the end of the email story


It's not good, but it could be worse.

I was unable to restore anything from the hard drive. However, it turns out that (a) mail from before I switched to OS X was unaffected (it wasn't associated with an "account"), and (b) my husband did not overwrite my external firewire drive, so I was able to import the inbox and sent mail from 12/02 through 6/20/03.

That means I lost more than three month's worth of mail, including a lot of stuff related to our grant (administrative, not data), and all the mail related to my three upcoming trips. I'll spend most of today trying to figure out how to reconstruct the most critical components--flight itineraries, hotel information, etc.

So, if you sent me mail that had critical information, or needed a reply in the past 3 months, it might be wise to resend it, or to at least check with me about whether I need another copy.

To prevent another such disaster, I've installed Norton Utilities (to allow for better recovery of erased files in the future), and will be regularly backing up my data to my external hard drive. I think that will be a weekly ritual now.


I hope you also filed a bug report of some sort with Apple!

Urgh! Losing data sucks. But I thought you subscribe to my blog? Oct. 3rd is a bad day for data. :-)


Russ, I do read your blog, and I had actually thought when reading it "I really need to get that Firewire drive back from Gerald and do a backup on Friday." One day too late, alas. :/

Perhaps it's the entire first week of October that should be considered "prevent data loss" week?

love you, Liz

I feel your loss, having lost a year-and-a-half-worth of my journal somewhere, a while ago.

you and Weez are my favorite daily reads!

Lomy! Hi! {{{hugs}}}

Well, if the tradeoff for losing a few months of email is knowing that I've got you as a regular reader, that might be worth it. :)

You really ought to have a blog, too, you know...

No--you, guys are too intellective! Half the time I have to consult my thesaurus, not to mention the techno-lingo I have to acquaint myself, with.

I'll just have fun reading entries, comments, informative wealth you all have and share.

Know that I'm always here...

Isn't it funny that we always seem to learn to back up the hard way? That reminds me, I should back up my critical data as well! Though I need not back up my email, because thankfully that IS imap (all 30 megabytes of it).

"There are two kinds of hard drives: those that have failed and those that will."

I'm kind of entertained by the gender breakdown in the comments (here and in the previous post, which echoes a conversation I had earlier with a friend. The men are mostly focused on the "here's what you should have done/should do in the future to prevent this," and the women are focused on how I feel about it. :) Very Deborah Tannen, isn't it?

So true... men want to fix things, women will just listen. Note to self: remember to listen and don't always try to fix things...

Well, I'm a woman and my first thought was: Why don't you use IMAP and have a sys admin who backs up the IMAP server regularly (e.g., my primary IMAP service provider does a backup every 8 hours so at most I'll lose 8 hours worth of mail (and actually I route my mail through another system so I'll be able to look at my procmail log on the other system and see what passed through during that 8 hours)).

I do feel your pain too but it's hard for me to understand why an info technology person isn't taking advantage of some basic info technology tools!

I don't use IMAP because:

1) I'm a digital packrat, and tend to keep literally thousands of messages. My main account inbox and outbox alone--not including the various topical folders associated with mailing lists--is 47MB in size.

(The loss of mail included my outbox, by the way, which is actually more problematic than the incoming mail--that's my "paper trail" of what I told people and when, and I use it regularly.)

2) None of the accounts where I receive mail take kindly to users keeping enormous amounts of mail in their accounts. My main account allows for 20MB, the account provided by my department has a message number limit. I have no control over those setting, since I'm not the sysadmin (and have no desire to be, either).

3) Even if the accounts allowed me to store that much mail, IMAP response tends to be very sluggish when there's that much mail in the account.

My error in this case was not doing regular backups of my own, and I'm _painfully_ aware of that lapse on my part.

Perhaps this "hard for you to understand" because you made assumptions rather than asking questions first.

I'm also a digital packrack and save everything. For example I have all the mail from when I worked at Microsoft from 1989-1992 and all the mail since I started my biz, Infinite Ink, in 1992. And it's all available via IMAP. The main reason that I created my IMAP Service Providers page, which is here

was to find an IMAP provider that I could use that would give me tons of IMAP-available space and do regular backups and not charge me for restores. Sorry if it seemed like I was making assumptions. I just feel like IMAP is a key to helping to deal with a lot of the current email problems, including viruses and spam, and if more people would start using it and start demanding good IMAP clients and good IMAP service providers, we might actual have a usable email world once again.

Nancy, I was a little snippy in my response, and I apologize. Unfortunately, I don't have as much flexibility in my email provision as I'd like (although I'm now redirecting my main RIT address to an off-campus provider, which seems to be working smoothly, and may result in a better range of choices).

I did take a look at your site, which is a great resource.

Hey - As a man, I feel your pain too :)

It is definitely true that POP is far more convenient for the ISP than IMAP - let the customer worry about it...leading to exactly this kind of disaster.

Here at the University of Washington, where we've been IMAP supporters for years, we now give faculty, staff, and students 300 MB of disk quota, and employees can purchase additional storage pretty cheaply - and that's maintained and backed up regularly by the pros in the machine room.

It seems to me that the institution simply has too much at stake to push this kind of responsibility back onto already overloaded individuals.


I wish our systems people had your attitude. <sigh>

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This page contains a single entry published on October 3, 2003 7:45 AM.

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