Well, 2007 ended with a suddenly corrupted flash drive, which ate my 27-page MFA packet, due for emailing on January 9th. Despite a slight moment of panic, I decided that if Dick Clark could show up for his Rockin’ Eve and be as excellent as he always is, then I, as a librarian, had a duty to help myself restore my data.
Now, an aside. I know that backing things up is key. And I believe I actually have this document on my work computer, even if it is a version that’s a few days older. I had gotten into the habit of carrying the flash drive with me, and neglected my own sage advice – save it everywhere, keep copious printed copies on hand in case of technology failure, and always, ALWAYS save to both the hard drive and the portable memory whenever working on something.
Back to the crisis. I found some software online that would attempt to recover the file, which I saved in multiple places and emailed to myself (make a note of that email part, it’ll be important later ~G) – corrupt or not, I didn’t want it to be fubar-ed by my attempts to retrieve it. The trial version of Recovery for Word worked admirably…and then asked me to pay $150 for my document (and wouldn’t allow me to see all of the text, just the first page). In this case, it wasn’t quite worth it to me. Yet. I next tried using R-Word Demo, which worked beautifully (and was free!)…but the file was so corrupted that though it retrieved the text (without formatting and certain characters), it wouldn’t allow me to save the retrieved text. Nor would the program allow me to copy and paste the retrieved text. It did, however, allow me to scroll through the text of the entire document.
As a librarian on a budget, I did the only sensible thing. I used the R-Word window of my text on my desktop…and retyped the entire document on my laptop, from the ball drop until around 3am this morning. I went to bed with shoulder cramps, but proud of my frugality and dedication. My work was safe, and now on a flash drive, two different hard drives, and I emailed the file to my Gmail account (because, as we all know, Google mail is infallible and omnipotent.
I consider it an auspicious beginning to my new year that:
1) I started it with writing. Making time for creative writing has become very important to me (and the maintenance of my sanity);
2) I was able (despite a few frantic Twitters and one email to a programmer pal) to retrieve my work myself, despite my fear of the elves that live inside computers;
3) After the initial shock, my first reaction was, “I can rewrite it if I have to.” Now, I didn’t think this with a beatific smile on my face, by any means, but it is a definite improvement from the freak-out this situation would have engendered a mere few months ago. perhaps I am becoming more mature as I approach thirty?
Now, were you paying attention above when I mentioned I had initially emailed the corrupt file to myself, just in case? Imagine my chagrin when I came back this morning to fool around with that corrupt file I had Gmailed myself…and found that the text was completely recovered if I opened it as HTML. if it had been the middle of the day at work, I am quite sure other minds would have suggested I try this before retyping that whole. Entire. Single spaced. 27 page. Document.
The lesson? There are a few. Never underestimate the power of a determined librarian. Never underestimate your own ability to not see the most obvious solution first. More minds are usually better when solving a problem. Save your freak-outs for something really and truly worthy. There are probably larger and more important things to worry about, and if not, thank goodness this is your biggest problem. And, of course, the primary lesson is that a true and sincere love for Dick Clark can propel you to triumph over any obstacle.