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Tale of a recovering disaster-holic

By Mike Loftus on Jun 13, 11 04:56 PM in


Do you know the sensation ? Dread, dragging at the pit of your stomach. Tears of despair shot through with self loathing. The constant recrimination and re examination. How did I did I get myself in this mess. Over and over in your mind repeating each step that led you to it ? Yes ? So you've lost your Blackberry too?

OK - yes indeed, lets get it into perspective - no one got hurt and no one even lost any money. However being bereft of my little companion - even if only for the weekend has given me pause for thought. Given my compulsive emailing habit, existing incommunicado without the blackberry has turned me into sort of virtual Trappist monk for a couple of days, so reflection does seem an appropriate response. It throws up a familiar theme I suppose - and one that seems acute from my own place on the economic spectrum.

For the one person business, changes in technology and communications have brought at the same time this astonishing increase in capacity with an equal increase in vulnerability - it's as if you suddenly got five times bigger in height and weight but your feet remained exactly the same size. You spend your life marvelling at your new reach and power but at the same time aware that you are perpetually on the verge of toppling over. And the scale of that increase in power is astonishing. It is one of those daft ' Would you believe it ?' facts but still it's the case that even the average domestic lap top is about 2,000 times more powerful that all of the IT back up that the Apollo moon missions possessed. But what is maybe even more gasp inducing- if we ever bothered to reflect on it - was that it took me just two seconds to check that particular 'fact' out without leaving my chair. That instantaneous access - and our bland expectation of it - is truly mind-boggling

And if it fails ? The exhilarating blend of power and vulnerability highlights the vital issue that the long ago days of Apollo XIII showed up in stark relief - at the end of the day , if you can't avoid the threat of disaster -and rest assured, you won't - you need to have resources for disaster recovery. And that's the area where the tiny business is most exposed. An acquaintance of mine who spent a number of years working in Japan - in the days when Japan was the byword for endeavour and enterprise - always claimed that the real hidden strength of the Japanese economy then was the capacity to throw massive human resource at a problem. The one person band runs very quickly to the limit of resources and while a lost blackberry is still a huge irritation for corporate man it can quite a lot more threatening for me.

As it happens I did have one half of a disaster recovery plan in place - an insurance policy ( taken out almost against my better judgement to be honest - I mean who is gping to misplace their blackberry !) put a new one in my shaking hands within 24 hours - a few phone calls then had it buzzing with emails after a few hours more - but contacts and appointments will need a more painful reconstruction.

Anyway in the very best tradition of investing in a five lever lock the very minute the horse arrives in a neighbouring county, I have been doing a little investigation. And find to my mild exasperation that there is ( of course) an app available that will compel any lost smartphone to shriek its whereabouts if unwittingly abandoned and it will even find itself for you on a map just like the old 'X marks the spot' on the Treasure Island map.

All of which might sensibly prompt the real question to put to the phone - 'OK if you are so bloomin' smart, smart-phone, how come you let me lose you in the first place?'

Well, there has been some pretty intensive forensic analysis of all of this at stately Loftus Towers over the last couple of days. My wife- who generally treats my relationship with the blackberry with a weary contempt - took pity on me in my muddled bereavement. Her in-depth questioning has probably identified a further essential refinement to the current 'lost blackberry' app. That is the one that activates an engine immobiliser whenever a clown tries to leave his drive with the blackberry perched precariously on the roof of the car. Because that seems to the most plausible explanation of the latest crisis.

Recovery is a lot more of a challenge when it's you that is the disaster.

(PS So, if you were expecting to see me in the next week or so - and notwithstanding the stuff above, think its still worth your while - a email to remind me would be very welcome!)

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