I got three calls from my parents in the span of a couple minutes tonight, along with a voice mail marked "urgent." I didn't even know that you could do that. I knew exactly what my dad's somber, terse message of "uh... just... call us back" meant: my grandma passed away. She's been having health problems recently and got out of the hospital a few weeks back, and she finally died.
Except she didn't. She's fine. What actually happened is that my mom managed to pick up a virus, apparently the big one that people have been pretty scared of recently. She lost all of her documents and photos, her desktop wallpaper was changed, and a few other things. So, perhaps not quite as bad, though I'd be devastated if I lost all of my documents since my last backup. At least I'm doing better now and backing up every month or two, but that's still not great. I should just get into a habit of putting a DVD in every Monday or something and kicking one off before work. It would be easier if it didn't take so long to determine which files have changed since my last backup; I have to remember to start it off before I shower.
You are one of the few people from whom I can read or hear the phrase "kicking one off before work" and not assume the worst :)
And get some decent backup software to do the job for you. Sheesh! I use Retrospect on the Mac (they make a Windows version, too - I don't know if it's as good), and we have a dedicated backup server. Certainly, you have an old machine you could devote to the task. It makes backup mindless.
I do have backup software. It just takes a long time for it to scan a dozen gigs for changed files. And, I do not have an old machine to devote, and even if I did, I wouldn't leave it running all the time in my current place...
I have one thing to say.... version control. Just check all of your important code into version control (I highly recommend Subversion), and then as long as the version control is on another drive, you have a pretty safe backup. For even more safety, backup the version control itself, for backup in triplicate!
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