My Macbook's hard drive did last night what any hard drive promises to do: die without leaving even so much as a back-up note. (OK, ok, so I was supposed to write that note. Happy now, yer 'onour?) Sleep was replaced with fret, but dawn brings light, and with it action. Or pondering. Even some kind of calm.
I have a few choices, as ever. What's weird is what kind of questions each one brings up.
- Choice 1. Standard route: Get a new HDD under warranty. Hey, it's free, but it means giving back my old drive, which removes any possibility of getting the data back through some kind of recovery/forensics service.
- Choice 2. Buy a new drive myself. Get to keep the old one, maybe get the data off if the heads haven't f***ed it over completely (a possibility it seems, after having read around the finternet a bit).
But what is my relationship with this data, and what should it be? My immediate regret about not having backed-up has partially given way to a kind of liberation. In a sense, I'm also free of all that data, free to start again, free to flyyyyy... Uh. Yeah, free.
I'm a geek, I like to keep everything in neat and tidy folders. I like to keep lots of tiny files just in case I might find them useful again one day.
But maybe it doesn't have to be like that. Isn't just hanging on to all that stuff, beyond its relevance, just a form of "information materialism"? A hoarding of data, of bits and bytes, rather than of physical objects. After all, it's all "emotional" in a sense - except it's generally more often time that's been invested, than cash.
But it doesn't really matter if a year's holiday photos get lost. There'll be more. (Plus I have negatives for half of them ;) Creativity cares not of the past, only of the now, dammit! Should regret about lost data be shuffled into the same boat as living in the past? Just how much of that data was relevant to today?
Well, I've spent some time getting in touch with local companies that do data recovery, and will try to get some idea of the prices anyway. It'd be nice not to have to scan photos again, but not a killer. I'm tempted to start afresh for free, sort out that external HDD enclosure that's lying around, get hold of Time Machine and, most importantly, work out just what data I want lying around. It's almost too easy these days - everything and anything can be stored forever. But maybe that's the wrong way to think about it - maybe we should be choosy about what data we obtain, and what data we keep. Maintenance is more than backing up, perhaps.
It's a philosophy, not a practice. Time for a new one?