Reboot - Deleting Things
This site has been through more iterations than I care to count. It's been a landing page, a Blogspot page, a Blogger page, a landing page again, various WordPress pages and at least three iterations of Ghost. In addition to that it's housed several half started wikis. And that's just what I remember. Unfortunately, I have a tendency towards falling out with my old work. Things I was super happy with when I started a project will be met with growing disdain in the weeks and months that follow. But you should always keep a backup, because you never know when you might want something back.
I always regret deleting things after they're gone. I had a set of blog posts complete with pictures detailing the horrific state of where I stayed in my second year of university. I was especially proud of how at one point if you searched for the letting agent in question, my blog would turn up higher on the Google search results than their own website. And they knew it too, because of course they did-- they tried everything to get me to take it down up to and including legal action. Now of course the legal angle only works if what I was saying was untrue, and since I had the back and forth emails, letters, phone records, and pictures to prove it, this turned out to be a lot of hot air. Convinced that I had a backup of this one-time masterpiece, I killed the blog shortly after our year-long ordeal was over. And then I realised I did not have said backup. Always keep a backup.
There are different ways to lose things of course. A few months ago I realised that nobody in my group of friends had the password to a shared account we used to own on Youtube. I say used to, because as there isn't a human being we can talk to about it, the account is stuck in the ether-- we can't add to it, but we can't delete it either. The only method of recovering a lost Google account is to go through the password recovery feature, which we can't get through as nobody remembers any passwords that have ever been on the account, there are no linked accounts because this was before the days of linked accounts (despite our personal accounts being clearly associated, but again, no human to speak to), and to put the cherry on the cake the recovery email was a Hotmail account that expired due to inactivity some time in 2011 and can't be recreated because Hotmail has been supplanted by Outlook.com! Always backup your passwords too, kids.
I even in the last few weeks realised I've lost access to another of my Gmail accounts, and one that's still in constant use. I have no reason to login because I access it entirely through IMAP. However I suddenly had reason to try and login because someone worked out the password and tried to get in. Here comes the double-edged sword: Google's epic security policies stopped the account from being taken over. Because the account hadn't been accessed in so long, Google prevented the sign in because the device was unrecognised and the attacker couldn't guess the security answer. Unfortunately, although I could reset the password (the IMAP forwards to my main email account), I have the same issue in that I ALSO cannot remember the security answer. And as above, the other methods involve linked accounts and old passwords, and the account predates one and my memory postdates the other. Backup... well, there's something to backup here, I'm sure.
My most recent moment of horror and resultant joy regarding backups was a piece of writing I did in 2010 that was easily going to balloon into a story of around 40,000 words. I still had my notes for it, but I'd saved it to a USB and lost the USB. And that pit in my stomach; it was like I'd lost something essential. Although I managed to mostly recreate the story, I constantly felt like something was missing. It was only a month ago, but I happened upon an old hard drive that I thought I'd thrown out... well, about seven years ago. Low and behold, while not a backup per-se, I had the original copy saved in the documents folder. Joy! Backups. The moral of this entire post is backups.
So, the upshot is that I now keep everything backed up in at least four places: a live copy, one HDD backup offline, two backups online in Drive and OneDrive. The more the merrier.
EDIT: In an impossible moment of clarity, I remembered the stupidly snarky response I came up with over a decade ago for my security question on my email account. This was maybe an hour after writing this piece. I don't know if maybe I found myself in the same headspace or something, but boy oh boy, was I shocked when Gmail let me in. 2-step verification enabled now. Say it with me everyone... BACKUPS.