Project:NOMAD

Project:NOMAD

One Man’s Attempt at Lifestyle Design and the Quest for the Perfect Virtual Company

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Four Important Lessons…

Something happened yesterday that illustrates four important lessons that I have learned and lived by for a good portion of my life, and I wanted to write about it.

First the story, then the lessons…

A friend that I follow on twitter is a writer of erotic short stories. Late one night a couple of days ago, I saw her post something on twitter, and because I hadn’t talked with her in a while, I asked how she was doing. Turns out, not good. She had a blog that was part of a larger site that was owned by someone else. A few days ago she tried to get on to the site, only to find the site was gone and so was all her work, including three stories she considered her best work to date. The pain of the loss was apparent and I felt I could do something to help her out. I told her that nothing truly goes away on the Internet, and that I would do what I can to recover them.

The first thing I did was to go to the Wayback Machine at Archive.org. This is a great site for finding older versions of other sites; it states that it has 150 billion archived web pages. There are many ways to use WayBack machine, but I just wanted to see if it had crawled her site sometime in the past.

It had not; her pages were not there..

The next thing I did was enter the site in Google search. What I got back was a list of pages for her site, which of course, when you clicked on them, got you to the default page of the web host.

But that’s not what I was after. What I was hoping for, and indeed what I did see was that Google had cached the pages. I clicked on the “Cached” link and immediately the text version of the main page of her blog came up. Success! I DM’d her and explained to her how to pull the rest of her pages from the cache. She was happy, and so was I that I could help her out. I logged off and went to bed.

The next day I DM’d her in the afternoon and asked her if she was able to get all her work back. She told me that she got everything except those three stories that she wanted the most. I went back in and was able to find one of the missing stories, but the other two where nowhere to be found. I told her to try posting to her Twitter followers to see if anyone of them had downloaded the stories while the site was up. In the meantime, I would try to find the missing stories by other means.

I honestly tried everything I could think of, other search engines, deep web searches, other relate blog sites, everything I knew to try. No luck.

So then I thought, why not just ask the web host if they keep archives? Duh!

I got on the host’s site at around 9 in the evening and opened up a support ticket explaining the situation, and asked if they keep archives. I sent the ticket, closed everything down and shut off my computer. I figured I would not get anything back from them until the morning. Later on, I went to sleep hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

The next morning I checked my email. Chris, a support tech from ATCIHosting (the hosting company) responded to my email an hour after I sent it, the night before.

He wrote:

That account is set to be removed tomorrow.
It is currently suspended due to non-payment.
I can enable the site for a short time before deleting the data.
I suppose if you can find the blog posts then you can try and copy and paste the posts.

I read the last two sentences twice…I was floored.

I also freaked because the email was written the night before and the site was scheduled to be removed TODAY! I fired off a quick response thanking them profusely and asking if I was still able to access the site today. He responded:

The account has been enabled.
It will probably be up for 6 hours or so before being removed for good.
Please let us know if you area able to find the posts within the next 6 hours.

Freaking Awesome! I immediately entered the site address and sure enough, I was able to see it, and the missing stories. I immediately DM’d my friend and told her the good news. I also pulled the pages from the site just in case she was not able to access it herself for some reason. It turned out not to be a problem because Chris emailed me later telling me they were running behind and the site would probably be up overnight. It was a good thing because my friend was offline most of the day, but came online later in the evening and was still able to get her stories. She was, to say the least, ecstatic.

This story illustrates the following four important lessons:

Lesson #1: There is always a way…

No matter what it is you are trying to accomplish, I assure you that 99.99% of the time there is a way to do it. It may not always be pretty, it may not always be easy, and it may not always be obvious, but I assure you, there is always a way to do it, just be patient, and persistent, and it will come to you.

Lesson #2: Ask…

I have blogged about this before because this lesson has server me so well in the past; If you need something, ask for it. What is the very worst that can happen, the person says “no”. Knowing this in advance and understanding that this may happen, what’s stopping you from asking? Pride? Fear? Get over it. If I let that get in my way I wouldn’t have asked the bank to accept the short sale that eventually got me a very nice rental property, or my wife of 21 years for her hand in marriage.

Ask…

Lesson #3: If It’s Important…Back it up….

This goes without saying, but I assure you, many of you reading this don’t have backups of your important information. There are a lot of excellent free programs for every computer platform out there. There is no excuse not to have backups of your important files.

Lesson #4: Be Kind…

I have saved the best for last. I have told my daughters countless of times, if you learn just one thing from me, learn this…”Be Kind”. Kindness is the grease that lubricates the gears of human interaction. (…you may quote me on this… :o)

Picture yourself in Chris’ shoes. Some guy, who is not even a customer, sends him an email and tells him that a friend who was technically also not a customer, lost all her work when the true owner didn’t pay their bill and oh by the way is it possible to recover said work?

He could easily have said no, sorry, the data is lost, you are out of luck and my friend and I would have been truly out of luck

But he didn’t.

He kindly offered to bring the site back up so that the lost work could be retrieved before the site was permanently removed. (My eyes are welling up as I type this) (and now also as I proof this). He has truly earned any and all good karma that comes his way. I sincerely hope that if your are reading this, and if you are in need of a hosting service, that you give ATCI Hosting a look. Customer service like this is truly hard to find. It was this one act of kindness that prompted me to write this post.

So there you have it, Four Lessons that should help you through life. I welcome any comments, and any important Life Lessons you have learned.

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