Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Always Backup

Nothing shocks you out of living in the past than losing all your data.

I hate smart phones.  I'm going to go on the record to say they are the single biggest pain in my ass since the invention of the laptop.  When these stupid things work, they are the greatest thing in the world, and are so convenient.  When they don't work, one is screwed.  Completely screwed.

The other night I texted a few friends, looked up some things online, then powered my phone off and put it on the charger just like I do every night.  The phone was a Samsung Galaxy S4 or 5 or some such nonsense, and for a year and a half, it has been a pretty good phone. It hasn't given me any problems with the exception of the fact that people could not hear me when I talked to them on it.  I had to set everything to speaker so they could hear me. Otherwise, the phone was pretty reliable.

Or so I thought.

When I went to power it on the next morning...dead.  Completely dead.  There was no blinking green light, blue light, or even red light to let me know the thing wasn't charged.  I thought maybe it just failed to charge which has happened in the past. I have a faulty charger, or else I have a faulty outlet.  I'm not sure which. At any rate, I called Verizon customer service and the very amazing lady in tech support managed to figure out that my phone just wasn't charged and helped me get it back up and running.

This time I took it to the Verizon store to see if they could get it working, but alas, even on their charger in their outlet, the phone did not come alive. It was dead. It had performed that lovely Samsung phenomenon known as "sudden death." Those damn Samsungs are known for this, and I've had two do it to me in the past.

So who's the fool, buying another Samsung?

I wasn't worried. I had everything backed up on the Cloud and it was just a matter of buying a new phone and uploading my life back onto the new phone. After all, isn't that what the Cloud is for? To store your life so that when the laptop/smartphone/iPad/device from hell dies or falls in a puddle of water or the dog pukes on it, you still are able to get all of your stuff back.

Well somewhere between the last time I upgraded phones and now, I had either failed to set my phone to back up to the Cloud, or else smart phones are just stupid like I said because everything I had saved in the last year and a half - pictures, videos, notes, new contacts - was gone. And there was no way to retrieve it because none of it was on the Cloud.

Verizon tech support said as much as "You're screwed."

There are two points to this story.  Three, if you count the one that I am smarter than this, I always back up, and I've worked with these devices for so long that there is no excuse for my negligence.  First of all, always back up. Even if your phone is brand new, make sure you back up everything precious to you, either to the Cloud or to your laptop or SOMEWHERE so that you will not end up in the same boat as I am, lamenting the loss of my adorable photos of my pets.  Among those photos were the ones of Percy posing with my Vampire wine bottles; Tess (who never lets me photograph her) playing in the river; Puckett doing some super cute things like lying on her back with her paws in the air, or sitting behind my coffee table, glowering at me with only her eyes and ears showing above the edge; and Percy and Willow playing in boxes and bags.

The other point is you suddenly realize just how much you live in the past when everything that reminded you of the past is gone.  I had pictures of exes, pictures of get-togethers with people who are no longer my friends, pictures of August, and besides all these pictures, the contact information of certain people that didn't get backed up in the upgrade.  Now obviously some things can be recovered because I can always contact people on Facebook and get numbers back.

The contacts and photos of people I no longer see or talk to - people whose photos and contacts I'm hanging onto only for the sake of memory and to revisit sometimes when I get nostalgic - those are gone. And it feels like a door slamming firmly on my past, telling me, "That's it. No more looking backwards. There is only forwards now. There is nothing here tempting you, pulling you back into the past.  You have to move on. All your old texts are gone, all your pictures, all your contacts that you can't get back."

Back in the day when we didn't want the past to creep up on us we started a bonfire with old pictures, letters, and treasures, and we watched it all go up in flames.  In today's day and age, we just forget to back up.  And as I've said before, I know better.  I back everything up. My novels have like four copies backed up on various flash drives. I back up the hard drive of my computer constantly. I store my music on the cloud.  So I wonder. Maybe this was unconsciously intentional.  Were these photographs, texts, contacts holding me back? Losing the memories of my animals is definitely disappointing, but I can still take more pictures of them, and if I arrange my Vampire wine on the kitchen floor Percy will come over and pose beside them.  The animal pictures I can replace. I however seemed to be dragging my feet about moving on and looking into the future. I seem to be stuck in where I am, waxing nostalgic, and missing the past.

Maybe my phone was trying to teach me a lesson. Well, two. One cannot stay in the past, and one should live every day in the present because at any given moment, everything from the past may be eaten away by a faulty phone, a house fire, or whatever.  It's okay to treasure the experiences we've had, but not at the expense of experiences we might still have.  I don't want the best days of my life to be behind me. I want the best days of my life to still be yet to come.

Once again the lesson of living every day in the present becomes painfully obvious. There is a reason why animals - especially dogs - live each moment in the present.  The past doesn't matter to them. They like what's going on now, even if nothing is. They are concerned with the now and not the then, or the what will be. 

I am now the proud owner of an LG something or other, a product that has never let me down and always gives me notice when it is about to start croaking, so that I can back everything up and upgrade in a timely manner. It also has this fun feature where I can change the color of everyone's text bubbles. My text screen is a rainbow of colors (from the few texts I've had come in since this happened). And it has a ridiculous amount of emoticons to use, too many for any one person to use in a lifetime unless that person only spoke in emojis.  There are some things that are different enough from Samsung that will take some getting used to, and I'm not thrilled that the battery runs down so quickly.  For the most part, though, I'm really liking this phone, and it's pretty easy to use.

I still hate smart phones though.



Some new Percy pictures taken with the new phone. Percy always rises to a photo opportunity.
And yes, these have been backed up.


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