Saturday, November 24, 2007

the not-so-nameless fear of personal data loss

Ten days ago I upgraded my smartphone.

For over three years I hung onto my Treo 600. Yes, a 600. Even when its antenna broke while I was at JCDL 2006, I drove to Durham and got a replacement unit rather than upgrade. I just didn't see a reason, as none of the new Treos were better. So what if my contract expired a year and a half ago and I could have upgraded at any time?

Then I saw the Centro, and something about it changed my mind. Maybe it was the much smaller size, or the brighter, clearer screen. Maybe the much more usable buttons and keyboard (I know, they're smaller keys, but their gel surface is great for my small hands and fingernails). Maybe that it had Bluetooth. Or that it was available in slightly sparkly black. I came to covet it online, and then I gave in and bought it.

Then I had to transfer my data.

Now, I've had a Palm device for 10 years. I have my calendar going back to early 1996 because I've been synching up my calendar with an enterprise system at three universities during those eleven years. I have databases like all my books (downloaded from LibraryThing) and DVDs in FileMaker Mobile. I have the electronic Zagat. I have ebooks. I have memos and to-do lists and a large address book.

None of them moved over when I updated the Palm desktop and initiated my first sync. Not a darned thing. Not only did they not move to the Centro, they disappeared from my Palm Desktop.

Hysteria ensued.

Once I was talked down off the proverbial ledge, things improved. I was able to beam over all my memos, my to-do list, and my address book from the Treo (although they all lost their categories). I had a calendar backup on my laptop that had 1996 to late 2005 (apparently the last time I backed up my full calender. Memo to self -- never forget to do that again). I discovered that my Zagat had expired the week before, which is why it didn't move. Fixed. I got my ebooks reinstalled (after discovering that I somehow had 2 Palm users set up and that I was using the wrong one in the installer). I deleted the extraneous Palm user, causing a bit more temporary hysteria because I re-lost and and to retrieve some data again.

My Oracle Calendar Sync completely failed. I couldn't even see the conduit. I thought, hey, there's a newer version than the one I have, upgrading will reinitialize the conduit. A fine plan if the installer hadn't failed, corrupting the old install so that I not only couldn't install a new one, I couldn't remove the old one because a file was missing. Our IT help desk didn't have the old installer available anymore (Memo to self -- keep all installers AND keep up on new versions) but a nameless university elsewhere in the world had it on their web site and all was repaired. The first sync took over 130 minutes, but that was a small price to pay to have my past and future calendar back.

All of the above took 2 1/2 days. What never came back, though, was FileMaker Mobile. UVA never moved past FM 6, so that's what I've continued to use as a client with FM Mobile 2. Given that FM is on to version 9 and FM Mobile 8, and the company has announced that it's discontinuing FM Mobile, I do seem to be be in a jam there. Yes, that I have that installer, and I have my databases, and I can see the conduit, but no joy in synching.

Change is good. I just need to decide what to change to, and then I will have all my data back. Until the next time I have to upgrade ...

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