Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

Wish I hadn't learned the hard way.

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
Mathias Ditlev
October 24, 2016

I'm not a computer genius, but if I do say so myself, I have a pretty good handle on both software and hardware in computers. Perhaps the many years I've been using computers and my own self-image have made me a bit arrogant about general IT security.

Antivirus software is for people who can't navigate the web and backing up data is for people who can't handle IT.

I've learned the hard way.

Let's remember the good old days of ancient history in high school and call this a story of hubris and nemesis, even though that's probably not entirely accurate to the original definition of the terms.

My hubris (hubris)

My hubris (arrogance) was my IT arrogance, which specifically consisted of the fact that I had not secured my files to any particular degree. Of course I had Dropbox, but due to limited space I only used it to be able to share some common documents with fellow students.

With nemesis (tighten)

My nemesis (the punishment) materialized, (fortunately), in the early stages of my undergraduate project. I had already spent some time on the research part of my undergraduate project and was starting to get a little stressed about having to write it as well. It didn't occur to me for a second that I should make a backup of the project, because what could possibly go wrong?

water in the computer

Most people know that they have placed the coffee cup a little too close to the computer.

Water in my computer was devastating.

I was about a third of the way through the number of pages when I discover that water has spilled into my computer. It's happened before and I quickly maneuver the computer upside down to get the water out before it does any damage. Apparently, I was too late. The computer wouldn't boot and my attempts to let it dry upside down were futile. I researched most advice on the web, but nothing helped.

The little stress I had beforehand was now transformed into a more intense form of stress and violent frustrations. After some time of shouting in the apartment about what an idiot I am, I immediately started firefighting. I decided to buy a new computer right away, but of course that wouldn't bring back my undergraduate project. For that, I researched how long and how expensive it would be to get a professional to get my files back.

I quickly concluded that this was not the solution.

Instead, I found out that a friend had the connector from a previous external hard drive. This connector had USB connection at one end and connection to SATA hard drive at the other. It took me about 5 days, but I managed to salvage the files. I got on with the project and got it delivered.

I was left not only poorer because I had to invest in a new computer, but the quality of my undergraduate project had also suffered in the process. The experience had demoralised me mildly and set me back almost a week in the process.
Can you teach an old dog new tricks? If I can be called an old dog in the IT world, then yes. It didn't take me many minutes to prioritise my IT security much higher than before. You have to learn from your mistakes, and it's fair to say I have. It took me about 10 minutes from booting my new computer for the first time to installing both online backup and antivirus.

"Better be safe than sorry" - is apparently a mantra I had to learn first hand. It won't be long before I have to write my thesis. And I can guarantee that it will be backed up.