Saturday, February 04, 2006

I've done it again

Dear friends,

For ten years, I've failed to keep on top of e-mail, letting your mail languish in my inbox, convinced I'll find the time to respond with a "real" letter. It's finally dawned on me that e-mail is a completely separate beast, suited only to a paragraph or two, sent off in a timely fashion. Letters deserve to be written on actual paper, with a pen, and stuffed into an envelope with a stamp affixed. Those of you who live and work in the real world accepted this years ago, I know. My only excuse is years spent wandering in the .edu wasteland, and a general lack of technological curiosity post-1950. I like using Eudora 3.0. So what that it came out in 1995?

This realisation has come about in the midst of a data crisis, precipitated by this year's purchase of a digital camera. When I upgraded to my present laptop in 2001, it appeared that I'd bought the personal computer world's version of a 10,000 square-foot loft with freight elevator: oodles and oodles of space, storage for years and years of intellectual product. As it turns out, the last few months have revealed that cavernous space as nothing more than a well-stuffed sock drawer. I persisted, ready to accommodate to my less-salubrious circumstances, and continued to stuff socks into the drawer, until last week, when it became clear (even to me) that not a single extra sock could be stuffed inside. In fact, not only could I not add another sock, it was now also impossible to remove a sock. Things were that bad.

An intervention was had. Certain useless copies of software from the early '90's were thrown in the trash, and it was discovered that with a little wriggle room in the drawer, the external hard drive does indeed work. (Apologies to technical services people at LaCie.) I am now looking at the (to me) over-designed interface of OSX. Yes, things are a little better. No, I don't actually LIKE it, but oh well, I'll adjust.

All of this is to explain why I've decided to post some of my mostly banal snapshots over at http://www.flickr.com/photos/carolyn. Given that we are still a dial-up family, this seemed an easier way to share photos that otherwise might never leave my hard drive. I've also started to put an electronic address book together, my first ever, which might relieve some of the pressure on my overstuffed actual one, the one held together under pressure with elastic bands. To this end, I'd appreciate it if you could send me an e-mail with your current address, phone, e-mail, birthdate and children's birthdates. No need to say hello if you don't have time: just the facts. You'll have my undying gratitude, and I hope you'll accept my apologies if you haven't heard from me in some time. I'm slowly coming to terms with the twenty-first century.

c. x


I sent this e-mail to friends on 24 October 2004. More than a year ago. So why, WHY, am I back in this EXACT PLACE? Worse, even. I’ve now colonized my husband’s G5 and even that is packed to the gills with digital photos. When I tried to burn backup DVDs this morning, I discovered that there’s no longer enough room on the start-up disk to burn either a CD or DVD. And my LaCie drive, the exact same one mentioned in the e-mail above, is on the fritz again, and is, I must say, a temperamental piece of crap. One lies awake at night wondering why one continues to entrust one’s whole digital life to its fragile sensibilities. A gentle knock to the Firewire cable? Kaput. Plugging the Firewire cable in after powering up the drive? No go. Powering up the drive then plugging in the cable? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?

I have taken this as an opportunity to learn and grow. I did not scream. (At least, not until today.) I know now about optimizing hard disks. And repairing permissions. I’ve enlisted DiskWarrior. But I’m still a sniveling wreck, wishing I was one of those lady bloggers with a computer programmer husband on-site.

If anyone, ANYONE, can recommend backup software and/or a photo archive program, I would be most grateful. I swore I’d never use this blog to whine about my technical inadequacies, but look: I’m drowning here. And I have new readers! (Thanks Jane! Thanks Ben!) By now, I see you all backing away slowly, eyebrows raised, trying not to attract the attention of the crazy lady. COME BACK PEOPLE! I’ve nearly finished the cutest baby cardigan! I’d show it to you if I could only download the goddamn *!^#%! ARGHHH!

3 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

Apple's iPhoto is a nifty program for organizing photos. The new version can manage up to, I think, 250,000 photos. For backing-up I use iBackup, which is lousy but free. (For some reason I have to reinstall it every time I use it.)

Thanks for the link to my blog! I really enjoy yours.

Ben

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Alicia said...

Carolyn, even just reading what you've written is making me twitch with anxiety -- I haven't a clue. These things should just work, like furnaces, or roofs. When it appears that they don't, I am still stuck at toddler-hissy-fit stage. I wish I could help. Best of luck.

3:13 AM  
Blogger Di said...

Commiserations- I'm relieved I haven't made it to that stage yet.. but I will soon.
I'm attempting to coordinate all my address books and contact details into one electronic source at the moment...

10:32 PM  

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