Friday, December 08, 2006

Digital Musings

There are some professions that you just never quite get away from. You exist within that role 24 hours a day. Being a Mom comes to mind as one. Being a doctor is another. Countless times I've been with my BIL and SIL and seen them dealing with complete strangers who suddenly have need of medical advice because there's a doctor around. Believe it or not, being a computer professional is another. My speciality is programming internet applications. But as soon as people hear the word 'computer', all of a sudden I'm expected to be the master of all things computer and fix whatever problem has been bugging them lately. For those of you who are not very computer savvy, it's a bit like asking your dermatologist to diagnose the ringing in your ears. Fixing problems with the Windows operating system and associated applications is something that I can sometimes do under diress but definitely not something I enjoy.

Which is what made me groan especially loud last night when my desktop computer froze and won't boot past a blue screen of death now. There was a time in my life when I would have invested countless hours trying to diagnose and fix the problem. And there would have been more than a few swear words involved along the way. There was a time.... This is not the time. Hours and hours of uninterrupted computer time? Yeah, right. Fortunately I already have a laptop that can easily replace my desktop, although I will miss the convenience of being able to keep it upstairs and not have to tote it around. One of the applications I depend most upon is my financial tools and fortunately I had the foresight to have regularly backed up those files. I now have access to all my financial data with just a few days' gap on my laptop. Whew. I will definitely sleep better tonight. So now begins the painful process of getting all my most-used applications configured so that I can scan and print and stuff like that.

Now, being a computer professional, you'd think I would have meticulously kept data backups. Buzzzz.... Try again. I did back up my financial stuff because I think I would experience a complete nervous breakdown if I couldn't instantly pull up how much I spent at Target on the 12th of November in 1999. Seriously. I'm just that way. And I do have CD backups of all my pictures. Except the cute ones I had taken in the last few days. But what a pain in the butt to have to load all my backups onto the laptop and do I even have enough disk space to do that? So, lesson learned. I'm about to go consult Mr. Google right now about the best backup alternative. Once I buy something I plan to take it and the desktop to the local computer shop and pray that they can retrieve my data onto it.

This post has been provided as a cautionary tale. Everyone always tells you to back up and no one ever does it and then disaster inevitably strikes. Actually, I have been quite lucky: this is the first time that I have not been able to just transfer data from the old computer to the new one. But just a few months ago my Dad's disk croaked and he lost everything. If only I had learned from his experience. So please learn from mine!

1 comment:

SaraS-P said...

Thanks for the tip! A friend is actually giving me an external hard drive that I plan to use for backing up. Hopefully, I won't have a crash before I get it from her!