I started writing about language here a couple of decades ago. I have been writing elsewhere or, for a time, I was too ill to carry on. Computer systems change. Services vanish, new ones pop up. I wasn't sure these essays still existed.
But I wasn't really searching for them. I had given up on them. I've had to give up on lots of things, including a set of science fiction novels I had spent seven years writing. I also lost all of my essays and novels I had been writing, some because of equipment failures and some because Apple arbitrarily decided to delete everything that was not in a newly-approved set of formats.
As I said, I was not looking for these essays. I got an email from Lycos/Tripod about upgrading my service. I think I clicked the wrong button. Suddenly I was reading those old essays I thought had been lost.
There were ten essays written over about a decade, a very small fragment of all of the files I have lost. I came very close to losing these more completely, nearly fumble-fingering my record of the new password into oblivion.
This blog on Tripod is "Words, Wisdom and Nonsense". My Wordpress blog is "Word Wine". On Blogger I have "Am's rAMbles". I may have two blogs on Xanga, "WordJames" and "Am0", and I may have something on Yahoo! and elsewhere. Kids these days may take blogs, originally WebLogs, for granted but I was writing my essays long before the blog form came around.
One of the reasons I have so many blogs is that storage has become cheaper and more reliable. With my old KIM-1 machine, using audio cassettes, loading a file or program would typically take nearly half an hour with a probability of about 80% that the information could be read. My Sinclair computer was about the same but the tokenized instructions made recording and playback faster and the sorter wait times improved recovery slightly.
All computers were pretty crappy back then, before floppy disks. The 5.25 inch floppy disks were pretty crappy, too, and the 3.5 inch floppies were better. Then the standard configuration evolved to one hard disk and two floppy disks on each computer. You could back up your hard drive onto many floppies. There was even a slight chance that you could recover the data back to a hard drive when you had to replace a hard drive. The problem was that technologies changed, making the stored data incompatible. Hard drives uaually lasted three to five years, eight if you were extremely fortunate. Two or three times per decade you lost everything. That's just the way it was.
We faithfully made our back-ups and grudgingly accepted it when everything was lost again. We got into the habit of leaving clues, breadcrumbs, about how to recover out data when a system went south.
Why do we need breadcrumbs? Audio tape cassettes were big enough that you could stick a label on. There were specialty labels you could get for both common sizes of floppies. Memory sticks and memory cards are too small to write on. Hard drives and the Cloud cannot be labelled. If you ever want to restore your data, you have to know where to look for it and what to look for.
Today I had a small victory in finding essays I thought had been lost. A few weks ago, I had a breakthrough in my ideas about how we invented language. I have tried explaining my ideas. That language was invented to allow us to think less was depressing. That almost nobody can understand my explanations is frustrating. I have a lot more work ahead of me and I am poorly prepared to carry it out. Seeing how I thought of the problem two decades ago and how my ideas have evolved may help a bit.
I get good ideas. Things that feel obvious to me often seem invisible to others. I thought at first it was just that I wasn't very good at explaining things. Now I see, more and more, that the problem is not entirely with me. There are many things in my theories that others, by being human, have trouble with. My ideas are not novel or unique. I have seen most of them mentioned elsewhere by others, others who did not realize their importance.
I have a new mantra: Avagat karaana. To make aware, to spread or share awareness. The language is Hindi, the national language of India, a language I don't know yet.
But I'm working on it.