Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Are You Ready for Disaster? (Part 2)

In Part 1 I discussed how to manage your files (both paper and electronic).  Part 2 covers how to handle some trickier (and potentially expensive) problems.

Dealing with hardware failure

Courtesy of David Baker via Flickr
Equipment has a way of breaking down at the worst possible time.  Either in the midst of trying to meet a critical deadline or needing something to print out without smudges or fading ink as the cartridge starts running out.

A good solution for this is to hold on to an old working computer and printer. At a minimum it should have a working CD-ROM drive and internet access.  You can also keep it protected using free anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. They don’t have to be fancy, simple programs such as avast! or AVG Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware for virus protection and Ad-Aware and Spyware Terminator  for spyware protection are powerful enough to keep your computer safe for a short period of time.

You also might consider keeping the old system loaded with the common software programs that you use (even just an older version of them), or use cloud applications such as Google Docs to do your work while your primary computer is getting fixed.

If you don’t have an old computer available, you can always check out Craigslist to find cheap used computer equipment and printers.

A backup printer is pretty inexpensive.  You can get a good one for well under $100. Most printer companies make money from printers through replacement ink or toner cartridges these days.  This shouldn’t be a huge factor though since this is a backup printer. Since many stores bundle inkjet printers with a new desktop computer purchase, there are many people who already have a printer who might not necessarily need an extra one and sell them on eBay or Craigslist for $50 or less. This is a worthwhile investment if you ever have a desperate need to print a document.

Addressing the loss of primary phone service

Losing phone service is a little more tricky to deal with. Most people now have mobile phones that can serve as a backup in case that your landline goes down, but if you’ve gone completely wireless, a service such as Skype setup on your computer might be a good option for you.

Handling the loss of internet access

Losing internet access is a pain but the easiest problem to address. With all of the businesses offering free Wi-Fi these days, the cost of Internet access could be as inexpensive as a cup of coffee or an order of fries. In addition, many libraries offer free Wi-Fi access so all you have to do is bring your laptop or your cell phone to download critical email or information. Learn where your local free Wi-Fi access points are so you know where to go in the case of Internet access emergency.

Are there other writing disasters that you have encountered?  Comment below and let me know about it.

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