Wednesday 8 September 2021

Conversion 1400 g to 28 Kb

 August was busy like a hive is busy. We had almost the whole descendant family present at the same time for about a week and various lesser permutations for pretty much the whole month. There isn't a whole lot to do on the farrrm unless you're driving a tractor or chain-saw, so Dau.I and TGWIH graced us some time acting as catalysts for a significant de-cluttering. Actually much more than catalysts - they kitted out with gloves, overalls and Rosie-the-Rivetter bandanas and shifted a lot of boxes. None of those boxes went back indoors at the same weight. There's a certain amount of self-interest here because in 2019 both Dau.I and Dau.II came with me to England after my mother left for a nursing home and a life-time's matèriel has to be rehoused. They've seen what decisions have to be made when under the cosh of time.

There is no point in keeping books which I'll never read again; and every time we go through this exercise the bar for worth keeping is raised. Not only books but papers. The precious collection of scientific reprints upon which my PhD thesis and subsequent research was based? All gone! Ten years ago The Boy asked "These scientific papers, hm? If you wanted to read them again, they'd be available somewhere as a PDF, yes?"  They have indeed all been digitized. But the real point was to reflect on the likelihood that I would every need to read this old paper again when there are prairies of new things to think about. Last week I came across:

That's the 1990s in promotional wall calendars! High quality stock, glossy pics, room to record appointments and meetings. They've weathered a damp shed for 20 years with only a little mildew - but they're no longer pretty . . . or current. So I spent an evening transcribing the information into a multi-tabbed Excel spreadsheet. Each year is a sparse matrix: a lot of days when nothing particular happened. So 1.4 kg of card-paper has been converted to a searchable archive with a file size of 28 kilobytes. 
Every month for a couple of years in the early 90s I attended the C.U.C. But I had to sleep on the problem to remember that it was the Computer Users Committee rather than Credit Union Clondalkin. I am baffled as to the identity of several of the people with whom I had a power-lunch 25 years even now that I have their names. And really, if the Excel file corrupts itself, these data are of no interest to anyone. Nobody is going to write my biography! 

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