The Silver Lining

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.

  1. 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 []

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