Learning about backups the hard way - Livre d'Or








Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes. * Blogroll * Strange words * More links * Bookies * Microblog * Recent comments * Humans only * Second degree * By topic * Cool posts * Writing * New post

Tags

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



livredor
Learning about backups the hard way
Thursday, 10 May 2007 at 07:54 am
Tags:

Previous Entry Next Entry


So. I've lost most of my correspondence from the beginning of 2004 to the middle of 2005. I'm really very unhappy about this, especially since that period includes the second half of a very precious relationship that was conducted almost entirely by email. Not to mention several other interactions that would be called relationships if they weren't standing in opposition to the romantic kind in this particular sentence, boo English for being useless at naming such things.

The main problem is that I have a bad habit of keeping everything in my inbox until I've dealt with it. I kind of know this is dumb, but the sensible thing of filing things immediately even if I can't respond right now feels like too much effort for too little immediate reward.

In the past, when I've changed email systems I've retrieved the old inboxes, usually in a very inconvenient form such as a giant text file containing a jumble of a couple of years' worth of correspondence. Last time I did that was December 2003. Between then and getting Gmail in June 2004, most email ended up in my Eudora email account. And between June 2004 and August 2005, many people (notably the people I really care about) were still using my work email address so those emails were in my Eudora account too. Stupid me, I thought my emails were safe on my hard drive, and I didn't have to worry what would happen to webmail accounts or my work-based email servers.

From mid 2005, everything is in Gmail (the transition was kind of gradual between June and August, because I was lazy about the switchover). Gmail positively encourages laziness about archiving, but I'm reasonably confident that Gmail isn't going to disappear in a puff of smoke. Still, backing that lot up in a convenient format is not a bad idea either.

But. I left my old desktop computer at home when I moved to Sweden, because it was too old and deprecated to be worth the bother of transporting. I attempted to write everything I cared about onto CDs, but unfortunately my CD writer died in the middle of this process. I wasn't too concerned because my computer was still there at home and I'd figure out a way to extract the emails at some point.

What I didn't bargain on was my mother getting frustrated with the computer being senile and eccentric. To me, it was just Windows, it crashed fairly frequently, I would swear at it half-heartedly and restart. But after several false starts, just after I moved here my mother became an absolute internet junkie. She couldn't cope with the offline time caused by my old computer crashing. So my parents bought her a new computer. Dad asked a computer consultant he employs to back up everything from my old computer, but unfortunately nobody really consulted me about what I needed. So I have a backup of the documents from the old computer, but not the application data. And my entire correspondence archive was hidden away in Eudora mailboxes, which did not get backed up. (There are a few other possibly irreplaceable things lost this way too, mainly because my old and now defunct computer had the hard drive from my previous computer inside it, containing my entire electronic life since 1997.)

I only have myself to blame, but this really hurts.


Whereaboooots: Älvsjö, Stockholm, Sweden
Moooood: distresseddistressed
Tuuuuune: Tindersticks: Tiny tears
Discussion: 11 contributions | Contribute something
Tags:

Previous Entry Next Entry




Contribute something
View all comments chronologically



lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:May 10th, 2007 08:08 am (UTC)
1 hours after journal entry, 09:08 am (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
*hug*

I can supply you with the emails I sent you to your work address during this period. To my surprise, there's only seventy-eight of them. I know there was a period when I lost my sent-mail archive, but I think this was rather the fact that during this period for various reasons you stopped sending email, so I stopped replying to it—the emails tail off by datestamp, rather than stopping altogether for a period.

In standard Unix format, gzipped, the emails come to 308k. Or I can use Pine to convert them to mbox format, which is what Eudora uses, if this is more convenient for you.
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
lethargic_man: default
From:lethargic_man
Date:June 3rd, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
24 days after journal entry, 05:57 pm (lethargic_man's time)
(Link)
To my surprise, there's only seventy-eight of them.

I take that back. There's 219 of them. I lost a year somewhere.
(Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
blue_mai: roma
From:blue_mai
Date:May 10th, 2007 08:46 am (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry, 09:46 am (blue_mai's time)
(Link)
sincerest sympathies. i'm currently trying to work out how to best to archive all my computer stuff short of taking several days off work to organise my life. til then i'm Not Touching it... at least it's with me though.
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
lisekit: Punt
From:lisekit
Date:May 10th, 2007 08:54 am (UTC)
2 hours after journal entry
(Link)
In consolation....maybe it's because I haven't had the experience of losing them that they now don't seem to mean that much, but when I moved from my Hermes account I saved 10 years' worth of emails onto CD (thinking I could not do without them), checked the disc, and then never looked at them more. Some were of quite profound sentimental value, but it seems that the actual having of them or looking at them is not the most important thing. I guess it must be the having had them.

I know it's a horrible thing to feel you've lost something, the more so because it's something intangible. But I'll bet you you still have the most important things represented by the emails themselves somewhere about you.
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
hatam_soferet: default
From:hatam_soferet
Date:May 10th, 2007 10:40 am (UTC)
4 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Poor dear fish. I'm sorry.
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
From:ploni_bat_ploni
Date:May 10th, 2007 11:01 am (UTC)
4 hours after journal entry
(Link)
*hugs*

No, you don't have yourself to blame. Shalom bayit aside, you kinda have your parents to blame too! If you store something at your parental home under the assumption that it will be OK, then you should be able to depend on that. They should have consulted YOU first before tampering with your computer! I don't want to create a ruckus between you and your parents, but just wanna make you feel better about not-blaming-yourself too much. I am really sorry to hear that you lost so much of your wonderful correspondence though, and hope that the pain of this will wear away with time :-(
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
ewx: default
From:ewx
Date:May 10th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
5 hours after journal entry, 01:11 pm (ewx's time)
(Link)
You can't rely on hard disks even in the absence of human error...
(Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
redbird: default
From:redbird
Date:May 10th, 2007 12:13 pm (UTC)
5 hours after journal entry, 08:13 am (redbird's time)
(Link)
No, but this feels similar to "oh, some water got in the basement, we'll just throw away these boxes that got damp at the bottom without either opening them or asking her if there's anything important inside."
(Reply to this comment) (Up thread) (Parent) (Thread)
cartesiandaemon: default
From:cartesiandaemon
Date:May 10th, 2007 01:34 pm (UTC)
7 hours after journal entry
(Link)
Ouch! *hugs* Yeah, I know how that one feels (though never as badly). I'll resist the temptation to pretend we had an extended liason in that period you'd forgotten about :) I will say, don't waste time trying to be perfect, you may never get there, a comprehensive backup system is definitely called for, but if you can catch the important stuff more easily, it might help to do that. Gmail is probably ok. You could also eg. get it to forward mail to a free account somewhere, you might save most things.

And your parents, I agree with what the others said. I don't really blame them, it's a natural mistake if you assume someone doesn't have anything important, but I'd be pissed if someone just assumed. Don't trust other poeple to have the same common sense as you, even if they're nice and know what they're doing :(
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)
(no subject) - monanotlisa (5/10/07 04:18 pm)
rysmiel: get yourself connected[hardware version]
From:rysmiel
Date:May 10th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
11 hours after journal entry, 02:05 pm (rysmiel's time)
(Link)
Oh, ow ow ow. *hug*

I can almost certainly get copies of anything you sent me in that span, but I don't normally save outgoing mail by default.
(Reply to this comment) (Thread)



Contribute something
View all comments chronologically