My husband and I love those shows where they throw a guy out in the wilderness and he shows how to survive in seemingly impossible situations. The more I watch them, the more I realize that I likely will never need to survive in the Sahara or the Sub-Arctic. I do however find myself feeling on an almost daily basis as if I've been cast out into a strange world full of obstacles to tackle and unknown creatures to cope with. This will be the chronicle of one woman trying to survive the jungles of parenthood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Parenting in the Digital Age

     I know that generally speaking, electronics and software aren't thought of as necessary baby equipment and really that's true but I have to say that I love knowing that I have literally thousands of pictures to capture my daughters' first years.  Especially since for some of the weeks in those years I was in such a haze due to dealing with the everyday needs and desires of two babies spaced a mere 14 months apart, one husband who was just as overtired as I was, one severely displaced dog and myself that I don't totally remember all that happened during those vital, growing months without looking back at the pictures.  There's no way I could have amassed such a record of their babyhood without a digital camera and a fair share of the disk space on my computer. Thanks to the miracles of modern technology though we have those beautiful (and some less beautiful as I'm by no means a professional photographer) images.  Also thanks to Google's Picasa software (which you can download for free, I highly recommend it) I can find what I'm looking for in the multitude of shots.
     There is a downside though of having the precious pictures of your children preserved as a tiny bit of memory in a chip somewhere, they're way to easy to lose! I was deleting some duplicate pictures off our camera card the other day from a few months ago that had already been transferred from the card to my computer but never were removed.  Our pictures from the Fourth of July were still on the camera and had not yet been moved over.  I bet you can guess where this is going.  Yes, I deleted one of the new ones.  In fact, it was one I particularly wanted as it was a picture of Sugar gazing up at the fireworks in nearly the same pose that she was in while doing the same on her first Independence Day two years ago.  I was so bummed out.  I had only taken the one shot of that so there wasn't even a similar substitute. 
     Then I thought to google whether there might be a way to restore the photo.  Sure enough, I found lots of people wanting me to pay them lots of money to get my picture back for me and in amongst the ads was a blog post pointing to a free software download specifically for restoring pictures on camera cards.  I figured for free, it was worth a shot.  It took a while for the software to run before I could go in and see what it had found. Wow, was I impressed with the results! It not only pulled off the picture I was wanting (the last one to be deleted from the card) but also all the pictures I'd deleted that day and pictures that had been taken and deleted over a year before (the earliest was from when Sugar was about 7 months old) that hadn't been overwritten yet.
     The software is available free for download here at snapfiles.com and is very easy to use.  Neither I nor my avast! antivirus software noticed any weird tagalongs when downloading. (I love that my virus scanner sounds like something a pirate would say almost as much as I love the fact that it runs much smoother than my old McAfee did.) It does suggest not taking any more pictures on the card or messing with the data until you've run the software so that you don't overwrite the photos you're hoping to save. I would suggest making a new folder for the restored photos so that you don't have to sort through them to find the one(s) you're looking for as you never know how many deleted photos may be lurking around on your disk and it's much easier to delete the duplicates after pulling the ones you need if they're all contained.
     Since accidentally deleting photos is one of those things that is likely to eventually happen to any of us that use a digital camera I thought I'd share my new found trick and suggest that you bookmark either the download page or this post so that if you someday do the same thing, you'll be able to spring into action and save your shot. Now if only I'd known about this back when I mistakenly erased the pictures of my great-grandmother's 95th birthday from my mother's camera card.  (Yes, I really did. Yes, I still feel awful.)
     And now for the picture and couple more thrown in just for fun and grandmas. (Grandmas always want more pictures.)

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