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It’s Been a Week

December 1st, 2007 · 3 Comments · Journal, Macintosh, Meta, Tech

Been quiet around here lately, you might have noticed.

For starters, this past week I was on deadline with a Web content gig for a local university, which I actually really enjoyed (nice people, and interesting content to work with, which always makes the editorial work easier), but the turnaround time was v. short and we were coping with a glitchy and not-so-user-friendly content management application. And then the university’s data center shut down completely on Tuesday, so we lost a whole day from our schedule. Fun times!

That alone would have been enough to keep me from posting much this week.

But then, also on Tuesday, I was treated to the complete and sudden death of the external FireWire drive that has been my main hard drive for the last year, ever since the internal drive in my four-year-old iMac failed.

The external drive, a Western Digital “MyBook,” lived less than 16 months before spazzing out completely. DiskWarrior is able to see the disk and recover most of its files, but it’s beyond repair and the problem is mechanical, not just scrambled directories or something, so it’s pretty much R.I.P.

Western Digital? You people are dead to me now. That’s the shortest lifespan I’ve ever experienced for a hard drive. I don’t care that it looks like a pretty hardcover book sitting on my desktop if the blessed thing shuffles off its coil after less than a year and a half.

I’m someone who lives pretty much my whole life on my computer, so for me losing access to my files is a little like what driving people go through when they suddenly lose their car.

Last year after my iMac’s hard drive died, I had to try to piece together all my files and data from various backups. I eventually recovered most if not all of it, but the process was stressful and laborious and as I said elsewhere, the whole experience was a little like having a large piece of my brain removed completely for a couple of weeks, and then eventually returned to my skull after having been sauteed with mushrooms and an assortment of fresh garden herbs.

Now, a year later, I’m looking at another serving of fresh scrambled brains. I get to live through all that data drama again, with less resources.

What I really need is a nice shiny new iMac to rebuild my life on, but it’s going to be a while before I can afford something like that.

In the meantime, I still have the MacBook I bought last year, which is what I’m working on at the moment, and thank heavens for that. But I’m cut off from all my files, email, etc. until I have time to start piecing it all back together here on the laptop.

I’m not sure how long it will take me to get back up to full blogging speed, but with a little luck from the tech and work gods, I hope to be able to post some things here soon.

At any rate, I’m grateful to all of you who still click on this thing every day or every week — I know you’re there, Sitemeter can hear you breathing! — even though my posting has really slacked off this fall, between the move to the new apartment and Now. This. Travesty.

Well. Keep on believing, and hopefully Ocelopotamus’s tiny, faltering light will flicker back into life …


3 Comments so far ↓

  • jim s.

    oh great, this makes me feel great, as someone who has just purchased a new-for-me 4-year-old imac, and whose external hard drive is a couple years old as it is. fortunately i live by the written word and everything i do has a pretty short shelf life — if its on the hard drive for more than a few months, then no one is buying it.
    the thing that really freaks me out, however, is that increasingly i buy music over the internets so if i lose that new melissa etheridge album or that handful of barry manilow tunes i’ve downloaded [you better be laughing WITH me], they’re gone gone gone, unless i make sure to save what i buy on CD. which really kind of defeats the purpose of doing all this virtually – like printing out a copy of everything you write, in case you lose it.

  • Ocelopotamus

    Jim, speaking as someone who lost fifty bucks worth of music from the iTunes music store because I crashed before I even had time to burn it to a CD, I’m through buying music in download-only formats. I need a physical CD as a backup, and if I have to wait a few days for it to arrive in the mail, so be it.

    Oh, and that particular crash? It corrupted my entire iTunes library. Fortunately I was able to pull most of the music off my iPod, so I didn’t have to re-rip all my CDs, but it reinforced my sense of the value of having those CDs.

    Meanwhile, I do recommend backing up anything you’ve bought from iTunes to CD as soon as possible.

    And hopefully you’re using that external drive to back up all the files from your iMac, right?

    Yes, be very careful with that four-year-old iMac. In my experience any computer more than three years old should be considered geriatric and unreliable, and backed up as obsessively as possible. You never know when they’re going to check out on you until the moment they do.

  • Aaron

    What’s this external drive you speak of? Isn’t it OK to just Xerox everything and keep it in boxes?

    Jim, I’m laughing, and not with you…:-)

    Just kidding! I have 4 Richard Harris CDs, so I’m not one to talk. (Especially since I had those same albums on vinyl growing up.)