I can, at times, be a person of extremes. Whilst, for example, I’m in my element surrounded by technology and all the innovations of modern life, I can be equally at home and content completely cut off from the world, without any mod cons whatsoever. Give me a wooden shack in the woods, a fire to cook over and a running stream of clean water and I’m just as happy as I am surrounded by technology, hooked into the .net and able to order in food and supplies, delivered direct to my door.
However, there’s a time and a place for everything, and I’m certainly not so good when one extreme juxtaposes itself upon the other. The last thing I want to intrude upon a quiet retreat in the countryside away from the rest of the world is the sudden interruption of a mobile ringtone, or the sound of music blaring out from a parked car. Similarly, suddenly being plunged back into the dark ages whilst in the midst of surfing the web, or deeply embroiled in Photoshop is not something that I react particularly well to… And that’s exactly what happened to me this week.
When things go wrong, it’s always at the worst possible time – (see Seren’s 9th Law) – and on this particular occasion I happened to be thoroughly engrossed in a fiendishly difficult section of a building project – the sort of bespoke component requiring weird angles, odd alignment and freakish prim torturing to achieve the desired result. If ever there was a moment requiring utmost concentration, this was it. This was also the exact moment that the power went off!
Any other day, that would have been incredibly irritating, but not disastrous since this is one such contingency for which I’m always prepared – however, things weren’t to be quite so straightforward on this occasion. As planned, the UPS kicked in, stridently beeping to alert me to the need to save all my work and shut down in an orderly fashion, before the batteries were spent. Unfortunately, it seems my luck wasn’t in, and I found myself faced with that depressing message: ‘Firestorm appears to have crashed’. Curiouser and curiouser… Not only had I lost power, but I’d also lost my internet connection – somewhat weird, since my router is also supplied by the UPS, to cater for just such an eventuality – but there it was: Nothing. Faced with few other options, I had little choice other than to shut down and put it down to experience.
Much later in the day, I discovered what had happened – not only had my power supply, with that of around a thousand other households, died but so too had the supply to my ISP’s exchange – not really something you either expect to happen or generally tend to cater for.
And what of my build? Well, I wasn’t at all worried – one of the rather more friendly aspects of SL is the way in which content is stored server-side, sparing me any fears that my work had been lost, databases had been corrupted, or any harmful side-effects of my local issues would have manifested themselves. My inworld bits and pieces would be exactly as they were when I was summarily summoned back into the real world, and no harm would be done, it’s perhaps one of the most reassuring aspects of our virtual environment. All too often we find cause to complain when an asset server takes a dive, inventory fails to load or the occasional ‘no copy’ item disappears never to be seen again, but these really are few and far between, and we seem to ignore the huge benefits of having the content of our virtual lives securely and safely looked after on our behalf. Much as I’m really not a fan of ‘The Cloud’ – I do like to retain ownership of my data, rather than entrusting it to a third party – there are some occasions when such an arrangement can pay dividends.
Sure enough, no harm done, other than my slightly frazzled nerves, however I’ll still be exporting my build once it’s completed. After all, I’m not even going to trust Linden Lab with my masterpieces… What if they were to sell up to Micro$oft or something, or – perish the thought – suffer a power cut?
She’s in a family full of eccentrics
She done things I never expected
And I need more time
Oasis – She’s Electric