I just got this today. This is not good news.

John, I am a user of Google Docs and I just lost all my documents. It wasn’t anything I did, just suddenly when I logged on this morning every single document was gone. Not the spreadsheets or presentations, just documents.

I get the error “Sorry! We are experiencing technical difficulties and cannot show all of your documents.” When I went into the Google Forums, it seems that at least three other people have posted this same problem. Only the documents are gone, nothing else.

Google hasn’t responded. Look, John, I am writing a friggin’ book (on software development) using Google Docs. Why am I doing this? Didn’t you warn us time and time again?

Please post this as soon as you can to warn other people. I never thought I’d be the one to say this, but cloud computing sucks, John. From now on, I’m going to edit my documents on my own laptop using Open Office and then upload to Google Docs only when I need to collaborate on something with my co-author. I guess I could still use Google Docs every day and then just back up to my laptop every single day, but what’s the point of that? I have over twenty chapters each in a separate file, so the backup takes forever.

Daryl Kulak

  1. amodedoma says:

    Speaking of online services failing, is it just me, or is Dvorak Uncensored becoming increasigly difficult to access. At times there’s no response, other times it’s impossible to post, and on one occasion the blog loaded, but the articles were gone. C’mon Mr. D, what’s up with that?

  2. Mister Mustard says:

    #317 – jccalhoun

    >>You shouldn’t expect online websites to be
    >>up and available 24/7/365.

    Anyone who uses dvorak dot org slash blog is well aware of this, as the web site seems to be down more than it’s up these days.

    #33 – amodedoma

    >>Speaking of online services failing, is it
    >>just me, or is Dvorak Uncensored becoming
    >>increasigly difficult to access.

    It’s not just you. I have experienced all those muff-ups you mention. The most common is a useless error message about and “error while establishing connection to the database”, or something like that.

    Very unreliable as of late.

  3. Daryl Kulak says:

    Thanks for posting this John. I *love* all the troll comments too! Too funny.

    Yes, I have backups. Only trouble is, they aren’t daily. So I’ve lost a few days work.

    For me, Google Docs has been down one day. Some other posters on Google Forums have had outages since Dec 22.

  4. GregA says:


    Other ctyme web sites don’t go down, so I suspect it is perkels ongoing issues with the wonderful and free mysql server which every one here knows for it’s high reliability and how it never corrupts data;)

    On the backup issue, I just use net drives and windows built in backup functionality for several… A decade now, and I never have an issue.

    This thread is suspiciously devoid of microsoft hatred.

  5. Paddy-O says:

    CLOUD = Complete Loss Of Users Data.

  6. Improbus says:


    Seriously, backup backup backup. I try to pound this into the people I support at work and personally. Long ago I learned my lesson and I am paranoid about data loss.

  7. Anrkist says:

    Saw this same guy posting comments OT on Mashable. I got a good laugh from it.

  8. Mister Mustard says:

    I call bullshit on this “issue”.

    Not only is the failure to back up something as important as a book incredible (what, he changes every one of the 20 chapters every single day???), but I seriously doubt that anything was “lost”.

    More likely, just as happens with dvorak dot org slash blog almost every day, he experienced a temporary glitch that prevented him from accessing this freebie beta version of the program.


    Be sure to post an update as to whether the book chapters were permanently lost, or merely inaccessible for a short time.

  9. EvilPoliticians says:

    Cloud computing is not a bad idea in general. Just don’t throw common sense out when jumping on the bandwagon.

    Would this guy have written Dvorak if his office flooded or burned down and he had no off site backup? Writing a book is a business and he was a fool to put all of eggs in one basket.

    Looks like he needs to become a bit more of an expert and add a chapter on disaster recovery.

  10. Seriously, as a writer myself, this is a worst case. I feel for the loss. Still, I have mixed feelings that have all been about covered by the responses above. Seriously, never trust a Beta… or anything for that matter. I have most of my important drafts saved in at least two different places and sometimes three or four spots. Maybe in the future this cloud-thing could work (very doubtful of that) but in the mean time, I still don’t trust what has been a staple of technology since at least the 1970s!

  11. Rick Lee says:

    Good grief… how many years has this guy been told to “back up”. Having your important docs exist only in one place is insane. Your stuff has to exist in an least two different physical places or you are in danger, that’s all there is to it. Having said that, I’d bet money that Google will get his docs back online eventually.

  12. John Paradox says:

    # 37 Paddy-O said,
    CLOUD = Complete Loss Of Users Data.

    Hmmm.. never knew it was an acronym.

    Here’s another example of why ‘cloud’ is bad: I worked at a radio station whose owners believe in using the Internet for most stuff. Even before these owners took over, I was warning about access problems, for instance they looked at a ‘traffic’ (commercial and other announcement scheduling) system that used ‘remote storage’ – and I asked, ‘what will you do to create the station log if we lose Internet for a day or even a few hours?’
    They did NOT go with that.
    Now, they use e-mail for recorded weather (which I understand they’re dropping) and a website for downloading recorded News (yes, LOCAL news is being handled out of state). More than once when I would come in at 5AM the connectivity to the ‘net was GONE.. in two cases because the ISP was doing ‘upgrades’, in other cases for unknown reasons.
    (At home, I have TWICE had trucks literally rip down my cable connection!)


  13. EvilPoliticians says:

    Obviously I am not going to win any converts here but still want to point out something.

    If you are running a business critical process, the “cloud” is not a complete solution – it is simply another option.

    Just as not having off-site recovery options in your own data center (or your home PC) is not a wise decision, so is putting everything in a single cloud service provider.

    Cloud storage is a simple, low cost and easy to implement option. Check on security, their recovery policies and the financial health of the company as part of the planning process.

  14. Still waiting for the update. Most likely, Google fixed the glitch, the docs came back, and Mr. Kulak decided to STFU.

    After all, a few scant months ago, Mr. Kulak had this to say about cloud computing in general and Google Docs in particular, as a comment following a Wikinomics article slathering praise on cloud computing:

    I’m with you. . .

    On this book (Agile Plus Rigor), we are using Google Docs, and it is utterly seamless. We both make changes to the files, we don’t have to worry about “who the owner of this chapter is” and all the inevitable overwrites. Plus, everything is backed up and versioned all to heck. [my emphasis]

    Love Google Docs. Love collaborative computing!

    WTF was he thinking, not backing up his only copy of a BOOK before closing the program? Sheesh.

  15. Ekimdabrave says:

    Hmm, as someone who lives outside North America, trusting anyone/anything so far away to hold my data securely is foolhardy in the extreme…

    Plus, if you wanted to get all paranoid, sening every keystroke thousands of miles there and back and trusting everyone in the middle to NOT look at your data is, again, foolhardy…

  16. A Nony Mouse says:

    #13, Yes JCD should rail against the crappy job Marc Perkel is doing — at least more vocally. Has anyone else noticed that Channel Dvorak is not on Perkel’s server?

  17. deowll says:

    If it’s important you make more than one copy. Hard drives and computers fail. You can count on it. However Google should have had more than one copy stored…Must be a software glitch but the point is you can’t count of them or anything else. Always have more than one copy if it matters.

  18. gudac says:

    I might as well give my 2¢ on the subject. Trusting your work to only the net. Has to be another book in the DUMMIES category.

    I just hope my family doesn’t buy it for me as a Christmas Gift next year.

  19. oofyP iDeas says:

    Cloud computing raining on your parade? There’s a Visine for that.

  20. orangetiki says:

    I am on Dvorak’s side. Clouds can’t hold any weight.

  21. agentpx says:

    Good thing I use LiveMesh Got Local copy and on multiple computer as well as the Cloud!

  22. pjdownload says:

    This is happening to me right now!! All my spreadsheets are gone!

    I track my billings here! C’mon guys… whatever happened to the cloud? we’re not even talking about anything as specific as redundancy, hot backup or replication… it’s the “cloud”… you know what I mean… right?

  23. Jet says:

    Google Lost My Documents “Most likely not.” Here is how to get to them. http://jet-cloud.blogspot.com/

  24. Martin says:

    Just lost all my comments in a juridical document, one days work gone !!! But worse is to remember all the points I had. D…rn !!

    And no information on Google how to get them back (already tried latest revision back up).



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