If you’re anything like me, and hopefully you’re not, you’ve become way too reliant on technology. Everyday, I rely on at least two computers working properly at home, my cell phone, and my iPod. If anyone of these stop working for even a moment, my whole life gets thrown into disarray. I can handle my car breaking more than any of these giving me problems. My phone is a PocketPC smartphone so I keep my life in it. I store all of my friends’ phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, and more in there. I also keep my to-do list, calendar and appointments, passwords to websites, insurance and financial information, and a list of my DVD collection in there (this is necessary when you buy so many DVDs that you can’t keep track of what you own and don’t own). I also use my phone for GPS, an alarm clock, and in place of a watch. Not to mention how much I use it for internet use when I’m out.
My phone = my life.
It’s sad that I got this bad. It didn’t happen overnight though. It slowly built up over the last three or four years as I added more and more bits of my life to it. For a short while before that, I used a paper pocket planner and remembered everything else. And before that, say five years back, I used to just remember everything. I didn’t have a problem either. I never forgot anything. Appointments, to-do stuff, phone numbers and email addresses, and passwords, I remembered it all. Now that I rely on my phone to keep track of all of this stuff, I can’t even remember what I’m doing tomorrow night even though I just made plans about a half hour ago. It’s really bad. I hate being this reliant on technology, but there are some advantages to keeping all of this stuff in a PDA (my phone, in this case). This is not the blog post for that.
Over the weekend, my phone decided that it would be a good idea to break itself. It was a software problem so I was able to fix it by doing a “hard reset.” This basically restores your phone to the state it was in when you first opened the box. So I lost everything on it. Normally, I keep backups and would be able to just restore everything. However, since I switched my laptop to Linux two months ago, I haven’t been able to. Syncing a PocketPC device with Linux is a pretty involved process to get set up and then when it’s set up, it doesn’t really work too well. Or at least that’s what my experience has been. On top of just keeping data synced, I have the ability to create backups in a similar manner to imaging your computer’s hard drive. Unfortunately, I didn’t schedule these because I mostly cared about the data that was being synced between my computer and my phone anyway so I thought I was covered…and I didn’t think about this when I changed operating systems on my laptop.
With my last “full” backup being from November, I figured that it’d be best to pull the last bit of synced data from my the last Windows image of my laptop–at least I’m good about imaging my computers–before I switched to Linux. This didn’t go so well. The files that I needed were stored on a hard drive partition that didn’t get imaged. I just copied out the important things from there and trashed the rest to save hard drive space. It was kind of a Spring cleaning thing for me since I’m a horrible digital pack rat. Turns out that, for some reason, I didn’t think it was important to save the files with my phone’s sync data.
So all of this left me with having to restore from my November image and rebuild from there. Everything added since then is now gone. Contacts, tasks, appointments and all of the other stuff I mentioned above. Everything.
Over the course of the last few days, I’ve been able to pretty much get everything back from memory or by recompiling from various places where the original data came from. I should say that by “everything,” I mean the stuff that I can remember having in there. While it’s been a pain in the ass, the only things that are gone forever at this point are my text messages. Since my phone doesn’t limit how many I can save, I keep them all. I had some good ones from friends that I wanted to keep. The kind that provide a good laugh when you decide to go back through them when you’re bored. I’m sad to see these go, but such is life, as they say.
Despite all the headaches of restoring all of this information, the worst part was just how lost I was for a few days until I had it all restored. I was a complete mess. Half the day on Sunday, I couldn’t even receive or make phone calls until I was able to get my phone to boot up again. This kind of sucked since my parents were coming up to take me out to dinner and I couldn’t get a hold of them all day. Luckily, they came over even though I didn’t answer the phone when they called, but I was a mess during dinner. I was super stressed and freaking out about losing everything on my phone. I can’t imagine that I was fun to be around. All I did was bitch and complain about my phone.
Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep because I didn’t have an alarm clock to wake me up on Monday morning. I’m sure I’ve got a few packed in boxes in the basement, but I decided to just use my girlfriend’s phone instead. Unfortunately, my body was not OK with this and I literally woke up every ten minutes to check the time thinking that I had overslept. Monday and Tuesday, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know if I had stuff planned that I needed to do. It’s still possible that I missed an appointment and don’t even know.
Looking back, I can’t say that this is the first time that this kind of thing has happened. Usually it’s with a computer and I usually have backups so it’s not as bad, but this was just a mess. I have vowed to never let this happen again and I have set my phone up to automatically back itself up to it’s memory card once a week. But I know technology and I know how reliant I am on it, so the odds of a similar mess never happening to me again are pretty slim.
The lesson, kids, is to always back up ANYTHING that you might think is important. Be it this type of information, your music/movie collection, important documents, photos, whatever. Just keep backups and keep those backups in a safe place!
And speaking of music collections, if I ever lost my entire music collection, I’m pretty sure I would just commit suicide on the spot.