They say that “confession is good for the soul”! Another old saw is “Do as I say, not as I do”! It surely hurts to be the victim of a mistake that you have warned and even exhorted others to avoid. I never begin a Word or Excel class without telling my students to save their documents as they go along. I require them to begin a document by completing the three necessary steps to filing their work. Do the Who, What and Where of the “Save As” dialog box. Once they have named the file, decided where to file it and in which format, I remind them to save each time they come to a suitable stopping place or whenever they are interrupted from their task.
I also pride myself on having a disciplined routine for writing my weekly column. Collect questions all the time wherever I am and choose the column topic by Thursday morning. Compose the column on Thursday, save it and print out a rough draft for proofing later. Let it get cold before I do the editing so that I don’t overlook mistakes. Make final corrections, resave and backup to an external drive, then submit the column Saturday afternoon. Of course things can happen along the way and I have to make adjustments, but I never forget to save. Oops! What’s that other old saw about never saying never?
Last week I finished my column and printed the rough proof copy and then went off to some other tasks. Later that evening bad weather came up and I went to my office and shut down all the computers that were running at the time. I was in kind of a hurry since the lightning was getting pretty close.
On Saturday morning I proofed the draft copy and sat down at my PC to make the corrections. There was no copy of the column …anywhere. I looked all over thinking I had just misfiled because I always save it. It was not there! The only thing I had was the rough draft that I printed for proofing. I had to type the column all over and there are few things I enjoy less than typing. I thought about asking my wife to retype it for me, since it would only take her a few minutes, but I was too embarrassed to ask. I decided to make myself retype the document as penance for my egregious error.
It was a lesson re-learned and reinforced. Hope I don’t do that again for a while. Maybe there is a life lesson there. We often know what we’re supposed to do, but don’t always execute according to what we know to be best. On a lighter note, I recalled this old bit of techie humor,
“A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history – with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.”
Lest you be driven to drink or worse, always remember to “Save” and to backup and till next week, send your questions to: