New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla says she understands -- now -- that she should have paid more attention to the high-pitched squeals her computer was making a few weeks ago before her hard drive crashed and her data was lost. Looking back at the experience, she says losing parts of her past has actually paid off. "Most of what I had was the sort of forgotten stuff that once would have ended up in a dusty corner of the attic, festering in boxes for future generations to either add, out of guilt, to their own ever-growing tar ball of junk ... or throw away," she writes.

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