I woke my computer up from sleep and tried to run ssh. Surprise alligators! I encountered the odd error message “You don’t exist! go away!” It turns out that my dying hard drive had trashed some very important system files containing my computer login and password information. Trying to start up Terminal, I got the error “The administrator has set your shell to an illegal value”. I couldn’t access a large chunk of my files (due to lack of permissions) and my Dock was totally trashed. Solution? Start X11 from your utilities folder.
Yes, I’m still using the same nonereliable hard drive that resulted in frequent beach balling. On Sunday, it had some more surprise alligators in store for me and decided to render my hard drive unbootable by corrupting the file system journal used to recover from sudden crashes/loss of power. My first instinct was to run the Disk Utility repair feature on the drive, but this was a no-go because, firstly, I was using Filevault 2, Apple’s full-disk encryption software.
If your pocket calculator made a mistake every ten operations, would you still use it? Or if the brakes of your wheeled-vehicle of choice only worked 99.9% of the time, would you keep using it? Or what if one in every thirty flushes resulted in your toilette backing up and surprise alligators streaming out? After I lost all the data on my phone, save the Chuck Norris-like audio files, I started thinking about what technology I’ve abandoned because it was so unreliable that it was more trouble than it was worth, or “nonereliable” ((Yes, this entire blog post exists just so that I can make this word a “thing”)). More generally, I began to wonder what makes things or people so unreliable that we’re better off without them. So, in the blog post, I’m just thinking aloud, considering a few examples of things I consider to be unreliable and trying to determine some factors that influence whether I continue to rely on them.