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Marg-Ins - Best Laid Plans
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Technology is tremendous.

Except when it doesn’t work.

Then it has the capacity to turn a normal day into a nightmare and totally disrupt what you were going to do.

Case in point, I had planned to write my column about Homecoming and how those Friday night football games that cap off a whole week of fun are such an integral part of our local communities. Escalon celebrated with a football win on Sept. 19; Oakdale goes for the Homecoming victory this Friday night, Oct. 3 and Riverbank has its fall Homecoming fun next week, with the big game on Oct. 10.

Thursday, however, came and changed all those plans because the card in my digital camera decided to somehow corrupt itself and my daughter’s phone followed suit and did the same. Possibly her issues were helped out somewhat by a recent fall the phone took, unfortunately hitting some unforgiving pavement. But that’s not entirely to blame; a cracked screen she could deal with, it’s when the display starting tweaking out like it did a couple of months ago (without a drop) and we had to get it replaced that we knew it meant another trip back to the store for help.

So with apologies to local Homecoming festivities, technology – or lack thereof – wins out for this column.

Just to put it in perspective, the card I speak of for my camera has been used for literally thousands of photos. It is in and out of my camera with astonishing regularity and is well traveled, having been utilized for many years under many different conditions. Say in the course of a ‘normal’ week I go to a pair of sporting events, two or three activities at local schools, get my Athlete of the Week photo, cover a community event, etc.

We are talking a good 300 to 400 photos a week, taken over the course of two to three days, downloading the card after each day’s photos are done, roughly anywhere from 85 to 110 photos each time, just to get a handful to use each week in the paper.

How I can take 110 photos at a soccer or football game is beyond me but it happens. Everytime. Maybe it is because we are digital; when we used film back in the dark ages and had to develop the negatives and choose the prints, it was a lot more time consuming so we made sure to only take the ‘good’ shots at events. Plus you had to be frugal, on film you couldn’t review the pictures on the spot and dump the ones you didn’t like; you kept them all. It behooved us to take fewer pictures.

So this is not a lightweight card. It is heavy duty. And maybe it is just tired. Like the camera. And me. The card just had the good sense to say “I quit” and take a break. But that sparked panic when the photos I took – and had seen when I previewed them in the camera – were locked on a card that was trying to self-destruct.

Some of the photos could be set up and taken again, but some were the spur of the moment pictures I took during the Thursday morning rainstorm. Can’t really get that particular moment in time back.

I enlisted the aid of co-worker Virginia Still to help; she has a trouble-shooting background in this stuff – and I managed to hijack at least half her day on Thursday and a portion of Friday as well, trying to extract the photos.

Of course there is a technologically advanced, downloadable software program out there for just these types of emergencies and hopefully that will help us get the pictures back. As our deadlines go, I am writing this column before I know for sure. As you read it, you will know – if my rain pictures are in the Escalon paper this week, the technology worked. (BREAKING NEWS – at deadline, we were able to save ONLY the rain photos. And one of my cat lounging on my computer. Don’t ask. The rest were corrupted. Sad sigh.)

As far as my daughter’s smart-when-it-wants-to-be phone, another new one is on the way and we are wondering if this is a problem with this particular model, since (according to the professional tech geek we talked to) the digitizer is failing and that was the problem with her first one. Either way, she went into a minor panic about losing all her stored data – primarily photos, which obviously chronicle her life and can’t be recreated – and music, which she could download again. Our helpful and friendly geek advised us to not only use the ‘cloud’ –which, apparently you can buy more space on, who knew clouds were for sale? – as well as backing everything up to a computer.

Again, technology coming in to save the day on the one hand, while it is failing on the other.

She decided to back it up on a computer since she has almost filled her cloud and didn’t want to purchase more space at this time. So she is keeping her fingers crossed that all her data stays safe, especially when the new phone comes in and she has to turn in the old one, everything but the card.

Which hopefully won’t corrupt itself between now and then.


Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.