Filed under: art | Tags: backup, data, Google, hard drive, paper, smartphone, technology, Time Machine
I finally caved and got myself a smart phone. I’d been happy with my texting and phone capable phones for years and would have remained so if I’d been able to find such a phone when I had to quickly replace it. This new phone does a lot of cool stuff that my old one couldn’t do. It can find me on a map. It can tell me when the bus is coming. But it’s a little buggy. I had to do a back up and restore. The advantage of this new phone, I’d been told, was that it would back up everything to Google – so even if I lost my phone, it would all be there. And despite having lost oceans of data before, I trusted that this was happening. I clicked back-up and restore and re-started my phone.
Then, I went to call one of my best friends and found that her phone number had vanished from my phone, along with my mother’s. Apps I’d deleted had returned and the most important things had disappeared. If I’d had my wits about me, I’d have been more suspicious of this backup/restore myth. I’d have copied out all the contacts that were really important and put them in a safe place. But I did not do that – not this time – nor did I do it the previous time when I’d lost my phone and had to find so many phone numbers. I continue to place my trust in this device that has continued to be unreliable.
And not just this device either. When my computer got a spill on it, the guys at the the shop erased all my data to give it a good hard start and fix it. I wasn’t worried, because I’d been backing up my data automatically with Time Machine. I was pretty pleased with myself for actually keeping that on track. So I hadn’t manually backed up anything in a year or two.
Turns out this re-install of the operating system they did at the shop meant that I couldn’t access many of my Time Machine files. I lost contacts and calendars, photos – all sorts of things. And so it was that I lost all the reminders of my friends’ birthdays and so I missed one I hadn’t missed in the twenty years I’d known my friend.
And what do I do I to solve these failures of technology? Do I get a paper calendar again – get print outs of everything? Do I get an old school address book? Not yet. I keep trying to get technology to help me with my technology problem.
How is this like a life in the arts?
Well – my life in the arts is equally unreliable and equally un-give-up-able. The only solution for art problems is more art. You know it is likely to fail and that failure may cost you connections with loved ones. You know you really should have a back-up life – some more traditional paper version of your life – but no matter how much you mean to back up your life, you just never seem to find the time. And you can’t pretend to be surprised when it fails – like your phone, failure is built into the system. And like your phone, you stick with it anyway. Maybe some of you are better about backing up tech and maybe, probably, you’re also better at backing up your lives. Me? Not yet. But I will keep trying.
You can help me back up my life by becoming my patron on Patreon.
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