This is more or less a post about my best friend. It’s perhaps a post he’ll never write, so I’m taking it on as the observer. He doesn’t know I’m writing it.
I’ll start with: Pete Cooper is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.
For the last several years, by best buddy was trying to get a technical services company off the ground. Through no fault of his own, the rural area he services can’t support this as a full time business in pay, though the time it costs is well into unpaid overtime. He’s actively wound down the business, but has a few clients that need projects wrapping up. There are at least three computers in our home that are not ours, in various stages of set up or data recovery.
You may or may not know Pete, but I do. One thing you may not know (because he doesn’t brag) is that he used to be a kinda big deal for a major security software company. They sent him around the world to train groups of people, individuals, public speaking, and to offer consultancy. He managed a team too. He left the job to start his own business and follow some dreams. In that, he was also very successful (read: worked hard, made a lot of money). Then his marriage became unviable and he moved to Crackington Haven (where I live) to make a better life and new start.
I’ve watched him repair, rebuild, replace and resuscitate every make of laptop and desktop PC you can mention, and a few MacBooks too. He has fixed the internal bits of iPhones, and has always had a confidence that he can do what needs doing, or at least give his best try to fix a thing. I am in awe of the things he can do and the decades it has taken to learn and practice his skills.
Not unlike a surgeon. Bet you were wondering about the title. Let me elaborate.
You see, most of you probably don’t back up your computer data to an external hard drive, or even the cloud. I’m here to tell you SHAME ON YOU. You need to fix that situation right now. Stop reading this and go buy a terabyte or so drive on Amazon, then come back and I hope you’ll finish this post.
Right this minute, Pete is on plan C or D or worse in trying to recover data from a client’s failing hard drive. This person, like so many he has helped over the years, wants their data saved from the digital void of nothingness. Now, I don’t know what this person is trying to save, but think of your own computer right now. Baby photos? Doctorate research? Financial records? A particularly impressive porn stash? Doesn’t matter. I guarantee you have stuff you don’t want to lose. So here’s the thing: you will lose these files if you don’t back them up. Hard drives fail, and recovery software and the incredibly smart guys who use it to help you are only able to do so much. And surprises happen along the way. Like bad sectors. Those are duff bits in your hard drive that pop up without warning and cannot be recovered, and may prevent the rest of stuff being transferred to a new drive altogether. This is not Pete’s fault. It’s yours for not having a backup.
Pete has been working on a recovery process for upwards of 24 hours. Bad sectors popped up. The client is being unpleasant about it to Pete, and is making Pete feel horrible. What most people don’t understand is that if you have a loved one in surgery, you don’t get mad at the surgeon for the procedure taking longer than expected or complications arise- you worry and hope for the best possible outcome. But people don’t do that with their computers. We trust these machines to hold our precious, irreplaceable memories, movies, music, half-written novels, and statements, yet take no responsibility for preventable data destruction. Pete is not at fault; he is the surgeon trying to stop the bleeding.
So, as his housemate and best friend, I see the things he goes through trying to make his clients happy and doing his best to the point of tears and pounding fists to save data that means nothing to him, but everything to the client. He’s giving up the business because it kills him a little every time a client gets snarky with him for their own laziness and arrogance. He’s leaving the tech support business because it’s a constant uphill battle with the amount people are willing to invest in their data. People buy cheap laptops and no backup and then get mad when they get a bill for the hours it has taken to revive a born bad machine. In most cases with consumer goods, you get what you pay for; when it comes to my best friend’s experience and effort, you can’t possibly pay him enough.
The moral of the story is to back up your data, and the message is to treat experts well and know that they don’t want complications any more than you do, so be grateful and let them do their jobs as best as they can, because I promise, they want you to be satisfied.
Now, if you didn’t already order a back up disk, for the love of god(s), go do it now.