I didn’t expect to return home after a meeting this morning to find I have no telephone or Internet access on this bright sunshine, calm weather May day. I’ve got classes to prep for, sites to review for students and clients, article deadlines, these blog exercises to publish and keep to my year long commitment, and clients needing work done. I have no Internet nor land line. What to do?
I do have my smart phone. My tablet is WIFI, so it is out, as is the laptop. I’m limited to my phone or I can pack things up and go down to the local hotel and cafe with free high-speed wireless and work from there. I give the phone a try, then give up as the access is so slow and just work without wires. Then I find out that the whole area is down and isn’t likely to be back on until 3AM, or possibly later. Argh.
Several programs I now rely upon won’t work unless I’m connected to the web. Those are out. It’s back to traditional software to keep working, which brings me to today’s blog exercise.
What are your backup plans and alternative options for keeping your blog going when the going gets tough?
Do you have alternatives when the power goes out?
I do most of my web writing in the powerful text editor NoteTab Pro and Scrivener, an amazing editor program for writers and novelists. Both are software and not reliant upon the web to function.
I use Instant WordPress to install a virtual server for WordPress Theme development and testing on my Windows computer, allowing me WordPress access for testing, development, and screenshots for my class material and articles when web access is lacking. There are a variety of ways to install your own virtual, desktop server with WordPress to help you keep going, though you need to remember these sites are not live on the web and you can’t publish from them. You may import and export, but they aren’t your live WordPress site.
Scrivener allows me to download and store web pages for research, and there is always the traditional methods of saving web pages, but that’s only if I was thinking ahead. If I need to search for answers, other than my phone and the iffy 3G cell connection in my home office, I have to rely upon what I have available.
What about backups? I backup all my articles and projects to multiple portable hard drives and Google Drive. This allows me to pick up and leave with little notice, taking my files with me easily. Unfortunately, without access to the Internet, the files on Google Drive or other cloud storage locations don’t help me. I need to work on local copies.
While I have a variety of ways to sync my files, I usually have to remember to do so manually. Not all software and systems successfully sync, though they do backup. Backups usually require the same software to access the compressed backup files and I need my raw files without going through a restore process.
The last backup I always have are articles ready to go in draft form on my site. This way I can release one quickly if needed when I get back online. The ones that are completely ready to release I can post from my phone. Writing and editing them on my phone is tricky, so I save these for emergencies. I had some in the queue but chose to write this one as the power came back on many hours earlier than expected. YEAH!
It’s a painful system I need to update and make more efficient myself, which is why I want your help to help all of us learn more about how to backup, sync, and use more efficient tools to ensure we can keep on blogging even when the lights go out, so to speak.
Your blog exercise is to go through your own list to prepare for when you lose connection to the web and need to keep working.
- Identify the programs you need to have in order to keep working. Make sure you have backups of the programs so they can be reinstalled quickly.
- Identify how you store, backup, and sync your documents, multimedia, and content. Ensure you have local as well as cloud storage options.
- Consider alternative Internet access points, local and at further distances if the blackout is community-wide.
- Inventory the equipment you need for backups and alternative methods for accessing the web. Make sure you have backup batteries and ways of charging these devices, too.
- Write 3-5 blog posts and save them as drafts, ready to release if you find yourself in this situation. Install the mobile version of WordPress on your smart phone to ensure you have quick access to your site.
Make a plan for the “just in case” moments in your blogging life. We all have them. Some we can prepare for, like weather we know is coming. Others hit us out of the blue. Make sure you are ready no matter the reason.