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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Avoid SCDPA

Have you been living recklessly?
Playing fast and lose with your future and not done anything about it?

I know how you feel. I’ve lived dangerously for a few years now, trusting luck and fate that I would be spared exposure to SCDPA again. The last time it happened to me I went into complete shock. It was horrible.

SCDPA is Sudden Computer Death Panic Attack -- a very real concern for authors, or computer users of any type when their beloved PC fails them.

If you’ve experienced a SCDPA you know it’s not pretty:

*  Irrational anger
*  Hyperventilization
*  Overdose of chocolate and ice cream to ease the pain
*  Sudden onset of weeping at the loss of thousands of clever words.

Yes, we all know to set a regular computer backup (or at least I hope we all do) but what about the work you’ve done that day that hadn’t backed up yet? My backup runs late in the day. But if the computer stops working suddenly before backup has run, it’s gone forever. But I believe I’ve finally found a pain free solution that will save me future distress.

Enter Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere. This means that any file you place in your Dropbox folder will automatically save to all linked computers, phones and even the Dropbox website.To start, you sign up via the website and download Dropbox to your computer. You can store up to 2GB of stuff in your Dropbox immediately upon signing up.

Now, I’ve had Dropbox for a little while (it's on my iPhone and iPad) and never realized the full potential until the last two weeks. Over time, my computer files have exploded and I wanted to reorganize with some form of structure. I also wanted them to be accessible on multiple computers (iPad and iPhone too) so if my main computer fried, as my last one's motherboard did, I could be up and running by simply changing computers.

To begin the switch, I set up folders and subdirectories in the Dropbox folder created when I downloaded the program:

>> Books
- Story name (one for each complete title)
- Story ideas (for those notes you’ve jotted down but not written fully)

>> Marketing
- Blog Posts
- Newsletter
- Website

>> Editing/formatting info

>> Research

All the information I refer to regularly, or am currently working on, I shifted and stored in the Dropbox folder. If I use my laptop instead of my desktop, I have everything there waiting. If I’m out and want to check something in my folders, it’s all with me on my iPhone. No more switching flash drives between computers. No more emailing documents to myself.

Also, if you work closely with someone else, you can share documents through the public folder. Dropbox shared folders let you collaborate easily. When someone joins a shared folder, the folder appears inside their Dropbox, and syncs to their computers automatically when they are online.

The beauty of using Dropbox is that the moment I click save while working on a document it is backed up to Dropbox seconds later. Alerts pop up on any linked computers.  Click SAVE >> Dropbox updates. There I just backed up this draft blog post from word with one click.

So if you’re tired of living life dangerously, take a peek at Dropbox.com and see if the program suits you.

This community announcement was brought to you by a recovered SCDPA sufferer in the hopes of preventing further anguish.

Take care and back up your computer now.

Heather Boyd ~ Lady Wicked


  1. Heather,

    This sounds great! I'm going to check it out.

    PS - I don't know how to back up on my computer. LOL. I guess I'm always living on the edge. ;D

    1. SAMANTHA! For heaven's sake, check out time machine on Mac. It not only backs up your computer, but it stores every backup, so if you have a version of something you needed to retrieve from five back-ups ago, you can go get it.

      Set it up NOW, girl!

    2. Such a wild crazy woman. Please start doing backups today. I wouldn't want you to lose your amazing stories. :)

  2. I have dropbox. I ran out of the free space and thought Carbonite would be better for backing up. And then the computer died and I got a Mac (totally unexpected...didn't think we could afford. Found a deal - Thanks Erin for the heads up about finding refurbished and discounted macs) and Carbonite can't switch between operating Systems. But dropbox works just fine. Sigh. Live and learn. Should have paid for more dropbox space.

    1. You're welcome! I'm happily typing away on my refurb as we speak :-)

    2. I'm no where near my dropbox limit yet! There's no reason why you cannot have two backup systems working for you though.

  3. I used to use Mozy, because it automatically backed everything up for me. But on my current setup, I'm using Dropbox because of the ability to sync between computers. I've got a desktop I normally work on. But I sometimes work on my laptop, and if I'm running around town it isn't uncommon for me to work on a netbook. It's much easier than remembering to put everything I need on a flash drive and hoping I don't forget anything.

    1. Great to hear. I was doing the flash drive thing last year but then I'd misplace a flash drive and use another, then I'd have way to many copies of a story. LOL More confusion

  4. Excellent advice, Heather! Thanks for the tips.

  5. Ha well this advice came one day too late, Heather lol. My laptop has crashed on me this morning and I've lost six chapters. You'd think after having gone through this twice before I would learn. I even downloaded dropbox but I haven't used it yet. Well this time I am. I swear. Once I get the laptop back anyway. *sighs* I'm a little bummed but hopefully this is the last time I'll need this reminder. I've learned a very hard lesson because this particular ms has been the hardest one I've ever had to write. It's been a daily struggle and now six chapters are gone...here's to hoping Geek Squad can save my work. Cross your fingers for me and I swear I am never going to go through this again. Ever.

    Great advice btw and I've heard good things about dropbox so this time I'll be sure to use it.

    1. OMG not again. Wish I'd posted this a day earlier. Paper bag, chocolate, and tissues for SCDPA on the way!

    2. Oops, above comment was me from my laptop.

  6. Heather, I love this! I've never heard of Dropbox before, but as a woman who does the whole save-on-thumbdrive-email-to-myself thing, I'm foaming at the mouth to try it!

    1. I can already see it saving me time, frustration and worry after just a few weeks so do check it out. :)

  7. Such a nerve-wracking situation! Thanks for the personal recommendations!