A cautionary tale

My original intention with this post was to write about my progress on my word for the year - Begin...how I had begun to tackle portions of my identified projects...but a thorny path ensued...

First off, I signed up for Kim Klassen's online class "Beyond Layers" to motivate me to acquire at least a rudimentary understanding of Photoshop...I registered and the first class was January 16.  I plunged right in!

Second...to broaden public exposure of my original collage creations, I began to research area art shows, mindful of the deadlines so I could submit applications on time with great images of my work.

In addition, I signed up for the Imagine the Impossibilities Challenge hosted by 6 great bloggers, indicating that my challenge would be to get a handle on Photoshop by the end of the month...I figured that this would keep me honest...I didn't want to have nothing to say at month's end.

I encountered some bumps along the way...with the first photo assignment of the Beyond Layers workshop, I was lost.  My copy of Photoshop 7 is the whole enchilada - the complete professional version.  To begin the process of minor photo editing was daunting...and frustrating.  After conferring with Kim, I downloaded Photoshop Elements 10...or as I like to call it, weenie Photoshop.  Sometimes the lesson to be learned is knowing your limitations...what's possible and what's not.  I figured that once I got a handle on the software of Photoshop Elements, Photoshop 7 would be easier to understand at a later time.

I had immediate gratification using Photoshop Elements to complete the first assignment of the Beyond Layers online course...and here's my textured photograph using the subject of "just enough" and applying Kim's "Awaken" texture...

The next lesson in Beyond Layers was a writing assignment...using the idea of the Six Word Memoir from Smith Magazine, you were to capture a moment of your life in six words...several came to mind (including menopause dilemma: chin hair? where? tweezers!) but the one that resonated with me was this...

Begin now- before procrastination sets in

Unfortunately procrastination had already taken its toll...last week my computer hard drive died...and I lost all my documents/ photos/ files/ bookmarks...because, yes - I neglected to back up my computer.  I know its my fault - I know better - but my computer was less than a year old, surely it would be operating great for awhile.  I had never had any problems before so I was a little cavalier about it...but in second, it was all gone.

Yes, my computer is under warranty so I am getting my hard drive replaced at no charge but the lost files are my problem.  I spent last week finding out more than I could ever imagine about protecting hard drives and data recovery.  Obviously I am not alone in my cavalier attitude that "this can't happen to me!" since there is quite a business in data recovery...and after conferring with experts, it was possible to get my data back...to the tune of $1200...I couldn't justify $1200...I just had to deal with the fact that it was gone.

So my participation in Beyond Layers has been put on hold since I have no previous photos and no copy of Photoshop of any version to play with.  My new hard drive will arrive in about two weeks...in the meantime I am using the Southern Man's laptop but it doesn't have my photos nor my software on it.

My ability to apply to art shows is put on hold - not only do I not have any photos of my work, I don't have any photos of my booth setup from previous shows - a usually necessary element of applications.

But what I do have is some sage advice and some practical information that I can share...in what I hope is a very simple explanation to guide others...because I am assuming that many of you are just like me...you just want to turn on your computer and have it work...

First off, hardware problems are mechanical problems...software failures don't affect hardware components.  The techie who looked at my hard drive revealed that the most likely cause of the damage was electrical surge that prevented the needle from reading the discs...having a surge protector is little help when there is a storm raging outside...essentially, your surge protector then is one big electrical cord to your computer.  And it only takes a second to fry your hard drive.

The solution - battery backup.  This device essentially "evens out" the electricity going into your computer - no peaks and valleys - no surges.  And at the slightest hint of an electrical problem, immediately jumps into battery mode to run your computer so any spikes are averted.  I bought my battery backup on Amazon - it was about $60, not really that much more expensive than a decent surge protector (which I have now learned is an oxymoron!)

As for data storage, I bought an external hard drive - Western Digital My Passport with 1TB of storage...I save all my photo files as big files so this baby will give me plenty of storage space...and its not much bigger than my smartphone...automatically backs up a file whenever you make any changes to it...again, bought it on Amazon for about $150.  There is also "cloud drive storage" available...Amazon is offering 5GB for free, Dropbox offers 2KB for free...here your files are saved securely on their servers but available anywhere...I'm thinking I might use this system as a back-up.

So when Linda from it all started with paint asked me to Imagine the Impossibilities and join in the challenge, I never imagined this would be the impossibility I would face...but I did...and here's hoping that you never do...

I'm linking up over at it all started with paint to share my challenge...there will be plenty of others sharing too...most of whom will be sharing successful projects that will inspire...and challenge others to take on the impossible!

worth a look...

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