Carolyn’s Online Magazine
LOST FLASH DRIVE
CONTAINS TWO WEEKS OF
UNBACKED UP WRITING
How to Protect Your Flash Drives If Lost
Laughlintown, PA — Author Carolyn Cornell Holland lost a flash drive containing the recent writing on her novel-under-construction, She Saw Her Promised Land. Fourteen days of writing, not backed up, were on the flash drive.
The loss is devastating. When completed the historical novel is expected to win the National Book Award and is in the running for a lifetime achievement award.
Holland left her home last night with a friend, Joanne, to dine at an iconic Ligonier diner, Ruthie’s, on Rt. 30. Before leaving she attached a flash drive strip to her purse.
At the diner she fumbled in her purse to locate money to pay the bill.
En route home she asked Joanne to stop at the Laughlintown Post Office so she could pick up her mail. Holland unattached her key ring from her purse to access her post office box key.
Once home, Holland went to her purse and discovered the flash drive strip was gone. She called Ruthie’s and the staff hadn’t seen the strip. Then she searched the house before calling Joanne to tell her she was walking over to Joanne’s car to see if the item was dropped on the floor of the vehicle. It wasn’t there.
Holland again searched the house.
The next morning Holland arose at daybreak and walked a mile to the Post Office, thinking the flash drive strip could have fallen out into the Post Office parking lot. Fortunately, the snow forecast during the night didn’t materialize and although the temperature was cold it was dry and non-windy. She checked the parking lot and looked in the Post Office window to no avail—no flash drive strip.
Holland returned home, stopping at the Pie Shoppe to purchase an apple fritter and shooting pictures along the way. The rest of the day she tried not to consider her loss. She thought about phoning the Post Office “…but I didn’t want another negative answer,” she said.
Her husband Monte was away for the day. He returned home late in the afternoon and she informed him of her loss. He calmly walked away.
A minute later he returned and handed her a piece of paper folded and stapled. Inside was her flash drive strip.
“I found it in our post office box,” he said. “Vanessa (the postmaster) said she found it on the counter in the lobby this morning.”
Vanessa had been worried about sticking the strip in the computer, he said.
Later, when Carolyn Cornell Holland stopped at the Post Office to thank Vanessa, Vanessa said she was concerned the person who left it on the counter might have been trying to spread a virus to the computers. However, she decided to check it out.
“When I opened it I saw a folder labeled 01 If found return to. It contained your name and Post Office box number.”
I told her this was the second time we’d had a flash drive returned because this identification was on the drive. The first time we were traveling and Monte lost one from a pocket. We received an e-mail notifying us where it was found, and we picked it up on the way home.
Vanessa concluded that she would place a file like that on her flash drives, and even on her computer.
“I once had a found flash drive,” Holland told Vanessa. “I had to search through a lot of files to find the owner. It was eventually returned. It would have been much simpler if there had been some identification on it.”
Everyone agreed this was a wise move to put identification on a flash drive and recommend all flash drive users do this.
“One tip,” Carolyn said. “Use a folder and make certain it is titled so that it is the first item on your flash drive. The number 01 preceding my title placed the identification in an advantageous spot.
It might also be wise to back up data frequently and regularly, especially if you are a prolific user of the flash drive.
Holland is now continuing to write her award winning novel, but she will back it up much more frequently.