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From the Editor

The thing with technology is that it's great until something goes wrong. I think that's because when something DOES go wrong, we realise how little we know about it. At least, that's what happened to us. And it didn't take long to realise we were up that well-known creek, not only without a paddle but with the current shoving us in the opposite direction.

This is what happened: one day, after days and weeks and months and even years of uneventful technological use, the back-up drive on my computer refused to load. Now, this was a problem for a number of reasons, the main one being - the main one at the time, anyway - that more than half the Winter magazine had already been designed and all the material to finish it, plus all those designs, was on the back-up drive. And since it refused point blank to load onto my computer, I couldn't access anything.

I wasn't overly worried, since I knew we had a system called Data Raid, which has something called mirrored drives, which means that the four - yes, four! - discs in the system ALL store our data, the theory being that if one drive fails, the other three step into the breach. Of course, it's unheard for all four drives to fail, hence the user - which would be me - feels justified in believing they have a superior back-up system for their business.

Except... When the drive failed to load, I called the local Apple technician. He declared the power board dead and remarked that unfortunately, our particular Data Raid unit was no longer available. If it WAS available, well, then all we would need to do is remove those four discs, insert into a new unit, and Bob's your uncle. But since it wasn't available, no amount of Uncle Bobs could help us. He took the unit away and promised to work himself to the bone over the weekend to retrieve the data.

On Monday morning the local Apple technician was back. He had managed to retrieve the files for the Winter magazine, so we could carry on working while he restored the rest of the data. Phew. I downloaded the files and opened one of the design pages. Well, I tried to anyway, but as luck would have it, every single one of the files in the restored folder was corrupt. Who would have thought?

So now we had a slightly bigger problem than originally anticipated. No access to anything and a magazine to put out. Fortunately I still believe in printing everything out, so we did have a paper version of most of the work. What we needed was the world's fastest typist, so we called in mum. We gave her maybe 40 pages of editorial content and said, Please can you type that in the next couple of days. Fortified only by a cup of tea, she sat down and started typing like a woman possessed.

Next we needed to relocate all the images for the editorials and adverts. This is where technology really helped, because in the old days they would have been transparencies that needed to be rescanned (hours and hours of work), but today everything is electronic. And I file all my emails, so all I had to do was go back through, oh, maybe 20,000 emails and find everything I needed. Well actually there really are 20,000+ emails but I didn't need to go through all of them. I just said that for effect. Anyway, we gradually compiled all the material back together for the magazine and started redoing all the designs.

Meanwhile, the local Apple computer guy admitted defeat. He didn't know how to retrieve the data and he suggested we prepare ourselves for having lost everything. WHAT!!! This is on a foolproof back-up drive where we have not one, but FOUR discs all supposed to be holding our data. How could it all have gone? We refused to believe it, mainly because if it was true, we no longer had a business. I'm not being dramatic - literally everything we do is on that state-of-the-art but somehow totally useless back-up drive. There must be someone else who can help.

And of course, there is. They were in Sydney, so we packed up the discs, kissed them goodbye and sent them by overnight courier to the best in the business. But just like when you go to a specialist instead of your GP, they cost a lot more. Let's try, oh, about $8000 as the quote. Yes, you read that correctly. The cost of retrieving the data from a data retrieval expert - should it be retrievable - was going to be $8000. It was about now that I began wondering if I should have become a data retrieval expert.

So our choices were: Admit defeat, save $8000 and close the business; or agree to go ahead with the data retrieval (not guaranteed, by the way - anything could happen with those mirrored drives), put the Winter magazine out albeit a few days late, and then spend the next three weeks wondering how to raise the money to pay the experts.

Since you're reading the Winter magazine, you already know we've chosen option B. It requires enormous intestinal fortitude for three weeks, because we don't actually know what the experts can and can't retrieve and so we really have no idea what the outcome will be of this little event. Other than if we DO get everything back, it won't be saved on a Data Raid system no matter how many mirrored drives it has. And we need $8000. Which is where you come in.

You know how the internet is full of those inspirational sayings about rising from adversity? Well I think there's something to it. Because the day after we discovered the cost of the data retrieval, I woke up and thought: What if we make something of this? What if we tell everyone what's happened, and offer them an amazing deal on something we have to sell? So that's what we decided to do. We have around 250 copies of the 2017/18 edition of the Carter Sisters Handbook and Price Guide sitting in a storage unit here in Coffs Harbour, and we want to sell them. We also have about 40 boxes of Collecting on a Shoestring and we really want to move them, too. We want the books to pay for the data retrieval, which means we have to sell a lot of them... and so we've decided to make them a price that's almost impossible to refuse.

We're calling it our Data Disaster Sale and it will never, ever be repeated (see above re: mirrored discs etc). From May 27 to June 14, we're selling the aforementioned Price Guide for $39 (plus $10 delivery) and Collecting on a Shoestring for $10, or if you're really keen you can get them both together as the Data Disaster Package for just $40 (plus $10 delivery). They are rock bottom prices because we really do need to raise the cash... and we hope you'll think it's a good enough deal to jump online at www.acpp.com.au and make an order, or call us on 02 6691 3980 and place an order over the phone.

And in the meantime... what a great magazine we've pulled out of the hat! From our exclusive cover story on Australian toys and a gorgeous feature on Charles Schneider, to advice on collecting vintage tools and chicken collectables... it's been a hard slog this issue but it was completely worth it. Happy reading.

Julie Carter
Editor, Antiques and Collectables for Pleasure & Profit