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When an iPhone / iPad note gets deleted: What to do

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This is a post for writers like me who use Notes app in the Apple iPhone and iPad for creating content. I want to share my experience of what do when disaster strikes while you are using this app; when your podgy fingers delete the note by accident. This nightmare happened to me only today and I am so thankful I was able to prevent major disaster; of my precious Note being destroyed once and for all.

When this sort of thing happens, it’s reassuring to remember that losing a master-copy of a manuscript is a blunder which has befallen even the greats. I read J.G. Ballard (High Rise, Crash, Empire of the Sun and more) dropped an entire novel in a canal; a work by the Sage of Shepperton gone to a watery grave. And then there’s that scene in classic British T.V comedy Blackadder, when Baldrick throws upon the fire the one and only copy possessed by England’s most distinguished man of letters, Dr Samuel Johnson, of his ground-breaking new dictionary.

As far I am aware, there is no way to recover an Apple Note when it has been deleted. Please correct me if I’m wrong. So the stakes are high. Also, if your Apple devices are synced, then what is deleted on one device shall be deleted on the others. This really has the potential to become a car crash which keeps getting worse; as your mistake on one device multiplies on all the others and your Note is wiped.

When this happens, there are only seconds to act to save your Note in jeopardy, as the syncing process is mercilessly quick. Rapid action is required to prevent your work from being permanently erased forever and ever, Amen. What happened in my case was that I deleted by mistake a Note while working on it in the iPhone. I spent a second staring open mouthed at the screen at what I’d just done. Then my survival instinct kicked in: ‘I must save this work not just for my own sake, but for the sake of millions of readers and for literary posterity!’ Yes, indeedy.

So, what you must do at once to save your work is: CUT THE INTERNET CONNECTION to your device. Like, straight away, without any delay. In my case this meant switching off the Wifi by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. I guess in the case of devices using cellular networks, it’s necessary to go to Settings > Mobile Data, to cut the connection. Whatever the route, just do so pronto.

What cutting the internet connection does is to prevent your horrible error from spreading to the Notes app on your other Apple devices. In my case it meant my mistake remained confined to just the iPhone and the contagion was unable to spread. My relief was truly unbound when I checked my other device and found my Note still present. I still felt relieved hours later.

Of course, this fix is only a fix if you possess more than one Apple device. I understand it may be possible to recover deleted notes using the iCloud, but not everyone (ie: moi) is savvy enough to have synced to the cloud, or even to know the cloud is a thing. I guess the best tip of all is: DO NOT USE THE NOTES APP FOR WORK YOU CARE ABOUT. That’s the lesson I’m choosing to take from this drama.

P.S: The Note I deleted by mistake was a 6,500 word thing which comprises my ongoing effort at writing some kinda story. I do have hopes for my half-formed baby: 1) that it will trigger a million pound bidding war between prestigious publishing houses for the rights, 2) make me so rich I can retire, 3) capture the essence of being human in an inhumane world which contains all the conditions for becoming even less human-friendly than ever before, (4, and most importantly) that I may say of it: ‘that’s a piece of me.’

What I’ve written here is only my experience and there are almost certainly other, better ways to deal with the crisis of deleting a precious Note.


‘The Soul of Corporate greed’ – Ready Player One fan fiction

Ready Player One is a great modern sci-fi novel which I loved reading in just a couple of days. I’ve written this piece of fan fiction about the story’s arch villain, Nolan Sorrento. Ready Player One is a classic tale of good vs bad and as usual, it’s the baddies who get all the best lines. The set-up is a search for an ‘Easter egg’ of ultimate power (not a chocolate egg) which is hidden somewhere inside a fully immersive virtual world called the OASIS. Much of humanity spends all day inside this OASIS simulator cos real life sucks so bad (I do enjoy dystopias, though I wouldn’t like to live in one). SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this unless you don’t mind discovering how Ready Player One ends. My story is Sorrento close up, in the first person. And he ain’t happy.
Hope you like.

‘I am Nolan Sorrento. I’d say call me IOI-655321, but that would be inappropriate at present, for a number of reasons.
You may know me as the chief operating officer of Innovative Online Industries. More likely, you know of me from the hunt for Halliday’s egg in the OASIS. If so, then you will definitely know of me from what happened as a result of the search for the damn thing. But actually you don’t know much at all, so allow me to fill some gaps.
You saw the news feeds. I have. It is not pleasant viewing. It cannot be denied that the egg hunt did not progress to the advantage of my employer, or myself. I haven’t plugged in to the OASIS since I was abruptly escorted from the haptic chair in to a police car by two officers, at the exact moment of our defeat. Since then, I’ve not had the desire to plug in and anyway I could not do so, as my movements are somewhat restricted at present by my detainment at a police station. Yes, fate is a strange mistress.
My own status is currently, shall we say, unresolved. It is true I am no longer in possession of the senior ranking you know me to hold. My employer has suspended me – on full pay – pending the outcome of a criminal investigation in to three ludicrous allegations: that I masterminded a large explosion which resulted in a large number of deaths, also that I ordered the murder of an individual who tragically plummeted to his death while on a balcony and also that I planned to kill at least two others. It will be a miracle if I am convicted of these preposterous allegations. I look forward to resuming my work at IOI soon.
Now then, I know what is the common view of me among you bovine masses who today plug in to that online utopia, the OASIS, to hide from reality and escape the inanity of your lives. I know about your hatred and disdain. I do not cower before it, nor from you insects. You hold no power over me because you mean nothing. Never did and never will. You think I am a devil at the controls of a demonic company that nearly succeeded in kicking over the virtual sand castles you’ve all made inside the OASIS? We wanted to – heaven forbid – make some money from the thing. Money which could pay for your jobs, pay wages, increase prosperity in the real world. If you have a problem with that, well then you’re the dangerous one, not me. Yet somehow it is a fact that today the mob is happy with the state of things.
Today the OASIS is in the hands of a bunch of sanctimonious young worthies – Parzavil, Artemis, that lot. They all have more money than sense and think that throwing cash at problems is the solution. Everyone outside their magic circle is reduced to the status of their client, merely quarry for these uber privileged kids to feel good about themselves by donating to ’causes’ and ‘charity’. And you all are expected to be grateful! Let me tell you these elite-level busybodies really turn my stomach. Well you are welcome to it, I hope you like it. You can’t say you didn’t ask for it. It certainly is a PR victory by them on a massive scale and the IOI communications team could learn from it, for future reference.
We at IOI know we face a challenging public relations environment, but I don’t believe we deceive anyone; we are simply an ambitious company willing to do what it takes. Let me reveal what society has missed out on, with the result of the egg hunt. Had IOI been victorious – and everyone knows I tried my hardest – then the OASIS would have become a type of upmarket resort; somewhere you go to recharge and refresh, ready to return to the real world with renewed vigour for the challenges at hand. There are enough of those, aren’t there. Jobs at the Grand OASIS Luxury Resort would have been created for all levels of player. Your online earnings would have been convertible in to real world money; increasing real-world wealth and your personal prosperity, let me remind you again. Sounds good? That’s because it was.
Open your eyes. Humankind has not benefited one iota from the result of the egg hunt. This is obvious to anyone with eyes who lifts up their OASIS visor and looks around. Parzival has not liberated you all from the clutches of some dastardly ‘Sixers’. What he has done – along with his accomplices – is condemn millions of people in the real world to continued dependence upon a part time paradise. What of all the players who supported him by showing up at the crystal castle for the final battle? I’m talking to you. Are you wealthy now? No, you are where you always were; hooked up in your silly suit pushing around thin air in your basic home, while the counterfeit reality of OASIS thickens like concrete around your soft minds. In what kind of world is this outcome a common victory? Serfs.
I can’t finish without pointing out the role an influential and responsible individual had in this whole mess, someone who’s shown himself to be a real low quality person. Yes, I will name names: Ogdon Morrow, OASIS co-founder. He should know better. Morrow should have known better than to aid and abet the lunatics in seizing control of the asylum. He should have seen clearly that success for IOI was synergistic with his own publicly stated position on the OASIS. He was a critic of what it had become. My victory – my employer’s victory – would have unleashed change upon that place. But this person opted for the easy route – to be popular. It’s crystal clear now that to Morrow nothing matters more than rolling back the (several) decades by spinning tracks at a virtual nightclub. Truly desperate stuff. In the final reckoning, this pensioner has shown himself to be nothing but what he always was; an approval-seeking PR man.
But now I really must stop. The lawyers are waiting, another meeting beckons and I’m back in my element.’