I've been working with computers for a long time. A very long time. I was in the first class in my school to do any form of IT. We had to take an IQ test to get in -yes I passed - and we're taught about punched cards and BASIC.
Since then, I've taught computing, from spreadsheets to accounts to web design. I train and help people as part of my job and with relation to my writing. About 15 years ago I appeared on Sky TV to discuss online publishing as opposed to traditional methods and around the same time.
So it's been a while.
Before my company really had a fully fledged network system, routed through Paris as it now is, my department had a local one and I used to do the nightly backups onto tape.
Backups. So important, especially in these days where we record so much of our daily lives. There's notes, calendars, photos, documents and so much more. I regularly insist to those I'm helping that they make regularly backups of their data.
Well, you would, wouldn't you?
Ah. I mean no. Well, it's not so much practice what I preach as do as I say, not as I do.
Gone are the days of difficulty in saving your data. No more tapes, not even, really, the need for saving to disc - either CD or DVD. Now there's flash memory in the form of memory sticks, and these are getting cheaper for more capacity by the day. There's also the Cloud, an abstract mist of noughts and ones way up in the stratosphere.
Well it's not really like that, but it's not physical to your PC. It's not plugged into you. It's somewhere out there accessible from pretty much any device you own.
So whyohwhyohwhy do I not use it? I have accounts with Skydrive, Google, Bitcasa, the Box and Asus. Gigabytes of virtual filing cabinets. Surely I use it?
Part of the problem is time. I have so little. Another is that I write on my work computer during my lunch onto my memory stick. I don't have Internet access there, though I do have email. As such, my memory stick has almost everything. Of course my phone has photos and a lot of music. I have a separate hard drive plugged into my home PC with all my albums. But my main, important stuff (other than my family photos, which are important too but in another way) is on my stick.
And only on my stick
Gutted, was I, when I lost it. As I mention in a previous post, all my writing, covers, part complete stories and the sequel to Sin were on it.
And it was gone.
Thanks to Cindy Harper, I managed to recover most of Sin 2. Thanks to Zoe Adams, I hadn't totally lost another important document. But the rest was gone.
Except, a couple of months ago I actually did back it up to my Skydrive. I bought a new memory stick - 32gb for the price I had paid for 16 previously - and transferred it all to the new one. Phew. All was not totally lost. But then it was burning a hole in my pocket. Like Sin's 2p coin, I was always fiddling in my pocket to check if it was there.
It was, but for how long?
I have a Windows 8 tablet and have the apps for my cloud accounts. I also have an all-in-one app to accommodate most. Unfortunately, with each if these and, in fact, their 'proper' web-based alternatives, you can't upload a complete folder. Or I couldn't figure out how to, at least.
Last night I was almost home alone. My eldest daughter was sleeping out and my wife was on a girls' night out in Leeds so I wouldn't see either until today. My two year old was asleep in bed.
The perfect time to write, something I need to do.
Except I had this memory stick burning a hole, trying to escape.
I had no choice. I had to properly back up. So thus began the painstaking and painful task of creating my full directory structure and uploading all my files into each folder. What a nightmare!
But it's done. And hopefully I'll make sure it stays done. I wouldn't bet on it but best intentions and all that.
Remind me, every so often, would you? Just to make sure?