So. You learn a lot when your computer disappears.
Here are some things I'm glad I did beforehand (and then some things I wish I'd done).
- Sugarsync. I love this service. It's cross-platform (Mac and PC). I choose which folders to back up and any changes that I make in that folder sync to the web. Over the course of the last two years I've seen three hard drives fail (two Mac, one PC) and all of them had everything restored thanks to Sugarsync. Most users can probably get away with their free version, but I pay a few bucks a month for extra storage space.
- Online email access. I know there are some benefits to having Outlook, Thunderbird, Mail, or another email client on my computer, but in a case like this, it's nice to have the web as my primary way of accessing email.
- I had few "saved passwords." I'm definitely going to do this less because I had to log in to all my services again and change the passwords.
Some things I wish I'd done.
- There is software that you can install on your computer in case of theft. I was referred to the Prey Project, but I'm sure there are more as well. Some can track the location of the computer when it gets on an Internet connection, or they can activate the camera and take a picture. I'm looking into this more.
- I wish I'd had the serial number stored somewhere easier to find than having to look for the original box. Helps for a police report.
- And, the obvious. Not left a nice laptop out on a desk. Even if I thought it was behind a locked door, it was clearly too tempting a target and should have been covered up a bit if I needed to step out.