A Cup of Perspective

As I typed away on my trusty, dusty, highly abused laptop, I decided that it was time so save what I had thus far. Command-S

“An Error has occurred. You can not save to this disk. It is either full or you do not have access.”

Hmmm. That’s not good. I try saving a different file in a different program and the same error appears. This is not good at all.

I’m a Mac guy. I love my MacBook Pro and schlep it everywhere I go, pretty much. I’d be lost with out it. The various arguments both for and against Macs take up an indecent amount of space on the internet and amongst various geek gatherings and I’m not about to get into it here. I don’t consider my self to be a Mac “Fan boy”, but it’s the system that I’ve used for much of my computerized life and therefor, is the one that I’m most familiar with. There are plenty of very good PC’s out there, I’m sure. I just want nothing to do with them. I like my Mac.

So, a little while ago, I decided that the hard drive I had was far too small. It was time to upgrade. I purchased a new, larger and faster drive, broke out the hex drive screwdrivers and prepared to void a few warrantees. Within minutes, the new drive was in and the old drive tossed into an enclosure in preparation of having its brain sucked out and transplanted onto its new, bigger home.

It won’t surprise you to know that this didn’t work out the way I planned. Eventually, I pulled the new drive back out and put the small, difficult but full of my stuff drive back in.

Apple has this little program that you can run called “Fire Vault” and it is, to put it simply, a piece of crap. The idea is a great one. What it’s supposed to do is encrypt your data to keep bad guys from getting your stuff if the machine is stolen. I keep bank info and customer’s credit cards on my laptop so I thought that this might be a good idea to use. The flaw comes into play when you want to copy your old drive to a new one. Fire vault, apparently has a bad reputation for not shutting off correctly and leaving your data encrypted. This is what it did to me. Luckily, I’m pretty fastidious about backing up but this was still a major pain in the butt. I called Apple for help and the very nice level two tech whom I was talking with told me, “Oh, I wouldn’t use Fire Vault if I were you. Everyone here is scared of it. No one uses it. It’s too dangerous.” Talk about your ringing endorsements.

To make a long and painful story far, far shorter, not only did I have massive trouble retrieving stuff from my old drive but eventually it stopped letting even me look at my files, or save anything else to the disk. Great. A reboot of the computer and it locked me out all together. It has been about three weeks since my last back up, so there that goes out the window.

So, rather than being a productive little worker bee, I spent much of my day screwing around with putting the new drive back in and trying to reconstruct everything I lost as best as I can. I was not enjoying this.

When I got home that evening, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one having a less that stelar time. Lulu Belle was in the the snittiest of snits and trying to make her happy was supplanted with trying to make her stop crying until she pukes. She was over tired and grumpy as grumpy gets. Eventually, I managed to get her upstairs and into her bassinet and relaxing to some degree. If I sat there and left a hand on her, she seemed to calm down. The problem was that this gets pretty boring very fast for the human pacifier. I cast about for a book within reach and managed to snag one from a dusty pile.

For those of you who might not be familiar with Eric Sloane, I highly recommend that you take a moment the next time you find your self in a library or book store. This is a man who loved what he did and did it well. Eric had a passion for old New England and the ways that things were done. At a time when everything was changing fast and the old ways were being lost, he took it upon him self to go out and chronicle what he could find before it was gone forever. His research took him to farmhouses and covered bridges, barns and churches and with his amazing talent for pen and ink drawing, sketched out what he found. Where he could, he talked to the oldest of the old timers and found out the secrets of post and beam construction, building the best root cellars, when to harvest what and which tools to use. Tools, in fact, were a particular love of his and he reveled in finding some strangely shaped saw designed for one type of cut only or a axe built for specific use.

As I sat there in the fading light, hand on my now sleeping daughter’s chest, I thought of how It’s nothing short of fascinating when we look back at the evolution of technology. In 1809, the cutting edge was just that, a sharper axe with a better blade that made your work go faster and easier. A broken handle was a decent equivalent to my toasted hard drive. Both stopped work cold and destroyed the day’s productivity. Technology might make our lives easier at times, but when we rely on it and it fails us, it upsets our world terribly.

The difference, I guess, is that I can’t go carve a new drive from a near by ash tree.

7 Responses

  1. My sympathy, empathy, and whatever other kind of writerly support I can render, is yours! And I was just complaining about how slow my little Dell is, and scheming about how to find the money for a MacBook Pro. Which I’m still doing – I’ll just watch out for the dangerous software. Hope you recover most of your stuff. Kerry

    Thanks Kerry!
    It’s inevitable, really. When I get hired to put on my “Tech Hat” and play system administrator, the first thing I do is ask about backups. You might or might not be surprised to find out that most companies have little or nothing in the way of emergency plans. The line I always use is, “WHEN your hard drive fails, (because it will, they all do), what will you have left? That usually scares the poop out of them and they listen very carefully about what to do next.

    All in all, I love my MacBook Pro and I think it’s totally worth the money. Other will dispute that, but don’t trust them. They are cyborgs bent on your personal destruction. πŸ˜‰

  2. I think that many of us don’t see ourselves in a historical context and we neglect to document our time.

    I was reading an omnibus of travels in America written by people from about 350 to 150 years ago and what pained was, that most of them didn’t describe life around them but harped on about how other people irritated them or the bible.

    One account was written by a woman kidnapped by Indians in the 1600s after a raid on her farm. All she wrote about was her faith and what a bunch of savages her captors were. As a historical document it wasn’t very interesting as it told us nothing about the Indians and their way of life. It was a very frustration read.

    Hmm. Sounds like it.
    It’s funny. What we think is SO important at the moment rarely holds up over time. However, the mundane, day to day tasks of an era can be very engaging when viewed through to glass of a hundred years or so. I have a very warm place in my heart for the old ways of doing things and try to use it to connect with those people who have come before. The best illustration I have is a set of tools that belonged to my Great grandfather and another that belonged to another Grandfather. I cherish these and though they tell me little about the men, when I use them I can feel them near by. History can indeed be very personal.

  3. …Command-S (woot! a Mac guy!)

    Tuesday I couldn’t load a PDF joboption preset into InDesign CS2 because I didn’t have write privileges to that folder. huh? I loaded it into CS3 fine, why wouldn’t I have write privileges into the same CS2 folder. Mr. TechGuy fixed it after about an hour of fussing with it. I had, by sheer stroke of luck, snagged him in the hallway (totally circumventing the required call to the company’s no-help-desk, in a land far, far away, that shall remain nameless) and after we were both locked out and were required to call the no-help-desk to reset my password. He finally listened to me when I insisted that we needed to find the folder it was trying to write to! oy.

    TimeMachine. by Apple. totally saved my aunt’s data after their computers were blown up by a lightning strike to their cable line. Insurance covered the replacement cost of their brand new machines, they plugged in the old drives, voila! back in business! Not sure that it has firewall protection, though.

    ‘…prepared to void a few warrantees.’ snicker, snort, LOL! You did mean that to be funny, yes?

    Ugh! I used to be that tech guy! What an awful job. I always felt like I was playing favorites. Probably because I was playing favorites. We had some people who were very knowledgeable and proficient with their computers and when they needed help, you know that they had exhausted their own bag of tricks before asking me. I appreciate that and always told them so. Then there were the others who were forever spilling coffee in their keyboards, using their laptops like binders (closing the screen with a stack of papers on the keyboard), or my personal favorite, the woman who routinely had in excess of 45,000 emails and all their attachments on her machine, thus crashing it fairly often. Those people I tended to spurn and let soak in the mess of their own making. Not a big karma winner, I’m sure, but I’m only human. Well… most of me is. There might be some cyborg in there too at this point.

    I need to set up Time Machine, pronto! I’m waiting to hear about a new job I applied for and if I get it, I’m getting the family a Time Capsule. At this point, we need it badly. Too much data to loose. I just wish it came as a RAID 5 option (Yes, I’m that geeky).

    As for the warrantee voiding… Oh no. I meant that! I refer you to my favorite t-shirt…


  4. I love reading accounts on how people lived in a different time than ours. Along the lines of razzbuffnik, I love reading journals from people describing daily life’s trials and tribulations. Old newspapers from 100 years ago are pretty interesting too, if you can find them in the micro-fiche section of libraries. I solved a few mysteries about my hometown this way.

    note: computers are a bitch! fine until something goes wrong and then all hell breaks loose!

    I have a real love of past times. I have a small selection of newspapers from the turn of the last century that I keep safe. I love pouring over them from time to time. Oh! look! An article on polar exploration by zeppelin!

    As for technology biting you in the butt from time to time, hoooo yah! I remember one time being at the checkout counter in some store just as the power went out. The kid behind the now very dead register looked panicked as I handed him a $20 for an $11.23 purchase. I had to show him how to count back change. He had no idea what to do. I’d like to think that most folks would have been able to do this easily, but I don’t like to lie to my self either.

  5. Love the t-shirt. Must keep that in the back of my head for H.

    I know you meant the warrantee voiding, but in a funny way? I hope? Otherwise it will be hard getting home from work today, what with the foot in my mouth. It made me laugh.

    Anything for a laugh!

  6. I used to know the inside of these Mac things (knew my ‘II si’ really well, but the tech guys have locked us out of areas where we can cause trouble so, not so much anymore.

    Hey! I had a very beloved IIcx that got me along for quite a while. Ahhh, remember the fun of OS 8? No… Neither do I. I did perfect the art of cussing with its help, though!

  7. I luuv my MacPro πŸ˜€ Wouldn’t dare to mess with the insides of it though, more than to add a memory chip or something, (got 5 gig already, to the amazement of my techie friends, what the heck do I need all those RAMs for? πŸ˜€ )

    Had a Mac for 20 years, now, got my first one with my boyfriend – who ended up being my husband and still is. Been through Mac Plus, then the LC, PowerMac 5200, the Cube and now the Pro. A couple of laptops too, MacBook and PowerBook. Yay.

    Wow! Now that’s some product dedication! I’ve loved them ever since the days of the little beige box with the itty bitty screen. I loved those!

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