Friday, August 23, 2013

Row 46 is done, of the 50 needed for the top front of Relax2. I should be shaping shoulders this very evening.

Stephen West has posted another blog entry about his summer travels, but instead of Scotland we have him teaching on a Mediterranean knitting cruise. I have been thinking a bit about Part I, to which I linked yesterday. What wonderful yarn shops you have in America!

It’s a big country, of course. But, gosh! StevenBe! KnitPurl in Portland where (amongst much else) they have every colour of Shibui in every base! I don’t think shops like that exist in Britain. We have Loop – I wish I had had time to explore it, the day I was there for Franklin’s classes. We have many excellent small shops with specialist yarns carefully chosen by intelligent proprietors. But I think we lack the big showstoppers.

But maybe it’s just that I don’t get about much.


Yesterday’s event was a computer disaster. I’m still trembling.

My husband took some time off in the morning to write to our granddaughter Rachel in Beijing. He saved the note to Dropbox – or rather, I did; he still doesn’t know how to save a new document – so that I could fetch it on my computer and add a photograph before dispatching it.

And when this simple chore was completed, and he wanted to get back to work, we discovered that the entire folder he has been working on for weeks, was gone. With more than a hundred files in it. The system said I had deleted it, and that may be right, although I’m not sure the system can distinguish between us.

But the really terrifying consideration was, how can such a thing happen without so much as an are-you-sure from Dropbox or the operating system?

The missing folder wasn’t to be found in the Recycle Bin of either computer. Fortunately, Dropbox keeps copies. If there is a way to restore an entire folder at once, I didn’t discover it, but I could and did sit there for much of the afternoon restoring the files one at a time.

In the good old days of DOS – fairly recent, for us – my husband saved his work whenever he finished a document, and knew how to make a copy to an external floppy. That system saved our bacon two or three times in the last quarter of a century. A hard disk crash, a new machine, everything restored – he hardly noticed. Now that I can’t trust Dropbox, I’ll have to think out a new system.

It didn’t threaten the end of the world, yesterday’s crisis. My husband is currently making relatively minor verbal improvements in his work, nothing of substance. The earlier, unimproved version is well backed-up and printed-out. But I wouldn’t have cared to break the news to him that his summer’s work was lost. 


  1. Barbara M. In NH11:45 AM

    Jean, we have something called "carbonite". It automatically makes and keeps a backed up copy of everything on your computer. My husband does lots of huge number-crunching programs for his research (sometimes it will run through 2 million iterations of a program) and losing the final results would be disastrous. We've had to use it to restore the entire system once, and it was definitely worth the cost.

    Barbara M. In NH

  2. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Hi Jean,
    Could your husband save documents to a usb flash drive that you could then insert into your computer if necessary?

    Barb in VA

  3. Jean - I use carbonite too. Well worth the annual fee, and really easy to use. I shudder at the thought of losing our digital photos (even the ones of knitting!)

  4. I'm thinking flash drive too. It replicates the old system routine of work, save, make a copy to a floppy. They're cheap too.

  5. as an IT professional i will repeat what i tell my clients - there are THREE stages for a hard drive (internal or external or flash) READ WRITE and FAIL.

    NEVER TRUST ANY IMPORTANT DATA to ONE media. you can copy to an external hard drive, fine but you better make it to at least two different makes of hard drives and then a cloud service as well or make it two cloud services (google drive and dropbox for example).

    IF this data is business critical or lifetime work - take the time to set up a backup routine and use a cloud service. There are TONS out there that are so very reasonable - think of it as insurance money - just like for your car/house etc.

    dropbox is available for ALL platforms.

    do you have a desktop or a mac ?

    Install the appropriate Dropbox app on there and then let it mirror (or copy) all the folders in your Dropbox account.

    then you can set up Mozy or Carbonite as a backup to the cloud service.

    Either of them will work - they have very competitive plans - you need the home plan. I use MOZY - you choose the level of plan based on the amount of space you want to "have in the cloud" and you can upgrade/downgrade your amount any time.

    The way they work is you choose your plan and then download an app that runs on your desktop or MAC in the background. Then you select the files/folders you want it to monitor and it will automatically backup to the cloud based on either a once a day set time or a set number of times (say 3 a day).

    Mozy has a feature that saves deleted files for a time (30 days i think) and so you can retrieve data accidently erased - and you can download folders.

    You may want to set up several backups a day which would give you several chances to grab data as its being created.

    good luck.. if you need help let me know.