It’s no secret that technology is flawed. Whether it’s not saving your work when you tell it to or refusing to start up, technology has let me down more times than I can count. This summer, for example, I had a computer that randomly gave up on turning on at all. The consequences may not have been as great as if it had been during the school year. However, I did lose all of my progress on something I had been working on on the side for years. As such, I have some tips to help others avoid what happened to me, including sending copies to others, saving to a cloud storage account, and most importantly what to do if you lose all of your work.
Sending copies to others
Along the same line’s as Kaitie’s post about peer review, it is important to ensure that others look at your work. This is beneficial in all of the ways that she lists, but it is also beneficial in that it allows you to back-up, and if need be recover, your work. If you send it to someone to look at, you can retrieve that version that you sent from your email. This is something I have used a number of times when transferring between computers. If you aren’t ready to have someone else read your work, send it to yourself. This is particularly useful when you are working on a school computer and don’t have a flash-drive. Sometimes, when you use a flash-drive to get a copy of your work off the school computer, it can bring along a virus, so it is always good to have an extra uncorrupt file on hand.
Saving to a cloud storage account
One incredibly useful tool that many of us have access to is cloud storage. If you are a PC owner, you have a bunch of options for cloud storage. When I was using a PC, I know that I had a lot of cloud storage through Microsoft and through OneDrive. Now, they have combined the two and are calling it OneDrive. PC and Mac have access to a program called Dropbox. Much like Google Drive, you can share your pieces with others as well as store them in the cloud.
Mac users have another option in cloud storage that we often forget about: iCloud. iCloud allows users to back up all of their data, not just documents, to the cloud and access them from any Apple product. For example, I have my messages connected to both my phone and my computer. The cloud allows the two devices to work together and make sure my information is up to date on both. This works for documents as well. You can work on a document in Pages (or many other programs), save it to iCloud, and access it from another device. If you save it from Pages, you can access it through iCloud’s website under the Pages option. If you saved it to iCloud in general, say from a Word document, you can access it through the iCloud Drive option. However, if you save it to iCloud Drive, it will download to whatever device you are on for you to work on it.
What to do when technology fails
When you do lose work, consider what your deadline is for. If it’s for your mentor to look at your current research, explain to them the situation. More often than not, teachers will understand technology issues. If it’s a submission deadline for the program, there’s not as much leeway on deadlines. Either way, here are some steps that I recommend that you consider taking.
- Most importantly, do not panic. More often than not, you can retrieve your work, even if it’s not your most recent draft, from an email to or from your mentor. You may have to redo some of your work, but it’s better than starting from scratch.
- Start contacting the people you work with who have read your work. Search your email for the document title to see if you sent it as an attachment at some point.
- Redo any work that you lost. Do not worry about getting the wording exactly the same. It can be beneficial to rewrite anyway. You have thought about your contents longer than when you wrote your initial draft. Because of this, you will have an easier time being concise.
- If you lost most or all of your work, rewrite it. Do not give up hope. It will take some time, but not nearly as much as your initial draft took. Like I said before, you have been thinking about it and already written a draft, so you will be able to compose your new draft quickly.
Remember, you have ways to prevent losing your draft, whether it is sending your work to someone or saving it to the cloud. You also have the skills to rewrite your information quickly. Follow these tips, and it won’t seem like such a daunting task.