Sunday, 15 June 2008

Fathers Day, Memories, What The Duck

OK, in my last post, I told you about an online cartoon strip called What The Duck. Well, given that today is Fathers Day, I thought I'd share the strip above (hmm... tedious link, I know, but the word 'Dad' is mentioned!). Anyway, take it for what it is, or feel free to read a little deeper...

Show of hands please, anyone who backs up their photographs. And I don't mean simply copying them from your camera to the computer - we're talking proper '
paranoia-driven, second-guess the future' multiple back-ups here.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people still genuinely believe that their computers will last forever. Never corrupting, never slowing to a grinding halt, these machines are clearly invincible. Apparently. Well, drop us an email and tell me where to sign!

As far as photographs are concerned, never forget - these are visual documents, often showing events which are one-off, unrepeatable times in our lives. They allow us to savour moments and preserve them for future generations. Remember photographic prints? You know, actual 'hard copy', 6"x4" bits of paper you could actually hold in your actual hands and look at without straining your eyes at a computer screen! Increasingly, people are not bothering to get prints made, instead entrusting these memories to a birds-nest of wires and circuitry all neatly packaged in an overheated metal box plugged into the wall.

Fact is, and though it pains me to have to tell you like this, computers can and do go wrong. Badly. And when they do... that's when those same people are suddenly consumed with a rush of blind panic, tears, cursing and, once things have calmed down a bit, regret at having not bothered to back up their pictures sooner. The same scenario holds true for business owners who, frankly, should know better.

Now I'm no computer whizz - far from it - but I do know what it feels like to lose important information from a computer. Which is why we perform multiple backups like our lives depend upon it (actually, in a professional sense, they do!). At the very least, you should be making copies onto CDs or DVDs - seriously, these things cost pennies nowadays (far, far, faaar less than the information they can contain) - and you'd be a fool not to go out to your local computer supply shop today and stock up.

By all means, wait for the 'Big Bang' in the corner of your office or spare room before you decide to take action, but just remember to take a deep breath when the repair guy tells you that he 'might' be able to save your data - and at great cost - but that you should probably prepare for the worst. "Well, of course, you have saved a copy of the important stuff, haven't you...?"

So, take heed of what I have to say. Or don't. At the very least have a look at the cartoon at the top of this post. But one thing I can tell you for sure, from bitter experience, is this: if your computer suddenly takes on the appearance of a pile of scrap metal and your precious pictures are only lodged somewhere in the unrecoverable rubble on the carpet, you'll be kicking yourself for not parting with those pennies.

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