Saturday, November 26, 2005


Apparently it has become customary for me to lose a few thousand words of writing every year around this time. While synchronizing my iPAQ with the desktop today the computer had a problem resolving the file for "Confessions", and after selecting what I had imagined to be the correct option for fixing the situation, I opened the document on both the desktop and the handheld to find that it had reverted to some version I had saved back in 2003 (at 22,000 words!). Needless to say, this would have been a cause for a total freakout, except for the fact that last Friday I took the extra few minutes to save a fresh copy of Confessions to the iPAQ's tiny little permanent hard drive. Otherwise I would have had to revert to a September copy of the file and eat a 13,000-word data loss!

Still trying to figure out what happened, but in the meantime I'm saving multiple copies of last Friday's save everywhere -- to the desktop, to gmail, to my USB jump drive, and anywhere else I can think of. Massive redundancy is the only true guarantee. This is a lesson for those libraries who would deaccession books, journals, and other media simply because there is one physical copy of it elsewhere (a.k.a. the "archival" copy). A good preservation strategy means always hedging your bets.

So the total loss this time was about 3,000 words, or pretty much the entire new chapter I've been working on. Which isn't a total disaster, considering the fact that I was feeling somewhat uncertain about how this chapter was unfolding, but losing a week's worth of writing is still galling, no matter how mediocre that writing may have been...

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