The Crash!

I just endured two surreal days because my computer hard drive completely died on Monday afternoon. Totally unrecoverable. If we weren’t near a huge business city like London, I would never have been able to be up and running so fast; I had a new drive installed on Tuesday afternoon and I installed the new operating system and all my files by early Wed morning.

I did lose photos from July and August and parts of my current projects for my magazine client. (I’ll be in re-do mode on those for a few more days.) Fortunately not the Cornwall photos; I had just made a DVD backup of all of them!!

In a bizarre way I’m glad the hard disk finally failed. It has been acting strange ever since we bought it last December (it was a used refurbished), blacking out every so often for no reason. But until now I at least had a way to start it up again. I still love this laptop (Powerbook G4 17″) and intend to keep it as long as I can. I’ve been on the Mac for nearly 20 years with never a failure, so I got complacent about getting a real backup program going. Needless to say we have just got one. No way I’m going through this again, that’s for sure! But I have always been pretty good about saving things to my other disks, otherwise I’m sure I’d have lost a lot more. Plus I had had to backup and copy everything just to come over here. Most everything I needed was on my external backup hard drives or on original install disks.

Tuesday, dealing with the crash, was THE strangest day. I HAD to get a working computer ASAP because I was right in the middle of 4 print jobs with deadlines. (Last resort was going to be to buy a new one!!!) Plus I can’t believe how isolated I feel without the computer as my window on the world and personal data center. I didn’t even know what day it was because I don’t have a paper calendar!

The nearest Apple Store that had an opening to talk to a “Genius” tech person in the morning, was in a town called Milton Keynes. Was about an hour and a half drive north and east of here. So I drove there and they confirmed the hard disk was utterly dead. If I gave it to them it would take at least a week to replace the disk. We were prepared for that answer so while I was driving there, Paul was on his computer at work looking for Mac computer repair and data recovery places. When I called him to say there was no hope of getting anything off the disk, we decided I had to go into central London right away. I called a place he found and if I could get there before 4pm they could replace the disk while I waited!

We worked as an amazing navigation team to get me to London from Milton Keynes. First, to the MK train station. We have this Garmin SatNav portable nagivation device, so all he had to do was give me the postal code of any place I needed to go. I drove to the station and parked and made the train. Was about a half hour train ride to Euston Station on the north end of London. I had to get to the South Bank, across the Thames near London Bridge. While I was on the train, Paul had found a bus right at the station that would take me to the neighborhood of the repair company. That was faster than taking the tube and got me close without walking as much.

I got on the bus and when I got to the stop I typed in the company post code and walked with the SatNav 2 blocks and found the place. I had made it there with an hour to spare! Fortunately the weather was drop-dead-gorgeous so I didn’t have to do all that in the rain. The bus was a London double-decker and I at least got to sit in the top deck and see the scenery. Took my mind off the freak-out problem of the dead computer a little bit.

Then I had to re-trace the whole route and ended up back at Milton Keynes about 5:30pm. I got home to Maidenhead about 7:30, and spent until 1am reinstalling everything to the new computer disk, getting internet back on, etc.

I was fairly tense about doing the whole odyssey by myself in London. But thanks to the wonders of technology, namely the cell phone and the computer and the SatNav, it was perfect. And now I no longer have any inhibitions about taking on central London on my own!!

It sure doesn’t feel like September. Living here seems so outside-of-real-time, that I get a little shock whenever I am reminded about an annual-something going on back home, like the NFL season starting. The leaves are starting to turn here.

Well, back to work. Just to make things more intense, we’re going to Malta in less than 2 weeks! I still plan to post some photos of our week in Cornwall here as soon as I get time. It was just wonderful, what a dreamy place and such a very special holiday!