that. You see, your hard drive has crashed, and your files are gone."

Smith: "WHAT!?!?! I have 2 years of work in that machine! What am I going to do?!?!"

Me (Knowing what's coming, and trying not to laugh when I say it): "Just restore your files from your backup."

Smith: "Backup? I don't have a backup!"

Me: "I'm sorry, then you're out of luck."

After that, it typically dengenerated into Mr. Smith accusing me of erasing his files, and threatening lawsuits, and other assorted nonsense. Usually, they'd call back later, apologize, and ask that the repair be completed.

Here's the moral of the story: Make backups of your important data. Perhaps if you had lost your laptop, and a fire had destroyed your backups, then I'd feel sympathetic.

agreed.....you idiot... (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by smed on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 11:08:32 PM EST

I agree with MrSurly:
Your an idiot.
And to freakin' publicly announce what an idiot you really are....I mean, come on......
If: you had shit that was THAT important...and you had any inkling that you might be whining like the wimpering text above....
THEN: you should have spent the few bucks and burned all of your crucial data to a CD....or invested in some form of archivable media. No excuses. That fact is....this shit happens once in a while....if it's that important.....there should have been some contingency plan. Otherwise, learn to live with out it.

Personally - I have about 600MB (one CDROM) worth of actual meanful shit that I have collected over the years that I manage to keep pretty current on CD...or at least encrypted and stored on another server somewhere...... It's hard to imagine having the balls to carry on so much about some lost data in today's day and age. Chances are...if you have the cashola to purchase a laptop....you could certainly take the appropriate measures to make sure at least your most important files and info was stored securly. You got what you deserved....if hitting your self in the head with a hammer hurts...don't worry...it gets better when you stop.

[ Parent ]

Backups are necessary (5.00 / 1) (#46)
by DeanT on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 01:38:07 AM EST

First, I agree. You need a backup of some sort. CD-R makes a nice convenient backup from which you can easily access files. I figure as long as I've got /home and /etc backed up, I can regenerate the rest of the system if I had to.

But, am I the only one who sees the irony in calling someone else an idiot but misspelling you're? ;)

Sorry. It's a peeve of mine.


[ Parent ]

your, you're, yore (none / 0) (#47)
by smed on Tue Aug 28, 2001 at 07:39:15 PM EST

Duly noted. It was late...I was tired. Enjoy the irony.

[ Parent ]
Well (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by mindstrm on Sun Aug 26, 2001 at 01:20:14 PM EST

You can complain to the airline, you can sue them... but in the end, you can learn.

Never, ever check your laptop. Always bring it on the plane.

Also, learn beforehand what the acceptable carry-on baggage requriements are; they will be on your ticket.

Travelling is always a risky business; especially with airlines. Don't put priceless items in checked baggage.

This guy knows how to do it (none / 0) (#48)
by Stuart Ward on Sun Sep 09, 2001 at 05:03:02 PM EST

I have done my share of airline travel with computers, and lost one to the baggage handlers. The answer is not to check any baggage, that means travel with one cabin bag and only take essentials. Try The Complete Carry On Traveler and it can be done. I do it all the time!

I have lost everything. Everything. Now what? | 49 comments (49 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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