Thursday, 17 January 2019

Technology And I Are NOT Friends...

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I have a YouTube channel I'm really passionate about.  I'm very proud of the videos I make and the whole filming and editing process has become something I hugely enjoy.

The trouble is, editing is done on a computer.  And I am...the least technological person ever.


When I use anything beyond a computer programme I'm very familiar with, I instantly become a ninety seven year old, utterly flummoxed by "new-fangled technology."  I flail helplessly, mashing keys and wondering why the screen brightness has suddenly changed, but the programme itself isn't doing what I want it to.  If I still used a desktop PC, I'd probably resort to sticking the mouse in my ear or something.  That's the level of ineptitude we're talking.

And so, for someone as technologically daft as I am, it's quite a wonder that I've taught myself to use Final Cut Pro at all.  That I can edit green screen sketches without somehow managing to accidentally force my MacBook into some kind of bizarre unsafe mode is a constant surprise.  In fact, editing is usually a delight.

Until earlier this week.

You see, I have a problem with my MacBook, in that it has the memory of a goldfish.  It fills up quicker than an Amazon shopping basket on Black Friday.  I only have to blink at my laptop and it responds by telling me I've run out of disk storage.

So, naturally, I have a couple of external hard drives that come in very handy.  And often, when I'm editing a video, I create a library of files that saves directly to an external drive, in order to save space on the laptop itself.  

But sometimes...  I don't.  Sometimes, if I'm a bit sleepy, in a rush to crack on with editing or just having a very typically Emma day, I just import lots of files onto my MacBook, create a library and expect it to cope.

And this week, it did not.

I can't accurately describe the frustration of being three quarters of the way through editing a video, when your computer suddenly says no.  I would imagine it's a similar sensation to the one you'd get if you'd stayed in all day, waiting for a very important call, only for the phone to finally ring and for you to answer it and realise it's just someone wanting to check if you've been mis-sold PPI.

There I was, with probably three hours of editing time under my belt and the finish line starting to creep into sight, when that familiar error message popped up, to tell me that my laptop's teensy, tiny memory was, much like me after Christmas dinner, simply too full to be of any use.

In a moment of what I assumed simply must be genius (spoiler: it was not), I decided that there was an obvious and quick solution to this problem.  I'd merely transfer the folder with all the video files onto my external hard drive and send the Final Cut Pro library to the external drive, too.  Once it was all on there, I could delete it from my laptop and carry on editing like a freaking boss.  

So, that, dear reader, is exactly what I did.  Except somewhere between my laptop and the external hard drive, the library and the folder of video files decided to go off on a beautiful adventure, together.  Because only after I'd deleted them from the laptop, did I realise that despite the "sending items to external hard drive" message that had popped up on screen, the files had most certainly not completed their journey.  They had vanished.

Now, yes.  A tech savvy person would have double and probably triple checked that the files were on the external hard drive before she deleted them from her laptop, but...  I am not that person.  And I was three hours into an editing session and therefore my eyes were sore and I wasn't thinking like a normal human, anymore.  Editing turns you into a strange zombie who notices the sounds your lips make when they slap together too harshly on a syllable.  It doesn't make you alert to the very real dangers of DATA LOSS.

My reaction was obviously typically understated.  I pulled the kind of distressed faces that some would consider Oscar-worthy.  I got very creative with my insults, whilst swearing at both myself and the laptop.  I might have cried.

Believe me when I say that nothing shows you how much of a technological disaster area you are, quite like having to sort out something like this.  The simple answers - check that it's not in the trash, try to restore from a back up etc - were there in my head (and didn't work, irritatingly), but anything beyond that was like trying to carve an elegant swan out of a lump of rapidly melting butter.  

Many questions were asked of Google, and the type of question became more frantic as time passed.  I went from "how to recover accidentally deleted files" to "SOFTWARE DOWNLOAD FOR IDIOTS WHO RUIN THEIR OWN LIVES" at a frighteningly fast pace.

And of course, then I had to navigate a whole heap of slightly dodgy downloads and free trials that let you look at your lost files, but then wanted ninety bazillion pounds to let you have them back again.

I went to bed at gone midnight, by which time I had lost any semblance of remaining sanity, along with all the files I'd deleted.

Thankfully, however, the solution came to me not so much in a dream, but in a fevered state of panic at around 3am.  I remembered I'd once recovered files lost from my camera's SD card using a programme I'd downloaded off the internet.  Surely, I could recover these files from my SD card, too?!

Yes, naturally I'd deleted them off the SD card, too.  Shut up.  They were on my laptop and supposedly my external hard drive.  They were meant to be SAFE.

Anyway, long story short, the following day, I managed to download three separate free trials for programmes that each let me recover a few of the files I needed back.  My reaction upon actually being able to start editing again (admittedly from scratch, which was a pain) was like something more commonly seen on one of those "People's Postcode Lottery" adverts.  I practically fell to my knees and promised my soul to the IT community in general.

Look, the moral of this story is twofold: 1) SAVE STUFF REGULARLY AND BACK IT UP TO MULTIPLE DEVICES.  2) Don't trust me with anything technological.  Seriously, it's for your own good.

Mine, too.

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