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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-02-25 20:16
Subject: [personal|tech] Big trouble in little China
Security: Public
Location:Omaha
Mood:very pissed
Music:hotel noises
Tags:madness, omaha, personal, tech, travel, writing
I experienced a disaster of miniseries proportions today. (It did not reach epic status, thankfully.) I had slept much of the flight CHS-DFW, then did about another hour of crit on the Potlatch workshop stories. On the ground in DFW I did a bunch of ratkilling, posting, emails, etc. Pretty close to boarding time for OMA, the Mac started throwing the beachball cursor all over the place. I wound up doing a hard shut down via the power button.

It never came back up.

On landing in OMA, I used Google maps on my Treo to locate the Apple dealer here in town, then phoned them for a Genius Bar appointment. They were very nice and fit me in almost immediately. I postponed dinner with garyomaha and elusivem and headed way the heck out to west Omaha (170th and Dodge, basically).

Diagnosis quickly confirmed my hard drive was hosed. They recovered some data to my memory stick, and replaced the drive under AppleCare at no financial cost to me. I have good backups at home, and my data loss is quite minimal, albeit impossible to restore here while I am travelling. I'm currently running with the factory disk image of OS X 10.4, without my Microsoft Office suite, without any of my bookmarks for my morning blurgroll, and without any of my files.

I lost the Potlatch crit (about 2-3 hours of effort so far). I lost some recent audio.xml work (easily recreated). I lost 4-5 hours of editing time on Madness of Flowers. And while I'm supposed to turn the book in at the end of this week, I'm not sure how I'm going to edit it on this machine. Probably I'll recover the file from Gmail, convert it to .rtf on my Dell, then edit that in TextEdit. But cripes. Cripes cripes cripes cripes.

A huge fricking hassle. I had to drive all over town in subfreezing weather with 30 mph winds and blowing snow. I was 2+ hours late to dinner, never did run the errands I needed, and my entire writing week is disrupted. Plus limited to no link salads since I'm missing my usual bookmarks.

Still, Time Machine has all the core data backed up at home. All my important drafts are in my Gmail archive. I just despise the hassle and the lost productivity, and the fact that this will knock my deadlines back. As I said, a disaster, but not of epic proportions.
Post A Comment | 27 Comments | | Flag | Link






David D. Levine: pensive
User: davidlevine
Date: 2008-02-26 04:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:pensive
Yuck. Condolences.
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calendula_witch: demon
User: calendula_witch
Date: 2008-02-26 04:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:demon
Gahhh technology. So sorry.
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Andrew
User: carnwrite
Date: 2008-02-26 04:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, man. What a nightmare. Did you have any intermediate saves on the memory stick?
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-26 13:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yah, I'm fairly well covered. Except for the Potlatch crit, which I simply hadn't gotten around to moving to the stick yet.
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catsparx
User: catsparx
Date: 2008-02-26 05:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You poor darl. Sympathetic hugs from me.
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Kristine Smith: apple
User: kristine_smith
Date: 2008-02-26 05:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:apple
::shivers::

How old was the Mac? Any previous symptoms?


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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-26 13:28 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
MacBook about a year old. No previous symptoms until it began beachballing like a maniac right before it fell over.
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threeoutside
User: threeoutside
Date: 2008-02-26 05:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sorry for your troubles. I was out in that mess today, too, and *I* for one, plan to go to work (in Lincoln) late tomorrow to let the Big Twucks clean off the interstate for me.

Despair not; you've got a good assortment of backups and a good memory and you're adaptive. A mere hiccup in your progress. Really. You'll catch up Just Fine. I have confidence in you!
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User: n5red
Date: 2008-02-26 05:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Install Linux.
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Zachary Spector
User: blackmonkeymage
Date: 2008-02-26 06:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
He said it was a hardware fault; what good would Linux have done?
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-02-26 11:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's best to pretend the Linuxoid comments just don't happen. :)
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daveraines
User: daveraines
Date: 2008-02-26 05:25 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ouch. I hate that - hate having to recreate a crit or a bunch of edits, thinking all the while "this was MUCH better the first time"! (However, it's worse having to recreate a creative first draft.)
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brni
User: brni
Date: 2008-02-26 05:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)

so download NeoOffice for a bit more functionality and the ability to keep things in .doc format.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2008-02-26 12:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What He Said.

Also: there is a trick (on Macfixit, I think) whereby you can clone an image of the Leopard install DVD, partition an external hard drive into two non-equal-sized partitions, and blast the install DVD image into the smaller one. You then use the big partition as a Time Machine backup on the road. In emergency? Boot from the install DVD partition, and it'll give you the option to "restore from Time Machine backup".

This is *my* emergency on-the-road solution. Bigger and more fragile than a memory stick (I carry one of those as well, for essential files), but at the same time, it's belt'n'braces insurance against a hard drive meltdown.
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martyn44
User: martyn44
Date: 2008-02-26 09:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Obviously we haven't been assimilated yet. Sorry about the inconvenience, hope normal service is quickly resumed.
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User: csinman
Date: 2008-02-26 11:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What a nightmare.

Hopefully your pulsating megabrain will remember most of what you did, so redoing the work you already did will be faster the second time around. (That's been the case for me when I've lost data in the past, and I don't even have a pulsating megabrain.)
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-02-26 11:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay - did they give you the hard disk back? There are sometimes ways to recover 'faulty' hard disks, and technicians are sometimes quick to judge them so. You can shove the drive onto a USB caddy, and put it in as an external drive. You can also do things like refrigerate the drive if it is doing that 'ticking' thing... I have a whole process of steps that don't take too long in an email, should it be worth your while. Understand if you just want to get on with rewriting, of course, but just let me know if you want the email.

CB
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-26 13:16 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Chris, I appreciate that, but I didn't think to ask for the disk back. Due to my layered backup strategy, I've only lost about eight files in total. The problem right now is that I am not home to restore my disk.
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User: ex_chrisbil
Date: 2008-02-26 13:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cool, no worries. I should really work on my backup strategy, to be honest. For someone who's seen these things go wrong so often, I'm really bad at backing up methodically. It's stupid of me.
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Patrick Nielsen Hayden
User: pnh
Date: 2008-02-26 11:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If your Word files are available to you in GMail, you should be able to open them directly in TextEdit, without going through the step of converting them to RTF on your Dell. (Unless you were using Office 2008, which I doubt.)

Time Machine is great, and if I travelled as much as you do, I'd use it on the road as well as at home. Buy yourself one of those pocket-sized external drives that powers itself directly from your USB port--I've had good luck with the durability and compactness of the LaCie "Mobile Disk," although there are plenty of others--and plug it in whenever you're working at an actual desk or table.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-26 13:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yah, that lack of Time Machine on the road has been revealed as an error in my process. Thanks for the tip on .doc -> TextEdit, I simply didn't know that.

And I think I'm going to buy a sufficiently large pocket drive.
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justinbarba: 1955 Cadillac
User: justinbarba
Date: 2008-02-26 18:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:1955 Cadillac
Well, your technical difficulties caused me to back up my stuff this morning, so thanks.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2008-02-27 02:57 (UTC)
Subject: maybe I ought to go do my overdue weekly backup...
Argh. Much sympathy. I had my first hard drive crash a year and a half ago, exactly one month after I bought my first flash drive and backed up all my essential files, including seven unpubbed manuscripts (yes, I was living dangerously -- I'm not anymore).

Somebody up there was watching out for me...
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Autopope
User: autopope
Date: 2008-02-27 13:04 (UTC)
Subject: Re: maybe I ought to go do my overdue weekly backup...
Back when hard drives were expensive -- £250 for 20Mb springs to mind -- backups were something you did manually onto floppy disk (oh the agony!) whenever you could be arsed spending an hour or more at it.

But these days £250 will get you a terabyte of RAID storage with a big-name badge on the front, and a cheap external 2.5" drive to carry with the laptop costs a quarter to a third of that, and we have decent software solutions. If you only want to backup your working files, 1Gb flash drives to go on your keyring are cheaper than a hardback novel and copying enough files to fill it over USB 2.0 takes five minutes in the background while you work on something else. There's just no excuse.

Edited at 2008-02-27 01:05 pm (UTC)
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nomissnewo
User: nomissnewo
Date: 2008-02-28 05:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Do you use google docs? Would make a good back-up system, i think, and very easy to update live documents and save them in seconds
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2008-02-28 12:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I haven't actually tried them yet. Maybe with my next short story project, just to see.
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