You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone

I'm not a big fan of platitudes. Really. Maybe I'm not an "out-of-the-box" thinker (hee!). Anyhoo, the person that said you don't know what you've got until it's gone (or, "you don't LOVE what you've got until it's gone" as Chicago said...yeah I'm a child of the 70s...whatever) had it right...but I don't necessarily think they were talking about my hard drive.

Yeah, my hard drive died last week. It was still under warranty but that is beside the point, really. Because what I miss wasn't the little square technology thing that some tech person put into my laptop (do I need to remind you that I am not technical? I'm kind of joking, but seriously, I could not identify my hard drive...or any hard a line-up...if people were arresting hard drives for things like not working!), it was all of my personal files.

Data recovery was able to get them back, according to the mail I just got from our tech support folks, and I just got my computer (with a new hard drive) back about a half hour ago.  I know all you tech folks out there are going to tell me to back-up my files...I know, I know and I'll do it. If I could think of some platitude about how the time to do something is before it's needed, I would insert it here. But I'm out.

Comments (18)

  1. Dean Harding says:

    How about "Hindsight is always 20-20"?

    I’m not a big fan of platitudes either. It always seems to me as though the people who use them (putting them in email signatures or whatever) just do it to make themselves look smarter than they really are.

  2. Sorry ’bout your loss 😐 glad you got your stuff back! 🙂

  3. Heather says:

    Good one Dean…I was probably trying too hard but that’s a winner! When someone says something like that to me, I want to poke them in the eye….even if it’s in their autosignature…I want to find them, tap them on the shoulder and poke them in the eye ; ) (Because someone is going to respond and tell me I’m promoting workplace violence…I am just kidding…I swear!) are so nice!

  4. petal says:

    My hard disk whined

    And the laptop refused to boot.

    No response, a plain black screen,

    This behaviour wasn’t cute.

    Don’t it always seem to go

    That you don’t know what you’ve got

    ‘Til it’s gone

    My hard disk whined

    And the laptop refused to boot

    I sent it away

    To try and recover the data.

    It’ll cost me a lot

    But they say I’ll have it later.

    Don’t it always seem to go

    That you don’t know what you’ve got

    ‘Til it’s gone

    My hard disk whined

    And the laptop refused to boot

    Hey tech support,

    Put away that CD now.

    Don’t rebuild the OS

    Until you’ve checked with me,


    Don’t it always seem to go

    That you don’t know what you’ve got

    ‘Til it’s gone

    My hard disk whined

    And the laptop refused to boot

    Late last night

    I got my laptop back.

    The data’s there

    but it’s the config that I lack.

    Don’t it always seem to go

    That you don’t know what you’ve got

    ‘Til it’s gone

    My hard disk whined

    And the laptop refused to boot

    apologies to Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi

  5. Procrastinator-in-chief says:

    I don’t know if this counts as a platitude but on my first day of college the head of the Computer Science department stood up and said, "I have one piece of advice for you. Do It Now." That has stuck with me and is something that I’ve seen repeated in various personal productivity systems over and over again. I vaguely recall one that put a little graphic of an elephant in the corner of each page of their day planner to remind you that it’s all too easy to ignore the huge elephant that looks small because it’s a long way off.


  6. Heather says:

    Petal, if you just did rock! I happen to love Joni Mitchell and I’m sure she would not mind (especially since Adam Duritz messed that song up already….oooohhhhh-bop-bop-bop-bop!)

  7. Heather says:

    Andrew-that is good advice. I used to be quite a procrastinator when I was younger. I guess that now, I mostly only procrastinate at work because there’s so much to do that you have to make trade-offs. Something has to not get done. So let’s just say that I am going to adjust my priorities when it comes to data back-up!

    Fortunately, I am not a procrastinator at home…so I guess things balance out. I am one of those weirdos that has a weekend ritual that starts with Thursday night laundry (and ends Saturday afternoon with a nicely manicured lawn…I’m a freak!). So as chaotic as my work life sounds, I do get to escape it at the end of the day and not worry about my roof caving in or my electricity being cut off ; )

    "Do It Now" might be my new motto (I was using "do it! do it!" from Starsky and Hutch a lot lately so perhaps this is just a variation). But if I add it to my autosignature, I’ll have to poke myself in the eye or at least roll my eyes at myself (fun!). Perhaps it will just have to be the secret motto inside my head ; )

  8. Russ Moon says:

    "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of back-up"

    I knew what I missed before it was gone, these blog posts. Whadup Gibby ?

    Came in here the other night for my mental "after dinner mint" and wound up Jonesing….

    Procrastinator-in-Chief – THAT was funny !

    My procrastinating phrase – "Next!", just keep going from one task to another, you never finish one all the way, just flip the hamburger, would you like that supersized ?

  9. Heather, I share your pain!

    Glad to learn you are back up (no pun intended!) and running again very quickly.

  10. Peter says:

    You say you’re going to back up, but you’re not going to. Tech support was able to salvage your files so you sufferend no real penalty for not backing up (other than time without the machine). I’ve encouraged people to backup all the time (and I actually do it for my own machines). No one has headed my warnings until they actually lost valuable data and suffered because of it.

  11. Nathan says:

    One of my observations from my tech support days (never spoken to computer users in need of help) was that the importance of backups was one of those lessons that can only be learned the hard way. I think I came up with that one after a grad student brought in a damaged floppy disk that held the only copy of her masters thesis. She ended up working from hardcopy drafts.

    "Daddy, what’s a floppy disk?"

  12. Heather says:

    Russ-that’s funny…sorry to leave you hanging for so long. I promise not to let that happen again…you should have seen the back-up machine I was working on…it had a crank on the side that you had to turn to boot it.

    Peter-are you angry? I said I am going to back it up and I am seriously going to. I did suffer a real penalty..I’ve been without my files, my inbox is flooded because I had to send my machine out for a new hard drive, there are things I need to get done that I can’t until I get my data back and I’m cranky. Some people might be OK not being productive for a few days…me, I find it boring and annoying. I took Monday off because of this. Trust me…it was a pain and when I say I am going to do something, I am going to do it…period. That’s just how I work.

    Nathan-I hear ya. I started looking around my office for hard copies of stuff right after this happened. I’m still afraind to throw anything away until I get my files back.

  13. Peter says:

    Heather – I’m not angry. I couldn’t care less about your data. I was only saying that as an admin, I’ve seen this situation happen many, many times. 99% of the people who say they have seen the light and will backup, do not change their ways.

    If you are part of the other 1%, that’s great and I hope you find a backup solution that works for you.

  14. Abhi says:

    Well, even if you back up, you can still end up loosing data. I mean what if there is a fire or something in the house… does that mean that you should keep your backup in a seperate location? What if there is an earthquake strikes :-)? Another country maybe? Lemme think….. is there anything more creative than a meteor strike?

    Anyway, there is no end to this. But yeah, it’s still good to backup occasionally, espcially with newer laptops with big drives. They have been crashing way too often for comfort.

  15. rsm says:

    Hey Peter, why don’t you stop flaming the hostess. Calmly read what you said. Personally I get your point, but she wrote the post because IT WAS INCONVENIENT.

    Heather is proabably in the top 1%, you know she certainly is in the top 1% in blogging, working at Microsoft etc. that is the top of the food chain or close. Certainly alot closer than being the type person who will make the same, blind-spot induced, bias, baggage filled error time and time again.

    Take the big "Chill Pill", and if she posts later that her drive crashed without being backed up, then pull out your hammer, until then put it back in the utility belt.

  16. Ouch! So sorry. We’ve all been there, Heather. I’m lucky here at Sun because I use the Sun Ray (no local hard drive … everything lives on the server) and I hope to get one at home, too, to replace my PC. I hate owning hard drives. I’ve toasted two of ’em. 🙂

    Love your blog, by the way. Nice job. Lots of people here at Sun read it.

  17. …the person that [WHO] said you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone [JONI MITCHELL] had it right, but I don’t necessarily think they [SHE] were talking about my hard drive.

    Also, an out-of-his-box thinker hates platitudes because they’re in the box. An in the box thinker likes traditional things and therefore by implication all sorts of maxims.

    Ironically, however, platitudes are by nature out of the box because every platitude has an equal and opposite contradictory platitude so that when they are paired they have the out of the box attitude of a zen koan.

  18. Heather says:

    Wow..platitudes are almost as much fun as people who come on your blog and correct your grammar. Whhhheeeeee!

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