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Back in 2006, TechSoup had an online discussion asking, "What was your biggest technology mistake?" It got more than a dozen responses.
I'd love to revisit this topic, asking you, as a volunteer, consultant or employee for a nonprofit, library, government office or other mission-based organization: what's been your biggest, or most recent, technology-related mistake? It can be any mistake related to computers, cell phones, smart phones or software/apps you use in the course of your relationship with a nonprofit, NGO, library, etc. It can also be one that you have seen, firsthand - someone else's mistake! (but be kind - might be a good idea not to use real names in such cases - let's not try to humiliate any orgs).
If you could say the mistake AND what you learned from that mistake, or the consequences, that would be awesome. I'd like for this to be a learning discussion.
So, for instance: you didn't install antivirus software and then got hit by something nasty that caused you to lose data, and/or that took hours and hours of time to deal with - do now you always make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date. Or your organization didn't back up everyone's data regularly, and you ended up with a data disaster as a result. Or your organization invested big money in software but thought just one training for staff would get everyone up to speed. Or you chose not to use Twitter for years, and then when you decided to, you found someone had already nabbed the perfect, most obvious Twitter name for your organization - and people follow it, thinking it's you.
If you want to stay anonymous but share your story, you can send it to me, and I'll post it on your behalf.
I'll add my own fav, I promise...
TechSoup Community Forum Manager
This happened to me many years ago: Not backing up the contents of my old desktop computer.
One day the hard drive suddenly died on me as soon as I turned on the computer. Zero access to all my files and programs...gone and lost forever. Replaced the dead hard drive with a new one - computer worked like new again.
This experience still stings a little whenever I think about it even after all these years. But I survived and learned to be much more careful about protecting my data. Always a good idea to back up all your important files on a regular basis. There are many different ways you can do this: for example, such as copying your documents to a portable hard drive or transferring them to a USB key. Or you might want to consider using a cloud-based storage service such as Dropbox or Carbonite, among many others.
Yann Toledano, Digital Marketing Strategist
Host, Web Building Forum, TechSoup.org
My biggest tech mistake was also not backing up my data - my hard drive failed, and I lost EVERYTHING. And no recovery company could get it back. Oh, the pain...
Let's hear from others, brave enough to admit a tech mistake...
I've made a few mistakes here and there. My biggest involved getting some cheap desktops that needed replacing after only 2 years of use. We skimped on the configurations and failed miserably.
Gary Network/Systems Admin Berlin, NHHost Non-profit Tech Careers, Security ForumsCo-Host Networks, Hardware, & Telecommunications Forum
Failure to adequately plan any size project is the biggest tech mistake. There is an old adage that says "There is never enough time to do it right, but there is always enough time to do it twice".
Don't be that guy. Plan your work, and work your plan.
Tim ClaremontSystems AdministratorRochester, NY