I recently upgraded my my storage size for iCloud so my computer would automatically backup my all of my files. Last Wednesday, I was very excited I made that decision. I visited a friend while we were in San Antonio and her dog accidentally nosed a glass of water onto my computer. It was immediately lights out. I followed this helpful post on what to do if water gets in your computer. We made a setup using a dog kennel rather than a milk carton but it seemed pretty similar. However, I was sure my computer was done for. This is my excuse for not posting last week. The experience reminded me why it is so important to protect your computer.
Protect your computer
When you decide to invest in a computer for grad school, it is super important to take care of it. I actually spilled water on my computer during my first week of grad school. The only thing that saved it was the keyboard cover I had purchased to keep out water and food crumbs. Whether you get a clear keyboard cover or a fun one with colors, these can help keep food and other items out of your keys. This is particularly important with computers, like my Air, where the speakers are under the keys.
The other item I recommend for protecting your computer is a cover. Covers can help protect your computer from dings and scratches. It may also help absorb some of the impact if you accidentally drop it. I got a teal cover when I bought my Mac because a) it’s my favorite color and b) I was terrified to take it out of Best Buy without something to protect it. Then I got fancy and decided to buy a vinyl to make things more interesting. I had quite a few I was considering but this one won out:
Next time I would put the vinyl on the inside of the cover to protect the little fish from coming off.
The other thing I wish I had that I didn’t know existed was computer insurance. Just in case you don’t know: your warranty and Apple Care do not cover water damage. I’m still waiting to hear from my renter’s insurance but I’m pretty sure I’ll hear the same thing. Apparently, though, you can purchase supplemental insurance just for damage to your computer. That would be nice right about now. I found one example here.
Backup, Back it up
Either way, your work is super important. I was in the middle of the results section for my minor exam. I had been typing up correlational statements all morning. Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the wifi so nothing was backing up. But having the iCloud to back up to saved me a lot of work. I was able to find an earlier version of that paper and all of my other files. There are other options besides iCloud, though, if you are not on an Apple product.
Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage system that you can use online or on your desktop. I have several colleagues who prefer Dropbox so I have an account specifically for them.
Google Drive: We use Google Drive for all of our research data. NCSU requires that everyone store sensitive data in Google Drive because it is secure. I have started using my personal Google Drive to backup my photos from my phone. It’s very helpful.
External hard drives: these are super useful. I have one with all my data from my first computer. However, back then, they didn’t hold a lot so it’s not very useful. I had been meaning to get a new one to act as a backup for my laptop… I got a new one yesterday. Costco had 2TB drives for $65 on sale. My laptop is currently backing up.
Here’s a post on what cloud storage might be most useful for you.
Unfortunately, it appears my computer did not make it out unscathed. While I was able to turn it on yesterday, I couldn’t get it to turn back on after it went to sleep. I took it to the Apple store today and it looks like I need a new power button. However, they were able to turn it on so I left it on until I could get it backed up. Now it looks like I have to decide whether to go computer shopping or have it repaired.
What tips or tricks do you have for protecting your computer? After all, our livelihoods may depend on it!