It happened. I have worried about this for years. And now its a reality. I lost the record of a year of my life. 2011 to be exact. Well more specifically the photographic record. Let me start from the beginning. Last week I bought a new Apple laptop. Today I went to HGP so Mike Jacobs could transfer my documents — mainly photographs from my external hard drive to the new laptop. As with many computer projects, somethings aren’t as easy as you would think. Mike couldn’t find the most recent back up. But he soon discovered why. I backed up the Dell several times in 2010 but none since then. Now I really thought I was backing up. I had read that with the drive connected to the computer, the back up would be automatic. I trusted what I read (or think I read). Over the years, I even checked to see that the new data was backed up. But it seems I was looking through the external drive to my Dell hard drive. Today Mike proceeded to backup the Dell and he will transfer the 2010 backup and what’s on the computer (2012-2013-2014). Problem there is no 2011. Lost. Gone. Somewhere in the cloud.
At home I checked my journals (all hand-written). Travel journal — just a few weekend getaways. No big loss. The daily journal told the fuller story. 2011 was the year Eli was diagnosed and treated for neuroblastoma. Maybe it’s a year I would like to forget. But there were some great moments and I think images. We spent a lot of time in Gladwyne and the hospital. I didn’t take a lot of pictures of Eli. But I did shoot a lot of pictures of Viv. In fact I thought of self publishing a little book, “A Day in the Life of Viv.” Never did publish it. Lost, but wait. I remembered I did a sort of back up. I printed many of the better pictures. Just need to find them. So it seems that 2011 may not be totally loss. And there are moments worth remembering (after 60, photographs really help memory).
This isn’t the first time I have loss data in ( or is it to) the cloud. In fact it happened last week. The camera on my I Pad didn’t work. Apple doesn’t fix Pad cameras but replace. I got a new Pad. Downloading the data from the cloud (which was almost filled) took some time. I thought it was finished and left the store but it had frozen with a few pictures left. A Google search let me know this happened. But I figured out how to stop the download. Was actually quite proud of myself. I had already loaded all the photos from my phone onto the new laptop. And then I downloaded the new operating system (having cloud space now available). So I proceeded to downloaded the new system to the Pad. Installation however erases the data and it seems there was never a back up for the new Pad. Remember I learned how to stop it. So all the photos on the Pad were lost in the cloud. Fortunately most were Internet downloaded images and photographs people had sent me. Remember the camera hasn’t worked for months so I I didn’t take pictures with it. But lost all the same.
Our growing reliance on digital data and the potential for digital has worried me for some time. It also is related to outdated technologies. I have thousands of 35mm slides (several hundred Kodak trays and many albums). I have many cans of Super 8 mm film. In the Spring with a groupon coupon, I decided to digitize some film. I sent my Peace Corps film and my Harcourt Bindery film to a company in CA. I got a call — no Bindery film! What? (In Boston, I had worked for a leather book binder; this was my best film.) I had many phone conversations with the people at Scan Digital. Thy looked. But. They eventually returned the Peace Corps film and a DVD. But the Bindery film. Lost. Gone. Maybe not in the cloud. In the trash? I do have a Scan Digital credit.
So much of our documentary record is now digital. E-books, music, e-mail, digital movies and photographs. We are told that the older technology is obsolete. Last year HGP did away with VHS players (outdated, clutter). Problem: some of the tapes I used in class were VHS copyright and couldn’t be converted to DVDs. Please return the older technology.
I have often wondered about the historical record. We are still looking for Nixon’s lost tapes. How much will be lost in the cloud. In addition to all my slides, photographic prints, Super 8 film, I have many records, cassettes, CDs, VHS tapes and DVDs. And I don’t want to count the books. The number would agitate Diane. Do I digitize all of this? Do I get rid of the casettes (I actually pulled out a tray of them recently to play an artist who I was reading about). Sell all the records and books? But I worry, will I lose a lot in (to) the cloud. Who is saving e mails for the historical record. I guess I will need to learn about back ups. Scan some slides, digitize some movies, read a bit online, buy fewer CDs and DVDs but I doubt I will get rid of all the hard copies. Imagine if I had done that with all of the 2011 photographs. It would be a lost year photographically anyway.
A footnote. I wrote this post 2 times. Had just about finished and the I Pad froze up. When reopened the draft was gone. No back up. Is there a lesson here?