It’s what I like to call Hell Week, boys and girls, the week before San Diego Comic-Con when every single thing has to get done, including all those things you thought of in January but put off saying, “I’ll get it done before July!” and now it’s July and you didn’t get it done. But now you have to get it done. Except that there are only 168 hours in a week and you WILL need to sleep for four or five of those hours before you get on a plane, and you know, it’s f*cked anyway so…hell, maybe it isn’t going to get done. Maybe next year, but…Wow…man this is really happening. WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?

I’d guess that 90% of the comics industry and 42% of the entertainment industry are thinking things like the above right now.

Well, anyway do you know what made The Beat’s Hell Week even MORE hellish? A hard drive crash! Right in the middle of it all! Because I like to write about these things to perhaps aid others, here’ is the deal:

My 2010 15″ Mac Book Pro is sadly part of a “lemon” line that has video card crashes, and an overheating problem. I mean honestly, it’s still a pretty great machine, and it IS four years old, so what did I expect. Plus I’m what they call a “heavy user.” Last week I started getting the spinning beach ball for 10 minutes at a time. I was frustrated but thought it was some kind of software malfunction so I tried fixing preferences but that took effing forever, so then I booted from a disk and tried disk repair and got…”This disk can’t be repaired.” And now it wouldn’t startup.

I’d used Carbon Copy Cloner to make a back up a couple of months before and while that wasn’t optimal, it wasn’t horrific either. (Yes yes I know, the cloud.) Off to the Genius Bar! The Apple tech quickly said it was a disk crash but he was 99% sure he could get my files off. BUT….guess what! Probably because of the messed up preferences, all of my important folder were locked and couldn’t change the user. “This is the 1%,” he said sadly.

Well, I was undeterred. Also I need all my photos and images and crap because I’m a digital hoarder. Luckily I have a newish 2tb backup drive, so I took my laptop to the office and plugged it into my work iMac via Firewire and whaddya know…I was able to copy all the locked files and open them just fine on the backup! So the 1% was 99% after all! While I got the photos, documents and music off, my library was part of the bad disk sector and that would copy about 3gbs and then quit. Fortunately those 3 gigs included the one part of the back-up that I really needed, my locally stored Beat posts. So down to 99.75%. Honestly, that’s a good number. I could buy or borrow Disk Warrior and try to recover the rest of the files…or just write ’em off. We’ll see.

Because it’s Hell Week, I just can’t deal with this now. So what to do about the computer? I’m using a late 2010 MacAir to work on and it’s pretty decent, to be honest. Should I sink MORE money into my old laptop to get a new hard drive? Or just save up for a NEW new computer? Or get a Mac mini as a stop gap and go back to a desk top? (I have all the peripherals.) Or give up the whole thing and get a job involving manual labor?

At some point pouring more money into an old computer is like trying to keep a junker running. BUT, I think I’ve come up with a good stopgap: 480 gig SSD drives are pretty cheap right now, and would definitely spruce up the old girl. I pretty much love the way the MacAir runs and SSDs are the way of the future anyway. So that’s what I’m going to do. Get a new SSD drive and install it (Or have Tekserve do it.)

Of course, I don’t have time (or money really) to deal with this before Comic-Con. So in the MEANTIME, I’m making a CCC back-up of my travel computer and hoping it holds up for the next two weeks.

I do wonder about some newer Mac models though. My adorable all silver 12″ Powerbook from 2007 is still running fine (aside from a dead battery), you just can’t run any programs on a G4 any more. When I got the 15″ MBP I spent as much money as I could afford, souped up the RAM and built a system that would last a long time. And it has, except I’ve had to replace pretty much every part of the laptop. (Apparently, from my readings of literally thousands of message board threads about this machine, they didn’t have enough thermal paste and the fan runs incessantly. I’m told I could “reball it” but isn’t that illegal in some states?) And of course, ALL HARD DRIVES CRASH EVENTUALLY. ALL. I’m just lucky in that I never has a catastrophe until now.

The moral of the story? ALL HARD DRIVES CRASH. Back your shit up REGULARLY to the cloud or to TWO backups. Digital doesn’t last forever.

And neither does Hell Week. Thank god.


  1. My iMac crashed last week too, so I feel your pain! It’s a dead dog until after the con, though I haven’t tried Firewire Target Mode yet.

    And I went to Target yesterday. So I know what I’m going to wear!

  2. I’ve had pretty good luck with Carbonite since a laptop got shot out from under me last year. It saved me a ton of time being able to access files instead of having to reconstruct them.

Comments are closed.