One of those things that really bothers me is the concept of being forced out of a home. It’s never happened to me personally, but that doesn’t mean I can’t fear it. That idea works its way into more theoretical applications as well. Lately both my phone and my laptop computer have sent me messages saying there’s no more room in the inn. Now, dear reader, you may understand technology better than I (you almost certainly do), but I wonder just how much these weightless thoughts I store here can possibly tip the scale. I back up my hard disc weekly—there’s no telling who’s going to get kicked out when all the room is finally gone!—but when I open my space manager I find all kinds of things I can’t identify. Software that I’m not sure it’s safe to remove. I have no idea what the function of many apps might be. So I just start deleting.
And I keep deleting. I won’t touch my writing, however. It’s backed up on a high-capacity drive, but such drives fail. I want to keep a copy here on my laptop where I can reach it. The real problem is that this massive sorting exercise keeps me from doing the things that I’d rather spend my time on—writing blog posts, for example. How can I relax to do that, though, knowing that there’s no room to store them when I’m done? Why does iTunes take up so much space anyway? I feel guilty deleting anything from it because of all those warning dialogue boxes with their dire notes that this action can’t be undone. Occam’s erasure has its consequences, I guess.
I suppose this is related to my recent observations on how tech demands time. I’ve got some big projects going. One is to sort out and file all my browser bookmarks. They are embarrassingly plentiful. Then there’s the sorting of thousands and thousands of electronic photos into files. When I first starting using devices there weren’t enough pictures or bookmarks to worry about. Now each of these projects has been ongoing for months and neither is nearing the end. I’m old enough to recall when office supply stores sent catalogues (print catalogues, no less!) to my employers stating things like, “We’re in the midst of an information explosion. You should buy folders in bulk.” They meant manilla folders. Were we ever so naive? Now what about these ebooks that I also have in hard copy? Which should I get rid of? That choice, at least, is easy. Even my manger has room for books.