Disaster Pot-Pourri. (34)

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A major disaster occurred last Saturday. I was reorganizing some files on my external back-up drive, deleting duplicate folders after upgrading my Mac to OS Sierra (Don’t do the upgrade!). And as I deleted unnecessary folders, I erased all my photos back-up. 😦 Non de Dieu de putain de bordel de merde! (Don’t even try to find the translation…) Of course when I realized what I had done, I’d already emptied the trash! Wailing emoticon. (The above is a pirate at Fisherman’s wharf, San Francisco, last July.)

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The George. Pub in Islington, London, July 2016. Near Angel station, Northern line.

As I was tearing my face and clothes, I tried to think. Wait, wait. There is another backup. It’s always been my policy (Once TOC, always TOC) to use two external hard drives and backup (almost) all my files on both drives.


Phnomh-Penh, Cambodia, c.1956. L. to r. My little sister and yours truly. The family archives were in another folder. Thank God for small favours. I couldn’t see myself scanning all family albums and negatives again. No Siree.


Tlalpan, Mexico city. November 2016.

I plugged the other hard-drive in, started to browse.

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“Amor perfecto”, perfect love, Bogotá, Colombia, December. (My apologies: too much back light, I Photoshopped and framed what I could.)

There was a folder in the other hard-drive, most creatively labeled: “back-up photos”.6-53c

“The utmost luxury in Air service. TWA’s Super Constellations fly across the United States from the Pacific.” An old ad in a French newspaper, the Figaro probably. Circa 1953-54. “TWA’s Ambassador service, the first to be equipped with two giant luxury Super Constellations…” “Night services are equipped with sleeping bunks”. Yes, as in old sea passenger liners. TWA is now long gone. A shame. Though competitors, they were a great airline.

The “back-up photos” folder I transferred to my Mac, AND the wretched other hard drive.  Just in case. This really was a “dump” (and dumb) back-up.


An Air France Super Constellation. This”giant” Lockheed 4 propeller plane carried between 50 and 100 passengers. Not exactly huge. The triple tail is quite distinctive. And the “bunks” were actual beds with curtains for privacy. I remember flying in one of those, shortly before Boeing released its first commercial jet: the 707. (Photo (c) Jerry Hughes at Airliners.net)

At first glance it seemed the second back-up held most folders except 2015 and 2016. Darn. (Non de D…, etc.)


On the road, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, c.1967-68. Those particular trees are doum palm trees. Amboseli, on the Kenya side offers “stunning” views of the Kilimandjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, located on the Tanzania side.

As I started to browse the second back-up I also remembered, I’d never organized it. Hence the “dump” label. So I started reorganizing the folders, checking content, switching and unduplicating. No erasing. 😦


Statue of “Il Duce” Benito Mussolini, near Adoua, Ethiopia, 1935-1936. (From my father’s archives). The battle of Adwa, or Adua, took place in march 1896 between the Italian army and the Abyssinian (now Ethiopian) army. The Italians wanted their ” share” of Africa and attacked Ethiopia. They were defeated by the Ethiopians in that very battle. Ethiopia is a very old civilization dating back to around the 8th century, a significant proportion of its population is Christian, since the 9th century. (Approx). Though the Ethiopian victory in 1896 should have secured Ethiopia’s independence forever, Fascist Italy under the rule of Mussolini invaded and occupied Ethiopia from 1936 to 1941.

In light of recent events, let us remember that both Mussolini and Hitler were elected democratically… One cannot be too careful, even today.


Yoga studio, Bogotá, Colombia, 2016.

After 2-3 days work, it seems that I have recovered 85-90% of my files. Maybe more as I check every folder. This is gonna take some time. So, remember: 95% of computer mistakes are human mistakes. And do make 2 different backups always. I will actually buy a third hard drive. As soon as I complete the reorganization and diagnosis. 🙂


Our new neighbourhood is called Tlalpan. In Nahuatl, the Aztecs’ language, it means: “upon the land”, from Tlalli = the Earth, and Ipan = upon. The foot pictogram generally represented travel.

Safe and pleasant Time and Space travels to all in this year 2017. (Can’t wait till the end of 2020) 😉

70 thoughts on “Disaster Pot-Pourri. (34)

  1. I am soooooo sorry. Both for the lost photos (and glad you’ve recovered so many) and for the enormous amount of work reclaiming the ones you found. I HATE when that happens. The downside, for me, is that I have so many files and so many places saved and so many old disks (and a book case full of old photo albums still in hard copy, the task to find a photo remains daunting.

    • Thank you Janet. You hit the nail. It’s the amount of work reclaiming. Plus the fact that I had found a reasonably good filing system. Which I now have to redo. Ah. I’ll be all right after a few weeks. (Already happened to me when my (last) PC crashed, but I was able to unscrew everything and recover the hard drive). 🙂

    • It’s what I normally do but I have been having compatibility problems between the Iphone, Ipad and the Mac. So I upgraded. Big mistake. As soon as I recover most of my files, I will back them up again and get a specialist to reinstall the MAc entirely. W/o Sierra. 🙂

  2. I should pay attention, I back up nothing, even though I have this thingy I bought from Apple to back things up….but I don’t have the treasure trove that you do either, lots of dog photos, etc….but I would miss my beloved Zip…I think I have the old actual holdable photos 🙂

      • Yes, all very good. Getting a ton of walking in and losing weight. Working here and there if they schedule me but loving the sunshine and enjoying it😊 I will look into setting up the back up in place😊how’s the new house?

      • That sounds good. The new house is practically finished, remodeling-wise. Just got a couple of non-urgent things pending. We are settled in. And it is very nice. Of course, we don’t have the sea, but the neighbourhood is very pleasant. 🙂

  3. None of my computers use the recycle bin since before the year 2000. I got so frustrated one day (back then) as I deleted and deleted files and still no free space – completely forgot about the bin – that I started looking for an alternative file manager that could delete files directly without any “safety net”. Found Total Commander (guess it was version 3.51 or something) which had such option. Ever since I disabled the recycle bin, removed it from desktop and never touched Explorer again. Guess that raised my responsibility level. 😉

    Anyway, there are a few applications for Windows (such as Recuva, PhotoRec) that can “undelete” files provided there has been no subsequent writing to that partition/drive. But no idea if there is such thing for Mac. You should probably search for such utility, it may come in handy sometime. 😉 Hopefully you’ll recover as much as possible from the secondary backup. Good luck! 🙂

    Oh and is it me or that peacock is looking kinda angry…? 😀

    • Thank you for your good wishes. I will probably retrieve a good part. Just time-consuming. And I don’t know whether MAc has this retrieve facility. I will check. I looked back at the peacock, I don’t see it angry, but then they are aggressive birds. Be good.

      • That’s on purpose, mon ami. You already know me, look carefully at the e-mail address. 😉
        Thing is I’m mad at the WordPress guys, they ruined the utility the toolbar had for me by taking out the hover function and the direct links in its panels so I decided to completely erase my blog. I just haven’t decided when, but in the mean time I’m having people get used to the “homeless” me. Had to create this new account since the old one would forcibly log me in with the blog address – thing that I wanted to avoid.

        I still think that bird has an attitude problem, it’s in his eye. 🙂

      • WP Dashboard > Comments => is there no e-mail address there? Haven’t checked. Anyway, you guessed right (and already replied to you at my old “home”). 🙂

  4. Does MAC have the same option as PC to recover to a back date? In other words you can back it up to a date a few days ago which would still contain your files.

    There are also services that might help you recover files. Sorry!!!

  5. Aïe aïe aïe putain de bordel de merde, comme tu dis! Ouf, cet autre disque dur… mais on n’a pas tous ces belles idées. Il va falloir que je me trouve un autre disque dur externe. Un seul back up au Mexique pour l’instant et je crois pas que celui en France soit à jour…
    Bonne continuation pour la vérification!

    • Merci. Ce qui m’énerve le plus c’est la combinaison paresse-erreur. SI j’avais fait tous mes back-ups 2 fois. SI je n’avais pas effacé plusieurs Folders à la fois! Bref. Et le pire c’est de refaire tout ce que j’avais déjà fait. Enfin. Achète un deuxiéme disque dur. Y sont pas trop chers, et ça vaut la peine. Bz et A +.

  6. Oh my…I’m gonna cry a river if that happened to me. But great that you have another backup. I am now thinking to buy another external hard drive.

    Nice photos by the way!

  7. I keep to external backup drives as you do, and I also have one computer with several drives. I use one of these for an emergency backup in case all else fails. I have had external hard drives fail on me. SO now I make sure once a month to do a back of everything on all three drives. Hugs

  8. Terrible luck Brian. I know how I’d feel if the same thing happened (makes plan to buy a second external hard drive). At least you’ve recovered most of them. Incidentally, my apartment in London is just down the road from that pub in Islington, although I’ve never actually been in it. Incredible picture of the statue of Mussolini.

    • Thanks, recvovery is under way. Now isn’t that (another) funny coincidence that your flat should be nearby. I stayed on City road, in my express 3-day stay in London last summer. (And the Mussolini statue is unique, surely destroyed now, you’ve been in Ethiopia, did you go to Adua?)

      • On the City Road towards Old Street? You would have been pretty close to the flat. Not that I’ve been there for quite some time now. Did you go to The Eagle? Just off City Road and famed for being in the nursery rhyme, Pop Goes The Weasel. Great pub. Never made it to Adua, but would love tp go back to Ethiopia.

  9. So glad you found most of your photos again. What a catastrophe it would have been to lose them. Thanks for the warning about Sierra. I haven’t “upgraded” yet, and now I definitely won’t.

    • Yeah, don’t. I’m facing the fact that I will probably need to backup all my computer, erase it completely and reinstall. 😦 Et m… comme on dit. 😉 A shame really, it looks like Apple is beginning to make the same mistakes as Windows, not heeding the rule “Don’t fix it if it works!”. Not in the race to sell and sell there are growing compatibility issues. Just bought a Samsung TV at Xmas. Can’t work with the MAc. Anyways, I do hope you have your most significant files double back-up, particularly the Mémoire. A bientôt, ma “grande”. 🙂

    • Dangerous they are. Worse is though, the time spent in reconstructing the files and folders. At first sight I seem to have lost my NY files. (Wailing emoticon) Remember the “occupy” photos? Darn. I will have to go back to the big apple. How have you been, my friend? Life treating you well, I hope? 🙂

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