First, this. What does it remind you of?
The first thing it reminds me of: a closet in the basement of the house where I grew up. There was one of those in the back behind some coats and a card table and other cast-off items I liked to explore, but was discouraged from doing so. I don’t know why, but my mother didn’t like me to poke around in closets. Especially the cedar closet. Do they still make those in homes? I’ve never seen one anywhere else besides our 1962 rambler. A closet lined with fragrant cedar wood, to keep out the moths. It was a selling point in those days. It was taboo to go in there, to open the door, because it let the cedar out.
Anyway. We’ll get to the second thing in a bit.
You may scoff at my constant prattling about the importance of backups. Well:
I tried to get a movie off my DVR. They do not want you to do this, because you would put it online somewhere, and it would be downloaded by people who want that movie where Gary Cooper is a stuffy English professor dealing with a brassy stripper who speaks entirely in hep-cat jive-slang. But it’s not a movie I want to sit down and watch. It’s one I want to watch, sort of. Many of the movies I discuss I hear I watch, sort of. With one eye. The big screen is on the left of the desk, and I can watch something that’s not entirely necessary while doing something else.
So the movie is recorded on to the laptop via an Elgato device. Two hours = 12 GB, because it records in the most uncompressed format known to mankind aside from inscribing ones and zeros with a stylus on a large clay tablet. How to get the 12 GB to the main computer for compressing? Because, you see, there’s not enough room on the laptop to save a compressed version.
That’s why I have a 32 GB flash drive.
I cannot find the 32 GB flash drive. Oh, there is a place for them. It is not there.
But! In the process of cleaning out the closet, I came across a box of hard drives, archived over the years. They are small and sad, or immense and sad. One Iomega drive weighs about 120 pounds, and has a capacity of 250 GB. There are four drives I could use.
Each uses Firewire. Apple has discontinued Firewire. So I could switch my left screen to the MacPro, which I am currently using as a network-attached rack for four hard drives, or find something that’s USB . . . ah! Two small portable drives. Copy the movie. Connect the drive to the computer . . . and click click click. It is dead. Try another small USB drive. Halfway through the transfer it has a fit, screams I JUST CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE, gives me an i/o error and dismounts. Get the third USB drive, which came with a camcorder (I know, I know: odd. But my first Panasonic HD camera included a hard drive you could use to save files from your flash cards. You’d put in the card, hit COPY, and it would go to the hard drive so you could erase the card and shoot anew. Never used it. Never trusted it.) Plug it in. It has 18GB free. Transfer the file.
It cannot be copied because the file is too large for the disk’s format. Never heard that before.
Go upstairs to the studio, put the drives back in a box, mark TRASH, sit down. Huh: there’s something under my foot.
The 32GB Flash drive. Ah! Plug it in.
Remove some files - no, wait, better see if I’ve already moved them; checking; checking; yes.
From here on it’s smooooth sailing, except that Mac Pro has turned into a rather difficult storage device in its dotage. Loses the ethernet connection. Goes to sleep, even though I tell it not to. When this happens, it breaks every link in a program I have for moving files to the archive drives, and they must be reset. Since this never happens with the Network Attached Storage RAID, I have decided to move everything to the RAIDs. But! Since they’re built on the concept of redundancy, this means you need two 2 TB drives for 1 TB of storage. And I have about 4 TB of stuff I want constant access to. So that means another cheap NAS, and taking the two TB drives out of the MacPro - but they must be backed up elsewhere, since the drives will have to be formatted.
That, however, is a project for the future. Since I brought up the boxes of old hard drives as part of the Closet Cleaning, something must be done with them. I connected one drive. It did not mount. Power supply? Drive interface? Only one way to be sure: rip it open, remove the drives, and see if they work. Got four drives out of three machines; not one would fit into the device I use to read bare-naked hard drives. So: goodbye. In the end I had a box full of hard-drive casings, power supplies, and useless drives I need to demagnetize.
All because I wanted to move a movie from my DVR, because the content provider does not want me to shift content from one location in the house to another.
In the olden times everything was on one floppy disk, including the operating system. Easier. Simpler. Better? No. But then came high-capacity floppies - 2 MB! - and Zip drives and Superdrives and wow, man, burn your own CDs on a machine that’s designed to fit in with the new iMacs! Bondi Blue! (It's an old box I threw out during the closet purge; it held all the flotsam and ephemera from my old radio days, for some reason.)
. . . and then drives of larger and larger quantities, each of which is filled up to the brim as you gorge on the world and take in the music, the pictures, the movies, and the drives are outmoded by size and technology, and then finally, one day, you just buy space in the ether and put it all there and that is that.
But of course it’s not the ether and it’s not a cloud. It’s a place somewhere else, an enormous server farm. An incorporeal attic rented by strangers. When I finally upload everything to the cloud I will include this:
Because in every cartoon or old TV show, that’s what it’s in the attic.
Also a bird cage.