23 August 2006

Save Reflexes

Posted under: at 02:49

No, I’m not talking about D&D here. It is about my tendency to save frequently when working on something, usually way too frequently.

When I was a kid, my high school teacher gave an assignment which require us to make a writing in print. Most of my friends would do it using typewriters. But because I had this old trusty IBM PC/XT, I’d do it using computer. No problem said my teacher, “Computers would be fine.”

It wasn’t an overly long assignment, but past halfway there the power went out and so there goes my work. Today, saving a simple document will only take a blink of an eye, and we won’t notice anything, but at that time saving could take a few seconds and we couldn’t do anything but wait until the saving is done. However, a lesson has been learned: save often, save early, even if it was a torture to wait a few seconds on each save.

Saving early and saving often has indeed saved (pun intended) my sanity on a few occassions. Saving often become religious doing to the point my friends often noticed the habit and asked me about it. My answer usually was in the line of “Saving often will save your life.”

Several years later, computer hardware has vastly improved, but unfortunately not with software quality, with regard to stability, at least. Operating systems crashes every time with no apparent reason. Ditto with most applications. That would mean only one thing: more reason to save often. But at least saving were no longer a torture: we had this fast hard drives and multitasking operating system, yay! Not only that, we had uniform way of saving. It was a blessing, almost all applications would use Ctrl-S or Alt-F-S for saving. And with that, my frequency of saving increased, to the point that I would save after every sentence, or less.

Several months later, most applications started to introduce this very useful feature: automatic save. That would be lessen my burden of saving right? Wrong! Saving has become a reflex. It is my way of life. I wouldn’t feel very comfortable if I didn’t do Ctrl-S or Alt-F-S myself. Had I let it save by itself, somehow I would feel the document would get eaten by some power unknown to me.

Today, we have UPSes, and even notebooks computers are equipped with batteries. Power failures is no longer an issue, batteries will give us plenty of time to save in the event of power failure. Operating systems and applications are very stable. We can let them run for months and it probably won’t crash. And applications still have this auto saving feature. The odds of losing the next paragraph is essentially nil. And yet I couldn’t let this habit go.

When I was writing this blog post, I probably had hit this ‘Save and Continue Editing’ button for at least four times, even if the odds of losing this post is essentially nil, and even if it would cost me Rp 100 (more or less) every time I hit the goddamn button.

Every file in my Eclipse workspace has local history consisting of revisions only seconds apart. What’s the use of that?

I probably hit Ctrl-S, Alt-F-S, :w more often than any other key combination in my whole life. Today, they probably waste more time than they save. Is there a good way to get rid of this habit?

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