World Backup Day 2023 is today
Today being World Backup Day reminded me of an article I was inspired to write for the Edmonton Sun almost 22 years ago. I didn’t write the article after watching the news or a show on technology, but rather after watching a show about women – specifically Sex and The City.
It was a warm Saturday evening in the summer of 2001. After watching 90 minutes of comedian George Carlin with my spouse Elaine, I walked away from the tube. Elaine, however, insisted I watch this upcoming show about four friends – all 30-something New York City single women constantly searching for true love and happiness – because it featured an Apple Macintosh. (I’m an Apple fanatic.) She had watched the same episode the night before.
I knew nothing about the show or the main character, Carrie Bradshaw, sex columnist for the New York Star, other than that she was portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie’s computer of choice was a grey Apple 1998 Macintosh PowerBook G3.
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While expecting yet another excuse for product placement, the episode – called My Motherboard, My Self – rolled out an entertaining and genuinely educational story. I was sorry I hadn’t “taped” it at the time, so I had difficulty remembering all the dialogue. Of course, now everything lives online forever.
While there was, of course, a lot of drama between the four women, the main storyline begins as our heroine’s computer goes awry while she is working diligently on her article. If memory serves me correctly, her boyfriend Aidan (John Corbett) comes to her rescue and hits CTRL+ALT+DEL to reboot the machine. Unfortunately, the chimes of death (for Windows folks, it’s like that dreaded blue screen of death) sounded. Carrie is in panic mode as she realizes that her whole life – all her work, including her latest article – was trapped on that computer.
The next scene has Carrie on the phone explaining her panic to one of her girlfriends, Miranda. The word “Backup” comes out during the conversation, with an angry Carrie insisting she had never heard her friend use that term before and adding that they never discussed backups. Apparently, while the four friends always discussed just about every intimate detail about their lives (ad nauseum), the topic of backups never came up.
What happens next
After repeated meltdowns, Carrie took her Mac to a repair shop. The customer service agent, a typical hot shot geek a la Big Bang Theory, asked the usual questions – including nonchalantly when she last did a backup. “I don’t do that,” Carrie exclaimed.
She told the service agent that her life resided on the hard drive, but the service agent could provide no reassurance, only saying he would see what they could do.
The service agent then started to dig deeper, asking how the problem had started.
Carrie told him that her boyfriend, Aidan, attempted to reboot by using CTRL-Alt-Del. The service agent blurted out: “That only works on PCs. You a PC user? You’re not compatible,” almost questioning the status of the couple’s relationship.
Her data was not recoverable.
Meaningful message and lesson learned
Carrie learnt a valuable life lesson about relationships and her computer. Backups are essential, and it isn’t just a guy thing.
Troy Media columnist Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author.
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