I lost every scrap of information on my computer in 1997. At the time I owned a Jaz drive (I know, I know) and two 1 GB Jaz disks (I know!) from which I was able to rescue quite a bit. But I lost a ton of data. All of my early web stuff, all of my digital photos (it was 1997 but I’d already amassed quite a little collection of grainy 640x480 images), tons of docs, school work, video… It was a rough day. Since then I’ve never been without a CD or DVD burner. And as a result of diligently backing up my machine to optical media for the past eight years, I now have a ton of poorly organized discs of overlapping, sometimes useless, sometimes precious data. None of it indexed, none of it safe, and no space on my laptop to organize it.
So I bought an external hard drive. It’s like 250 GB of breathing room. I can make backups of my hard drive, organize the data from the old discs, and just generally stretch out. It’s a huge relief. If you’re as lazy as I used to be about backing up your Mac, buy an external drive. Get one at least twice as large as the one you’re going to back up. Then go buy SuperDuper. It’s excellent.