Backup Awareness Day: Sometimes Badly is Better Than Not At All [en]

I’ve written previously about the ills of perfectionism, and in particular its consequence which is that rather than doing something imperfectly, we prefer not to do it (hence, often, procrastinating very actively).

There are cases in which it is better to not do something than to do it half-way. Blogging comes to mind. Or, getting involved in something (maybe even with someone).

With backups, however, it is not the case. It’s better to have a bad backup than no backup at all. It’s better to make backups irregularly than never. Basically, compared to “no backups at all”, anything is an improvement.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s better to have good backups, make them regularly, and make sure that you can restore data from them, than make backups sloppily, whenever you think about it, and without testing them. But that is still better than doing nothing.

So, today’s post for Backup Awareness Day is to remove your guilt about not having a perfect backup process set up. I haven’t, and I know I should, and I’ve been wanting to set it up for years, but something (including the need to acquire certain necessary tech skillz) always gets in the way. And I know that if today I decide to “set things up” it’ll send me down rabbit holes I won’t come out of, and the day will end without me having more backups than when I woke up this morning.

I will therefore suck it up and hit that “export” button manually in WordPress one more time. Yes, I’ll get an automated system up and running, but until then, at least once a month, I’ll take some emergency measures.

And so should you.

Ada Lovelace Day and Backup Awareness Day: Today! [en]

Completely accidentally, Backup Awareness Day collides with Ada Lovelace Day in March. And it’s today, March 24th.

So, I’m going to ask you (yes you, faithful readers!) — if you have a blog — to write two blog posts today, as I will. They don’t have to be long. They don’t have to be perfect. L’essentiel, c’est de participer — taking part is more important than performance.

I would also be very grateful if you took a few minutes to spread awareness about these two events amongst your friends and network. Post a link on Facebook or Tumblr, tweet about it (hashtags are #ALD10 and #backupday), send an e-mail or two, mention them to your IM buddies.

Thanks a lot for taking part and helping spread the word.

A Year Ago: Backup Awareness Day [en]

A year ago today, I hit the wrong “drop” button in PhpMyAdmin and completely deleted my blog. I couldn’t remember when I had last made a backup.

I’ll cut the long story of recovery short, but it took me nearly two months to get all my data back in place. I could have saved myself a lot of pain and worry and extra work if I had had an up-to-date backup of my blog.

I’ve always been sloppy with backups. Most people who are not IT professionals (and even them) are sometimes even sloppier still. We all know we should make backups more often, but we still live in the hope that we will not die theft, hard drive failures, and dropped databases will not happen to us. Oh yes, we know we’re wrong, but we’ve been lucky so far, haven’t we? Now shoo away those guilty feelings and get on with your life.

Well, no. I decided to make the 24th of every month Backup Awareness Day. A day to

  • blog about the importance of backups
  • give practical tips to actually do them
  • help people around you do backups
  • tell horror stories of lost data
  • do your own backups!
  • put in place automated systems.

You get the idea. A day a month to think about backups, do something about them, and raise awareness in your communities.

Unfortunately, I guess I had too much going on at the time, and I didn’t really follow through (I tweeted a bit, and blogged about it in June, but honestly, these last six months haven’t been very backup-aware).

So, this year, let’s make Backup Awareness Day a real part of our lives. I need your help for that. On the 24th of each month, even if I forget (I’ll try not to, promise!), tweet about it, blog about it, do your backups, and encourage those around you to do so too. Online, and offline. Can I count you in?

I’ve just hit that “Export” button in WordPress, saved a dump of my MySQL database, and plugged in the external hard drive so that Time Machine could have a go at it. You too — do these things now if that’s how you back up your important data, or do whatever you do to make sure your words, photographs, videos, and precious files do not evaporate in the event of a disaster.

I’m now going to mark Backup Awareness Day in my calendar for the coming months. (Of course, next month, Backup Awareness Day coincides with Ada Lovelace Day, which I’ll be telling you more about in a second later today.)

Update: Backup Awareness Day now has its own website at! I’m going to need help with it, so let me know if you’d be ready to give a hand.

Today: Backup Awareness Day! [en]

[fr] Aujourd'hui, comme le 24 de chaque mois, journée des sauvegardes. Faites les vôtres!

I haven’t done as much as I wanted around Backup Awareness Day yet (and even skipped last month because I was in the mountains at that time), but it will come during the next months.

Backup Awareness Day takes place on the 24th of each month and is the occasion to:

  • do your backups and set up automatic systems to keep your data safe
  • help and encourage others to do so by helping them and blogging about the importance of backups and backup techniques.

If like me you’re having a busy week (busy but good), at least take the time today to:

  • plug in that external hard drive and make sure Time Machine does a backup
  • export your WordPress blog
  • dump your MySQL database
  • if all else fails or is too complicated for you, copy your most precious document folders onto a thumb drive or an external hard drive.

More next month!