More Tech Meltdown

So a week ago, we had the meltdown. Well, it’s not over.

After realizing that the hard drive rescue only showed us that the drive is really dorked and will require a reformat. In order to save the files, a very very large hard drive would have to be purchased. So that was on the To Do list for today.

However, most important was taking care of the yardwork. The lawn hadn’t been properly cared for in a couple of weeks, because when you have a weekend like the last one, you don’t have the time or emotional energy required to groom the yard. I did spend some time with the dog listening to “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” a few times last weekend. I think it worked, because he’s spending a little more time with us. Chuck is particularly fond of the reverb on the snare drum and how they eq’d it.

Also on my To Do list was migrating 3hive away from the beta software we were using to publish the site. I did a test on this site late last night and it seemed to work, so I figured I’d be safe. Why? Because I have balls of steel, that’s why.

We also needed to drive to the outlet mall 30 minutes away to get “outlet” prices on shoes for Leta. In her 18 months, these are the first pairs of shoes we’ve had to buy, because the world is full of nice and wonderful people who have given us shoes since before Leta was born. Thank you again, nice and wonderful people.

So my day was shaping up to be busy, if not hectic.

I took care of the lawn needs first thing, weed whacking the shit out of it, nay getting up in the veritable grill of the long grass. When Leta went down for her nap, Heather hit the gym and I migrated 3hive. I was using a PC to do it and the FTP app that I used blows, because the migration failed. I was nearly furious. After spending 90 minutes re-uploading and checking and chmod-ing, I was not able to log in, receiving a perplexing text error that nearly lead to the premature death of the PC. Heather returned and I left in a bit of a huff to purchase a hard drive while she slept/watched Leta.

Good news: Super Saturday Sale on Giant Hard Drives! 300 Gigabytes for $149. SWEET. Also checked out Apple’s new mouse with the nubby trackball thing. Pretty ok. No diagonal scrolling, so not so good for speed-Expose-ing (See “Using Gestures”). In my daily life, I use an awesome five-year old trackball that is huge and works very well with Expose. It’s also very similar in feel to the trackball used on many vintage video games. I grab a file with the lock button, whack the ball to a corner of the screen revealing all the windows, roll to a window and let the window flash and pop into focus then release the lock button. Boom. Speed drag n drop. The new mouse is more like stroll-Expose-ing. What are they thinking with no diagonal support? Can this be changed via software?

For the nerds, the new drive is a SATA drive, with accompanying groovy cable slots that meant the new drive took about 2 minutes to install, plug-in and format thanks to the very sweet G5 enclosure (yes, I know there isn’t nearly enough expandability in the enclosure, but have you seen the size of the heat sinks for the dual processors?). I did not partition the drive, as in the end, we’ll have two drives and we’ll make whichever one isn’t the boot drive the scratch drive. Also, we’ll have half a terabyte. I didn’t think we’d come to it this quickly, but drastic times, et al.

I had to watch Leta for a bit while Heather got ready for the outlet trip, and I filed a Help Ticket with Six Apart explaining my error message. I also sent an email to the 3hive posse, explaining that once again, it seemed as though technology was getting the better of me. I also set Disk Warrior to repair the dying drive and alerted my legal team.

We drove to the outlet mall, Leta being cute as ever when Heather broke out some cookies, Leta said, “Hey, yeah! Wow!”

Leta did pretty well at the outlets, but towards the end, we’d enter a store and she’d scream so I’d turn the stroller around and she’d stop the instant we left the store. Funny the first time, not so much the fourteenth.

When we got back home, I checked my Help Ticket and jumped on a Mac to do the FTP-ing. Fixed the error. 3hive is alive and well again. PC 0 Mac 1. Six Apart support = awesome.

I then checked the mothership computer to see how Disk Warrior was doing. Wanted me to copy files. So I did. 145 gigabytes of nearly a quarter million files. I’m told by the Mac OS Finder that such a copy will take 7 hours. I don’t believe it, but decide to let it happen while I add a little functionality to‘s main page and then retire for the night.

Some of the comments on the last tech meltdown post were along the lines of “I thought Macs were better than this.” If you use a computer from any manufacturer, it has a hard drive. This drive can and probably will fail. It can be any number of things that will cause the failure, the idea is that one is prepared for such an event. I’ve grown lazy in my data strategies as OS X has been so solid. Heather’s iBook is never down, save for system updates. One time, I did an uptime query on her old iBook and it came back with 98 days. It would have been longer had I not wanted to upgrade it so often.

For this most recent failure, I’d like to blame Apple’s lame security update, but I think the drive has always been wonky, and it just took the upgrade to trigger it. I’ve had two major hard drive failures in my life, one on a Mac and one on a PC. Both were catastrophic and forced me to lose a lot of data and work. Once this happens to you, you realize that the cost of the computer is almost negigible compared to the data it holds and you start to loosen up the money belt to cover your ass in the future.

In the past four years of using Macs, we haven’t lost any data, save what we might lose with this incident. Heather’s old iBook is waiting for me to decide if I’m going to try to get it repaired or not. If the repair is a few hundred dollars US, I might do it. Dunno. But the data is still there, waiting for us should we need it, thanks to FireWire and target disk mode. If Windows has something like this as part of XP, I’m not aware of it.

What are your favorite backup schemes/apps/practices?