Thursday, October 20, 2005

Let Me Be Your Object Lesson

I have been trying to reconstruct the past on my computer's new hard drive. The history page is blank. There are no fresh tracks on any trails. In fact there are no trails at all. I am trying to remember the logic to my bookmarks; there doesn't seem to have been any, or to the order of news sites I checked with voracious frequency. (I seem to remember not wanting to miss Rove's mea culpa or his perp walk.)

Before we left on our train trip, dpr wisely suggested that we back up our photographs on to our lumbering old PC in the office. Together, our laptops had about 5000 photographs, 2600 of those were on my iBook. Those photographs are now the only extant files left from my old hard drive. Everything else is gone.

At first I thought I didn't really have that much to lose. Then, I was walking to the mailbox the other day and noticed some very fresh coyote scat. I thought I should photograph it for the post I had been working on. Then I remembered that I no longer had that folder of articles and photographs. All the folders with posts I had been working on no longer existed-- the water rights fight in Felton; diet analysis of coyote scat (with photographs); mushrooms of the Olympic Peninsula. I thought of all the folders of articles and essays I had collected over the past fifteen months, the ones I used countless times for reference. The folders with scanned photographs of my father's extended family that had been sent to me by a distant cousin. I had a file of collected thoughts, poems, comments that had reached 30 pages at my last check. There was a folder of all the old data from my last days at the university job. All gone.

While we were in southern California visiting my mom, she and I spent a good part of one afternoon looking at old photographs. There were a few that I really wanted, so I scanned them. There was one in particular of my twin brother and me that I loved so much. I thought it really captured the happiest days of our childhoods at the beach. I thought it was so good I emailed it to him. Fortunately, I used the web-based mail program (rather than the pop account) because that sent file is all I have of the scanned photos from that trip.

Let me be an object lesson for you. Back up your files. Do it regularly. Hard drives fail, and mine didn't even give me a hint it was on its way out.
Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

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