#469: Wolfware

People tend to find imagining future pain quite a hard thing to do. This, and the sheer technical difficulty, often cause them not to backup their electronic data properly/at all.

Today’s invention is a partial solution to the problem of lost-data-due-to-death-of-disk.


Each computer would run a background process to detect if data are being backed up at a sensible frequency. If not, a loud sound effect -of a crashing hard disk on startup- would be played. This would be accompanied by some 1970s-style text expressing a cryptic message about the demise of the disk and all the data too.

A few minutes of pained silence would then ensue, at the end of which boot-up would proceed as normal but only after issuing the message: “False alarm! This is what may happen soon if you don’t get a backup mechanism in place. -Contact…”.

A similar technique could be applied to encourage installation of eg anti-virus software.

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