Permanence of Information

I freaked out. I did something really, really stupid and as such is the case whenever you do something like this, I had no backup. I deleted what are called the Style Sheets for one of my sites and unfortunately this site was very, very dependent on the information in this one file to appear on the screen. Without it, you get nothing and all my older versions of the site were previous to this redesign.
I started to sweat and started to get creative as one does in this kind of situation. Perhaps I can pull up an older version by going directly to the bit level on the server harddrive? Nope, no such luck because I actually overwrote the old file. Crap. Think creatively. Where on earth would an older version of this one particular file be? You essentially download the file when you go visit the site, so that means it could be in the cache of my web browser. Ah, how unfortunate I viewed the site in it’s new, crapped out format. But wait, I hadn’t viewed in in Explorer yet (I’ve been a Firefox for awhile now.) So let’s see, if we go in to Explorer’s cache… and yes, there it is, an uncontaminated form of the original file! After a short cut and paste, everything is back to where it should be.
This got me thinking about two things. First, I need to set up a script to back up my server on a regular basis and also that information really doesn’t ever seem to die in this day and age. This is why companies like a friend of mine’s that is an email shredder have gotten to be popular with those who don’t want their information to stay around forever.
I looked through GMail and it’s funny that they offer a “Delete Forever” button for messages, because even if you use it, they aren’t gone because you can pull them up with searches. So, anything you send on GMail really never dies out. Great… Is it a privacy violation? No, not really because you’re using their system and using it for free I might add. Would it ever possibly be used in a court of law if need be? Sure, why not. It just goes to say that the only thing really secure these days is a verbal conversation that isn’t recorded. The only thing that recall that is another person even though human memory is less reliable recording technology, albeit holds more creedence in a court of law.
I guess the moral is to watch what you do. Nothing ever disappears. Even this site is being cataloged by the Internet Archive as well as the older cached versions on search engines and will never die even if I shut off my server. Do I care? Eh, not really. I’m probably already on some black/watchlist somewhere because I work in computers, have artists for parents, and have visited a former Socialist country twice.