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One Cobble at a Time

Adventures in Computer Hardware

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Adventures in Computer Hardware

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responsible woman

Last Thursday I uploaded the final files for The Body Politic to our printer in China. When I clicked to close the ftp program I noticed that the machine was behaving oddly, like it had to think extra hard about what to do next. I use this machine all the time and I could tell something was significantly wrong. Sure enough, halfway through the back up process it failed completely. Diagnostics at JPL Computers have diagnosed a hard drive failure. No data is retrievable from the drive.

Hard drive failure is never good news. Yet, as with Howard’s recent hard drive failure, this one happened as conveniently as possible. I was in between projects and in a schedule lull. Reconfiguring my computer was not how I wanted to spend this week, but at least I have time for it. Also, in the wake of Howard’s computer failure, I stepped up my back-up habits. They’re pretty good. Most of my writing in progress exists in dropbox where I still have all of it. Using my back up drives I’ve been able to switch most of my processes over to Calcifer, who is supposed to be my writing machine, but he’s been great about stepping up and handling business tasks for me. My desktop machine has been out of commission for almost a week and I’ve been fine.

Later today or tomorrow the desk machine will come back to me with fresh new drives. I’ll have a clean slate on which to install my programs. In some ways that appeals to me. I like having things be organized and new. Unfortunately then I’ll begin to discover the gaps in my back up processes. I know that there are pieces of data that I will need which I’ve missed. There will be some things I’ll have to re-create. Yet I don’t think I’ll have lost anything that is worth a $1500 drive reconstruction to get back.

The most astonishing thing about this adventure in hardware failure is that I haven’t panicked even once. This is the sort of event which is tailor made to send me into an emotional spiral of doom, sure that everything will fall apart. I did have a moment of shock “Are you sure it is the hard drive?” I asked twice, as if I could make the answer be different just by wishing. But after that moment of disbelief most of my reaction has been to shrug and get to work putting things back together. The story would have been quite different if we didn’t have the money to get the new drives, if I did not have a laptop that could be re-purposed for a few days, if I hadn’t been using dropbox as a storage medium for my writing, if I hadn’t run a bunch of back ups last week, if the timing had been different. So many ifs. I’m grateful that even with a bad thing so many good things fell into place.

Comments are open on the original post at onecobble.com.

  • As you reinstall your basic programs and such, may I suggest you check out ninite.com? It's generally the first place I go when I purchase or build a new computer. Basically, you go through and select each of the common free programs you would normally have to install individually on your machine, the site creates a single installer for them, and does it for you. It's been wonderful. And, if you keep the installer it made and run it a few months down the road, it will update each of the programs for you to the latest versions. :)
    • Ninite is one of my favorite places right now. Howard used it after his crash and I used it with mine. I should write a post detailing all the businesses that have been extremely helpful lately.
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