Yesterday morning, I lost more than half of the photos that I had taken since about March 20. The SD card I was keeping them on, before copying them into the photo archives on my desktop computer, suddenly wouldn't work any more. It's a Kingston brand card, and this will be the fourth Kingston card or flash drive that has failed me over the past two or three years. Be warned.
This time, something happened to the card either when I stuck it in or pulled it out of the old digital camera that I use most of the time. The file system got corrupted. I spent a couple of hours trying to recover the files that had been on the disk, because I didn't really remember what all was actually on it. I recovered some photos, but finally I just had to reformat the card and take the loss. The rest of the photos are history, except of course the ones I've already posted on this blog.
Speaking of history, one of the sets of files I lost when the Kingston card got corrupted was the partially filled-out French citizenship application that I've been working on, or thinking about working on, for the past few months, ever since we had all our birth certificates (ours, our parents') and other U.S. documents translated by a court-certified translator last fall. Luckily, I had backed up the application files to the hard disk on my laptop, so they weren't actually lost. I wish I had gotten around to backing up all the photos more recently than March 21.
Later yesterday morning, I thought I might as well fill out another section of the naturalization application form. It's eight pages in all. One page asks for my parents' and siblings' birth dates and birthplaces, as well as their current addresses. My father died in 1990. My mother is still living. I have just one sister. So that page was easy. Another asks me to give the names, addresses, and other information for all my children — but I don't have any. Easier still.
The next page was the hard one. I needed to detail my professional history. I am supposed to list all the employers I've worked for in my life (I'm 68 years old now), the jobs' start and end dates, what I did at each place, and my former employers' addresses. Wow! I got my first job in about 1964. I've lived in North Carolina (2 cities), Illinois (2 cities), France (4 cities), Washington DC, and California (2 cities) over the course of my existence, so you can imagine how many different jobs I've had (not being independently wealthy...)
The interesting part of thinking back over all the places I've worked and writing it all down was that I realized that very few of the companies or even institutions I've worked for since the mid-1960s even exist any more. They are nearly all "history" now. When I told Walt about it, he said: "Wow, you've closed down a lot of companies!" LOL.
Some of the organizations I've worked for do still exist. The University of Illinois, for example — I taught French language classes there for nearly a decade — and Alma College (I ran that Michigan school's study abroad program in Paris for a couple of years in the early 1980s). The Sorbonne in Paris, where I taught American history and language for a little while, still exists, of course. And so does the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, but it's no longer located in Paris, where it was when I taught English there, but in Strasbourg.
In the early 1980s I left France and moved to Washington DC to see what kind of job I could find there. I ended up being hired by CHM (you'll know who I mean if you've been reading this blog for a while) as his assistant in the publications department of the United States Information Agency. That agency no longer exists — it was absorbed into the U.S. Department of State years ago. I don't know what address to list for USIA, now defunct. I was a translator, writer, and editor there for a few years.
Then I moved to California, and that's where I really started closing things down. In 1987, I went to work as managing editor of a computer magazine, UNIX Review, that was published by a company called Miller Freeman Publications, in San Francisco. I stayed there only about three years — didn't really like the job. And now Miller Freeman is history. Gone. Kaput.
Next I went to work for a Silicon Valley software company called SPC (Software Publishing Corporation) which was a great place to work — I was a technical editor and manager there — for about three years. The company started falling apart because the end-user software business was being taken over by Microsoft and Windows — we did DOS software back then. I moved on. SPC went out of business two decades ago.
My next gig was for Apple, in the company's Claris software subsidiary, where I was hired as an editor, soon became a manager, and ended up as one of the company's directors, reporting to the vice-president for product development. Again, it was a great place to work, and I still have many friends who were my co-workers there.
I stayed at Claris for six years (to the day, it turned out) before getting laid off when Steve Jobs made a deal with Bill Gates that required closing down the Apple software business (Microsoft didn't like the competition, and at Claris we were producing software for both Macintosh and Windows). Claris disappeared as a brand in January 1998. I had been right on the verge of resigning when the lay-offs hit, and I ended up with a nice severance package. So I took a year off.
Starting in 1999, I had a series of jobs with smaller companies, including start-ups. My heart wasn't in it any more. I went to work for a company where several ex-colleagues from SPC had found work. That company was soon bought out by an outfit called Hyperion, which was eventually acquired by Oracle. The work culture changed, and I moved on. Other friends — ex-colleagues from both SPC and Claris — were working at a start-up (Extricity) not too far from San Francisco (an easy commute for me at that point), and they took me in as an editor in 2000.
That start-up was sold to a San Diego company and no longer exists. The new owners merged us into an established software company called Remedy Corporation. Then the San Diego company fell victim to a serious accounting scandal and many of its top executives ended up in prison. It went bankrupt, and Remedy went with it. Remedy doesn't exist any more, and neither does the scandal-ridden San Diego outfit, which was called Peregrine Systems.
Okay, so I closed down Peregrine, Remedy, Extricity, Hyperion, Claris, SPC, Miller Freeman, and USIA! When I was researching all this yesterday, I discovered that one of the companies or business units I worked in was finally absorbed by Hewlett Packard, but I can't even remember which one it was. In 2002, I resigned my last job in the U.S. (I wonder how many jobs I've resigned from in my life...) and moved to France. I hope I don't end up closing this place down.