Good days, in brief:

Sixteen years ago, during my Junior year of high school, I managed to screw up the courage to ask a girl out, and wound up with my very first girlfriend, Xebeth. Our relationship was the typical high school romance — drama, breaking up, getting back together, and so on — and at the end of that school year, the military moved her family out of Alaska and we lost touch.

A few weeks ago, a random Google search led Xebeth to my website, and she dropped a line to say hello. We’ve been keeping in touch since then, and as her job has her traveling around the country, she ended up swinging through Seattle on Monday.

So, I was able to spend Monday getting re-acquainted with the first girl I ever dated, after not having seen her in around sixteen years. It was a blast — she’d not been to Seattle before, so we spent some time in the afternoon wandering around Capitol Hill before wandering back to my apartment, getting Prairie, and heading out to dinner, then back here to chat. Xebeth and I still get along great (and flirt outrageously), Prairie likes her a lot, and it was incredible to be able to rekindle the friendship after so many years. She even put up with me lugging my camera around!

Bad days, in brief:

It appears that the hard drive in my computer died last night. A sudden Spinning Beachball of Death had me restart the machine, at which point I got nothing but a grey screen, which eventually brought up a blinking question mark “I can’t find a System Folder” error. Rebooting the machine from the OS installation CD and running Disk Utility tells me that the hard drive is fried…unverifiable, and unrepairable.

And, of course, guess who hasn’t taken the time and DVDs to back up their data recently?


So…160 Gb of data may be down the tubes. Google has my important recent e-mail and Flickr has my most important recent photos…but there’s still a lot of other data that I should have backed up ages ago that I’m afraid I’ve lost. Replacing the drive looks like it’ll run me about $80 or $160, depending on the brand I go for (does half the price mean half the reliability?), then I get to see if I can coax the system into mounting the old drive and letting me pull any of the data over.

Gee, isn’t this going to be fun.

So…Monday was great. Tuesday was pretty standard up ’til the end, but so far Wednesday just isn’t looking very promising at all.

I’m just hoping things get better from here.

12 thoughts on “Good days and bad days…

  1. Hang on to that HDD, if you can ever find the $$$ to use OnTrack’s services, it’s worth a try. I’ve had more luck with them rebuilding drives for me over the last few years, from a disk that had been dead for several years, to a drive full of coal dust from (whatever the mine is that’s north of Talkeetna).

    It could run you as much as $3k, so it’s not cheap, but they will rebuild your HDD and get the data off it if there’s any hope.

    In fact, here’s an article about how they recovered a disk that had been in a campfire!

    You should see if their software version can be installed on your new system, and used to recover the old disk. Their software is far better at data recovery than any partition magic or undelete software I’ve ever used. If the problem isn’t the controller hardware, there’s a good chance you can recover it yourself with the software.

    Good luck!

  2. Between $80 and $160! What sort of drive are you looking at? I would bet you can find something great for well under $100. I think I saw that this week CompUSA had a 250 GB drive for like $70. I think you can regularly find 160 GB drives for under $60. FWIW.

  3. Seriously, dude, you can get a 250GB drive for ~$80-$90, no prob. Just do a little searching around and whatnot. The good news is that the hard drive is probably the one piece of hardware you can stick in a Mac desktop and be pretty much guaranteed it won’t have a problem with. :)

    So – you DID save your music, right? Right?

  4. CPS:

    You should see if [OnTrack’s] software version can be installed on your new system, and used to recover the old disk. Their software is far better at data recovery than any partition magic or undelete software I’ve ever used.

    Sweet — thanks! Recovery will definitely be one of the first things I dive into as soon as I get the new drive installed, OS installed, yadda yadda yadda. Not giving up on all that data just yet…(though if I can’t do it myself, I’m not so sure about $3k to get it back!).


    Between $80 and $160! What sort of drive are you looking at?

    Heh — 160 Gb (to match the old drive) Serial ATA (S-ATA). A little pricier than standard ATA (good ol’ Apple, always going for the best…even with the price diffferential, there are still times I think back fondly on the days of SCSI). The local Best Buy had a choice between an $80 Seagate and a $140 Western Digital, and I went for the Seagate…just couldn’t justify an extra $60 for the same capacity drive.

    Hopefully that doesn’t bite me in the butt a few years down the road. Of course, if I actually remember to back up regularly from now on, that’ll be less of an issue…. ;)

  5. Phil:

    So – you DID save your music, right? Right?

    Wince. Um…there’s a fair amount backed up on DVD, but not everything. Most, but not all.

    Again with the melodramatic sigh. I’m really hoping I can get that data back….

    I did pick up an external enclosure for the old 80Gb drive I had in the B&W G3 that’ll give me another 80Gb on an external drive to work with, and I’m hoping that — when I’ve done everything I can with the drive that just died — I’ll be able to low-level format it, map out the bad sectors, and get it back up and running again, albeit in a slightly diminished capacity.

    Right now, though, the main goal is to pop the new drive in and get the machine up and running in some fashion.

  6. If it’s a Western Digital, put it in a ziplock bag and stick in the freezer for a coupla hours, then try to boot up as a spare once you have your new harddrive installed. I’ve had a couple that actually let me pull data from before overheating/dying again.

  7. Oooops!

    PS … I would like to echo the data recovery software sentiments. I use Easy Recovery (which I think is owned by OnTrack in fact) and it’s a great piece of soft! :)

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