When traveling, you never know if you are going to spill a drink on your laptop, a sudden rainstorm drenches your gear, someone steals your computer while you are in the bathroom, or the maid absconds with your bag while you are at the beach. Once you have gotten over the trauma of losing expensive equipment, how do you recover all of those priceless files, photos, and sensitive work material and passwords?
My solution is to keep as much as possible in the cloud. This way I can seamlessly switch laptops and devices or even not bother bringing one and just use internet cafes or borrow a friend’s device. The main categories I can identify are: 1. Files, 2. Photos, 3. Code, 4. Passwords. Ideally, you want everything backed up in two places in case one company gets hacked, goes bankrupt, etc. Also, you want some local files redundantly on your computer if they are not sensitive (or if they are you can encrypt your hard drive – perhaps another post on that in the future).
For files, I like to use Google Drive and Dropbox. Google Drive gives you 15GB free and $2 for each additional 100GB. Dropbox gives you 2GB free and $10 for each additional 1TB. I would keep most of your files on Google (you can even use different emails for different projects to keep things organize and siloed and increase your free space). Then use Dropbox sparingly for crucial files where you want redundancy. Other good MS One Drive and Box, which both provide 10GB free. They might be even better than Dropbox because of the increased size, I just haven’t tried them out yet personally.
For photos, Flickr is the good because it gives you 1TB free and it has an attractive interface for viewing your photos. Google Photos is even better because there is no limit for files up to 16MP (let’s hope they don’t start charging all of a sudden in the future – but hey, that’s why it is good to have it in two places). If you have Amazon Prime, it includes free unlimited photo storage as well.
For version controlled code-hosting, my go-to is Bitbucket because it is private and free. Github is great for open source (public code) but costs $7/month for private. CloudForge is only $2/month but I haven’t used it personally.
For passwords, I have been recently using LastPass and I love it. For very important sites (email and sites involving money), I still memorize my passwords and don’t store them, but for all of the more trivial passwords that you don’t want to have to memorize, it is nice to have them synced in one place no matter the device and you can install an add-on for all the main browsers with one click saving and loading of passwords and usernames.
That should cover keeping you up and running even if something happens to your laptop. There are some additional methods you might want to take in case someone steals your laptop and you are worried about them having access to sensitive info (passwords, legal docs, stealth mode code, nude photos, etc.) like encrypting your hard drive, logging out of all devices from the web, find my device, clean wiping sensitive data, etc. but I will save this info for a future post perhaps.