Adventures in Computer Hardware
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.
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