Monday morning I make a 7 hour train journey to get to where I want to work this week. Normally I would drive 6 hours but I decide to reward myself with a train ride so that I can catch up on emails, ezine and have a chance to think. The financial argument is that the train will cost about 100 pounds more than the petrol for my car but the virtual office time will be invaluable. So far, so good. About 30 minutes into the train journey my laptop crashes. I spend 2 hours rebooting and receive repeated error messages, telling me that the hard disk cannot initialize and the laptop cannot find ts own operating system (Windows XP). Eventually, and after many whirrs and clicks, the darn thing works but is noticeably slower than usual. I immediately back up as many files as possible (and my diary and contact list) to our office intranet and then answer all my client emails. As soon as I arrive at my destination, the first port of call is Micro Anvika to purchase a new laptop (a Sony S5 with upgraded RAM). 6.15pm Monday evening I set about the process of reloading software on to the new laptop and I’ve also bought a transfer software package. At midnight Monday, the old laptop finally dies, before I have had a chance to start the final file transfer. At least I am live on email and have synchronized my calendar and contacts with the intranet. 1.00am to bed and up again at 6.00am to continue the recovery process all Tuesday morning. My main back-up hard drive will have to wait until the end of the week – at least I know that 2500 photographs and all the contents of “My Documents” are there. So that’s my third laptop disaster in as many years – two hard drive crashes and one theft. A testament to effective back up systems: 1. a portable hard drive that I back up at least once a month; 2. an office intranet that automatically syncs with my calendar, contacts, tasks and contains all my important documents. See www.weboffice.com I will not be fully backed up until early next week and the whole process has probably cost me a full day’s work – but it could be a lot worse.