Technical Difficulties

My work computer was sick, and I didn’t even notice.

If it had been a dog, it would have been wheezing, staggering around and not recognizing familiar objects, but as a computer, it had a lot fewer options for demonstrating symptoms. So it just slowed down a lot.

Because I know just enough about hardware and systems infrastructure to get myself into serious trouble, I figured I’d run a virus check to make sure I hadn’t run into some nasty worm or virus that could cause my computer to limp around like it had been hit by the online equivalent of a truck.

The virus check caused the system to go even slower, and I wandered away to edit a photograph for the newspaper. When I came back, the computer was napping. But it wouldn’t wake up when I jiggled the mouse. This should have tipped me off that something was wrong, but I just thought the antivirus software was bogging the system down, so I tried to restart it.

Now if you’ve used a computer before, you probably think you know what happened next: it wouldn’t start, there was a smell of smoke, or the screen flashed blue and hopeless.

What actually happened, though, was that the computer restarted just fine. In fact, the computer decided it was a pro at restarting, and kept restarting, without any intervention from me, over and over again. This was something it could handle. Restart! Restartrestartrestartrestart!

According to my systems administrator, who knows these things, the hard drive is toast. Crispy toast. The kind that’s black not just around the edges, but in the middle, too. The kind you can’t even eat if you scrape the top off.

The good news: It wasn’t my fault. Apparently hard drives just go bad sometimes, like eyes or children in Lifetime movies.

The bad news: Some of the stuff on the hard drive will not be recoverable.

The worse news: I hadn’t finished putting up the audio and video of the Worthington Windsurfing Regatta and Unvarnished Music Festival, and some of that material was on my hard drive.

This year, I was at the Regatta all three days, and had recorded snippets of audio and video of every performer. I had edited and put up about two-thirds of it by the end of the day on Monday. Sadly, the other third of the video and audio, including the performances of the New Primitives, the Strollers and Chuck Suchy, may be gone forever.

Fortunately, there’s still a lot there. If you want to see video, audio, or photo galleries of the Regatta, be sure to visit The galleries were unaffected by technical difficulties, and there are a lot of photos there.

There may still be more video and audio coming, but thanks to the untimely death of my hard drive, you may have content yourself with video and audio of the opening ceremonies, the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Boiled in Lead, the drumming workshop, the DitchLilies, and Patchouli.

I’m sorry.

Rest in peace, hard drive. We miss you.

6 Responses

  1. Howard

    If you had gotten a backup, external hard drive like I suggested earlier and used it every afternoon before leaving for the day, you would have lost far less data. Think about it.

  2. shiny

    I will ask about getting an extra backup drive, but it would have to be included in the budget, I imagine.

    Cameras, printers and other more critical equipment would definitely be ahead of it on the priority scale, I would think.

  3. Howard

    When all of the time you lost because of the hard drive failure, $80 for an external hard drive is not much money. You and your IT wasted more money than that in the first couple of hours of your adventure.

  4. Cloy

    Kari, You’re normal. Most people have one hard drive crash before they start doing backups. 🙂

    If you’re using a Mac, there is a wonderful built-in backup program called Time Machine that allows you to go back to a specific date and recover a particular document or even a data element. I recently discovered that someone was missing from my addressbook. I was able to go back six months (last time I used that information), open the addressbook program (it ran with the same data and settings it would have on that day) and pull the listing into the present. Very cool and very Twilight Zone.

  5. shiny

    Ew, not a Mac!

    Actually, Macs are cool, it’s just there’s a hefty percentage of… shall we say, fanatics? in the ranks of the people who use them. And for some reason it’s deemed socially acceptable to be a fanatic about iStuff.

    People don’t get that way about Windows, or if they do, others generally edge away from them and call the cops ASAP.

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