My computer broke. I don't know how else to put it -- my computer broke. I was using it to write the wrongs of the world, it lost connectivity to the internet, I tried to restart it, and then did a hard reset. So hard, it seems, that the computer refuses to turn on. Broke.
I have been using a Surface Pro for about 3 and a half years now. I got it because I wanted a small computer that could use native Microsoft RDP technology so I could work from home. Geeky, but it all worked out. I love the Surface. I don't love that the Surface now refuses to turn on. I have been holding it together (it being my fragile mental state) but just barely because I realize now just how reliant I am on that computer. It isn't that I can't access my music without it -- most of the songs I have spent the last 20 years stealing are stored in a cloud site so I'm ok.
It isn't even about many of the pictures: many are on Snapfish and the like. True -- it is the uncertainty because I don't recall exactly which pictures I haven't uploaded so there is a fear that I will lose what I can't remember. It isn't about my online presence -- I am using my wife's laptop now and will be back at work in the morning, using the ol' Netbook running XP that RDP's just fine into the work system so I am pretty solid there as well. It might not even be about the miscellaneous data files that exist only on my Surface -- bits of writing and other work that I never felt the need to back up. Yes, those are the most serious losses, but it isn't really about that.
It is about a little file called "things I do."
I keep track of all the websites I have memberships to, ID's with and passwords for, so that when I go to a new computer or have to log in again and have forgotten the website or password (or security question, or PIN) I can go to this one file. I just never considered what would happen if the computer on which I have that file was inaccessible.
And with ye olde tyme computers, at least I knew that, worst comes to worst, the hard drive could be taken out and attached as a slave via a ribbon cable and the data exported that way. I know nothing about the inner workings of the Surface but I suspect that it has no hard drive so I don't know if the tech people will be able to perform any data transplant. It isn't even the passwords, but more, the websites that I don't frequent frequently -- their names. I try so many things and then I export the job of remembering to a computer. This way, I can keep my local brain cells focused on the task of remembering my name and how to tie my shoes. So now, I fear not losing vital information (yes, that is daunting) but losing trivial information that I can't reconstruct.
I can find other ways to pick fights with virtual strangers. I can utilize other technology to tell the world about every time I sneeze, or look at pictures of a tuna sammich. But once I have lost my electronic mind, I am afraid that I won't be able to be fully myself anymore. My identity is wrapped up in the second tier bits; they are the over-tones that give the vinyl of my life a richer sound than a simple CD copy of my brain has. So I'm going to go to the mall tomorrow and beg that some kid one third my age can perform electronic CPR and bring my Surface back to life, at least for long enough that he can zap all the information into a new host.