These past couple weeks have been rough when it comes to the digital realm and me. If work didn’t demand it, I would probably not be on speaking terms with most of the devices in our home … maybe I’d go bury them in the snow.

I may have already mentioned my phone – for nearly two months or so, it has been on the fritz. Messages and phone conversations are often non-responsive until after a reboot. I think we’ll soon have those troubles under control.

And then there was this …

On the first of November, I decided it was time to retire an aging WD 120GB external hard drive that was at capacity, had served a good long life, and had just begun to show signs of dying. After purchasing a Seagate 2TB, which I partitioned for use with Time Machine and storage of select files, I attempted to migrate a small chunk of files. Following the transfer of three directories, the old drive failed and I have, as of yet, been unsuccessful in getting a machine to mount it. Quite sure we have lost the data of 20 years.

Thankfully, I had begun to store a small portion of what I considered to be valuable data on my MacBook. I’d already transferred personal songwriting notes and demo recordings of fleeting tunes. I also had the majority of our photos from since Aelah’s birth on my machine. And, of course, many files with which I work daily.

My MacBook has been through a lot over the past year that I’ve had it. It had begun to be a bit flaky with WiFi connectivity, didn’t seem to want to mount the new Seagate drive from time to time, and a number of other performance issues seemed like they might be remedied by a fresh start. So, Monday night, I decided to clean install Yosemite OS. I had run Time Machine and was quite certain I had backups on the Seagate drive.

Yesterday, I decided I’d manually restore files from the backups only to find that nothing was there. No thing. Not a single file had been backed up. Quite sure we have lost all (or nearly all).

Here’s a small log of all the digital data that has perished.

  • Photos & Videos (camp, YE teams, family, wedding, Aelah, Simeon, etc., etc.)
  • Songwriting (notes, projects, ideas, & demo recordings)
  • Writing (letters, blogs, emails, college papers, etc., etc. – thankfully, I had once ported the book I was once writing to a private post here at
  • Projects (hours upon thousands of hours work from the numerous jobs I have held)
  • Web & Design (most all website & images I’ve ever designed, current WMPL projects)
  • Music (most all CDs I’ve ever burned)
  • Etc., etc., … and who knows what else.

Needless to say, I am super frustrated with myself (and maybe life, in general). I seem to be maintaining work computers and the office network decently well, but personally – no.

Last night I returned the Seagate drive and purchased a Toshiba replacement. I’m now in process of collecting remnants of our digital past, combing through folders on my work machine, our web host, Dropbox, Google Drive, and some social media accounts.

As you may know we recently moved into the mission home and are now residing in a smaller space than we previously were. We are trying to rid ourselves of physical stuff, as well. There is a freedom in that. This digital loss is but one more reminder of that which is truly important. As upsetting as it may be, there is a sense of freedom. Now to regroup and make a new digital way forward.

Have you ever experienced the loss of digital property? What did you learn while surveying the ashes?