How technology can help you archive your life

If you recall, I bought my Asus laptop in December last year. To make the laptop workable, I had to migrate all my files, preferences, settings etc. from my previous laptop over. This forced me to go through one round of file management on my laptop of four years. You can imagine the amount of unncessary programs I have installed over the years, documents and ahem downloaded media files I had to store away in its proper folders.

Then just two weeks ago, my company issued me my new 12″ HP Elitebook work laptop. As we were migrating from the use of Lotus Notes to MS Outlook, this was another period of major filing and archiving of electronic mails and documents. Over the period of 1.5 years here, I have accumulated close to 6,000 emails! I don’t think I will ever refer back to them again but better be safe than sorry.

And then my Blackberry finally gave way with its keypad going wonky so I got myself a new phone – Samsung Galaxy W, which while has been a fantastic machine, is giving me a lot of headaches connecting to my home wireless network. Migrating data from my Blackberry to the Galaxy was not easy as they are on different OS.

First I had to back up all my files on BB to the desktop software. Then I had to import these files to MS Outlook. From MS Outlook, I used this software called gsyncit to sync the information to my Google account. And then using the Google Docs application downloaded from Marketplace, I was finally able to get those items on my Galaxy.

This process together with some comments made by my in laws made me realise something. In the beginning we relied on paper to store our information. For a long time since the computers became personal, we stored all our information on disks. But the same technology which is evolving so quickly is making our machines obsolete within a couple of years. That’s when we are forced to file, archive and transfer.

Thanks to my Google account I was able to do this quite seamlessly. So I can imagine that the future technology trend would point towards cloud computing. Instead of storing our information on our hard disks, we will do it on some giant server and access it using anywhere anytime as long as we have data connection and our passwords. This negates the need to physically transfer data from one machine to another.

Coincidentally as I was musing over this, my in laws were disheartened to find out that all their emails stored over the years in their Outlook Express account was accidentally deleted. This would have been avoided if they had say stored their emails on a Gmail account which would have placed Google at a great disfavor if they had lost some users’ emails accidentally.

We used to hear people saying that we need to back up all our online information but lately it seems to be correct the other way round too, back up all your information online too!

But having gone through three rounds of archival, it is quite amazing to say that I feel less cluttered. I feel like a brand new person not just because I have three new computing device but simply because I have successfully compartmentalised and archived the last two years of my life away safely.

But it’s quite creepy thinking about it… I have somehow archived part of the memories in my brain into an electronic ‘brain’ so that my real brain can have more space to focus on what’s ahead rather than what’s left behind.

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