I expect some heat for writing this article. But that’s okay. I am used to it. My main crime here is that I want you to be careful and I want to help save you from a potential tragedy. So here goes…
I have been online longer than anyone I know. Since before there were web browsers in fact. I was always the one who reassured folks and said, “Go ahead, it’s safe.” And now, I am pulling the plug.
Not entirely mind you, but I am taking my main computer offline. Spam, Wi-FI invaders, Spyware, virus problems, it’s all too much. These things rarely (if ever) impact me. I am lucky because I am a Mac guy. We see 1/1000th of this crap that you unfortunate Windows users see. But I know it’s only a matter of time. And I can’t risk the things that are REALLY important to me like my photographs, my writing, my research, etc.
So I am going to connect to the Web exclusively via my laptop from now on. And I will not put anything vital on that machine. When I need to download a new firmware upgrade or a new software patch, I will do so on the laptop and then burn the file to an external hard drive and transfer it to my desktop. Likewise, when I need to send a file from the desktop, I will copy files to a portable hard disk and port it over to the Laptop for transmission to the Net. Will this be a hassle? You bet. Will it be worth it?
Well let’s see… I have 440,000 images on my main drives. These hard drives hold my retirement. Do I want to risk losing that data? Sure it’s backed up nice and safe on my Drobo, but do you know how long it takes to restore three terabyte’s worth of data? And then there’s the research and writing that goes into all of my books and articles. Months of work are at stake. And if a virus takes over my machine and wipes out my data, I’m in deep, deep trouble.
The good news is that PCs and now, even Apple’s Macs, are available for under $500. That means you can use an inexpensive machine to go online and keep your important data safe on another computer.
I am advising all of my clients to take this approach. Will they listen? Probably not. Will they regret it later? I’d bet the ranch that for at least one of them, the unfortunate answer is yes. The scenario in Ahhhhnold’s movie “The Terminator” may be farfetched, but if a computer worm eats all of your prize winning photographs, you’ll surely feel like some machine killed you.
Am I overreacting? Some will say yes. That’s okay with me, because the better safe than sorry approach will never hurt you in a case like this.