Robbed – How to minimise the damage

23 01 2009

As many of you will know, while Melissa and I were in Europe, our house was broken into and we were robbed.  Not the ideal news to receive when you’re trying to soak in the sights of Strasbourg! 

My two laptops (my work Dell and personal MacBook), ski jacket and, most painfully, all my camera gear was pinched.  The thief gained entry by breaking a window.  We believe it was a single culprit and probably on foot since it’s about all one person could carry.  My TV, stereo, Wii, PS3 were all untouched.

Just before I left I’d whipped through the house taking videos of my belongings, specifically for insurance purposes.  I covered my stereo, TV, games consoles and my laptops and camera gear.  At the time it was a pretty off-the-cuff task; it was on a todo list but so were a dozen other items that I never completed.  In hindsight it was critical.  After CCI, my insurance company – who were great and I highly recommend – saw the video they accepted everything I claimed. 

So go do it now – video your possessions!  It takes ten minutes and can save you big time.  Go on, I’ll wait right here.

Done?  Good.  🙂

I had also backed up my laptops before I’d left so that crisis was averted.  If you’ve got a Mac you’re spoilt.  SuperDuper is sensational.  It creates a complete duplicate of your hard drive – after backing up you can replace the original drive with the copy and continue exactly as you were.  Just buy a hard drive the same size (or bigger) of your primary drive and put it in an external housing.  And folks, this software is free [1].

If you’re using Windows the best equivalents are Acronis and Ghost but they’re not quite as nice.  And not nearly so free.

I also use Jungle Disk, a backup program built on top of Amazon’s online storage service, S3.  S3 provides you with unlimited, reliable storage that’s very cheap (15c per GB to store, 10c per GB to transfer).  I backup all of my important data (photos, music, documents etc) to S3.  If you have a decent Internet connection this is a great option since you don’t have to worry about managing backup hardware yourself.  As a bonus your data is available from any computer with a ‘net connection.  The caveat is that transferring gigabytes of data can take time…

In summary, I recommend you figure out a backup plan!  Whether it’s manually copying your data to external hard disks, using online storage or cloning your boot drive do whatever is appropriate to protect your data.


And then you can go on holiday and not worry about losing anything!


[1] There is also a paid version that provides you with some great features like incremental, bootable backups, which I highly recommend considering (I bought it!)




One response

23 01 2009

Great advice!

I guess you could also photograph your possessions as well.

Although none of this would be very useful if you left the video tape (or memory card) in the camera which was stolen 🙂

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