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Then: Out of Tape

Now: Out of Power

The other day I was in the grocery store with a good friend of mine when the power went out.  The lights flickered. Off.  On.  Off.  And then an eerie silence descended on the place.  No swiping of debit cards.  No beeping of bar codes.  No pinging of pin numbers.  There we were, with our cart full of important things such as banana cream puffs and wine, with no way of paying for these precious goods.  

You see, without power, the cashier could not read the barcodes.  Without the bar codes the totals couldn't be calculated.  And without a total, we couldn't pay.  No computers.  No business.  No good.

My friend offered to pay with a check, for certainly, they would take our money.  But it appears the art of manually adding up numbers has gone the way of the dinosaur.    

So, we left our cart and headed off to another market.

Back in the day, the biggest problem would be when the cashier ran out of tape and you had to wait while she figured out how to put in a new one.  That could take several minutes during which you might have tapped your foot, rubbed your arm, complained to the person in line behind you.  But eventually the cashier would get it threaded and she'd be "back in business."

"Back in business" doesn't happen as fast when it involves computers.  Special techie people have to be called in.  The problem can be solved in a few minutes -  or not.  Sometimes it can take hours.  Hours during which time the world seems to come to a halt.   Most often the data is retrieved, but once in a while, well, it's just lost forever.  

When I kept papers in a paper file folder inside a real desk and not on a desktop,  it might have taken a few minutes longer to find things, but they never completely disappeared.    

Just imagine if the Internet shut down for even a few seconds.  It would be a Withdrawal of Pandemic proportions.  

But back to the grocery store.  If you're wondering, the power outage was an isolated situation and not related to the current fires blazing around us.  We found another store, loaded up our groceries, paid and went home.  Where we proceeded to drink wine and back up all those really important files (and some not so important ones) on our computer to our memory chips.    

Just in case.

What about you?   How obsessive are you when it comes to backing up your files?

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Member Comments

    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Paula Bertucci wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • When I do my Quickbooks I back up every time....then once a week I back up everything..it is important. My nephew is a computer expert and says this is so important..no fun not having those important documents come IRS time!..and as far as the grocery store...this happened to me once when I worked for a health food store...we were a small community...so knew most everyone..took checks or cash..and used a piece of paper and pen to use our brains to do the additions..how sad people forget about the basics and how important it is to use these skills when necessary....good old corporate..the demise of this country



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Anonymous wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • Paula,

       Using our brains to do addition.  What a concept!  Have a great Labor Day.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lindao wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • Obsessive?  That’s me!  I still back up almost everything I write both on the old, small floppy disks as well as on a thumb drive—although I’m not always as quick with the thumb drive as I am with the old disks.  But some of my oldest manuscripts are inaccessible on-line since I backed them up on the old, big floppies and no longer have a computer that will read them!  Good thing I kept hard copies.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Janie Emaus wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • Hi Paula,

        I don’t know why my last comment came over as anonymous!

       Linda - Yeah..my office is overflowing with hard copies.  And I’m constantly backing up.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Joyousone wrote Sep 6, 2009
    • How true everything is you wrote here and “here, here” for what has happened to knowing how and the capability of doing things manually and with your brain.  But alas, I am strapped to this computer and storing my files on it but learned from my techie son to always, always backup important information and ... to also save it on a flash drive (better than discs as you can store more on them). But ..... there are still some instances that keeping a hard copy is great too just in case your computer crashes.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kyah wrote Sep 7, 2009
    • After having my oldest computer crash earlier this year, I found out the hard way that back up is important.I lost several of my short stories and a couple of novels that I was working on. One of those novels was over 300 pages long and I’m not looking forward to re-typing all of that copy. I’m paying for online storage back up for my laptop. I have stuff on floppy disks, but have resorted to using CDs and flash drives. I don’t just copy stuff to one disk/drive, I do the “three times the charm” thing! All my pics are on the 4 GBs flash drive and the stories & novels are on the 1 & 2 GBs. Never again, I say!



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    • +1 votes vote up vote up

      Tinaf wrote Sep 7, 2009
    • I like the items you mentioned in your cart—banana cream puffs and wine.  Sounds like something I’d buy.  OH WAIT!  It was something I’d buy.  I was the friend with you in the store!  ;)  

      Yep, and aside from the sudden, eerie silence, what I found amusing was the supermarket checker (who clearly had a good sense of humor) staring back at the trying-to-be-patient customers and saying, “Don’t look at me.  I don’t know anything more than you do about the power outage.”  And I realized, of course, she was right.  How could she?  But all of us were looking to her because it was Her Store, so therefore, she was In Charge.

      And yes, it was definitely a Than and Now moment!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Doreen XoXo wrote Sep 7, 2009
    • I back up everything every time Im on the computer.  Especially Quickbooks.  It’s just a part of my day at all of the offices I work at as well.  I never leave the office without backing up!  So very important.

      Recently, my computer crashed.  Im so grateful that I managed to back up my photos before it totally crashed.  I did, however, lose all of my documents in office.  Wasnt good.  

      xoxo



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Angela White wrote Sep 7, 2009
    • I’m a perfect example of “Do what I say and not what I do!”  I stress all the time for my students to back up their work so if it’s lost, they’ve still got a copy.  Yet in my own world, I rarely back up because “I don’t have time.”  I wonder how much time it will take me to replace what I lose one day when the inevitable crash happens, and how much grief I’ll have for those things that are irreplaceable!  Think I’ll go back up now...



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Kerri1985 wrote Sep 7, 2009
    • it’s amazing, how we have come to a point when we are so reliant on computers and calculaters we have forgotten the fundamentals of life. If only they would have a back up for things such as this...there will be more days like this one just wait and see.

      Kerri



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