Lost in a Technical Blip


Am just dealing with the fact that in transferring photos from my phone to my computer, about four months worth (the last four months) have vanished. They are no longer on my phone and they are not on my computer. Somewhere along the way, there must have been an error and they are now irretrievable. Luckily, a few I had uploaded to facebook, but the rest, well, they’re just gone. Of course after talking to the helpful people at Samsung, I realise that I should have done a back up and transfer via Kies Air, rather than the old school transferring method. But it’s too late for that now.

As upsetting as it is, to lose the photos, (even though I cannot remember all of what I have taken in the last few months) it started me thinking about how reliant I am on my computer and my phone. Of which either could easily malfunction or be lost or stolen. You could say – save it all to the cloud, it’ll be safe there. But is it? Have you ever considered what you would do or how you would feel if Facebook of WordPress suddenly deleted your account? Or they had a massive blip and all the photos, conversations and posts were lost?

I would imagine that it would be similar to the loss of having all of your photographs destroyed in a fire or flood in your home. They’re damaged beyond repair, and there is nothing you can do except to accept they are gone, and to move on. In some ways, it is a kind of cleansing, a de-cluttering. How often do you look at your old photos? How often to you re-read old letters or diaries or old blog posts? Is it even healthy to hold onto all of these old memories? I used to create scrapbooks from my photos, and in more recent times, photobooks, and it’s fun to occasionally look back and remember good memories. But would my life be terrible if that was not possible? Would the world come to an end if I couldn’t look at my holiday photos from ten years ago? I doubt it. We are apparently exposed to more information in a single hour, than people in 1900 were exposed to in a single year. So it is probably actually impossible to keep up with the flow of information coming to you and also revisit previous information and remain a sane human being.

Though the photos may be irreplaceable, and I cannot re-create them, when lost, surely it is a better idea to just become focused on creating new memories? On having new experiences? That’s where my focus is right now. I have decided that mourning the loss of some digital files is not a good use of my time today. Instead I intend to learn my lesson about backing up, and plan for new and exciting events and experiences this year. And even, I may take less photos. Why? Because sometimes, in this new digital world, we spend more time capturing our lives on digital film than we do actually experiencing the moment. Have you noticed this? You go to a party, and instead of communicating properly with one another, the guests are taking photos of each other, then immediately uploading them to twitter and facebook, with captions about how great a time they’re having, then they spend the rest of the party on those social media platforms, responding to comments about the photo. They’re not actually present in the moment. They’re not fully at the party. I know I am guilty of this, I think anyone with a smartphone is probably guilty of having done this. So perhaps this is the year of spending more real-time with people, and less digital time. We’ll see if I manage to do that.

On another backing up note – if you are a writer, like myself. then you know how important it is to back up your works-in -progress. Last year, while writing The Other Side, my netbook crashed and shut down, and when I re-opened my file, 2000 words of my novel were missing. Not just the scenes I had just written, but some earlier scenes too. Because of the way I write (no plan or plot) I had absolutely no idea what I had lost exactly. There’s no way I could have re-written the scenes. After a minute of absolute panic (and screaming swear words, good thing I live in the middle of the woods), I vaguely remembered that when I downloaded Scrivener, there was some kind of automatic backup system. Using their help feature, I managed to find out where the auto-backups were stored, and there they were – all my lost words. So if you are a writer, and you sometimes get lazy about backing up your work – we all do at times – use Scrivener. It saved me then, and I have no doubt it will probably save me again in the future.

I hope you are having a better day than I have had so far, and now that I have made peace with losing my files, it’s time to get on with some work. Which of course, I will back up 😉

2 comments on “Lost in a Technical Blip

  1. You have my sympathy.

    There’s an old computer science maxim:
    Someday, you will die.
    Someday your computer will die.
    Guaranteed: Your computer will die first.

    I get paranoid about backing up my writing. Not just automatic backups but frequent manual backups to servers in other countries. Even if Canada collapses into anarchy, my stories will survive. Knowing that helps me sleep at night.



    • Dear Ashley,

      In a hilariously ironic moment, I just lost the very long reply that I just wrote to this comment!

      I have no idea what I said now, I know it was quite poetic and very sympathetic to your backing-up paranoia, but I would not be able to recount it word for word, because once the words flow through my fingertips and appear on the screen, they are erased from my memory.

      I do remember that I said that even if I were to lose my writing, I would hope that I would be able to re-write it again, with the help of my muse. Unfortunately, she is not helping me to remember my reply.

      I also mentioned the author of Shantaram, a determined man who took 13 years to write the 900 page book, after the first 600 pages (6 years of work) was destroyed by the guards while he was in prison. I would hope that I would have as much determination to write my books, should anyone try to thwart my attempts, but I’m not so sure.

      Thank you for your comment, and keep writing (and backing up 🙂 )


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