As tends to happen to computer workers, I was cornered at the bar and told a tale of IT woe.
It is a bit like being a doctor. In fact, I think it is worse than being a doctor because everyone has at least one computer or device whereas not everyone is sick at the same time. So the IT person's chances of being accosted at a party are much greater than that of a doctor...but that may just be my observational bias.
Anyway, this tale wasn't of any particular surprise to me or indeed anything new at all.
In fact it was the complete opposite. It is something I hear so often I want to scream.
The story goes that Person A was working on a very complex spreadsheet on their laptop.
Person B came along and said "wow, you've been working on that a long time. Have you saved it?"
Person A "No, it will be alright."
Some hours later....
Person A: "Person B, you have to help me. The computer has crashed and won't turn on."
Person B: "Had you saved the spreadsheet?"
Person A: "no".
So putting aside the anger and frustration that is welling up inside me even at this moment, let's just think about what has gone on here.
Someone has known they are working ...for a long time...on something complex... and actively chosen NOT to do the simplest of actions i.e. click the SAVE button.
They've even been prompted to do this by a concerned third party...and still done nothing.
They've spent more time saying "No" than it would have taken to f***ing click the SAVE button!!
I've just saved this post. It took a few seconds and this is a longer process than clicking SAVE in Excel.
If you are that lazy that you can't be bothered to click SAVE every now and then, then you need to know 2 things:
You deserve what you get. You will lose you work eventually. No ifs, no buts.
I will take your money when you come to me to get the file back. I will help you but you'll get no sympathy from me. (By the way, how many times have I told you to back-up?)
Now some of you smarty-pants may be saying "but the documents auto-save themselves these days...don't they?"
You tell me? I don't know what programs and settings you use. Do you?
Are you happy to make that assumption and lose all the work you've been doing for the last few hours?
People, you need to be in control. You need to take responsibility because sometimes (often) people like me can't get your data back.
So instead of shouting at you I am going to tell you what you need to do (again)...
Save your documents/projects/files every 10 minutes or so.
Save them with a new name every 30 minutes or so.
Give your documents/files meaningful names with in-built date and version handling.
Documents - words, typing, emails, spreadsheets ...are small. It doesn't matter if you have a lot of copies of them. It is way better than having no copies of them.
What I am talking about will look like this inside the folder where you document lives...
When you are finished you can easily delete all the extraneous old versions of the document.
Failing that, please just use the key combination <control> + S every now and then. That does a SAVE in pretty much every program capable of saving something. You don't even have to move your mouse.
Have fun. David