Recovering from the loss of a mobile phone can be tough.
With the help of close friends and immediate family you can slowly put your life back together. More likely, you?ve lost all their numbers along with the phone so you have to face the ordeal on your own.
I woke up last Thursday knowing that most of the technology I am responsible for fixing would be playing up that day. Why? Because I had a hangover.
But you know you are going to have a very bad technology day when you can?t find your phone. Especially when, like me, you rely on its electronic diary to tell you where you?re supposed to be and keep all your PINs and passwords safe.
I looked in all the usual places. The bedside table, the back of the settee, in the fridge ? it wasn?t there. I then tried to recall the last time I saved its contents to my PC.
Like most smart phones, when you dock it with your PC it synchronises with Outlook?s diary and address book. But like most techies I don?t use such common Microsoft products, so I wasn?t certain that my critical data was safe.
That?s the thing with backups. They are about as interesting as a vegetarian lasagne, but sometimes represent your only hope for sustaining life.
I got to work and checked the backup. The last successful one had been made back in September, which wasn?t too bad. I have made some interesting new friends since then but I wasn?t unhappy about the prospect of having to go out with the old ones again.
The diary was the biggest groan. I could just about remember what I had on the rest of the week, but, like most men, my event horizon doesn?t stretch further than a fortnight into the future.
Luckily, later that day, a man called ?Stewart? rang me from my own mobile. I?d left the phone in a cab the previous night and he had found it. He got my office number from the phone?s call log.
Having been brainwashed by the media to fear identity theft, my heart sank. Was Stewart about to tell me he had worked out how to decode my PINs and was ordering another bottle of Cristal in the Bahamas?
No, he wanted to return the phone to me and in fact drove in from Bournville to drop it off at my offices that very afternoon. He asked for no reward and, too dumbstruck by his act of altruism, I forgot to offer one.
His only words were: ?I know what a pain it is to lose your phone,? but his eyes hinted at a deeper story.
The moral of this story is twofold.
Firstly, there is clearly still hope for the human race (unless Stewart is an angel) and secondly, back up your phone regularly in case Stewart doesn?t show up when you need him.
* Chris is managing director of internet consultancy Webxpress. This and other unedited articles can be found at webxpress.com. Email address: email@example.com