Saturday, March 07, 2009

The computer giveth...

My personal computer of choice for the past few years has been a Mac. No surprise, I'm a sucker for design. Plus, in all honesty, I don't like to fight with my computer anymore just to get something done - and I spend many of my working days doing that in the Windows world. But I used to use PCs for personal use.

My HP laptop needed a refresh last year, because of a bad motherboard. So, a disk wipe. My main system of some years before that, a mini-tower, died as happens.

Dad and I used to correspond via email. So there existed this wonderful archive of interaction between us - but inaccessible from my Mac. The email was in Outlook Express format and I had taken the time to file his emails to me in a separate folder - and many of mine to him in the same folder. Outlook Express keeps folders in separate files.

On last piece of good fortune. I had taken the precaution of storing my email information on an external disk. So it had survived computer and motherboard deaths. Not to mention internal hard disk wipes.

It took some doing but I managed to persuade the latest version of Outlook Express to deign to read files that are more than four years old. It was good to hear his voice again - and, yes, I could hear him.

The computer taketh away...

In our Mac environment we have an external half-terabyte drive attached to our wireless router. I found it useful when I had my MacBook Air to store "stuff" out there. Some of the "stuff" was my iTunes library. Useful because the Air had limited disk space available.

When I changed to a simple MacBook one of the things I gained was a larger disk, but I continued to keep "stuff" on the external drive.

Just last week I decided that having my iTunes library local to my computer was a good idea and transfered it back to my Mac. Two days later, the external drive died.

I know I lost some backup copies of files. But almost all of my writing is secure. I have a distinct recollection of a file named "Dad's Eulogy" in one of the folders of the now dead drive. I'm certain I have a copy of that elsewhere. Other files now gone? Some for sure. Exactly what, no idea.

Sic transit...and all that.

Mac's Time Machine takes care of my main system. In addition, folders with my writings are pushed to "the cloud" automatically each week.

Sometimes, I hate computers.

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