I have been told since I first began to use computer programs: "Back everything up often." For years I did it. I even have an external drive to use for this purpose. The last year I got lazy and felt safe and did not back up. The last major back-up I did was in January. Today it caught up with me. Somehow I overwrote my Outlook program and lost my entire calendar and contact file since last year. Then when I synced my iPhone I wrote the old files onto the one calendar that I had which was correct, namely the one on my iPhone. O Man! The first response was chaos. The second was, did I mention, chaos? Then I began to settle down and decided to call a friend who has been after me to simplify my life and cut things out of my calendar for a long time. He said, like one of Job's buddies, "I told you. God shut down your calendar for you!" That helped. I actually laughed and got a little more peaceful. You have to laugh or you will really have a bad day.

After I thought about it I realized this is a lot like life. Someday your calendar will not matter. All your appointments will be lost except the one that really matters, the one with God. You won't even have time to update your directory or contact your email list or write on your Facebook page. Gone! Here and then not here. I was sobered and even helped. I then began to laugh a bit about it and said, "If I miss an appointment I have a standing excuse now. I lost my computer program with the dates."I even began to list a number of blessings. I lost Outlook but my whole computer did not crash, just one program.

I also learned a very simple lesson. When you should "back up data" you better back it up! I will now put my calendar in a program that is also stored in cyberspace so I cannot lose it, or at least it will be very, very unlikely to be lost. The old saying is: "Live and learn." Today I learned the hard way. Now I am doing my best to recall my appointments. I began by going through all emails since October 1. Thankfully the out-of-town and preaching/speaking events are all on paper in monthly folders. I can put those back into the system easily enough. By tomorrow I hope to have this sorted out.

O yea, if you have a lunch or dinner with me in the coming month or so you had better let me know so I can confirm that I got you into my "new" calendar. Did I mention? This is a royal pain!!!!

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  1. Adam Shields November 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    I use online backup these days. I still have an onsite backup but depend on my online backup. I pay for http://getdropbox.com. It is designed as a sync software. And I sync between two computers. But if you have a paid account you also get every version of every file from the time you start. The negative is you have to put all your files into a specific folder (so for outlook .pst files you need to move it from its default location.)
    I also have moved all my calendar and email to online services (google apps). That does not prevent accidental deletion, but does lessen the chances.
    Just what I do.

  2. Kevin Branson November 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Dr. Armstrong I am sorry for your “loss” but thankful you learned some good life lessons from this experience. Google’s email, calendar, word processing and spreadsheet applications are all I use anymore. If and when my computer dies all my data is safe…unless Google goes away. My bet is on Google’s systems being safer than my own. KB

  3. ColtsFan November 6, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    I am very sorry for your loss. That is very frustrationg.
    For the future, I recommend Acronis.

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