Thursday, January 28, 2016 4:25 PM
Went down to Advanced Computer Repair, on Rt. 202 in Somers today with my busted-ass External Hard Drive. This thing is so old it needs to be plugged in—I’ve got two newer ones that run off the USB power—and are smaller, and have at least twice the storage capacity. I used the old one for my CD collection—which is large enough to overflow hard drives—or was, pre-tera-flop. I only used it because it’s so much trouble to rip all my CDs to a new drive. But it stopped working finally—I brought it in to Chris at ACR and said, “It made a clicking noise.” And he said, “Ah! The click of death.” Which I guess means he’s gonna have a hard time recovering the data.
I would have simply bought a new, better drive and started ripping CDs, but I’m not absolutely positive that none of my proprietary files were also on there. If he can’t do anything with it, I’ll have to re-think how much my doubts are worth before I send it off to a specialty data-retrieval shop—those guys can be pricey. It’s just that I have a morbid fear of losing data—I’ve done so much of it in the early days. I’ve owned a PC since the 1980s—I shudder to think just how many there have been—and how many died with little or partial back-up.
You can tell I’m old school—the fact that I post most of my recordings to YouTube and most of my writing to WordPress means that I can’t really lose much of my creative output—and there’s always the question of what value that junk actually has, in reality—outside of my ego. Back-ups were important to me for two reasons—first, I was running a business’s systems, so data-loss could have actually killed the company—and secondly, this was all before the internet, when a person’s hard drive held the only existing copy of a person’s files. There was no uploading—no cloud—your data was your responsibility and if your hard drive crashed or your PC caught a virus, you had nothing but your disk back-ups, and later, your CDs.
That was all long ago—it’s all different now. Now, like most old guys, I ask my son for help when I can’t connect to the printer. And the nature of my data has changed, too—I don’t even do the bills on this thing—Claire does all that on hers, ever since I got brain-fog and had to give up math. All I have to worry about is my photo scans, my piano recordings, and my poetry and other writing—none of which has any dollar value. But I’ve been trying to retain data all my life—even my library, which barely fits in a two-car garage, is only a fraction of the original collection—most of my books were ruined by flooding or mice or mold before I had a proper library—and 90% of my extensive vinyl collection to boot.
My music cassette collection is gone, my VCR tape collection is gone, my DVD collection is gone—nobody uses that stuff anymore, but I feel the loss of data anyway. I have a pile of short stories and miscellaneous creative writing that I printed out before that particular PC died on me—it’s been twenty years and I’ve yet to type it back into the computer—some of it was pretty good, but I just don’t have the energy. I used to draw a lot, but most of my sketchbooks were lost in the same flooding and mice as my book and record collections—and most of my big drawings were given away—I was always so pleased that someone liked my drawings that I gave them away to anyone who asked for them.
So after a lifetime of creative effort, I have little to show for it. I used to have an ego—and reason for one—I did grown-up stuff like running a systems department and tutoring mathematics—I did some copyediting and print layouts—I made a salary, I drove a car—it all seems so long ago. Now my big accomplishment is that I should have died from liver cancer in 2004—big whoop. So my data is relatively worthless—I’m just sentimental about it.
[NOTE: Many thanks to NASA for all the pretty pictures.]