If you lose something on a computer, where does it go?
And how do you get it back?
Our household keeps misplacing valuable information in the mysterious void of cyberspace.
After spending more than an hour doing homework on his new school-issued iPad, our son recently walked into the living room with panic on his face. All his work had disappeared, and he didn’t know how to recover it.
I examined the fancy gadget, but could not locate a lost-homework app. It was well past bedtime and too late for a do-over when we finally gave up.
Hopefully, the iPad-ate-my-homework excuse is more effective than blaming the dog.
A similar event happened recently when my wife’s computer starting withholding valuable information she needed for her classroom. The computer presented contradictory messages. It claimed to have insufficient memory to retrieve the information. But a system check showed plenty of free memory. I began to wonder which of the computer’s dual processors was lying.
We deleted photos and other bulky files until the machine surrendered the needed information.
Who knows how much work is lost every day when someone is the victim of a computer glitch, power outage or dead cellphone battery?
I tell these stories because I don’t completely trust technology to be there for me when I need it. I like to have a paper copy of stuff so I can file it in manila folders and pile it up on my desk and shuffle it around until I find the right thing.
I stand on a metaphorical riverbank, reluctant to cross into the land of milk and honey and paperless documentation.
I worry what will become of refrigerator magnets, bulletin board tacks and file cabinets if there is nothing to put under or in them. If there is no paper, how will people display a funny cartoon or a story about their granddaughter’s soccer game or a recipe?
But as a certified tree hugger, I am willing to at least entertain the concept of reduced dependence on paper, even if it is newsprint.
There are many advantages to letting electronic devices transfer and store information in some invisible place rather than piling it up in boxes or letting it gather dust on bookshelves.
And I confess to being fully capable of losing important documents without the assistance of a computer, tablet or smartphone.
But a digital device cannot replicate the supreme satisfaction of diving into a pile of papers and finding a lost treasure.
Executive Editor Scott Morris can be reached at 256-740-5721 or scott.morris@TimesDaily.com