Category Archives: Computers

Organizing the Pieces

writingscrapI find myself writing bits of stories, poems, or even song lyrics in odd places. Sometimes an idea shows up and demands that it be written down while I’m eating, or in a meeting, or waiting for the bus, or on a telephone conference. Consequently, scraps show up on my desk as precious bits of napkin, envelopes, or powerpoint cue pages. They are found amid meeting notes on my computer, saved as email messages to myself, and scattered across a dozen types of word processor files on every computer I’ve ever used.

From time to time I attempt to track them all down. When, in the course of getting things done, I fill up a steno notepad, I flip through it page by page, typing up anything that seems like it might be potentially useful. Deconstructing the heap on my desk always results in a motley pile of mismatched paper products, from which I seem to be less successful in gleaning–perhaps because I mistakenly assign them more permanence than the notebooks that I’m about to entomb in neat paper boxes, somewhere in the garage.

Mining the creative pieces out of old computer system backups, however, seems to be the least dependable of my content collation routines.  Everything I’ve written in the last ten years is saved…somewhere.  I think.  If I could just find a SCSI-1 interface with a Centronix port to hook up my old SPARC drive.

Even when I know where information is stored it doesn’t necessarily do me much good.  I just purchased a 2TB drive for the purpose of short-term backup in my house.  That’s 2,000,000,000,000 characters of storage.  At this point the total data storage in my house is approaching the storage requirements of the Library of Congress (itself a unit of storage capacity).  I spend far too much time down in the stacks of my own personal research library.

So, for anyone who writes on a regular basis, how do you keep track of it all?

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