Lost in space Featured

7:25am EDT October 21, 2004
A colleague of mine considers her Day Runner her bible; she never goes anywhere without it and refers to it constantly. She also owns --- and uses -- a Palm Pilot, but doesn't trust having everything digital with no paper back up.

I used to tease her about this, but not anymore.

One of my biggest blind spots is my reliance on technology. And, after my last technology mishap, you'd have thought I'd learned my lesson about the importance of backing up data. To be fair, I have. For more than a year, I've diligently backed up my data and crucial files on our company's network, burned older files onto CDs and effectively ensured that any individual computer couldn't paralyze Smart Business' editorial operations.

Until late September, those preventive measures were successful. But then a fatal overload of my Microsoft Outlook occurred, and more than 12,000 e-mail files, 5,000 contacts and my calendar suddenly were rendered inaccessible because my personal data file became, well, too big for its britches and exceeded Microsoft's acceptable size considerations.

Luckily, our IT professional recovered most of my email files by shrinking the personal folders file. My contacts were retrieved off the network, where they'd been backed up. But my calendar was lost forever.

My resistance to carrying a Day Runner isn't new; it goes back more than 15 years. At that time, I carried a credit card-sized digital assistant that was essentially a predecessor to today's high-tech PDAs.

Like many business owners who make the mistake of relying on one or two large clients to dominate their revenue streams, I was doing the same thing - putting all my eggs in one basket.

And while there's not much I can do to recover my calendar, the incident has caused me to take yet another step away from digital reliance and create another preventive measure -- printing the calendar out weekly.

So if I missed a meeting with you in October, my apologies. And if you have one scheduled with me in November and it hasn't been reconfirmed, please drop me a line to do so.

As for my colleague who lives by her Day Runner, she's actually the smart one, and I'll never tease her again.