I’ve been taking the last few years to get to know the Linux operating system. I was before then a Windows sort of person; but became increasingly dissatisfied with the lack of control the operating system allowed me to have over my own machine. In the end, it was also a lack of control over my own privacy that brought me to my tipping point. I didn’t take classes, I didn’t buy a book … the last act of the Windows operating system on my computer was to download and burn to disk my first Linux operating system. Baptism by fire, so to speak.
The good thing about Linux is that it gives me tremendous control over what I can do with my computer. The bad thing? It gives me tremendous control over what I can do with my computer ;-) I am, when it comes to computers, a hopeless tweaker … and Linux will very happily allow a user to tweak his or her self right into a crashed computer, as my own experience has now numerous times demonstrated. For a while, I even named my computer ‘GhostBook,’ because of all the times I resurrected the poor thing with another reinstall of the operating system.
This past week saw yet another crash. I didn’t tweak this crash into being … it just sort of happened. Although I am getting better about trying my hand at repairing a corrupted operating system, rather than just flattening the hard drive and starting over (I have become a master at installing Linux … now I’m concentrating on repairing Linux), this week’s crash left me with no viable options beyond flattening the hard drive and starting over. The problem, and it is one I’m somewhat embarrassed about, was that I had allowed myself to grow somewhat lax in my backup strategy. I lost everything from about a month. Pictures, e-mails, all sorts of things. This was my fault, I’ll admit – born out of what I feel to be the greatest technological impairment that there is, laziness. We employ technology to help us … then we let ourselves get lazy when we rely on technology to keep things easy. Although it brings a rueful smile to my face, I now understand the logic behind mathematics teachers who refused to allow us to use calculators in school.
So now that the operating system has been freshly installed, yet again, and it would seem I have managed to recover all of the individualized functions (most of my preferred tweaks I can now do from memory, without having to first consult various Linux forums). It’s photos, graphics, videos, and other personal files that I’m going to have to accept having lost. I have implemented a regimented backup strategy – keeping in mind an old teacher who was fond of saying that there are only two kinds of data, the kind of data we have lost, and the kind we haven’t lost yet – and with luck, when my operating system crashes again in the future (as I’m sure it will … otherwise, I’m obviously not trying hard enough!), I won’t lose as much data :-) What was the question Bruce Wayne’s father asked him in the movie? “Why do we fall down?” Well, now I’m back up and running … with luck, it’ll stay that way a while!