Monday 5 January 2015

Diary Troubles

    For some unexplained reason, I have felt a need to document things that happen in my life.  That is the reason I have always taken a lot of photographs, and in 1973, when Joan and I moved to Canada, I began keeping a diary.   It was a habit that I kept for 30 years until 2003, when I retired.  Most of those daily notes were kept in picture calendar books as shown in the photo above.
    In 1999, I decided to get modern so instead of using a book, I began to record the day’s events on the computer.  It was quick, easy to edit, and legible.  In 2003, all my documenting began to fizzle out, but the digital diaries remained on my computer.  I sure didn’t want to loose them, so I made sure I had them backed up whenever I updated my computer.
    It was a nasty surprise to discover that when the Mac went to OS X, that Apple began using a new format for their writing program.  For years, they had used Claris Works, or AppleWorks, then suddenly they changed to Pages.  Apple had always been very good to make sure that documents made with their old programs could be imported in to their new software, but that didn’t happen with the introduction of Pages.
    The other day as was trying to organize the thousands of photos that were on an external drive, I discovered those digital diaries.  I could not open or read any of them.  It was a depressing thought that unless I found some way to open a .cwk file, all that writing effort would be for naught.  I did a search on the internet hoping to find some solution to opening an old .cwk file, and somehow getting it into another format.
    The search came up pretty negative, but one person had made a comment about a program called LibreOffice, that was a free download.  I had nothing to loose, and so I downloaded it, and amazingly enough, it opened my diaries, and allowed me to change them to a .docx file which I then could open in Pages.  So for now at least, my digital diaries are again readable.
    All this made me think about modern technology, and how there can be a severe price to be paid for ease of use.  That price can be the complete loss of important data as software updates and changes.  In contrast, all of those old diary pages that I did on paper with a ball point pen are just as readable as they were when I wrote them, and I didn’t have to do anything to read them except open the book.

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