My laptop died in the past week. It started having more and more problems, and in the end I had to move everything off and wipe the whole thing to start over.
I know, right? It even happens to techies!
But really my 2-week ordeal in which my laptop went slower and slower until it became unusable is not the point of this story. The point of this story is that a system saved me from much greater problems. And the best part is this: You can easily get this entire system for yourself!
You Need LastPass
I started recommending LastPass a while ago, after a big security scare — but there are more benefits to LastPass than just protecting your passwords. As a developer, I have MANY passwords for the various sites I work on, in addition to all of my personal passwords like Amazon and Gmail. You probably have a lot of passwords too — your website, your e-mail, your bank accounts, Paypal, and more! By storing them in a central location, I can quickly access them — whether it is because a computer broke and I had to use someone else’s, or because I was traveling and needed to fix something without access to my laptop.
You Need Backups
When is the last time you backed up your computer or phone? For my computer (and client’s websites for managed hosting), I have a bunch of these cute little drives in multiple colors for backups. If you want something internet-based (that doesn’t have to come with you), try Carbonite, BackBlaze or Mozy. For my phone, the data not backed up onto my Google Apps account is backed up onto Dropbox. This is standard for many Google-based phones. iPhones come with iCloud backup, so make sure you have enough space in your iCloud account and it is not turned off.
You Need The Cloud
I have been moving all of my programs, purchased digital products/courses and documents into Google Drive. Not only is it a great way to organize and store your information, but the word processor and spreadsheet software are actually pretty nice. As a bonus, you can use it to share, collaborate, and backup your data. Not a fan? Try Dropbox or iCloud.
You Need Google Apps
I have an Android phone connected to my Google Apps account for this domain. All of my contacts, tasks and calendar are stored into this account. If I was traveling and lost my phone (or dropped it in a fountain — which has actually happened), I can just log into gmail from any internet cafe and grab that information. If something happened to my laptop, all of my e-mail and clients can be accessed from any computer.
You Need To Stop Putting This Off!
So why am I telling you all this now? Know this: I had it on my list to migrate all of my systems during the past year, but I procrastinated on it pretty hard. I finally got it all done about a month ago. Had I waited just a month longer to complete this, I would have been in a lot more trouble once my laptop started to tank. What if my laptop had been stolen, or died completely on me, before I had set up this system? What if I had been on the road and needed to access important documents or passwords? Now I have this safety net to keep me from losing important information and to keep me able to bounce back after a tech failure.
Which of your systems need a tune-up, and why have you been avoiding it? the new year is coming — start it off right by taking care of it now! (And if you need help, just ask.)