Friday, February 10, 2012

Heads Up!

Important lesson for today. Backup your files.

A week ago my son Max spilled Coke on the laptop computer. It's now a former computer. Not sure what it is, but what it's not is a computer.

I have multiple backups of Chrissie Warren: Pirate Hunter, including the most recent revision I sent to Eddie the Agent. I've also got multiple copies of Chance stored in a couple of places. One of these days soon I'm going to take a look at revising that. I think I know what it needs.

What I did not have was a backed up copy of my work in progress (WIP, as it's called) Scurvy Dogs. Not, at least, a copy that would be easy to recover. There were the hard copies of each chapter that I had e-mailed to Tori for reading to her class, but that would mean retyping the whole thing. And there is the possibility that it exists somewhere in her e-mail account, chapter by chapter, although she's pretty good about cleaning out her in box, and in my sent file. So it wasn't completely lost, but looked like it would be a pain in the ass to recover.

I got lucky, if anything that involves a popular soft drink and the innards of a computer can be lucky. The technician who told me, "Yep, it's dead," was able to pull up the hard drive long enough for me to pull off a couple of files, including the full copy of Scurvy Dogs. So I dodged that bullet.

While I work out how to replace the computer I'm working on either my daughter Kate's PC and a 6-year-old iMac we got for daughter Alex when she went off to college. Either way, I get frustrated fairly easily. I can do everything I used to be able to do on the MacBook, but everything takes longer and is more complicated. And moving back and forth between computers is not easy. I have lost pieces of chapters that way. Should be easy, but it's not.

I did write a really good chapter this week, had some funny bits with the grandfather snoring, and a shipwreck and some unknown person shooting at our heroes. So it was pretty exciting and the kids were hanging on every word when I read it to them. Feeling very good about the story.

But before you do anything else today, back up your important files! I am reminded of the very first computer class I ever took, the opening of a three-day workshop back in 1990. During the intro the guy said, "Back up your files every day, because your computer hates you and is always looking for a way to piss you off. If you don't back up your files it will crash and you'll lose everything. But if you do, it knows it can't hurt you that way, so it won't bother crashing." (Same guy also said, "No one ever learned anything by pressing 'cancel' in a dialogue box." Not related to this, but I've always loved the advice.)

So back up your files. Do it now. You never know when that can of Coke is gonna hit the keyboard. That's why the call them accidents.

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