I am a bit neurotic when it comes to my digital existence. I expect a little bit too much out of my devices from time to time. Sometimes this is just because I feel like something that costs several hundred dollars ought to fulfill the purpose for which it was purchased. Sometimes, though, I am lulled into the trap of trusting my devices to behave and paying for it when they don’t.

My digital neuroses are sometimes severe, and they are legion, but one of the biggest is Saving My Work. I developed the habit to hit the ol’ CTRL+S just about every sentence while writing papers for school. Even as the software slowly began to improve, I kept my hand poised to tap out that quick key combination that commonly served to save me a ton of time when things went awry.

Recently, though, I have gotten out of the habit by evolving my process, mostly in the form of using text entry applications that autosave as neurotically (or at least as often) as I once did. I have a preferred app on my iPad that does this (Daedalus Touch, which backs up my document to Dropbox about every five seconds, near as I can tell). I often use Write or Die when at the computer, which saves to a predefined directory as I type away without having to think about it. Google Drive is a good option when those aren’t available, because it’s always saving.

Any self-respecting text entry app will always save, even if the document in question does not have a title. Right?

Well, maybe that is right, because I’m not sure that Office for Mobile, as ‘featured’ on phones running Windows Phone 8 has any self-respect. It’s a barebones app with an unintuitive interface. I would not have used it if not for the minor convenience of saving to Microsoft’s proprietary cloud service so I could transfer it back to someplace I found more comfortable.

I left the app with the words I had written on my story in tow in the phone keyboard’s clipboard, curious to see how many I had hunt-and-pecked away (by pasting it into a website that counts words) without explicitly saving the document. Only later did I realize that this meant the document was discarded.

No problem, I thought, I will just paste the text from the keyboard and be on my way.

After about thirty minutes of enraged web searching did I discover that WP8 deletes the clipboard when the phone starts to idle. It does not even have to go fully off, simply having the screen dim due to inactivity is enough.

I hate losing progress. I HATE IT.

I have learned that this is one of my biggest anger triggers in video games. If I just pulled off a Hail Mary move to beat some challenge that has eaten up the last several hours of my life, and then the game console bugs out before the checkpoint hits… well, I don’t advise being within a mile or two for the next few hours. Some games simulate this experience by forcing the player to go through a grueling set of hard-ish challenges before actually getting to try the hardest bit over and over, meaning I only get to practice the final section one in ten attempts. Similar temper-flaring occurs.

It is worse when I lose progress on my writing, which is why I am normally so careful about redundancy and instant backup.

The words I wrote on my story may not have been amazing, but they were functional for what I was trying to accomplish. And now they’re gone. I suppose in theory that information cannot be destroyed, but what good is that information floating somewhere in the universe if I can’t access it?

I suppose the lesson is a reminder to make sure that I am always saving, but it is also an indication that Windows Phone OS sucks and I hate it forever. Wait, I’m supposed to be mature here and gain some insight to life… Er…

Yeah, I got nothing, folks.

Life lesson unclear; ask again later.

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