What I really need is a set of backup vocal cords. I was planning to do some recording this week, and what happens? I have laryngitis, with added coughing. Even if it didn’t hurt to say more than a few words at a time, I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to the squawking.
There are lots of text-to-speech programs out there, but I don’t want to subject anyone to them, either. After all, synthetic voices make people think of voicemail systems, which brings out hostility and frustration.
But sometimes it really would be nice to be able to swap out body parts the way one does computer component. (This from someone too squeamish even to get her ears pierced, never mind have electronics implanted for anything not life-threatening.)
My brain is not at its most focused right now, but I’ve read four novels since yesterday morning and even a sick person can only sleep for so long. I am, therefore, writing a backup reminder, even if it’s a trifle lame.
Last time I checked, the most common cause of data loss was still human error. Though the “undo” command can save us from those mistakes we recognize right away, we don’t always realize that we’ve deleted the newer version of the file instead of the old one, or whatever.
There was a time, right about when Windows 95 came out and the Mac ceased to be the world’s only user-patronizing computer, that I got really fed up with those “Are you sure you want to send that file to the recycle bin?” messages. I found out how to bypass the recycle bin and send files into oblivion. (At the time I was oblivious, myself, to the reality that a lot of deleted files can be recovered if the drive hasn’t been reformatted.)
I didn’t have a cat walking across my keyboard then, and my mental response to the dialog box was “Of course I want to delete it. Why else would I press the delete key?”
Naturally there came a day when I deleted something by accident and regretted it. It wasn’t a total disaster, but I decided to turn the Recycle Bin on again after that.
And then there’s e-mail. Time was, you always read your e-mail on the server via Telnet, because there wasn’t another way to get to it. But these days, most people use a POP e-mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird that copies their messages onto their hard drives.
In most cases, when the e-mail client finishes copying the messages, they get deleted from the server. But you can tell your e-mail client to leave messages on the server so that you can access them from another computer—or retrieve them if you’re a little too quick to hit the “delete” key.
I have most of my accounts set to leave my messages on the server for 3 days after I download them to my main computer. That generally gives me enough time to check them from elsewhere, if for some reason I need to get to those messages when I don’t have Enna with me.
You can decide how long to leave messages on the server. I don’t recommend leaving them there indefinitely, especially if you get a lot of mail, because you’re likely to fill up the quota your ISP gives you, or at least slow everything down. (And anyway, most of what’s left up there will be spam, and why keep that around?) If you’re planning to go on a long trip, you might want to set the length of time to match the length of your trip, but otherwise, you probably don’t need to keep messages on the server more than 7 days.
If you’re going to leave the mail on the server as a backup, however, you need to make sure not to check the box that says “Remove from server when emptied from deleted items” (or whatever the equivalent phrase is for your preferred e-mail client). Because then, if you delete a message by accident while clearing out the spam that makes it past the junk mail filters and don’t realize what you’ve done until later, you’re out of luck. I learned this the hard way just recently—twice, in fact.
It doesn’t look too professional to have to say “Sorry, I deleted your message before I could read it—can you send it again?” Especially when you’re supposed to be a backup maven.
And, speaking of e-mail, if anyone has experience with Outlook synchronization programs like PSTsync, SynchPST, and Easy2Sync, I’d love to hear about it.