Anyone ever tell you to take a picture, ’cause it’ll last longer?

True. But only if you back it up to ICloud. Or your computer.

‘Cause if you don’t, YEARS of your life exist only exist in digital format.

While I’ve joked about my family albums existing solely on Facebook, I always had every intention of taking the time to burn everything to CD and print them into good old fashioned albums.

I was maniacal about tracking my life before we all went digital.  I have albums and albums of my life pre-marriage.  Ever since my parents got me a camera sometime in the high end single digits of my life.  So I have everything from group shots of my Popples and Cabbage Page Kid posing with my younger brother (always a good sport!); to pictures on the Quad in Grade 8; to high school prom; to Contiki Tour x3 across Europe; to early internships post undergrad.

But then the world went digital and – from an archival perspective – we enter the black hole of my life from circa 25-30.  Photo-wise, it gets a bit sketchy.

I have the last few roles of film photography (somewhere) that never got developed and then I got a digital camera and just started uploading my life to Facebook.

And really, that was awesome.  Other people uploaded my life to Facebook too and just tagged me.  I didn’t have to track my life.  Facebook did it for me.

But then people untagged.  And it would just be gone.  Gone! ‘Cause it’s not like I knew that friend of a friend who I met at that bar that night who posted that shot.  And then it occurred to me that if my computer crashed, all the photos uploaded from my camera (which I was totally planning on backing up) would also go the way of untagged me.

So at the end of my last mat leave I spent a couple days at Black’s Photography printing off the last four years of my life – up to early 2010.  You know – stuff like getting married.  And having a kid.  Stuff you might want to have IN HARD COPY.

And I TOTALLY meant to do this every couple of months to, you know, keep the memories alive.

As far as the “critical path” in this project goes, this brings us to Saturday, June 22, 2013 at 8:15 am when I woke up planning to go to the gym with the kids and discovered my IPhone wasn’t working.  At all.  I shut it off the night before and now it wouldn’t turn on.

I kinda shrugged.  Huh.  Weird.  My 11 month old was playing with it the night before.  Maybe she drooled on it.

Apparently they aren’t drool-proof.  Note to self.  Good to know.  Sigh. Into problem-solving mode.

I called Rogers!  They should be helpful.

I was so naïve.

The nice man on the phone suggested we try a “Restore”.  In passing, as we were setting this up, he mentioned this might wipe all the data from my phone.

Small lump in my throat.

Me: You mean the 500 odd photos and videos of my kids from the last year? (By this stage we are already running this restore thingy, because based on what he’d told me, there was no other option).

Nice Rogers Man: [Pause] Well yes, you might lose those.  But you sync with your computer or to ICloud, right?

Me: No.


Nice Rogers Man: Oh.  Well, we’ll see what happens.

Restore fails.

Me: It didn’t work.  On the upside, does that mean my photos haven’t been wiped from the phone?

Nice Rogers Man: Maybe.  But they’re probably gone.  You should go to the Apple Store.  We all get exactly the same training but maybe they know something I don’t.  But if that doesn’t work, you are under warranty and we can replace your phone.  So come back to us.  Don’t buy there.

I call my mother and she agrees to come with me to the Apple Store as I have the kids with me that morning and figure having a technical discussion while watching two kids under four might be a challenge.

Circa 9:30 we all arrive at the mall and head to the Apple Store.

Picture of the Genius Bar in the Apple Store R...

Picture of the Genius Bar in the Apple Store Regent Street, London (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I explain my phone drama to the Lady Up Front.  She directs me to the Tech Guy In Back.  Who asks if I have an appointment.  I explain that Nice Rogers Man never told me I needed one and, if I’d known I needed one, I wouldn’t have come out here with my mother and two children.

Aside: My mother and two kids have installed themselves in the IPad Kids Section.  It occurs to me I can take my time as they will not want to leave.  Ever. On an unrelated note, I’m now getting an IPad for my birthday.

Tech Guy In Back helps me anyway.  Which is nice, but leaves me to wonder why I needed an appointment.  Especially as there are no other obvious clients waiting for help.

Tech Guy In Back runs me through the same things Nice Rogers Man did. But additionally he shines a light into my phone to confirm there is water damage.

He tells me that there is nothing he can do and that because I’d tried a Restore, I’d likely wiped the phone and the photos were gone.  I could try a data recovery company, but that would be expensive, and I might as well just get a new phone.  He could sell me one for $199 ON THE SPOT.  Or I could upgrade for JUST AN EXTRA $100.

I mentioned Rogers had said I was under warranty.  He then suggests I go to the Rogers Store.

I asked about data recovery and he helpfully gives me the name of a data recovery place.  Which I called.  It was closed on the weekends.  So he helpfully googled another one.  Which opened at 11:00.

It’s now about 10:15.  So we head to the Rogers Store (two children under 4, my mother, and me) to check about phone replacements.

Rogers Store Man doesn’t even look at my phone before informing me that: 1) water damage voids my warranty; 2) my photos are gone; 3) data recovery isn’t worth it for photos because it is crazy expensive and I probably won’t get them back anyway and 4) I might as well just buy a new phone from him because it is EXACTLY the same price I could get from the (somewhat more helpful) folks at the Apple Store.

We leave to go check out the data restore options.  My kids are holding up like absolute champs.  I’m starting to accept the inevitable.  That my photos are gone. And this will be expensive.  Best case scenario: I’m out the cost of a new phone and I don’t get my photos back.

We arrive at Bill and Dave computer repair.  It’s two guys in shorts in a small office off an equally small used electronics store and the whole scene feels a bit Men in Black meets Clerks.  I’m a bit dubious.

I explain my problem.  And they don’t tell me all is lost.  They hand me a data loss waiver and ask if they can pull my phone apart.  Seeing I’ve apparently already voided my warranty, I figure there is nothing to lose.

Within 10 minutes they have fixed my phone.  Replace the water damaged piece.  Everything is there.  They charge me about $50.  I tip them. I refrain from hugging.  They are awesome.

Having learnt my lesson I go home and back my phone up.  I then spend the rest of the weekend at Black’s Photography printing off the last three years of my life.

So I now have three new lovely albums of photos.  That my 3 year old adores.

My 11 month old thinks they are pretty neat too.

Which is good.

Because she’s not getting NEAR the IPhone again anytime soon.