For those who read my blog post last night, you know that my train of thought was broken by a magnitude 5.0 earthquake that hit Los Angeles around 8:40PM. When the earthquake hit I was up in my loft typing and my girlfriend was downstairs working on a research report (yes – we are both dorks!). As everything in my apartment began to shake in harmony I made a dash for the spiral staircase that leads from the second floor down the first floor. I must have looked like a cartoon character since going down a spiral staircase quickly is almost impossible.
My girlfriend looked terrified (it was her first Earthquake, as a native Californian I’m used to these) as we ran to the doorway. Watching as everything in the house shook I started to think about all of the computers spread throughout my house. Once everything stopped shaking my first thought was – aftershocks? I started running all over the house shutting down computers and unplugging power strips as my girlfriend stood in the doorway waiting for me to return. After about five minutes of standing in the doorway I decided we could migrate back into the apartment and continue on with our night.
I did have some good lessons from this Earthquake. At the end of it I felt like I was about 80% prepared but still have a few things to do in order to get ready for the next one. Here’s a list of what every California Domainer should have in-place to keep their Domaining business alive after an Earthquake:
– Backup Everything Online
I have been doing this for over seven years now – I back everything up on a secure FTP server every night. If every computer in my house were destroyed I wouldn’t lose a single piece of important data. If you aren’t as tech savvy you can always use a service like Mobile Me or Mozy
– Keep all your electronics plugged-into UPS’s
If you don’t know what a UPS is, think of it as a power-strip with a battery and a brain. A UPS can keep your electronics running even when the power is cut and can also shutdown your computer when you lose power. Don’t worry – these are not very expensive – I’d suggest the APC ES8 which is available for $45 on Amazon.
– Don’t put heavy wobbly things near your computer/dispay
I get a 0/10 on this one. I have two heavy bookshelf speakers (yes – I’m also a big audio geek) right next to my computer. If these fell they would break themselves and the computer. Also look for pictures hanging above your computer or bed. Your Domaining business needs you to be conscious to run it so being knocked-out by an Ansel Adams hanging above your bed is a less-than-ideal situation. You can buy clips at a hardware store that will secure just about anything you own to a wall so this will save you from having to completely re-organize your house.
– Keep Drinks off your Desk
I had a full glass of water on my desk when the Earthquake hit last night. If this was a 6.0 the glass would have tipped destroying one laptop, one mac-mini, along with frying my UPS. Yes – UPS’s cannot operate properly when the sockets are filled with water – believe me, I found this out the hard way in college. While Earthquake insurance will cover damage from an Earthquake, water-damage is not considered to be Earthquake-related in most cases. It’s no too hard to put your water, soda, beer, vodka, whatever it may be somewhere far enough away from your equipment so that if it falls your electronics won’t have to experience a flood.
– Put your Desk by a wall
This may seem like weird advice but I learned this one from the Earthquake that rocked the Bay Area back in 1989. If your computer desk is somewhere in the middle of your room then it’s easy for your display to fall-off the back plummeting to its doom. Push your desk against a wall and if the display falls back it will be stopped by the wall, if it falls forward it doesn’t have too far to go.
– Scan any important paper documents and include those in your backup routine
Every single important paper document I have is securely backed-up on my FTP server along with all my other data. That way if there’s a fire I’m not one of those people running through the house with a cat under one arm rummaging through my filing cabinet looking for my insurance forms. My insurance forms can burn all they want – I can just re-print them if I ever need them.
If you’re a Domainer that doesn’t live in California then you don’t have to worry about Earthquakes – but you can always enjoy the excitement on Twitter so you feel like you’re here with us! Last night I was amazed at how many tweets there were about the Earthquake before anything could be found on Google or CNN. If you follow the precautions above your business will be safe so you can focus on saving yourself, your loved ones, and those furry things we call pets that seem to be impossible to find during an Earthquake!