You might recall, if I bothered to mention it (I’m not going to go back and look) that I had some trouble with the hard drive in my laptop back in November. For a couple of days the machine would not run at all. When I fired it up the drive just went clickety-clack, clickety-clack, while the screen showed the “I’ve got no hard drive” icon. Finally I figured I had nothing to lose and hit the computer firmly five times. Zing! The drive jumped to life and worked perfectly. I didn’t lose a single byte of data.
I said to myself, “Self, next time that drive takes a powder, percussive maintenance may not work. It’s time to get a new drive.”
On a sunny Friday afternoon in April the drive went clickety-clack again. I didn’t even bother to power it down, I just smacked it a good one and it started to work again. For maybe five minutes. Another whack, a little more time.
I keep pretty well backed up all the time, but it was time to devote myself exclusively to scraping every one and zero off the old dog and onto my external drive. I also have backup software that is all about putting things back where they used to be, so after I copied all the except the system folder onto the external, I created an additional backup using the backup software. Those, combined with my usual Internet backup, had me backed up out the wazoo.
On the weekend there was no getting a laptop drive here in the Czech Republic, but the old drive was hanging in there. Sunday I did a little bit of work, always knowing that at any moment my computer as I knew it could simply cease to exist. Monday morning I updated the backup made with the backup software and bought a new hard drive. What has followed has been the long and arduous task of getting things back the way they were. I loaded the operating system without any problems, then while the updates loaded over fuego’s Internet connection with agonizing slowness I reinstalled the backup software.
“Software installed successfully,” the window proclaimed, only… it wasn’t there.
Backup is a free program for Apple’s .Mac customers, and it’s worth every penny. I have given up submitting reports of grammar and spelling errors in the user interface (Spelling! In a product from a multi-billion dollar company.). Then there’s the fact if something goes wrong while you’re backing up you stand to lose your entire archive, and you’re certainly not going to restore anything until you redo the backup successfully.
I have no idea why the first attempts to install the software failed – this was about as clean an environment to install to as you could possibly imagine – but finally I futzed around and got it installed – mostly. While I was connected to the Internet it would try to read my archives up there and crash. There was no way for me to tell it, “Hey, screw the Internet, I’ve got a disk here.” Launch, read internet archives, crash. Great software design there, guys. I get the feeling Apple just paid some guy a six-pack to throw a backup application together that took advantage of their web services.
All right, so the easy way to restore wasn’t working out so well, so I’ve been doing it the slow, difficult way. My external drive kept seizing up reading one particular file, which made my life really friggin’ swell, and moving gigabytes of data around just isn’t a speedy process. Things will be better when I’m done – I downloaded newer versions of several programs I use, and there’s a lot of junk that is still tucked away in the backup that I will likely be able to delete.
So now I’m back. My plan tonight is to crank out several pent-up blog episodes, so by the time you see this there will be a veritable deluge. That’s how it goes in the blogosphere. Feast or famine, baby, feast or famine. I will be writing them here in a little bar, so perhaps you will be able to watch the evolution of my writing ‘style’.