Tag: tragedy

Recovering from Disaster

Some people may not call it a “disaster”, but in today’s digital world the loss of digital data, is in most people’s minds, a disaster. Loss of a carefully crafted music library is one thing, but what about family photos that can never be re-created, or the years of work invested in a dissertation? Obviously there is a need to safe guard this data.

The following is an account of my experience with my 15” Powerbook G4 failing 31 December, 2007. I awoke that morning not suspecting anything was wrong, looking forward to ushering in the new year, although not looking forward to ending my vacation. However, when I tapped my trackball to wake up the screen, I was greeted with… nothing. No response. Rebooting brought my computer back on, but things were not right. In addition to constant waiting for file system operations, some of my desktop scripts were yielding unusual results. Then finally it hung completely again and I was force to do a hard power-down. All subsequent attempts at booting resulted in the prohibitory sign (grey circle with a slash through it) appearing. It wouldn’t boot at all. My computer was dead.
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January 12, 2008

She's Alive!

I really don’t want to jinx it, but I’m going to start anyway. At this very moment, my laptop is (re)installing Leopard. Granted I lost the original hard drive in the process, but I’m just so happy to see her back up and kicking that I really don’t care. I just needed to buy a new hard drive, the one I found was 120 GB, 20 GB more than before. And thanks to Time Machine, I have everything backed up. One might say that a bootable version of my hard drive would be nice to simply restore, but I think that the clean install of Leopard will be beneficial in that it should be a bit faster, and this way I can bring over only those files I really need, allowing for a bit of house cleaning.

And after two years, things were getting a bit dusty in the corners. Unlike my Windows days, when I would re-format the drive after each term just to maintain stability, the Mac chugs on without complaint. Thinking back to my first Powerbook, which is still kicking, but ailing in several ways, there are probably files on there that haven’t been touched in close to five years.

But like my apartments and residences of yesteryear, I tend to accumulate a pile of junk which is never disposed of on my hard drive.

  • Applications which I tested and rejected.
  • A stockpile of short video clips which can be safely archived.
  • 40+ GB of photos which I have backed up to multiple DVDs.
  • Many, many other files, like old school files, etc.

Anyway, off to tend to my installation.

January 7, 2008

Laptop Update

Still dead. However, I have learned the following:

  • Resetting the PRAM and the NVRAM did not help.
  • I wasn’t able to boot from the CD or Hard drive even explicitly from Open Firmware.
  • I cannot boot from a Macbook Pro in Target Disk mode, although I can see the drive in my options.
  • The aforementioned MBP could not boot from my hard drive although it too could see it in the boot options.
  • Mounting my target disk mode Powerbook to the MBP would allow it to mount. I could access it from the shell (Terminal) and was able to list the root folder.
  • Navigating into the /System/Library/CoreServices/ folder, I verified that BootX was there.
  • All folders under /Users/ were missing. That sucks.

So, after all that, I still don’t know what the problem is. I’ve stumped those I work with, and I can’t seem to find a similar problem on the Internet. I’m not sure a call to Apple Support is going to help, and since I’m out of warranty, it is likely to be costly. I’d like to extract my drive and try it in an enclosure, but 2.5 inch Firewire enclosures are not easy to come by in Bermuda.

If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

January 4, 2008


Bermuda: 15°C
Halifax: 0.3°C

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate
You would see an amazing transformation of enterprise software if you tied the annual bonus of the buyer to the level of user satisfaction of the software. #