My hard drive suffered a fatal melt down last week. I woke up on Friday morning to find my screen holding fast at 1:18 a.m. and my 6:30 a.m. alarm telling me it was time for class. The laptop's fan was almost as loud. I shut down, restarted, nothing. A gray screen, a file folder with a blinking question mark. My computer was checking its own vitals, looking up at me and reporting, "We aren't detecting any brainwaves. The patient is not responding."
Attempts to revive the disc failed. Neither a laptop nor an external port could recognize the bits of metal that used to contain 60 gigabytes of my personal data. A technician at the only Mac repair shop in town left the drive in his freezer overnight in a last effort. No good.
And, before you ask, I did not have a good set of backups. I was sorting photos to move them onto other formats when this happened. It was the equivalent of my virtual house burning down. Among the lost items: 20 gb of photos, including those from a trip through California, my first year in China, last January in Korea, my trip through Southeast Asia in February; videos of the same trips, video interviews for a project I never really got going on why people come to China; an interview with my grandparents, recorded just before I left for China.
That last one just plain hurts.
Two bright spots:
- I bought an AppleCare plan with the computer, which was probably the smartest thing I did last year. No cost for service, even in China.
- Over the past year, I've posted, blogged, emailed or otherwise shared a great many of my photos, videos and documents. Those are still in email accounts and online, so I'm mining those databases bit by bit to recover what I can.
This whole mess has in some ways reconfirmed that I need to be more disciplined about posting. Backups are great, but those fail, too, as another friend found out this week when his portable hard drive fell off his desk. The safest place to put data is many places.
Now, I only have what I've shared.