As I’m going through all my office stuff, preparing for a garage sale (citywide) this Saturday, and consolidating things prior to our upcoming move, I’m encountering all my backup stuff. As one who has been writing and publishing, doing desktop publishing, making maps and processing photos since forever, I have boxes and boxes (and boxes) of 3.5” floppy disks. I also have boxes and boxes of Zip drives
(remember them?). I am no longer in the publishing/map-making/newsletter business, so I no longer need this material, but oh, the waste.
All these disks contain plastic, but they also contain other material which isn’t recyclable. It’s all going into the trash. And I’m feeling guilty. I’m also feeling a bit sad that this information, all the documents, all the maps, etc. is no longer useful to anyone. It was a good run while it lasted, but it’s over now and yet I still feel twinges of what used to be.
All my paper files are gone. Two huge filing cabinets of research material were emptied and now contain rolls of Japanese papers, decorative papers, etc. for upcoming projects. That’s exciting. New art to be created. But in the here and now, there’s so much to be gotten rid of, dating back to the early 1980s (tear sheets from the various publications my work appeared in, newspaper articles about me, notes and handouts for all the workshops and classes I conducted, articles I’ve written, correspondence from stock photo agencies. Anyone remember PhotoNetwork?!
All my 35mm slides? They’re going with me. And gradually I will go through them, keeping ones that I think I can still use today, but 90% will probably go into the trash. Once again.
My next task? Packing up at least four older computers. Computers that still work, but I need to strip out the data, salvage what I think I still might need, and then dispose of them, too, one by one. Wish I had done that slowly over the years, but, similar to the unbirthday party in Alice in Wonderland (“Move down! Move down!”), they get put in storage as new ones take their place(s). At least I no longer have my old Kaypro
Technology has changed. Information-gathering has changed. Publication prep has changed. And I have changed. For the better? I hope so. But it’s still sad in a way. Soon it will all be behind me, but today I’m a little down.
So what’s the solution to all this? I don’t think there is one. I’ve got Rubbermaid tubs of backup CDs and DVDs. I’ve got Rubbermaid tubs of backup external drives. We all read the dire warnings that CDs/DVDs go bad over time. And external drives? Same thing there. It’s quite insane when one thinks about it. So I try not to.
But John Lennon’s words are constantly in my head: I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,I really love to watch them roll,No longer riding on the merry-go-round,I just had to let it go.
Those of you who are still happily riding on the merry-go-round, how do you handle all this on a daily basis? Are you behind in your backing up? Do you back up your backed-up files? Enquiring minds want to know!
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