Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Talkin' Trash

All I did was empty the trash.

(This is a tutorial where you'll learn what I should have known.)

Whenever I download photos from my digital camera onto my iPhoto program, the photos end up in a room called the Library. Everything I scan goes into my library, too. With a little help from my Cool Mac Apps book, and my iPhoto for Dummies book, I have set up albums. I've organized my new digital photos, and scanned and added my old film photos. I've made a bunch of slide shows. I've even used the Ken Burns Effect, and added soundtracks. But I got a little too savvy, a little too clever, a little too cocky. I forgot that the computer is smarter than me. I shouldn't have let down my guard.

The other night my computer seemed a tad slow on the photo uptake or download...whatever. It was 2:00 am, I was clicking swiftly along, and I got impatient with it's sluggishness. I decided I had filled it up with too much stuff. (I don't know about these things, but it made sense to me.) Looking over my iPhoto albums I saw a lot of photos that were in two or three places. Lauren's picture could be in the Grand Grandkids album, the Halloween Parade album, the Christmas Memories album and so on. It was redundant.

Why not, at 2:00 am, start a major cleaning out project? Nothing better to do...the sleeping pill hadn't kicked in yet, so I had a little time. I highlighted and clicked, and dragged duplicates to the cute little trash bin at the bottom of my screen.

Hey! What was I doing? I could Select All and get this project taken care of quickly. Then I realized that ALL the photos in my library were duplicates of the ones in the photo albums. See?? This is why I studied all those computer books...I just needed to use the shortcuts I'd read about. I moved my arrow up to Library, clicked on Select All, and sent them to the trash. The number 1,780 was replaced by a zero.

Ahhh...I felt just like I do when I've cleaned out all the drawers. Organized, uncluttered, tidy. Just then I noticed that the cute little trash bin was overflowing. Not in my house! My mother had taught be better than that. I clicked on Empty Trash. A pop-up asked if I was sure. Sure I was sure. (I'd have this computer whizzing along in no time.)

I clicked on Yes. Suddenly I noticed a zero next to each album! There were zeros by the slide shows, too. I grabbed the mouse and started clicking NO! NO! NO! I cursed, jumped up, ran around my office screaming "Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!" and ran back to my desk. It was true! I had just deleted ALL MY PHOTOS!

People run into burning houses to rescue their photographs. I actually lit the match and tossed it in. Naturally, my sleeping pill was starting to work. The words on the screen were moving around, and I couldn't focus. I stared at the empty albums with their cutesy names, and imagined images from the slide shows called England Revisited, Thanksgiving Blessings and My Easter Bunnies floating in outer space. The Ken Burns effect allowed each picture to slowly focus and artistically fade through my mind.

Dee found me asleep at my desk. As he led me off to bed I tried to explain the trauma of the experience, but it came out in a mumble, just a lot of trash talk. I remembered the nightmare the moment I woke up.

In the light of day, I've realized that it's just a personal loss. All my kids have zillions of photos of their own. I've even got many of them saved on Shutterfly or my blog. In this age of digital cameras every event gets recorded by everyone there. I'll never be at a loss for a picture of a certain grandkid at age two. I emailed pictures of our trips to the guys, as well, so I can get most of them back and recreate the slides shows when I want to.

It's just that I lost all those hours of cropping, editing, tweaking, scanning and organizing. I have to start again from scratch. Oh well, I always have a little time at 2:00 am.

Tonight's lesson summary is:
  1. Everything is stored in the Library.
  2. Albums are just categories; nothing is really in them.
  3. Never think you know as much as the computer.
  4. Forget what your mother said, and don't empty the trash.


Stie: My Favorite Things said...

OH NO! That is awful. I am so sorry. Be comforted in knowing that I would probably do the same thing.

Rebecca said...

OH NO!!!! I am sooo sorry that happened! Might I add one more bullet point to your lesson summary? ALWAYS back up your computer. Always. Purchase a little 4 gig keyring flash drive, burn to a dvd, purchase an external hard drive. Doesn't matter. Hard drives corrupt or crash. User errors happen. Back ups save the day...


Bev said...

I would add number 5 to your list -- ALWAYS have a back up on another source in case your computer crashes!!

gramakas said...

I am just sick for you... all those photos! all that work!!! see that's why I just stay a certain measure of tech-unsavvy. I'm so sorry!

bedelia said...

Bummer. I almost did that the other night. Luckily, my husband is a computer guru and I'm terrified of computers so he fixed me up. Good luck at 2am.

Bridget said...

Oh, that is so sad! How awful!!

Sheri said...

I feel your pain! I've lost files many many times, but never ALL my photos. Ouch! I've been burning all my photos onto a CD, so I think I safe for now. Good Luck to you.

gab said...

I can't believe it!!! Horrible horrible horrible.

Darlene said...

Oh how terrible. I lost three months of work scanning and editing every slide and photo I owned when my computer crashed. I had backed most of them up to a disk, but then discovered that I couldn't get them back in my computer from the disk. I haven't had the heart to do it all over again. I know how you must have felt. I'm so sorry.

care020 said...

I know how you feel. I accidently (due to jet lag) deleted over 200 pictures and several hours of audio when I returned from my trip to Ghana. The pictures I share with friends, families, and students are actually copies I got from another member of our travel group.

I deleted mine from my iPod and all the Geek Squad could do was listen to me cry. Yours may still be somewhere on your hard drive. From what I hear, it is difficult to truly erase anything from your computer unless your destroy the hard drive.

Beverly said...

Reading this made me scared. I kept thinking, No, Don't Tell Me You Did That...Oh, no you did not...Then I saw you did. I am so sorry...