Jonathan Maas of Ernst & Young says that I missed a trick in my account of the laptop which died en route to Las Vegas and which I had to replace and set up in order to do a webinar (see Keeping at work in the Cloud from Las Vegas. I had explained that the reorganisation of my data on the plane had made it possible to save a copy of it on to a USB stick in the short period between booting up my laptop and it closing down through over-heating. Jonathan said:
I’m surprised you didn’t use the ease of transfer of your recently ordered files from your old to your new laptop as hands-on proof of the benefits of ordered disclosure from a corporation’s prepared IT infrastructure!
He is right, of course, but only up to a point. The other lesson learned from the exercise is that you cannot have too many copies of your data nor ways of accessing it. Between web copies and data on hand-held devices, I could get at almost everything which I needed to keep working. I might now add to my travelling kit an installable copy of any applications I might need, so that the next time I have to pop out and buy a new laptop (not too often, I hope), I can create a complete facsimile of my working environment.
At the store where I bought the laptop, I bought also at 8Gb USB drive for $14.99. What need I leave behind when portable storage costs so little? The result will be in miniature what corporations face on the grand scale. When I come to archive this lot, I will have multiple copies of everything. My output for this week will not be significant, but one can see how duplication arises.
One reason why my output will not be very great is that I have lost access to Dragon Naturally Speaking and, as I mentioned in my earlier article, am having to type each and every word with my nose pressed to a small screen. I realise that I have lost that habit. My Dragon dictionary is full of words like “Facciola” and “Nichia” (and my dead laptop carries a precious list of the attempts which the voice recognition software made at these words when I first dictated them, which I hope I can recover).
The other thing I have lost now that I have to type rather than dictate is the ability to stare out of the window whilst I work. That has limited appeal in my office, where I just see the house opposite, but from where I sit here I can see the Red Rock Canyon and a sky which changes every ten minutes. If I were to go and dictate outside by the pool, the passing view is even more charming, but perhaps in ways which would be distracting (and no, I have no photographs to illustrate what I mean – I may be bold about photographing people, but I am not stupid). So I just sit in my room, face the wall, and type.
Meanwhile, Craig Ball, with whom I spent a pleasant evening at Guidance Software’s President’s Reception, points out that this building presently houses the greatest concentration on earth of technical computer experts, who could perhaps between them have fixed my laptop. That is true, but I suspect that, between attending sessions, manning stands, and the other attractions which (I am told) Las Vegas offers, they all have better things to do.