It’s worth unpacking just a little bit of the absurdity of tethered digital storage: a life in documents just hanging out in some plastic box that generally goes everywhere with you. One might imagine that on this hard-drive are some family recipes (possibly Thanksgiving-related ones), a few thousand family photos spanning oh, say, several decades. 10 or so years worth of digital pics, and another 20 that our chef was thoughtful enough to have had scanned from film negatives a few years back. By now, we also have a few dozen gigabytes of home movies on there. And there’s the less fun stuff: documents.
Think about what sorts of things document-wise might’ve just been baked at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes. Tax forms are an easy one; gotta keep those. And then there’s all the auxiliary tax stuff, like mortgage statements, tax receipts, tuition interest statements. That’s all gotta be there too, supporting those ultimate 1040s. Beyond that, probably a fair amount of loan documentation: a couple of cars, the house, inspection reports, a receipt for that $3,000 sump pump that sure as heck is finding a deduction somewhere. Probably a bunch of stuff on the kids too: health records, school forms, college application materials (a half finished cover letter, labored on for the better part of a month?).
This is all assuming our cooked laptop isn’t used for a business: invoices, more receipts, a bottomless well of tax documentation, sales records, employee data, employee tax forms, oh my. It’s bizarre to think that that thing isn’t backed up. Or maybe at least it is every now and then to a portable hard-drive with a roughly 10 to 15 percent failure rate — decent chances… if you’re playing the lottery — not including kitchen accidents.
The overwhelming odds are that this laptop wasn’t backed up at all. A Harris Interactive survey from earlier this year found that just 10 percent of computer users back up every day. Most of those users are just resting on whatever out-of-the-box storage waiting for some or another freak occurrence. Today it’s a culinary adventure; next time, it’s using it as an ad hoc umbrella instead of the briefcase in our protagonist’s other hand. Which would have made for a far more resilient way to stay dry.