Failure v. Fiasco

I’ve been following the story of the Diary-X breakdown with interest for the last couple of weeks. Well, that makes it look like I’m stroking my goatee with evil glee, which is not quite accurate, but I’ve just been keeping up with it and thinking a lot about it.

Diary-X has suffered from an unrecoverable drive failure. Due to a combination of issues, the last backup (from December 2004) contained only configuration files and other non-essential files. We do not have any other backups for the site. All journals, user information, forum posts, templates, images, and everything else are all irrecoverably lost.

The way the whole thing went down is interesting. Two weeks ago or so, Stephen (founder of Diary-X) let everyone know that the hard drive where the site lived had crashed, and that through some error on his part, backups on the drive had not been performed since December ’04. They sent the drive away to DriveSavers to see if anything could be salvaged, and the Diary-X community literally fell all over itself to make donations to offset the cost of this recovery. Sadly, the drive was damaged beyond repair, and as you see in the block above, the last backup didn’t have what they thought it had. So now Diary-X is dead and thousands of people have lost journals that, in some cases, had been kept for years.

I was on Diaryland for two years before I moved to my own domain, and in all that time I backed up those entries once. I’ve put my heart and soul into this site and I would be absolutely devastated if it all disappeared one day. It’s amazing how much we’ve come to rely on technology. I went through this in a way last year when my old cell phone died and I lost a bunch of phone numbers and addresses I hadn’t kept anywhere but on that phone. People tend to count on these expensive toys to keep everything safe for us, and sadly, it sometimes takes a dead cell phone or a hard drive crash to remind us to back our shit up.

There’s a lot of dialogue going on about how people should have taken the responsibility to back up their own journals, and that they have no one to blame but themselves if they lost everything, and I can see that, but on the other hand, I think a lot of people use services like Diary-X and Diaryland and Livejournal and such because they want to keep a journal online in a safe place without having to worry about all of that.

So yeah, people lose data every day, but the scale of this one is kind of mind-boggling. I’ve seen Elizabethtown three times now and have found myself subconsciously using the Spasmotica fuckup as a benchmark for all fuckups everywhere. Like, I made a mistake at work last week and I found myself thinking, well, this isn’t quite a Spasmotica, but it’s pretty bad. The Diary-X thing totally qualifies as a Spasmotica-level fuckup.

I don’t know what the point is here, really – just that I’ve been thinking about all the data I have on my computers and on the internet, and about what I’d do if it all disappeared one day. You should probably think about where your data is and back it up if you can. I hadn’t backed up this site since my latest version update a month or so ago, so I downloaded the whole thing this weekend and will be burning it to a CD.

Oh, and here’s a funny sort of postscript: I was digging around for information on when Diary-X was founded (incidentally, I never found out, so if any of you DX-using readers know, let me know!) and I found this absolutely hilarious page of definitions of Livejournal, which is a service I pretty much hate. Witness:

Livejournal: A contradiction in terms. A journal that really isn’t a journal, created in a place that really doesn’t exist, written by people that shouldn’t be allowed to write, and written about things nobody important (or sane) really cares about…The Warsaw Ghetto of online communities. Thousands of innocent minds find their way here to waste away into degenerate lumps of fecal matter. Spelling, grammar, or anything remotely resembling intelligence is extinguished before it infects the rest of the rotting hive of parasitic subhumans….

Livejournal: Once a popular on-line blogging/journaling site, where one could find interesting and stimulating conversation with people from all over the world. Now, everyone and their Mother’s dog has a LiveJournal, and most of them only use their accounts to post ignorant-ass bullshit, surveys, meme results, quizzes, annoying rants, inside jokes, and cryptic shit only they, and the 5 people on their friend’s list understand…On LiveJournal, you can ‘unfriend’ someone, which lets them know just how much you hate them, and want them to die.

The Myspace definitions are gems too – I laughed so hard reading some of those that I almost peed.

8 Replies to “Failure v. Fiasco”

  1. and yeah, people think i am HILARIOUS for doing things like backing up my entire 80 gigs worth of iMac. but it will be pretty awesome when i can restore most everything (everything important, surely). i need to do the same for my oldass pc before it kablammos.

    the movie that i am helping to edit is stored on one single firewire drive. i have been bugging joe for weeks to back that shit up.

    i am kinda dumbfounded as to how much shit went down with d-x (no backup? at all?), but dude’s got a crazy life and for some reason never got help from other people.

    i am still kind of at a loss about my five plus years of my journal being gone. i mean, it is how you found me, has all my rosemary stuff, it was how i met andrea…it’s crazy shit.

  2. Eeks! I’ve been thinking about backing up all the d-land shit I wrote, and this sort of seals the deal.

  3. I hadn’t heard about this, how sad, but how interesting. And I share your sentiments on livejournal, I can’t handle it! How do you feel about MySpace?

  4. I have a love-hate relationship with Myspace – I’ve joined and quit it probably six times. Currently I’m on it.

  5. I’m debating whether or not I want to keep the MySpace…But then again, it’s brought me up to speed on many folks I hadn’t spoken to in a while, so it’s been very useful in that sense.

    When I was in school the teachers made it a point to pound into our brains the necessity of backing up/saving. Save work every 15 minutes; backup all files at the end of the night. At first I thought it was borderline obsessive, but I’m actually kinda glad I’ve developed the habit.

  6. It’s definitely a good habit to back up your data. I’ve had several drives fail on my at work. Thankfully CBL data recovery was able to retrieve my data at a reasonable price.

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