So I just booted up my game to write some more and it’s just gone. All the folders and stuff is there but there is nothing in them. I haven’t erased anything or done anything to my computer whatsoever - it’s just magically disappeared overnight! WTF is happening? Luckily, I saved all the code in an email a few weeks ago, but I just lost a ton of work. If I hadn’t saved that code, I would have lost everything! Why did this happen?

Could it have been eaten by a grue?

Robert Rothman

Hilarious. I’ve restored from my previous code and just spent a marathon rewrite getting the stuff that’s missing back in. I probably shouldn’t have posted this issue in this section to begin with, but I was FREAKING OUT! I’m going to recommend to everyone that you frequently back up your code someplace other than inform. :blush:

If you are on Vista / 7, you can right-click the folder in Explorer, go to Properties, and click the Previous Versions tab to see any copies of that folder which were snapshotted by a restore point. Usually that happens whenever Windows Update installs a patch, which is quite often if you have automatic updates enabled.

I’m not aware of any similar trick under OS X.

My sympathies, though, it really sucks to lose your work.

This type of situation sucks! Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I back up my creative work every day, to a separate physical drive. Every few days I also back it up to a separate computer, and/or to my Dropbox folder. Hopefully, you won’t need another horrible experience before you start doing this.

It’s true that computer hard drives are a lot less likely to crash than they were 15 years ago. But that doesn’t mean accidents never happen. My first computer was a Kaypro. It used 5-1/4" single-sided floppies, but at least it had two drives, so you could back up a file from drive A to drive B before powering down. I guess I just got in the habit.

That happened to me once when I made the foolish mistake of cleaning my registry while using Inform 7: for some reason, all my source code disappeared. And strike two: I automatically saved it (out of habit) before quitting. Hooray for stupidity.

Did you maybe run something else while using Inform 7? Registry cleaner, anti-virus, I don’t know… theoretically it shouldn’t matter, but you know how these things happen.

Now I’m getting nervous. I have a backup drive, but the power supply for it was destroyed when my office flooded a couple months ago due to a coffee machine malfunction…!

I also use an svn repository on my personal website, but I haven’t checked in lately…

There. Committed current state. I was holding off because not all my tests are passing, but all of the failures are at the TODO level right now - nothing breaks the game.

Sync your projects with Dropbox and you won’t have to worry about this. It saves every version of every file, so even if you save the story file after the text disappears, you’ll be able to roll back to the last good version. You can also use Dropbox to host Parchment or Quixe games (or any other simple website).

You may need to use symlinks to backup some files if there is a requirement that they sit in a certain place on your hard drive (I’m not sure what Windows I7 requires). Note: symlinks are not the same as aliases; when Dropbox syncs a symlink, it transparently syncs the original file, but it only syncs the alias file when it encounters an alias.

For years I did not have a backup system in place (which I suppose is the digital equivalent of playing Russion roulette). Then, my computer died without warning (actually, I did have some warning that something was amiss, but did not react in time). Fortunately, I was able to get the data on my hard drive recovered, but it cost me a pretty penny. After that, I decided to take no chances. I now subscribe to an online backup system (set up so that it automatically backs up changed files every night, and saves all earlier versions). I also bought an external hard drive, and every so often I do a manual backup to that.

Robert Rothman

We’ve all learned a valuable lesson.

Failing to back up data: seems like everybody makes that mistake. Once.

I had the opposite problem for a long time: failure to restore backed-up data. I kept two old CPUs around for half a decade after I stopped using them just because they contained files I wanted to keep. I’ve still got to work through a mountain of floppy disks that may contain long lost files.

Better do it while your floppy drives still work. One of the things that bothers me about modern information-storage technology (and one of the reasons while I will hold on to my (paper and ink) books until somebody pries them from my cold dead fingers) is that, for all practical purposes, the data only lasts as long as the means of reading it is still available – which tends to be a pretty short time. Anybody else have now-useless files on ZIP cartridges?

Robert Rothman

I call it “digital rot.” I have music software files that won’t load properly into the program on which they were created, in the same machine, because I moved a plug-in to a different folder.

Off-topic: I was musing the other day about the phrase “pry it from my cold dead fingers,” so this morning I did a bit of searching. It appears Charlton Heston first used this phrase (with reference to firearms) in a speech in the year 2000, thus popularizing it.

The reason I was musing was that I believe I may be the original source of the phrase. I used it in a product review in Keyboard magazine around 1995, and Lexicon (the hardware manufacturer whose product I was reviewing) liked it so much they ran full-page ads for several months in all of the musician-type magazines, quoting me. So at that point, the phrase got spread around.

I may have been unconsciously quoting something I had heard – but on the other hand, phrases that gain currency in pop culture do always start somewhere.

One thing you can do is salvage the hard drives from the old PCs and get a USB IDE hard drive enclosure. This will allow you to access the data on there. You could also take out the RAM sticks and put them on display as decoration. :slight_smile:

I have at least 5 very primitive 2-word text adventures made in CBM Basic in some 5" floppy disks.
What now?

It’s been an cliche about guns for longer than that, and I’m pretty sure it’s been an idiom for my entire life.

Google Books search finds a PC Magazine ad from 1993… Richard Linklater, 1992… 1988… 1985… oh, here it is (re guns) in Field and Stream from 1979. Foreword to a Stephen King collection, 1977.

Obviously not earlier than the Stephen King reference, but I believe there’s a scene in Red Dawn showing a bumper sticker that says “They’ll get my gun when they pry it from my cold, dead hands,” followed by a pan to a Russian army officer prying the owner’s gun from his cold, dead hands. That description always made me think it was supposed to be funny, but I suppose it wasn’t.

Wikipedia saith that the original slogan originated with the Citizen’s Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in the mid-70’s, though that leaves open the question of who came up with the catchiest phrasing.

The use I remember best is in the original Men In Black, when the alien responds “Your proposal is acceptable.” That was meant to be funny.

You can get or make cables that allow a CBM 1541 disk drive to a PC, and use it to read disks: I modified one and used it to read the programs that I wrote back in the 1980s:

Woot! Will they run in an emulator?