« Houston, We're Totally Hosed | Main | Back In The Saddle Again »

Take The Database Out Back And Shoot It

As it turns out, some of the files I'd backed up have escaped. While my writing is safe, I've lost all my email. Every single word from the past, uhm, three years, whoosh. I thought I still had those particular zip disks, but I can't find the friggin' things. They have been misplaced. The loss of the email doesn't bug me nearly as much as losing my address book. Damn, damn, and double damn.

Also missing some other miscellaneous things, chiefly my bookmarks file and a couple programs, one of which (Hypercard) is the engine for my submissions tracking database. The database is the only thing I run off Hypercard, and I don't have the installation disks anymore (long gone, long lost in two moves and a thousand miles). When I told her, Lisa sensibly asked me why in God's name I was using Hypercard in the first place, and the answer is: it seemed like a good idea at the time. 1995, which is when I built the thing in the first place, modeling it after the index card filing system described by the late great L. Sprague de Camp in his book Science Fiction Handbook, Revised, Philadelphia: Owlswick Press, 1975. Hypercard followed that index card system quite naturally, so that's what I used. A few years later, I found out that Bud Sparhawk created something along the exact same model. See, great minds do think alike.

Fortunately, I've got the Hypercard player. I can see what's in there, but I can't make any changes, and I can't add anything. In short, it's a lovely picture of my past work, but now totally useless to me, as I plan on writing more stories (I'd already written a first draft of a story since the backup, and it isn't on the file). I'm going to have to set up another database in another program, preferably something with a little more longevity this time, and rekey everything. Sigh. At this point, I'd like to offer a little advice to my fellow scribblers, and anyone reading this: BACK UP YOUR WORK! Stop what you're doing and go get a zip drive, a CD burner, access to a server, whatever, then back up your stuff. Do it regularly, ideally every time you write or revise something. In the old days, writers used to lose all their work in things like housefires and floods. Now it can happen thanks to a defective surge protector.

My only comfort at this point is that at least I didn't spray glue on my flat panel monitor. Heh. Poor Greg...