I think my research supervisor‘s optimism is contagious. Last Tuesday, I returned home to discover my laptop wouldn’t boot. After a couple of hours of trying to coax it back to life, at around 2 am on Wednesday, I realized that the problem was that the hard drive was dead.
“Excellent,” I thought. “This is a great opportunity to put all my (user) data on ZFS and try a new data back-up strategy! And a new hard drive will be snappier because my data won’t be fragmented. It was also a good thing the hard drive made it so obvious it was dying, too, by not being able to boot — otherwise, how long would it have taken to notice my data was becoming corrupted? ” Those are probably not the first thoughts that spring to mind when faced with a broken hard drive. Then again, when I was an editor of the Trinity College yearbook, I also laughed off a fire that destroyed all three computers in our office about two weeks before our final submission deadline.
In each case, I’d probably have been a bit more panicked if I had thought I might have lost any important data. This is around the seventh unexpected data loss I’ve experienced; God and I are culpable for one case, each, the good folks at Microsoft are responsible for two, and hardware failure for the remainder. But between monotone and backing up to another machine1, a dead hard drive proved to be little more than a pain in the neck.
On a related note, it’s probably my inner nerd (not that I have any shortage of outer nerd) that gets excited by empty hard drives. I think I’ve finally put my finger on why. An empty hard drive is a clean slate: anything is possible. It’s up to me, its user, to use the computer to its full potential.
MacBook Air II: 4 days lolcat-free and counting.
- In the event of simultaneous drive failure on that computer, I’d be a bit more worked up — at least until I finish implementing the rest of my strategy for backing up that I will describe in a few blog posts [↩]