When my hard drive crashed recently I did have a back up of the hard drive. But, an additional step I was actually able to accomplish was to boot the computer from an external hard drive. I was able to have 2 methods of loading the information I needed...one from the internal hard drive of my computer and the second from an external hard drive on which I had installed my OS X operating system and many of the programs and files I needed to continue working.
If I had thought to create this external hard drive BEFORE taking my computer to the "computer hospital," I would have been able to plug the external hard drive into another similar MacBook computer (we have 3 in our house and 2 at the office) and run my stuff from someone else's computer without changing a thing on the "loaner" computer. I don't believe this is possible with a Windows based computer.
When looking for a computer I usually check the AppleInsider Pricing Guide.
iPad (or other mobile devise)
Because I have created documents, spreadsheets and presentations on my Mac, I can open them, access them and edit them from an iPad or iPhone. In order to do this, however, the files need to be stored in an accessible location (iCloud, Dropbox, Box.com, Amazon S3, Google Drive, external hard drive, etc). Prior to my hard drive crashing, I didn't have EVERYTHING stored online, but I did have some things securely stored and accessible...which did help.
There are thousands of apps for the iPad and iPhone. I teach a class every Monday and use Keynote on my iPhone for the class presentation. I am able to edit the presentation on the iPhone, but it is much easier to edit on the iPad. If I create the presentation on my computer, store it on iCloud (or even in iTunes on my computer), I can then access it from my computer, iPhone or iPad.
In reality, an iPad (or other tablet mobile devise) is a great substitute even when my computer is working. Right now, I personally only have an iPhone, but we have two iPads in the house and I was able to access some information from the iPad, edit it and use it when I needed it. I am planning on acquiring an iPad for myself in the near future.
When Evernote first hit the scene in 2008, I wasn't too sure it was going to be very useful. It seemed "redundant" to me. "Why copy my stuff to Evernote.?" It just seemed like an extra step.
Well, Evernote of 2013 is radically different from Evernote of 2008...AND, my use of technology is radically different from 5 years ago.
Basically, Evernote is your digital stuff collector (file cabinet) in the sky (cloud). You can put almost any digital information up there and it is searchable and accessible from many different devices.
There are several advantages to Evernote:
1. You can store "stuff" either in the cloud OR locally on your computer OR both...it's up to you.
2. The stuff stored in the cloud is accessible from your computer, phone, or other mobile device.
3. The stuff can be organized (if you want) into "notebooks," but you don't have to. You can use one big notebook if you want. Either way, everything is still searchable.
4. With several different add-ons you can easily capture stuff from the web, from your phone, from your computer, from email, etc.
5. You can share your stuff with other people, and them with you, if you want.
6. There is a free version and a paid version. Personally, I like that they are developing a sustainable path...offering (and expecting) everything for free doesn't allow services to grow and is unsustainable.
7. I can connect my todo list with my Evernote account and have my list created as I send stuff to Evernote...and it automatically appears on my phone.
Disadvantages of Evernote:
1. It is one more step. But, I believe in the long-run the one extra step saves a ton of time in being able to find stuff.
2. It is not under your direct physical immediate control (see "Is Evernote Secure?").
How am I using Evernote?
2. JOURNAL - I am keeping a journal that I share with my wife. I want to be transparent with her and allow her to read thoughts I have about life. (She is also my accountability partner with Covenant Eyes on my computer).
3. WEB CLIPS - I use Evernote Web Clipper to grab information off of the web that I want to read and/or keep for reference.
4. READING - I store PDF files in Evernote that I want to read later.
5. CONTACTS - I am experimenting with Evernote Hello to capture contact information from meetings and business cards.
6. NOTE TAKING - Once I have an iPad, I will hand write notes on the iPad using Penultimate.
7. RECEIPTS - We shop online and I receive receipts via email. Instead of storing the receipts in my email on my hard drive, I store the receipts in Evernote. I use a Mail to Evernote applescript to allow me to archive an email message directly to Evernote with a single keystroke. Eventually I may use a Hazel rule to automatically send any receipts I receive in email to Evernote.
8. OTHER STUFF - Over time I will continue to find ways to store and find information online that I may want to use over and over. Evernote is a valuable service/tool for doing this.
Is Evernote Secure?
On March 3, 2013, Evernote experienced a security breach and all of its users were asked to reset their passwords. "No Evernote user content appeared to have been stolen."
But, I also have to ask the question, how secure does my information need to be? I don't work for national security, I don't store personal information (driver's license, social security numbers, bank accounts, credit card numbers, etc) in Evernote. Of the stuff I store on Evernote, I don't believe anyone else would find it very useful...for anything.
Some articles and information about Evernote security:
I have been storing information "on the cloud" for about 5 years. I am unaware of any of this information being compromised....but again, I wonder who would want this information. It is not personal sensitive information.
The services I use include:
iCloud - Wasn't so hot when it came out, but it is working better now and syncs well with my Apple products.
Dropbox - Probably the best known and easiest to use of all the services.
Box.com - Very similar to Dropbox. Easy to use and simple interface.
Amazon S3 - A more difficult service to use. It is a paid service, but for a lot of data it is probably the least expensive online storage solution that I know of.