"If I Only Had a Brain..."

Why you should always back up your data

By Kyle Webb, Assistant Editor, KyleWebb@aol.com

I have to begin this musing with the declaration that I am not a technician when it comes to computers (and it shows). I know how to buy them, and in a limited way, how to use them, but I don't pretend to understand how programming or memory functions operate.

That having been established, I've been examining and making unqualified comparisons regarding the superficial behaviours of the human brain and CPU's. Let's just say, a "friend" experienced a re-shuffling of onboard data as a result of transient ischemic attack, or temporal lobe seizure (the jury's not in yet) and is going through a "retraining" period of sorts. The stroke-like symptoms were disturbing enough, but the distressing part is doing a "file search" and not being able to access even the most intrinsic memory, such as assigning a name to an object. It became apparent after a short time that the files were intact, but were accessible within unfamiliar "directories". Perhaps there was a back-up system in place that need never have been accessed until the original files were scrambled. It required a different "search engine" to locate information, and a verification process to re-imprint ("save"...?) to more established forums (avoiding the bad sectors).

The MRI was essentially "normal" (for an Amigan hah!) so the theory is electrical malfunction/disturbance, not unlike HD "crash". So, either information (in this individual's case) was backed up in another site, which seems more likely than the next part of my sentence, or...or memory was shifted to a "safe" directory nanoseconds before the "crash". Now that would be a handy feature... isolated, independent, partitioned, directory rescue. Not unlike a Trashcan, but rather similar to a bomb shelter...

Either way, it's a healthy reminder to back up your files/HD. Also, I am reminded of life-long delving into the realms of science fiction and non-fiction, bringing to mind the subject of holographic computer memory attempting to model more closely how the human brain functions and stores memory. If my "friend"'s brain had an OS like Wintel Bloatware, with certain areas wholly given over to only specific tasking as opposed to the processors and programming at the heart of the Amiga, by comparison it seems likely such a "crash" would have rendered information irretrievably lost.

The human brain is a mysterious marvel of processing capabilities, and some day, our mechanized "intellect" will more closely model the architecture of the organic OS, providing the designers don't get bogged down in satisfaction of the status quo and back-room business arrangements that support ineffectual hardware superabundance. I can't help but think (and perhaps, anthropomorphize a bit) that the Amiga OS, CPU, and custom chipsets perform more competently, efficiently and elegantly than non-intuitive Microsoft systems. And I used to smile when I first heard people refer to their beloved Amigas as "Miggy" (on that note, see this month's "Cowtoon").