Accepting Impermanence Redux

13 Apr 2019

The last couple of days I had to once again face computational impermanence. A lot of the time we view the digital as a permanent. Our drives are infallible, high tech will take care of itself, digital files don’t degrade over time, and as technology becomes more invisible to our lifestyle we simply take it for granted.

As technology becomes more invisible we simply take it for granted.

Of course this isn’t true. There is a lot of effort done by many people to make technology accessible and as nonplussed to work with. A couple of days ago my hard drive failed on me. I have a bit of a unique operating system set up inspired by the concept of ubiquituous computing. Essentially I have a certified rugged external hard drive that I partitioned to keep as back up file storage and an Kubuntu Operating System installed that I can carry around as needed.

Despite the extreme convenience of having my backup drive on the same disk as my operating system, I rarely would transfer my files from my OS to my backup partition. I figured that either way all of my files were still on one drive. Wrong mistake.

While my drive is “certified” for physical abuse, I did not account for software problems that would occur. I mistakenly let my computer disconnect from the operating system while in use and further let my power run out my computer was in purgatory. This killed my partition.

Here I was with a infrequently backed up back up hard drive with a bricked operating system on it. My Kubuntu partition would not mount, and was appearing as an unkown filesystem on GParted and lsblk. After a couple of days trying to recover my data with tools like fdisk and testdrive to no avail, I reflected on what was actually on my corrupted partition - nothing I couldn’t afford to lose.

Luckily I keep most of software of my completed softwares I’ve written on Github. I keep my media files saved on my backup partition. My valuable files are kept at home or on my internal drive. The productivity software I use (Adobe CC, Autodesk, C4d) is saved on my Windows OS.

The only important things I have on my kubuntu is my environment set up. To be fair, it was a sweet environment. Now if I was careful I could have saved my .dotfiles. I could have written down my configurations somewhere. But as I set up my new OS I’ve learned a lot more about the KDE ecosystem. There’s a lot of customizations you can do! I’m using my clean install as a fresh start. To be fair I’ve been downloading packages left and right as I experiment, and my files were a mess of nested test folders. With my new OS I’m able to free myself from my bloated sytem and reorganize my files.

I’m working on a new file back up system just in case though.