After I experienced a similar computer problem a few years ago (hard disk failure that required a slow, expensive restoration of data), I started tape backups and copied all data from my desktop to a laptop. Now, I also duplicate the data on a parallel port Iomega Zip drive--it can easily be connected to any other machine.
For several years I have been using the Psion 3A, a hand held computer (pocket size), for addresses, special appointments, notes, lightweight outlining and writing (two-finger typing). A nice feature of this unit is the link to my desktop that permits a transfer of data.
I hope your data restoration goes well.