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Front Page » February 5, 2008 » Opinion » Rantings and Ravings
Published 2,266 days ago

Rantings and Ravings


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By TERRY WILLIS
Sun Advocate reporter

It has been almost a week since the disaster and I am finally feeling like I am back on keel.

The disaster you ask? Right after I finished my column last week my computer flashed the blue screen of death.

It actually tried to make me think everything was probably alright. It said that it had encountered a problem and if I had not gotten this message before just shut it down and reboot. So I tried.

It didn't come back to life and I found myself in that dance of desperation. You know the one. Shutting the device down and turning it back on, over and over again, sure that if you just hit the one button just the right way it will all be okay.

But it wasn't.

Now when I was the director of the Family Support Center I was anal about weekly back-ups to the computers. People couldn't go home for the weekend until that was done. But despite the fact that I do all my work for the paper and keep my business files on my laptop, I had not done a back-up for over six months. We even bought an external drive to hold our back-ups. It is sitting somewhere in a drawer.

Several attempts were made to recover my information from my fried hard drive, but it was dead. It was like months of my life were just wiped clean in a micro-second.

I am lucky. I had copied many family photos of my kids in recent months. I also made sure all the photos I take for the paper are transferred to their hard drive within days of each sporting event. I only lost one game worth of photos.

But now I have just spent over eight hours rebuilding my computer back to a usable shadow of where it was. I still have to add e-mail addresses and recreate a year's worth of business files. Since my grand kids have moved in, the business has taken a back burner and it should only take about four hours to input a year's worth of stuff for our taxes.

Losing the hard drive without warning left me unprepared and feeling a great loss. We do have another computer to work from, but it is slow and cranky. I have to admit, so was I, all weekend.

Cranky that is.

As individuals, personal data has always been vulnerable to loss, even before the computer age. Fires, floods, mice and men have all taken a toll on what we think we hold dear. With computers we just have so much more gathered in one place.

And as I sit here writing this from my laptop, I have decided that the lesson I learned from all of this isn't about the importance of backing up your data. I actually already knew that one.

It is really that pictures, contact information, and other stuff is really just that; stuff. My life just kept going, even without my computer running. I may never get all the photos back. I hope that my friends all e-mail me soon so I can have their e-mail addresses, but no matter.

I have health, family and friends that are my reality and not files on my hard drive. I need to go now and find my back-up system before I settle back into computer complacency.


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