medical uses of drugs


Not Getting It Done: The dog ate my hard drive

When it rains, it pours.

I often quote this saying:  Before people take backing up their data seriously, they need to get bit by data loss first.

Oh, everyone knows you should have a backup plan.  It’s obvious, amirite?  I mean, there’s no debate.

And yet, despite the fact that we all know this, we all generally do one of the following things:

1)      Have a manual backup system that we swear we will faithfully run every week… and then realize we have been putting it off for nine months when we have the inevitable crash.  D’oh!

2)      Don’t even have a backup system in place at all because although we know we need one, we’ve been meaning to get around to setting one up for years now – and crash!!

3)      Don’t even stress about backups – admit they are a great idea and that only dumb people don’t have one, but utterly forget to apply that thought to one’s own data.

I picked choice number 3, the dumb one.  And crash!!

My hard drive went kerplunk this past Thursday – that’s why I missed Friday’s blog post.  What was on this drive you ask?

  • My latest notes for Dream Factory II.
  • All my Outlook email, correspondence, and calendaring,
  • And a host of irreplaceable things

I was perturbed, even crazed – most of all because this was my own damn fault! Not the crash of course, but the aftermath.  However, I did have some saving graces – some partial safety nets that saved my ass.

First, I had a lot of sideloaded data.  You see, my 4 year old laptop died a few months ago, so I bought a new Dell and went on.  At the time, though the laptop had died, the hard drive was still functional, so I offloaded the data for reinstallation into the new machine.  So I still have the offloaded data from two months ago, because though I didn’t do backups, I was (and still am) a packrat when it comes to data, saving every version and use of data as I go.  So at worst I was losing two or three months’ worth of data – which sucked, but might be manageable.

Second, I had other places I could do some data scavenging.  I synchronize my Outlook Calendar with Gmail’s calendar in order to have it on my Android phone, so I wasn’t going to actually lose my calendar data.  I also keep 2 weeks’ worth of inbox emails on the server, so I could save that.  I also could request people to whom I had emailed certain documents to send them back to me.  But I really got lucky with the next thing:

I was, out of sheer dumb luck, able to get the crashed hard drive mounted long enough to save ALL my important data.

You see, when I plugged the drive in (an SSD, not a platter drive, if you care about such things) I got it to read once, but then after a minute it stopped.  I tried another twenty times and no luck – but the twenty-first time it again came back, but again, just for a minute.

So I lined up all the factors as best I could.  I mounted it to a live Ubuntu DVD to bypass security checking that would waste precious time.  And I spent hour after hour, day after day trying again and again to make it work.

I got lucky.  I made it work.

My next action: purchasing and installing the online backup service Mozy (  Done and done.

So that’s why no blog post on Friday, and why no progress on DF2.

I am now putting my data back together.  Do not expect a blog post on Wednesday (although it may happen anyways) but do expect both a post on Friday and a Get It Done post in a week with hopefully some significant progress on DF2.

Entropy willing, an’ the crick don’ rise.