Electronic Death

The other night, I was listening to some old tunes on my cell phone while reading and I was getting some weird sound glitches in pretty much every album I played.  It quickly dawned on me that the microSD card on which I’d loaded the music was dying a rapid death.  No biggie.  This wouldn’t be the first one to go and it had given me decently long service.  The next day, I purchased a new card, four times the capacity of the old one, and tried to download the data from the old card to the server so I could recover some of it.  My computer valiantly tried to fix the little thing, but in the end, the card died before I could extract what it carried.

Fine.  I had all of my albums digitized on the server.  It wouldn’t take long to fill up the new microSD card and enjoy.  Nope.  Try as I might, at least one of the albums I was listening to when I realized the card was dying – Jethro Tull’s The Broadsword and the Beast (yes, big Jethro Tull fan here!) – didn’t exist, be it on the server or in my CD collection.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that several albums that were on the old card didn’t seem to come from a CD rip, nor did I have MP3 versions on the server, including more Jethro Tull and at least one Pink Floyd.  Oops.  I had no idea where they came from.  My memory vaguely recalls having purchased said music in the late 70s and early 80s on vinyl and cassette, but the cassettes are long gone though I repurchased a lot of my favourites as CDs.  Not in this case.

It’s somewhat disturbing that I can’t track down those particular albums.  They had to have been transferred onto my old microSD card from somewhere, and the only logical somewhere is the server.  All I can figure is that somehow they vanished during the backup and recovery process a few years ago when I had to rebuild the server after one of the hard drives began to die and the other  had reached the ripe old age of 5 years, which is pretty much your average HDD lifespan.

With everything now stored electronically – pictures, books, music, movies, etc – the possibility of irretrievably losing something here and there, without actually noticing until it’s much too late, becomes a very real issue.  Sure, it beats having a wall of CDs and DVDs, and a bookcase full of print pictures, but a hard drive failure won’t make any of them vanish.  This little contretemps was a timely reminder that electronic death can creep up on you, notwithstanding regular external backup procedures and that safeguarding something irreplaceable does need a bit more care.  Fortunately, I was able to order CDs of the vanished albums, so other than forking over some dollars, there was no lasting harm done.

I’m past the half-way mark on the first draft of Like Stars in Heaven and while daily productivity is unspectacular, it is steady and will allow me to keep the July publication date.  As for Fatal Blade, I’m impatiently waiting for my editor’s comments, due within the next week.

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