Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Triumph and disaster

Returned from holiday on Friday to face a hard drive failure on my MacBook Pro! Unfortunately I didn't have a recent back up of the whole drive--tried using Time Machine a few months back but the backup drive (a Freecom Tough Drive Pro 260) kept failing. Fortunately, recent versions of most work-related files are still going to be accessible from my e-mail server (good thing I don't clear it out too often) and from my desktop Mac G5. But I have lost a few month's worth of snapshots and the video of a recent trip to London. 

I guess I assumed that hard drive failures are rare and only ever happened to other people. In future, I will engage in a proper back up schedule! For now will have to squat on my wife's laptop until a new drive has been fitted in my own machine (am I the only one who feels as if I have lost an arm when unable to use my own machine?)

Now in the closing straights with the book The Rough Guide to Evolution. Have just finalised the text of the final chapter (on Philosophy and the Arts) and now have just the edits on the Resources section and the compiling of an Index to deal with. 

I submitted the proposal for the book nearly thirteen months ago, on August 1st 2007. With luck, I should have it finished, more by accident than by design, within the span of thirteen months and ten day's hard labour that Darwin expended on the first edition of The Origin!

I abstracted the MS. begun on a much larger scale in 1856, and completed the volume on the same reduced scale. It cost me thirteen months and ten days' hard labour. It was published under the title of the 'Origin of Species,' in November 1859. Though considerably added to and corrected in the later editions, it has remained substantially the same book.

Judge John E. Jones' concluding words at the Dover trial provide a similar amusing coincidence:

MR. GILLEN: Your Honor, I have one question, and that's this: By my reckoning, this is the 40th day since the trial began and tonight will be the 40th night, and I would like to know if you did that on purpose.

THE COURT: Mr. Gillen, that is an interesting coincidence, but it was not by design.

(Laughter and applause.)


Psiloiordinary said...

Ouch that hurts. Is it under warranty?

Must check exactly what it is I am backing up to mobileme.



Mark Pallen said...

Fortunately, the laptop is under an extended educational warranty, so it is not going to cost anything. But it does hurt!

It is unclear from googling around whether this is a common problem--plenty of vociferous complaints about similar experiences-- or whether it is one in a thousand but with millions of users that still equates to a lot of individual "ouches"!

nickloman said...

See this article. Usually it is fairly easy enough to recover much of the data (particularly if you can connect the disk to another machine), a really catastrophic data loss is unusual. Would be worth booting a Linux LiveCD like Ubuntu and trying to mount the partition that way.