Carnage and salvation

5 August 2015

The view from LTL

It all began quite quietly, just a gentle awareness of something not quite right, a sense of space, of airiness.

Arguably the alarm bells should have started ringing earlier but we all know what happens with ICT, sometimes it works well and makes us productive and streamlined, other times it sits back sullenly on its heels and has a rest while we all fume and turn computers on and off and hit random buttons relentlessly in the vain hope that some kind of binary alchemy might kick-start our browser/outlook/document.

All part of having to earn a living in this electronic era.

So when I logged onto our work system and perused our shared drives I was sort of aware that something was missing but it didn't affect what I was doing so I carried on and didn't pay it much regard.

A day or two later I realised what it was that was missing, our archive drive. No doubt some technical glitch, a small family of voles nesting in the software or something. Soon to be cleaned through no doubt, by our eager and keen techno-specialists.  No-one else seemed to have noticed.

Anyhow - I soothed myself with the comforting hot chocolate cup of knowledge that it all gets backed up nightly anyhow so no problem there.

I mentioned it to a few colleagues who also didn't seem unduly worried and decided to see if someone could follow up, in their own time, no rush, just as and when, have a cup of tea first.

Over the next few days the response from the techno-specialists became like one of those awful phone calls from the garage - "no need to worry but there's a couple of bits need doing to the car, a few new tyres, that's all, actually the wheels aren't so good either, in fact we should probably sort out that rust patch on the side as well, while we're at it the braking really isn't very compliant, in fact, no getting away from it - we can't give you your car back as it needs to be scrapped."

Basically - to cut to the quick - our data had gone.

All of it.

Not so much as a tiny ripped corner of a word document left.

And for complex and historic reasons far too detailed to go into - none of it was backed up.

Then we discovered that, far from being archive materials only, we had a lot of very current and very relevant data on there.


And it was, murmured the techno-specialists looking funereal, beyond their capability to recover.

And beyond the capability of the manufacturers.

And probably God.

In fact the discs were totally fried - and fried discs are terminal, the controller was not talking to the fried discs and this didn't help as well.

There were four discs and only two were fried, apparently one fried disc is recoverable from - but two and you're stuffed - who knew!?

We naturally requested the immediate return of the deceased, I have no idea why, more probably out of petulance than anything else.

And then, in the pit of gloom and hand-wringing that followed ...... a small chink of light.

Possibly, just possibly, a small data recovery company down in the depths of leafy Portsmouth might, maybe, might, no promises you understand but we'll have a poke around guv, MIGHT be able to pull something off, the odd image maybe, a presentation or two but don't get your hopes up.

Our hopes remained snuggled beneath the duvet with a hangover trying to make it all go away and we packaged up and sent off the corpse of 25 years of hard work and effort.

A few days later and we received in the post a rather modest looking package that blinked all embarrassed like as we fawned over it, 'just doing my job ladies'.

We plugged him in and there in full splendiforous technicolour was all of our lost data.

Every last byte.

Our history recovered.

Sanity restored.

The company - shout it loud for they are amazing:

Dataquest International Ltd

24 Domum Road,





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Learning through Landscapes

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