So yesterday morning, my beloved Powerbook–which hasn’t given me a moment’s trouble in four years–gave a single hiccup and died. Thoroughly. And me with the final deposit of my dissertation still looming (it has to be formally accepted by the university by next Friday), a speech at the Smithsonian this Saturday, and three weeks worth of Medieval World manuscript not backed up.

(YES, OK, I know, I DO back up on a very regular basis. I email my folders to my Gmail account AND I back them up on a thumb drive AND I print everything out. But this last three weeks, what with Easter and whatnot, I’ve been out of my routine. Also I never really bother to back up my email, so if you’ve emailed me in the past two weeks and not heard back, your messages are GONE.)

So I went charging off in a panic to the Apple story in Richmond (sixty miles away) and got myself a new computer. Which is very cool, I must say. Tons of memory and power and a camera with built-in effects mounted on the screen which practically BEGS for you to take art shots of yourself and post them all over your desktop.

(That last one is Ben, by the way.)

The bad news (besides the scary prices of new Macs) is that the techie at the Apple store couldn’t retrieve the data from my old hard drive, so I had to haul it over to a data recovery specialist who is now scanning it–a process which will apparently take three more days to complete. By Friday he should be able to tell me if he can get anything back.

I’m feeling strangely calm about this, mostly because although I stand to lose a lot of research if he can’t resurrect the data, I haven’t been that thrilled with the direction the manuscript has been going. I’m almost excited about the prospect of backing up and starting over. (Or I am now, although when it went down, I wept and clawed at my hair for nearly an hour.)

I’ll post an update about how the Smithsonian lecture goes next week. And although I said in my LAST post that I’d update you about any developing publicity plans, I can’t. Want to guess why?

Showing 13 comments
  • Mattias

    I love my new MacBook laptop…hasn’t given me any trouble…yes, your mac died….but it hadn’t been bad before and that’s the beauty of a mac…

  • Susan in TX

    Hmmm, you’re making me nervous as I sit and type on my 3 year old Powerbook. Did you go through the whole defective-could-burn-your legs-could-set-fire-to-your-laptop-could destroy-by-fire-everything-you-hold dear battery replacement process? Okay, so maybe I typed that a little over the top, but they seemed to have bent over backwards to absolve their liability on that one! I love my Mac…please, don’t die on me! 🙂
    Hope the retrieval process is as successful as you need it to be – good luck,
    Susan in TX

  • The Tutor

    Wow! You had a computer last FOUR YEARS?! Macs are miraculous. I am lucky if I get two years out of my PCs… and I am terrible about backing up. Ugh. Hopefully, the tech guy can retrieve something.

  • Trish

    So sorry to hear this, but I KNOW what you feel like about wanting to start over with a project. (I hope you do get your data so YOU can make the call, not the dead Mac, however.)

    I am a recent Mac convert and have a whole file of silly pictures too! Then there’s a podcast-type video thing that caught me looking like a doof.

    Enjoy! And sending good vibes for the data retrieve.

    Publicity: Um, your book hit #10 on the NYT list and you’re appearing on Oprah, so you don’t need to do any more publicity. LOL.

    ps–I moved your book up to the new history titles shelf the other day in Borders, but wasn’t hauling my Macbook with me, so no picture. 🙂

  • Michael

    I can relate to your story. I had a friend loose the email for 385 people recently. So, I created a backup plan for my two Macs (5 yr old Powerbook and a newer Mini) plus a server on the internet. I bought a Lacie External Firewire drive and use their one-click backup software (comes with the drive).

  • Susan

    Yeah, this time around I became a .mac member so that I can upload to the iDisk.

    I don’t really have anything to complain about–that PowerBook served me well–I’m just kicking myself for not recognizing the early warning signs.


  • Russ

    Be careful – isn’t admitting that something could actually go wrong with a Mac considered heresy by the guardians of the Cult of Mac?

  • Meredith

    Holy cow, Susan! That’s not a *lecture* at the Smithsonian you’re doing — it’s a whole darn full-day conference!!!!! ARgh. I really hope you have already printed out your notes….! Sure wish I could come and hear it all…
    Btw, Oxford is lovely in the spring and we are having ridiculously un-English weather (bright, warm, sunny). Anytime you wanna come back around and try, oh, punting, say, lemme know!
    M xx

  • Heather_in_WI

    You can’t update us about any developing publicity plans, because you’re expecting a baby and you’re not sure if you’ll be too sick or if you’ll have the energy?


  • Russ

    Just fyi – has posted a bunch of data recovery links as well as backup programs in the last couple of days. One was a backup program for Macs that looked pretty helpful.

  • Colleen in NS

    Wow. I’m just impressed by how you can find the positive aspects in the midst of a disaster (maybe I just think it’s a disaster because I just don’t know much about computers like dh does). Hope you can get your info. back!


  • Mary Kathryn

    I feel your pain and I’m plugging my laptop into my external hard drive right now!

  • Sean Bossinger

    Another beauty of the (rather expensive) .MAC account is that the backup software is superb at allowing you to set a schedule for backing up automatically. Having had to recover from a crash before, I can tell you that that’s a breeze, too.

    I do a weekly full backup of my home folder, and daily incremental backups, to an external hard drive. You don’t need the real expensive LaCie drives, simple Western Digital or Seagate externals will work with the Mac too. And they’re fast…

    The best thing about storing to the external hard drive is that your data is secure and in your possession (which may, at times, be an oxymoron), but if you’re seriously concerned about the security of your data, just wanted to let you know you CAN use the backup software available through .MAC to do the external backups.

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