I once gave a mini-lecture to an office-full of computer newbies about the benefits of saving their work, telling them of the various yet quite simple ways of preventing the primeval scream that may be heard from a user whose work has disappeared because his computer has crashed. I enumerated everything from “clicking on the diskette icon on the menu bar” to hitting Ctrl+S on one’s keyboard every time your fingers become idle after typing, including not to turn your fiber cable into a doorstop, and capped it off with this well-known I.T. joke:
Jesus and Satan have a discussion as to who is the better programmer. This goes on for a few hours until they come to an agreement to hold a contest, with God as the judge.
They sit themselves at their computers and begin. They type furiously, lines of code streaming up the screen, for several hours straight. Seconds before the end of the competition, a bolt of lightning strikes, taking out the electricity. Moments later, the power is restored, and God announces that the contest is over.
He asks Satan to show what he has come up with. Satan is visibly upset, and cries, “I have nothing. I lost it all when the power went out.”
“Very well, then,” says God, “let us see if Jesus fared any better.”
Jesus enters a command, and the screen comes to life in vivid display, the voices of an angelic choir pour forth from the speakers. Satan is astonished.
He stutters, “B-b-but how? I lost everything, yet Jesus’ program is intact. How did he do it?”
God smiled all-knowingly, “Jesus saves.”
Things could be worse. We’ve had our share of computer mishaps from Coke on the keyboard to mice in the minitower. But this list from Ontrack.com tops all lists that I’ve seen so far.
The Ontrack 2005 Top Ten List of Data Disasters and Remarkable Recoveries
10. PhD Almost an F : A PhD candidate lost his entire dissertation when a bad power supply suddenly zapped his computer and damaged the USB Flash drive that stored the document. Had the data not been recovered, the student would not have graduated.
9. Suffering from Art : While rearranging her home office, a woman accidentally dropped a five pound piece of clay pottery on her laptop, directly onto the hard drive area that contained a book sheâ€™d been working on for five years and 150 year-old genealogy pictures that had not yet been printed.
8. Domestic Dilemma : A husband deleted all of his childâ€™s baby pictures when he accidentally hit the wrong button on his computer. His wife hinted at divorce if he did not get the pictures back.
7. Bite Worse than Bark: A customer left his memory stick lying out and his dog mistook it for a chew toy. Ontrack was able to recover all of the data despite teeth marks all over the stick and a hole that went completely through.
6. Don’t Try this at Home: A man attempting to recover data from his computer on his own found the job too challenging mid-way through and ended up sending Ontrack his completely disassembled drive with each of its parts in a separate baggie.
5. Out of Time: A clockmaker suffered a system meltdown, losing the digital designs for all of its clocks. Ontrack literally beat the clock recovering all their data just in time for an important international tradeshow.
4. Drilling for Data: During a multi-drive RAID recovery, engineers discovered one drive belonging in the set was missing. The customer found the missing drive in a dumpster, but in compliance with company policy for disposing of old drives, it had a hole drilled through it.
3. Safe at Home: After one of their executives experienced a laptop crash, the Minnesota Twins professional baseball team called on Ontrack to rescue crucial scouting information about their latest prospects. The team now relies on Ontrack for all data recoveries within its scouting and coaching ranks.
2. Hardware Problems: A frustrated writer attacked her computer with a hammer. When the engineers received the computer, the hammer imprint was clearly visible on the top cover.
And finally, the number one most bizarre data disaster of 2005:
1. La Cucaracha: In hopes of rescuing valuable company information, a customer pulled an old laptop out of a warehouse where it had been sitting unused for 10 years. When engineers opened the computer, it contained hundreds of husks of dead and decaying cockroaches.