BACKUP YOUR SHIT.
I'm sure you've all heard a million times about the importance of keeping backups of all of your work. Whether it be photographic, design, paperwork, whatever. We've all had that one friend, teacher, parent, etc. who was a freak about keeping everything backed up.
When I was in college I myself had a professor who really stressed the importance of keeping a backup of your work drive, then a backup of your work drive, then an archive of everything, oh and keep them all in separate places just to be safe. When I first heard him saying all of these things my thoughts were this:
1. "Where in the hell am I going to get the money to afford all of these backup drives?"
2. "This dude is nuts, a backup of your backups backup? this is out of hand."
I've even known photographers who buy new memory cards after every shoot just to be sure that there was NO CHANCE of a total loss. If worse came to worse, they could always rework all of the files and deliver the jobs. Crazy right? The answer is no. When you're getting paid high dollar to provide something for a client they don't want to hear that your drive failed, and that 5 days of shooting and all of that money spent was totally wasted. You can basically expect your phone to never ring again after something like that.
I never even really thought twice about keeping backups or archives until I moved out here to St. Louis and started doing actual jobs for actual money, and that required access sometimes a couple of months after the job was finished. So i grabbed myself a nice 1TB backup drive, and kept all of my jobs on there. Little did I know that when I actually started taking on jobs and keeping all of the files associated with said jobs, my 1TB drive became full before I knew it.
So! What'd I do? Of course I hopped on amazon and grabbed another 1TB drive! The drive arrived very quickly and I began using it as a backup for my work drive. Everything was great right?
About a month or maybe two into owning my backup drive, you guessed it. It failed.
I know what you're thinking, "Oh man Travis your drive failed on you? That sucks man, but you had it all backed up right?"
Well the answer is a big fat No. I didn't. Because I wasn't expecting this brand new drive to fail on me while I had some pretty important things on it. THATS THE THING! You never expect things like that to happen, but especially with technology they always do.
My father used to tell me all the time and I will never forget this as long as I live:
"It's not a matter of if the technology will fail, its WHEN the technology fails."
Of all of the things I've heard my whole life, I really wish that would have been one of them that I would have listened to a little better, especially now since I was out a hard drive with some important work on it.
Okay so! When the drive failed I called the manufacturer and explained my situation to see what my options were. After about 5-6 attempts at getting someone directly on the phone I finally cracked though the great wall of China and had a support tech. I jumped through the necessary hoops, filled out some paperwork, and sent my drive back to the peeps who made it. The support manager assured me that the people who built my device would perform a pretty extensive data recovery process and would retrieve my data and send it back to me on a brand new drive. All good right? ehhhh not quite.
About 2 weeks after I sent my drive off I still hadn't heard from anyone, So I decided I would make a few phone calls and see what was going on. I was informed that my unit had been sent back to Taiwan, and it could take up to 90 days before I heard anything back. A little frustrated I said "okay" and requested a little more prompt updates next time.
I shit you not, literally 2 days later I received and e-mail from the support manager telling me that my drive was not successful in data recovery and that it was processed for disposal.
HOLD UP, WHAT?!!
I quickly replied to the support manager asking him if it was a possibility to simply send me back my drive so that I could try a few other methods for data recovery. He swiftly replied with "no." and explained that if I wanted my drive to be sent back to me I should have checked the box on the form that I sent in when I sent the drive back. Apparently my direct request via e-mail was not enough to get me my drive back. Oh, by this time they had already threw my drive away and sent me a new one.
Now, I know that was a pretty long drawn out story all just to say simply "keep everything backed up." But I just thought that I'd share my personal experiences with you so that hopefully you will go out and purchase yourself a decent backup drive.
[PROTIP: Buy a drive on Amazon and get yourself a little 2-year data recovery plan from Seagate for 10$ I'll never buy another drive without something like this again.]
The moral of the story: backup your shit, and be thoughtful of the quality of the drive you purchase. Also, buy a data recovery plan when you buy a drive. you'll be thankful you did.