The book is no longer. It was coming along nicely – albeit slowly – when a few months ago I stupidly allowed a ransomware virus into my computer. I say stupidly, but in my defence, the virus came ingeniously disguised in an authentic-looking email from Australia Post – with whom I had been corresponding that very morning.
The moment I opened the email, every single document and image on my computer (going back over thirty years); both password-protected external hard drives and two on-line back-up facilities were encrypted. The next instant a message popped up on the screen advising me of the lock-down and that if I paid six hundred and something dollars in Bitcoin within twenty-four hours, I would receive a password to unlock my files. After that period, the ransom would increase to thousands of dollars.
A quick Google search returned one key piece of advice: Do not pay! Apparently few, if any individuals have ever received the requisite password to restore their files. I contacted the local Spotty Youth who said he’d have a look at my computer and drives, but in his experience, all was lost.
All was lost. The typescript is gone – even from the so-called protected drives and on-line storage. The only images I have retrieved are the few “in-the-white” and “polished” pictures I posted on this blog to accompany the completion of the first four chests. A friend had the bright idea that my camera’s memory card might contain the missing book images. Ironically, the card had reached capacity days earlier and consequently, the images had been uploaded to on-line storage for safekeeping.
I’ve been mulling over the options since the event and short of remaking the first four chests – which I’m not in the least inclined to do – the book, as intended, is a complete dud I’m afraid. I may still put a book together solely on what was to be the fifth chest in the original book. It’s a very fine mahogany chest and if I brush up on my descriptive writing, it should be possible to address many of the historical developments and techniques I no longer have detailed images of.
Every Sunday morning I now back everything up to a couple of 512GB flash drives and put them in a drawer when I’m done. Technology!