sifting the wreckage

my computer incident from last week is over now – and with the dust settled i can see that i didn’t lose all that much compared to how bad it could have been. my e-mail archives are gone, as is my address book – and i lost some of a database i have been working on, but only about 10 hours worth – but because of my diligent back-ups of everything else, in the end i’m not too badly off.

but wow – what a reaction i had when i thought i had lost all that data in the first place! like coming home and finding the house burned down – especially with so much record storage – journals, photographs, work documents etc. – stored on fallible machines. it’s remarkable to think of all that creative or productive output reduced to ones and zeros and then *suddenly* gone – as if those thoughts never existed because they are irretrievable from fragmented chips.

as a friend said to me on saturday – there are two kinds of people in this world, those who have lost data and those who are about to. unfortunately being the former doesn’t preclude one from being the latter – as this is not the first time (nor likely the last) i have lost large swaths of data.

for those of you wondering – we did try recovery using a couple of different tools and all that turned up in the end were some corrupted images and half of a mailbox file. made me realize why those geek folks hired by the rcmp and fbi get paid so much to analyze seized machines (which believe it or not, often means breaking hard drives down into pieces to read their inner disks on some sort of funky machine).

and on the topic of spooks – i just got an email from a student that used to work for my department – that he has now taken a job with the communications security establishment (CSE) which is the canadian equivalent of the NSA – yuck. and another student who i contract work out to told me a few weeks ago that he is going through the interviewing process for CSIS to be an investigator (apparently it’s very extensive and they fingerprint you during the second interview) – creepy. but this makes me think that the canadian security apparatus must be flooded with cash right now because they are the only government agencies that seem to be hiring in any appreciable numbers.

that, plus canadian troops marching all over the arctic to assert ownership of the melting ice fields (and let’s not even get into what the hell we are still doing in afghanistan….)…..

sheesh – we’re looking more and more like our big brother to the south every day.

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