Sidekick data loss – what you should learn from this mess


We are always interested in how people and companies treat their data. I’d heard about the Sidekick data loss but didn’t appreciate just what an impact it was having – I’ve never used a Sidekick so didn’t understand how it worked.

My understanding is that your contacts, photos, calendars, to-dos etc are based online just in case you ever lose your Sidekick or upgrade to a new one. The data is always available to you. This data is stored locally but seemingly the online version is the master. So when something happens to that …

Users have been instructed not to turn their Sidekicks off or let the batteries run down??!

We must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure

– T-Mobile, Oct 12th

Such a catastrophic data loss normally spells the end of such a service. Do you remember Ma.gnolia? Data corruption + data loss = no user faith = no users.

Ma.gnolia actually provided a sensible api meaning users could have backed up, but as this as neither straight forward nor obvious, most users will not have utilised it.

Every service built around users creating and sharing content online should provide back up tools for every user as a matter of course. And every user should do it. Not having at least one other copy of content you’ve generated is crazy and just asking for trouble.

SocialSafe currently provides a backup solution for Facebook and will in time extend this to incorporate as many of the other online based services you’re suggesting to us as possible.

For now though it’s up to you to manually ensure you have a copy stored elsewhere.