Another Dead Laptop HD

On Thanksgiving day my laptop decided to boot up with the "flashing question mark folder" error of doom.  No amount of recovery tricks helped - it looks like the disk just mechanically failed.

The laptop hadn't been bumped around too much, but it did get its fair share of everyday jostling. Still, failing after one year still seems pretty bad (of course it was just over one year, and the warranty was for 1 year). It reminded me of the recent CMU study which showed that real disk failure rates are 15 times what vendors claim..

Fortunately I had properly backed up all of my data and didn't lose anything important, other than 3 hours of work since my last CVS commit. Unfortunately I hadn't actually backed up the entire system, so after I replaced the disk with a spare I had to reinstall all the software and re-tweak all of the settings, which took several hours. Lesson learned: I have now applied the hack to enable Time Machine backup to network shares and am fully backed up.  Unfortunately, Time Machine is basically incompatible with FileVault (unless you log out and back in every day), which sort of makes it impossible to either back up or encrypt your important stuff (and on laptops especially, you want both to work).

Anyway, my next laptop will definitely have one of the new Intel SSDs, which should theoretically be much more resilient to mechanical failure since they have no moving parts. They haven't been on the market long enough to get any good reliability data, but it would be hard to do worse than the Seagate drives I've had recently.

Dead Macbook Seagate Hard Disk

Posted on November 30, 2008
Filed under: Electronics, General Comments

hey cousin! what are you up to!

Bad Sign

Paratex Pest Control pen at Red Robin in Redmond, Washington

Hmm, is it a bad sign if you're at a restaurant and the pen they give you to sign the check is from a local pest control company?

Posted on November 9, 2008
Filed under: General, Humor Comments



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