No Boom Today

No Boom Today.

Disk Warrior just saved my laptop.

Yesterday, I was finishing a marathon refactoring in
Tinderbox. Deep down inside Tinderbox, there was a simple class called
NodeBundle that held a bunch of notes, and that Tinderbox used whenever
it needed to represent a bunch of notes. It was built on some
Mac-specific technology, so it needs to be generalized for Windows.
It's easy code, but hundreds of little things need to be tweaked, and
tested, one by one.

So, I'm thirty hours into this, and the end seems to be in sight.
Then, just at the end of a test run, my hard disk goes

“Uh-oh”, I say. Restart. Kaput.

I had a backup only four hours old. Reassuring. But I also have no time in the schedule this month — no slack at all — and I really, really didn't want to go through the last four miserable hours of this refactoring twice.

I spent about five hours, doing fragmentary backups because the
machine would stay up, for a while, as a Firewire disk. It had all the
trademarks of a sour disk. Noises. Intermittent behavior. Gradually
worsening, intermittent behavior.

With no slack in the schedule, I was already pricing replacement
laptops and trying to figure out how much restore-and-test I could do
while grilling the leg of lamb this weekend and how much sleep I could
skip without danger when I tried Disk Warrior as a last resort.

It ran, “Piece of cake!”, it said. “I can fix this easy — it's not even badly broken.”

  • Moral 1: Prosperity, the Tinderbook, is now just over two
    years old Computers last three years. People try to use them longer,
    and you can find uses for used-up machines. But don't expect your front-line machine to last more than three years.
  • Moral 2: backup. Tonight.
  • Moral 3: Reach for Disk Warrior sooner.

[Mark Bernstein]

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