Thursday, July 05, 2012

On the durability of digital media

Mom, Jen and I have spent a lot of time going through Michael's things, sifting through a lifetime of memories. It's part of the process of grieving, and of finding the things that help us remember the man we have lost.

I've been looking through the files on his computer, trying to make sense of everything. In the last couple of months, he and I made sure that I had access to all of his digital life - he gave me his password for his computer, and we set up a master password locker for all of his various accounts, so I could take care of his bills for him while he was in the hospital.

But we didn't talk about his backups, and I wish we had. Like me, he was a computer guy - for most of his career, he worked on computers, and he always had a computer at home. Over the course of a lifetime, you accumulate a bunch of backups of various sorts - when you leave a job, you often take files with you, and when you switch computers, you may not take all of your files forward.

But as it happens, digital media is less durable than one might imagine. In going through Michael's stuff, I've found a bunch of CD-Rs that are unusable - fortunately, I think they are just work files from his Gambro days - and a hard drive that won't read. I think it was a backup drive, and his computer's hard drive is fine (and backed up to a new drive AND a cloud backup), so I don't think we lost anything.

But I wonder where his backups are. Back in (I think) 1996 or so, he created an album cover for the 5th Gallowglass album. He called it Wake in the Morning, and the only known version of it is this t-shirt that Lojo still has.

I'd love to find the original file.

Today's lesson: talk about your backups with your backup.


John Slade said...

I have an external drive case that I popped a 'crashed' drive into and it worked just fine (switched the plugs to 'slave') so that might work, is it a PC or Mac drive?

Eclector2 said...

I have been going through Michael's boxes in his basement. In them I found the backups that you were looking for and I found the artwork for the album cover. He had kept an amazing amount of things/memories for a very long time. Amazing mostly because, 1. he was a guy and 2. he moved a thousand times. As I organize and read through them I am learning new things about him. And as he did in life, he makes me laugh and he makes me cry and he makes my heart ache.

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