Public Service Announcements.

Aspiring thieves: Summer is an excellent time to launch your career! Look for houses with open ground-floor windows. Even if the window is a considerable distance off the ground, all you’ll need is a simple stepladder. Pop out the screen and push the window up far enough to get yourself in. Wear gloves if you’re feeling extra cautious, but if you don’t have gloves, don’t worry. Since the window’s already partway open, pushing it up the rest of the way won’t make you break a sweat — and as long as you don’t sweat, it’s much less likely that the cops will be able to pick up your prints! Once you’re in, go straight to the master bedroom, put the laptops in your backpack, and get out. Done!

Writers, artists, and others who do a lot of work digitally: You already know you’re supposed to be backing up your work. But maybe you don’t have a regular schedule for doing it, and maybe you don’t back up every byte on your hard drive. When my laptop was stolen a couple of days ago, I didn’t lose my works in progress, because I’d been religiously emailing them to myself every time I edited or added to them. Some things I did lose: notes for future Flytrap stories, interviews with circus performers, transcribed overheard conversations, notes for other projects I was thinking about. It hadn’t occurred to me to back that stuff up, because, you know, I wasn’t actively working on it. Why, yes, I know that was foolish. But it’s not hard to be foolish, and complacent, and just not be thinking about the possibility of loss. My laptop wouldn’t have had to be stolen for me to lose that data; it could have crashed.

Once I have a new laptop, I will:

  • Install Undercover so that if I’m unlucky enough to have another machine stolen, technological retribution will be swift
  • Duh, back up absolutely everything, in at least two places: an external hard drive, and someplace online in the cloud. Recommendations?

I’m not waiting til I have a new laptop to close the damn ground-floor windows.

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  • Dawn
    June 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Alas, you don’t need to leave the window open necessarily. When my house got broken into last summer, it was just a window they could reach to bash in (though I imagine me leaving lead pipes to recycle nearby was not bright either…). At least if they don’t break anything, they don’t bleed everywhere and you don’t have to replace the window :( Small consultation, I know.

  • sara z.
    June 24, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    When I used a pc, I had Carbonite for the cloud and really liked it. On my mac now I have Mozy and I hate it. I mean, it does the job, but it is SLOW and STUPID. Maybe Carbonite has something for mac now, or maybe there is something better. I also obsessively email myself current wip stuff but often let random other notes languish. Sorry this happened – don’t be mad at yourself. It could happen to anyone, with or without open windows.