Sunday, December 17, 2006

Does not compute

I was one of the first people to work on a personal computer at our office back in the early 80s. It was pretty basic. You ran software from a big floppy disk that sometimes required you to turn it over to access more commands. It seemed pretty amazing at the time. We mainly used them for word processing and spreadsheets.

Now we have gigabytes of memory that allows us to store music, photos, journals and basically our lives in an electronic box. Computers have come a long way, but what hasn't changed is the frustration of losing tons of stuff when the piece of crap PCs crash.

My desktop computer automatically updated yesterday. This morning it automatically stopped working. I did the logic thing. I tried rebooting. Nothing. I turned it off and turned it back on. It sits there with the blue HP Invent screen and does nothing.

I have my laptop, and I've got backups of most of my photos and family tree information, but I discovered that you iPod can only be synced with one computer at a time. All of my music was on my iTunes on my desktop. And you can't export from you iPod to another computer. So I am screwed. If I want to continue to add songs to my iPod I have to resync it with my laptop but it will wipe off all of the songs currently on my iPod. This means I will have to recopy all of my CDs to my laptop and reload them on my iPod.

Besides a lesson in backing up everything several times, I've learned a valuable lesson. Nothing is permanent. You can create CDs, but they only last a few years. Portable hard drives are fragile and even your primary PC is only a temporary repository for your life's work.

Sigh, I'm going to start keeping everything in shoeboxes again.


R. said...

Take your hard drive out and wrap in 2" thick of bubble wrap, put it in a box and UPS it to me. Since you're family I'll be happy to try to recover your data for you. Everyone else has to pay :)

Just tell me what file formats you want recovered (.gif, .jpg, .doc ...).

Anonymous said...

I have a way to pull your songs off your ipod to move them to your laptop. I need to dig through my bookmarks to find the instructions to send to you. They should be in your email by morning.

Footpad said...

Ouch! Sorry to hear about your (data) loss.

It sounds like you might have a coule of avenues already cooking for recovering your downloads, but for those who don't have data recovery ninjas as part of the familiy, don't forget that you can treat your iPod as a regular data storage device.

You can copy files to...and more importantly...files from it.

I have an older Mini that went through a similar experience and was able to recover most of the rips I'd done simply by copying files using Explorer.

Also, I recommend investing in a good dual-layer DVD burner; they're affordable these days.

-- f

Anonymous said...

Take that HP, conduct a high pressure salt water test on it, and when it fails (which it will), get yourself an iMac. It may take awhile, but even you will thank me, eventually.

Anonymous said...

I tried to access your site yesterday and all I got was a blank screen.
In the background the TV news was blaring out something about wild storms reaching Seattle I hope all is well and you are safe.

As for PC stuff, I save what i can but I wonder sometimes what the hell is really important?
My mp3's are the only thing I treasure on the PC the rest, well I know if I tried a few contacts I would be reloaded in no time.

Hayden said...

excellent realization. maybe you'd be interested in visiting the longnow site. they've been talking about the transience of electronic data for some time, and have a mind-numbingly brilliant group of scientists engaged - loosely - in the issue. (loosely because everyone seems to have his own focus and share board members)
the beautiful and bizarre thing in the banner is the longnow clock designed by Danny Hillis, who also happened to design the worlds' fastest computer. the longnow clock is the slowest. It's also gorgeous and lives in a museam in London, with music composed by brian eno.

I detest overachievers.

Time said...

R. I did manage to get it to reboot by unplugging my printer. Windows came back. I haven't tried to work in it yet, but it was hopeful. If I can't get to my files, I'll take you up on your offer. Thanks.

K. I got your e-mail with the instructions. I'll try it. Thanks so much!

FP, Thanks, I wasn't sure whether treating it like a hard drive would work. I'll try that, too.

THE Michael, I used to work on a Mac and I agree it was trouble free compared to PCs. I just got so lonely being in the minority.

Whitesnake, Our weather has settled down, thanks. My blog was messed up because of blogger. Who knows why.

Time said...

Thanks Hayden, I'll check it out. And for the record, I have never been described as an overachiever.

Anonymous said...

Tim ID

i just want to say i honestly believe there is conspiracy ... it would seem there is a virus going round..... attacks pc's and makes them hiccup .. cough .. and die... mine did a week or so back........ AFTER i visited The Michael's blog.. the Mac user.. know him??? (cheeky grin) the one always pushing how good the Mac is........ i'd be careful if i were you........ they're out to get us pc users !!


Time said...

My Niece in Law sent me great instructions that allows you to copy your songs from the iPod to another computer. Let me know and I'll send them to you. You never know.

Morningstar, Trust no one, especially THE Michael :)

Deborah said...

I like the more metaphysical take on your post ... the ultimate impermanency of everything. Life is a series of lessons in loss and change.
Good God, somebody stop me, I'm feeling way too philosophical for it being this early in the morning, JP

Time said...


Well put. We are all but a blip to enternity.

Footpad said...

On a clear disk, you can seek forever.

-- f