Saturday, March 07, 2009

Walking Tightropes



I spent the day backing up my files. It took me six hours. But it is the first time I have done this task myself since 1996. I had to run to my nephew for clarification every time I hit a snag or something unexpected happened for the first several hours. The last two hours I was getting the help via IM from my husband who stayed up ninety minutes past his usual bedtime to walk me through the last two hours of the backup, including zipping a file that was too big to fit on the thumb drive I was backing it up on. I had been using the copy command for all previous backups. I had never zipped a file before either.

I guess it is about time I learned to do these things for myself. I've been dependent on computers for my writing since 1987 so one would think I had gotten the hang of regular file backup. Well, I did mostly fine with it through 1996 while backing up was just a matter of saving another copy on a separate floppy. It was when we got our first multimedia computer in 1996 and I started saving my work on the hard drive and depending on my husband for all file backup. Well we've been in two separate states for two months now. A month ago, my fourteen year old nephew did it for me. I was supposed to be 'learning' how so I could do it myself the next time. Just like I was supposed to be learning how the last several time my husband did it while I looked on.

But my learning style just is not compatible with listening and watching as someone else does it. It never has been. Not when my Mom tried to teach me the proper way to stir gravy when I was thirteen; not when math teachers worked problems on the board; not when a cousin tried to teach me how to grab the ski-lift rope on the kiddie slope. Nope. I've always had to go through the physical motion my own self. But I've always been hesitant to do so for any new task unless someone who knows how is nearby coaching my every move and answering every anxious question.

So now I can probably count on being able to repeat this process the next time it needs doing. Except that it will have to be a variation on what I did today as two of the three thumb drives I used today are at capacity. That would be the audio files and the picture files. Remember, one of the projects I'm working on here at Mom's is scanning the family pictures onto my laptop.

Which reminds me. One of the silly newbie mistakes I made today was to copy the My Pictures file off my laptop hard drive and send it to the My Picture folder on the thumb. So when it got about halfway through the copy process it stopped and said it was out of room. I just thought at first that all those pictures I had scanned the past couple weeks had used up the space. But then I was comparing the file sizes of the My Pictures on the laptop and the My Pictures on the thumb, hoping to discover how much bigger it had gotten since it had been backed up a month ago. And the one on the thumb was way bigger than the one on the laptop. Which really befuddled me for several moments before it dawned on me what I might have done. And sure enough when I opened the folder on the thumb there among all the folders as they existed January 29 stood the folder 'My Pictures' with evidence of the changes made to it yesterday.

Ed, who was IMing with me at the time, advised me to delete everything on the thumb and start from scratch. Which I did. It took over forty minutes to back up My Pictures. That's how big it is. Because it contains: all the family pictures I've scanned in while here at Mom's both this visit and December 2007; every image I've ever posted to Joystory; all the pictures dumped off my digital cameras since 2006; images and graphics created in graphics programs like Gimp, Paint, Open Office Draw and the bazzillion freeware, shareware and trial editions we have tested; the images I've downloaded for use in my jigsaw puzzle program and/or for turning into needlework patterns; and screen shots. I think it is past time to organize the My Picture folder in such a way that I can back up several files on three or more separate thumbs and/or CD.

Arrrrgh. I cringe at the thought. My brain is quivering and sloshing in its pan.

I hate these tasks with a passion. And the back up project was just the first step!!!!

I'm suppose to download and install a new free virus and spyware protection ap and I've been warned by both Ed and my nephew to expect to be without the use of my laptop for as much as six hours once the install is complete as it does a deep scan of every file on the computer which took six hours on my Mom's Vista PC last month.

I'm also supposed to do a defrag which also takes upwards of four hours. That has been past due for months already. I was supposed to do it following the file backup in January but I kept procrastinating. Sigh.

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