04 March 2008

The Computer Ate My Post!

I wrote last weekend's entry intending to give it a final polish, but when I opened the file, it was gone. Instead, the previous post was there, which I had deleted from the workspace before I started. I was crestfallen, as you can imagine, but decided after only a brief whimper to be brave about it.

I didn't think I'd written a whole post without saving even once. In fact, I vaguely remembered being interrupted several times by Linus the Younger, and virtuously saving my work whenever I left it. But I had to admit the shadow of doubt. Due to a life-long tendency to absent-mindedness, I had to allow for the possibility that I might have neglected to instruct my computer to save on each of the occasions when I thought I had, including when I turned it off for the night. However unlikely that seems. I mean, I'm usually very careful. We live outside the city, and are subject to random power outages from time to time. I've learned not to type for more than a few minutes without hitting save. I only had to lose an hour's work once or twice before I cottoned on.

Temperamentally, I hate having to do things over. I really mean it. Because here inside the natural chaos that is my life, I feel as if I have barely have time to do most things well even once.

Anyway, I attempted to recompose what had been, let me tell you, a brilliant post. It had wit, and timing, and would have transformed all our lives. I made most of the same points, but felt the muse had fled, or gone for coffee. I was going to have to return to it the next day and buff it up a little. While I worked, before witnesses, I tapped the 'save' icon only slightly less often than the space bar. And at the end.

The next morning, I opened the file, and it was gone again. There was the previous post, the one I'd deleted twice in order to use the space in this, my favourite writing program. I use Writer's Blocks (and they are unaware of this unsolicited product placement, but if they wish to flatter me with sponsorship, my door is open. A free trial version of their truly nifty software is available, by the way.) I like Writer's Blocks because I can fill as many virtual note cards as I wish with whisps of ideas as they come; phrases, anecdotes, cross references, etc. It's very handy to be able to toggle between my note cards and manuscript. So that's why I don't just use any old program.

I don't know what's wrong. Perhaps the naughty file somehow got itself corrupted. To be sure, I'm now backing up to another file as well, but now that I've taken to that neurotic precaution, guess what? It's all working perfectly, just as it has for the past couple of years. I've switched off and returned several times and this effort has been just as I left it. No further surprises.

I have, however, ditched the missing posts. I won't try to recreate them. In the interests of balance, I didn't want to continuously detail Ben's idiosyncrasies without mentioning his brother. Linus doesn't get up to nearly as much mayhem, but he is having some continence issues lately that I've been finding troublesome. Well, never mind.

Should I have been writing about that? Well, apparently the computer says "no".

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