For some of us, starting over isn't an option, but rather a necessity. Before leaving for Houston for the holidays I backed up my computer to my 3TB hard drive and packed it back up for safe storage. When I got home, I unpacked it and attached it to my computer. It powered up like normal but all of a sudden it wouldn't read anymore. I tried it on another computer and the same thing happened. Then I took it to a computer store and they couldn't access any data either. They told me to go to a place that would charge around $200 per GB to try to recover the data.
Data loss for anyone is a pretty big blow. Losing tens of thousands of photos for a photographer is like getting hit by a freight train. Especially when you haven't got them backed up anywhere else. Needless to say I was upset. I've been trying not to freak out about it or dwell on the years of information and photos I had stored on that drive. I know it'll only make things worse. Instead I have chosen to focus my efforts positively on starting over. A new chapter. Facebook still has low quality reminders of my vacations and dFlickr has a few high quality (though watermarked) images of some of my more recent favorites. For now, this website is all I have left of some of my best images - so enjoy!
Needless to say I'm moving on to the cloud. I'll still invest in a new hard drive for convenience sake, but never again will it not be backed up somewhere else. For those who are interested, Backblaze has so far won me over with their unlimited storage space, low price tag ($5 per month) and ability to back up my computer and all my drives to the same acount (I use Apple). If my info gets lost again they even have an option to have a new drive shipped to me with all of my data. I'm backing up right now with the free 2 week trial. I'll post any updates here of future experience with them. For now, I recommend that anyone else who relies heavily on hard drives, back up their information somewhere else - preferably on the cloud and not your computer or another drive. Learn from the mistakes of others and you won't have to learn from your own.