Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Loss of Data

Well, this wasn't a post I imagined I'd be writing. In fact, it wasn't the post I was going to publish today. I had another post all set up tellling everyone about this year's National Novel Writing Month. Unfortunately, bad things happened.

I back up my work regularly. I sync my laptop with my main machine every time I come with new data on it, and I save my work as I type without even thinking about it. But it seems I may have lost the first 5200 words of the novel I am writing for NaNoWriMo.

The back story to this is I am using a very old Macbook laptop that has been having problems with the backlight for the screen for almost a year and a half. I haven't gotten it fixed because the machine is so old and if I only open the top a couple inches the light works and I can read what I've written. I know, it's very sad, but hey, I'm cheap, and spending $200 - $300 dollars to fix it when a "new" Mac laptop can be had for a grand seems silly. And other than the screen, it worked fine. Until today.

I started writing yesterday and got just over 3000 words down. I didn't get to sync it with my main machine since we were heading out to a party last night. Today, I woke up with a killer migraine, but I still had this story screaming to get out. I was busily writing away when I hit the save keys and noticed the machine did not do its usual 'ding' to signify the save. I tilted the machine up and discovered most of the typing I had been doing since the last save wasn't there. I'm not sure what happened. When I clicked the mouse, the timer wheel popped up and the computer started to do something. I could hear it working, but it didn't seem to be doing anything. Then I couldn't click anywhere else and the wheel was still spinning. After a few minutes everything went dark. I shut it down and started it back up, and that's when the bad news hit me.

I got nothing. The machine was spinning, but I had a blank screen. This is not a good thing. I didn't even get to the apple logo. Over 5200 words, trapped in that damn little box. Arggh!

All is not lost yet though. My husband is a tech guru and he's trying a couple of things, but he doesn't look too hopeful. In the meantime, I'm venting here. And I'm warning others. Don't trust your machines. They can turn on you when you least expect it. Just keep that in mind when you use them so you don't fall victim to their evil plottings.


Travis Erwin said...

Here's hoping you get you words back. I've been there and it stinks.

spyscribbler said...

Dropbox is amazing. It will sync between a Windows and a Mac computer, PLUS keep a backup online. And you don't have to do anything. It just does it all, instantly.

It will also keep "revision histories" online. So if you want your WIP as it was 20 days ago, you can go to your revision histories and get it!

It's free for up to 2GB. If you want more, you have to pay.

Good luck with NaNo!

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm a real paranoid about saving my work and constantly backing it up on a memory stick. I've lost stuff before and it's such an agony. I hope you are able to get it back.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ugh. I would be so bummed if that happened to me. :(

BernardL said...

I can only sympathize with you about the word loss, but I do have a cure for migraine headaches I've blogged about, and it involves no drugs. Here's the link to my post. I hope it helps you, VL.

BernardL said...

I thought of one other thing you might check, VL. I don't know the Apple OS, so I have no idea how it stores temporary files; but in windows, I've recovered lost data from the temporary files folder, including my daughter's school term paper the computer ate during a power failure long ago.

Virginia Lady said...

Thanks Travis, but unfortunately that doesn't look like it's going to happen.

Spy, thanks for the tip. I'll check into it. I should have done a sync on Saturday between the laptop and my main machine after I stopped writing for the day, but I was literally falling asleep as I typed so I didn't do it. Live and learn.

Thanks Charles. I think having a stick on hand and backing up constantly is a great idea. Paranoid maybe, but right now it sounds like a really good idea,

Jennifer, I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Not fun.

Thanks for the tips, Bernard. Unfortunately, the hard drive seems to be toasted. We can't get to anything on it.

Rick said...

YOu have my deepest sympathy, Virginia Lady, but I have a suggestion given to me by 13 year old- they know all about these things. He said, "Mr, why aren't you synching online so you have a web stored copy, too?" I was, as an adult, reluctant to tell him that I wasn't sure what he was talking about, how to do it, if it cost anything, and, well all sorts of other things. So I asked his younger sister to explain it to me, which she did. It's pretty cool. Google has it. Microsoft has work space where you can actually put the document on line, store it there on your own computer simultaneously, etc.

But forget your husband- ask a 13 year old to help. Or an 11 year old if you want someone with more maturity!

Virginia Lady said...

LOL, Rick, thanks for the tip. Unfortunately most of the kids I know are shockingly illiterate when it comes to computers. You'd be amazed at how little some kids know. Not everyone under the age of twenty real gets computers or how they work.