The Microwave Generation

We live in a microwave generation. If our food is not cooked in three minutes or less we start to sweat and worry that our lives are slipping away. If our wars are not won in a matter of days we attach labels of “quagmire” to the ensuing conflict.

Our cars never drive fast enough, checkout lines with two people are crowded, and thirty pounds should easily be lost in a week. Problems, for this generation, are not things they should have to live with. And never let it be said that consequences should ever be borne for individual actions.

We want everything and we want it now. But getting everything you want the second you want it is called being spoiled. Not only that but self-indulgence is a sure-fire way of being unhappy. There’s happiness in waiting. There’s a pleasure to be had in working over a period of time and being rewarded with completion or payment later, when it’s finished.

Try this experiment. If you normally microwave your food, try cooking it on the stove top for a week. When you eat your food, eat slowly and mindfully. You might discover your mind and body slowing down. You might feel more relaxed. Your food will likely taste better and you’ll be more appreciative of what you have.

If the above experiment is successful, try slowing down in other areas of your life too. Going too fast means you can’t enjoy what you have. Slow down, realize what you have and enjoy it.

Book Backlog

It’s a new year but I still have a lot of reading left to do from last year. I’m making it a point to finish the ones worth finishing and not just leave them until other books steal my interest.

That’s going to be hard because I already have five books requested from our library and several more that I intend to request this week. Then there are the ones I’ve returned without reading and need to get again.

But I’m going to give it a good try. I’ve already finished a couple of the ones pictured below (but not the C# book. I’m not sure why that even came home with me) but the rest are waiting. I guess I should stop typing now and go read a book.

I Lost All My Photos

Over the weekend I popped my SD card into my camera and went outside to take some macro shots while snow was piling up on objects. I had an interesting composition in view so I was annoyed when I tried taking a couple of sample shots and the shutter wouldn’t open.

I looked down at the camera’s screen and saw a message flashing that my memory card couldn’t be read and might be corrupted or damaged. I didn’t think much about it at first. Maybe the micro card that I use wasn’t set right in the adapter. Or maybe the switch on the adapter was in the lock position.

Neither of the above scenarios was true though. The card should have worked. But when I put it into my computer, it didn’t show up there either. I took it out and pulled the microSD card out of the adapter. I held it up to the light and that’s when I saw the problem. The card had a crack going from side to side right in back of the contact pins.

The card was ruined. I had been using that card to take nearly all of my photos from 2018. There were plenty of pictures that weren’t worth keeping but others were special to me and I’ll miss not having them.

But what about your backups?

Heh, heh, um, about those backups. I work in the GIS / IT world. We deal with massive amounts of data and have multiple backup processes in place to make sure that we never lose any of it. You would think that kind of mindset would follow me home and protect all of my private data too.

I do back things up at home – I promise. But I didn’t back up these photos. Some of them were downloaded over the course of the year but they were downloaded as JPEG files, not the original RAW files I took them in. And there were a lot of images on the card that I didn’t download in any form.

It’s really easy to just keep packing data onto little storage drives with huge capacities. It’s very easy to assume that your data is safe on them. And for the most part, your data is safe on them. Unfortunately, solid state storage isn’t perfect and it can become corrupted. Take my word for it, you have to back up everything.

In my case, the corruption took a physical form. I had left the card in my laptop. It sticks out of the built-in card reader almost half an inch. I moved the laptop and must have hit the card on something. On further inspection, I could see where the adapter had bent, breaking the micro card inside.

The two main takeaways here are:

  1. Don’t leave thumb drives, SD cards, external hard drives, phones or headphones attached to laptops that can be moved easily. Plug ’em in, use the data, and take them out.
  2. Always keep backups in at least two locations. Never rely on a single medium or device. This includes online storage locations and social sites. In the online world, nothing is forever.

Lesson learned.