The last week was a write-off, starting on Monday morning with the death of my workstation's operating system hard drive. That night another computer in residence suffered a similar fate - what are the odds? That made for a total of three hard drive failures in a week, the other being the earlier crash of a remote server drive which my workstation performs nightly backups to. No data was lost, a result of having multiple backups and a bit of good luck, but it did waste three days while replacements arrived and everything was restored (and I'm still trying to catch up on the lost productivity).
The experience underscores an important point: all hard drives eventually fail, so backups are extremely important. Aside from my work data (which reside on RAID mirrored drives with nightly remote backups), like most people I have an increasingly large and irreplaceable collection of photos. If you're reading this and you don't have a backup of your photos and files, ask yourself how you'd feel if your hard drive died tomorrow and you lost them forever. As people store more of their family photos and videos in digital form the risk of losing it all to hardware failure is something everyone should think about.
So please, make regular backups! Do it. Right now.
While waiting for the new drives to arrive I had time to test some circuitry. I've finished the design for my first PCB and will attempt to etch it some time in the next week once I've made ground on the backlog of work. I'm really excited about finishing it and then seeing it (hopefully) work!