#Winning on Friday the 13th

f13a_300.jpgToday is Friday the 13th. The only Friday the 13th of 2011 as it works out.

This specific date has special significance for me — and it has nothing to do with movies.

Since Friday the 13ths occur so infrequently, and are  somewhat famous, I use the day as a semi-random chance to get my digital ducks in a row.

Stop everything
My Friday the 13th routine starts with a quick review of all open projects and work. I don’t actually do any work on those projects, rather I look over everything, reviewing all the details and milestones, and just make sure that nothing’s being missed.

Backup everything
Next, I check out my data backup software and processes. In the blogosphere, the 13th of each month  has been promoted as Blog Backup Day, but really, protecting your data is something that everyone should do, be it through a highly-protected storage device like the Drobo-FS, or using a backup drive system like ClickFree’s, or some combination of  the two.

Vaccinate everything
Then, I make sure my anti-virus and firewall technology is current — and run a manual scan over all my drives. Yes, time consuming but it also provides me peace of mind that everything’s clean.

Defrag everything
Finally, I run a drive defragmentation utility over all drives that can benefit from it. Some operating systems automagically handle drive fragmentation and some don’t.

Data ducks in a row
And yes, that can be a lot of work, but at the end of it, I’ve got a good picture of my workload, and the state of my data on my computer systems. I’ve turned a day that’s famous for horror stories into a day of good. #Winning 🙂

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Friday the 13th: Refuge in the backup

Ok, it’s a lousy title for a movie, but it is a great reminder to review and execute your data backup strategies, both at home and online.

Why Friday the 13th?
Simply, it’s a day-date combination that happens infrequently, almost ad-hoc. When it does occur, you can easily plan to take time out to perform your maintenance chores.

It’s also a very memorable day. In fiction, bad things happen on Friday the 13th — so the best way to prevent those bad things from happening to you, is to take proactive measures…and what better day to remember to do that than Friday the 13th!

Some things to do

  • Backup your home computer systems
  • Backup your blog(s)
  • Backup your other content stored in the cloud (flickr, Google Docs, iTunes video & music)
  • Remove and delete programs you’ve not used for a while
  • Review and backup your password & account information
  • Purge your online email accounts of old mail
  • Defrag your hard drives

More reading
I’ve written a few posts about backups and maintenance before, so if you want to dig into the detail, here’s a handy list, sorted by backup tag.

Lifehacker posted this great overview of a personal backup system worth checking out.