Tuesday, June 22, 2021

It bears repeating…

By Rick Blechta

Yesterday’s post by Douglas concerning the perils of technology got me thinking.

Since the early days of “personal computers” (remember that term?), I’ve used these sometimes frustrating contraptions quite a lot for work. Early on, I used them to write arrangements for my students. It was far easier and convenient and when the little so-and-sos lost their music — a frequent occurrence — I could just print out another copy.

Later on, when I transitioned into full-time graphic design, I had to use computers because, well, no one did anything by hand anymore. Again they sped up the process and made complicated things easy. Plus, when the inevitable changes came in from clients, it was easy and quick to pivot in the required new direction. Seriously, I can’t imagine doing graphic design work without using a computer.

Along the way, I learned a bit about how these exceptionally complicated — and getting moreso all the time — machines worked.

The heart of any computer is storage of all work done using it. If one can’t recall their work, a computer is useless.

It’s also one of the weakest points. If the computational part of your computer breaks down, you can get it fixed. However, if the storage part craps out, well, to put it succinctly (and somewhat crudely), you’re screwed. In certain situations files can be retrieved, but let me assure you, it can be a very expensive process running into the several thousands of dollars.

If you use a computer to store your writing (or anything you do), you need to understand that it’s not a matter of if the storage device (generally a hard drive) will break, it’s when — because they all break down eventually.

I’ve written about this here on Type M before, so today I’m just reminding everyone — back up your work to multiple locations! Make it part of your daily workday. I have two storage hard drives containing my files and I also use offsite storage. I felt very smug about my two hard drives until a graphic design friend asked, “And what if your house burns down?”

Whether you’re a writer or not, you don’t want to lose files, period. There’s nothing more disheartening to hear of a colleague who didn’t take adequate precautions and lost precious (sometimes) months of hard work to the computer demons.

I heard of a writer who lost his entire manuscript of his just-completed novel when his hard drive died. He had to go back and rewrite the whole darn book.

Don’t be like him. Back up religiously to multiple locations every day!

1 comment:

Tanya said...

Any thoughts on the Cloud storage services in terms of one being better than another? I currently use Dropbox because it's easy and will probably upgrade to a paid account to gain more capacity. I'm on a PC that came with access to Microsoft's OneDrive, but I find that annoying and confusing, so I don't use it. I use the computer hard drive plus an external hard drive and want to copy more files to the Cloud. Will appreciate hearing any opinions/recommendations the Type M crew can offer.