online lives & data management

So, I’ve been posting a lot because my computer (beloved SugarPunk) is freaking out on me, and while I’ve been waiting to take delivery of a new HD, and working through various problems cloning it, and trying to recover data … all that time I have not much access to my actual files. So naturally I have more time on the Internet and my online life, because my realtime life is impeded by my lack of computer. Am I worried that my realtime life is so … mediated … my a computer? Only when it breaks down.

It seems that every few years I’m doomed to have a data catastrophe. (A datastrophe?)

Most recently, I observed that my beloved SugarPunk (the very last generation of titanium powerbooks, running 10.4) was about to give up the ghost on her hard drive. Her 60G HD had been in use pretty much 18 hours/day for four years, so I bear no grudges, but when I saw the tell-tale signs I hastily did a data backup that was a month or so overdue.

Sure enough, the HD became audibly unhappy within another couple of days, and I ordered a 100G replacement. I couldn’t even get the original to boot up any more, so I swapped in the new one. Of course it had been a long time since I did a full backup, and it had gotten partially erased in the meantime, and my system disks for 10.4 are back in california, so, with one thing and another, I ended up cloning a 10.3 hard drive from my GF’s first-generation aluminum powerbook.

So I’ll live with this, for now. Outstanding issues to resolve:

  • I’m missing some data files that I hope to still pull off sugarpunk’s original 60G HD as soon as I get the right enclosure kit (I had my hands on an IDE kit, but somehow bought the SATA. Why? Because my data management is CURSED this week. And because the shelves at MicroCenter were chaotic. It certainly wasn’t my fault.) Unfortunately the data files include a substantial portion of 2007 work. So I’m still a bit hampered and at sea.
  • Data backups. I bought a new 500G HD + enclosure kit & am going to do the smart thing & do a real backup regime with a periodic HD image as well as systematic incremental backups. The problem that I always face, though, and haven’t figured out a way around yet, is that for personal backups, imaging just doesn’t cut it. Because if you move your stuff around a lot you will inevitably overwrite or delete something you didn’t want to. I am *obsessive* about backups and data retention and this still happens to me. So imaging-style backups always kill something. I just need to do date-stamped incrementals, that’s all. Sigh.
  • Weirdly, when my machine boots up I get the missing system disk flashing folder icon for about two flashes, and then it finishes booting up like normal. I can’t figure this out. I wondered if maybe it was because I’ve cribbed an aluminum powerbook’s files to my tibook, but isn’t that flashing disk icon a firmware-related signal?
  • And I wonder if the flashing system disk flash is related to another weird booting problem I’m having, which is that sugarpunk will not boot in target disk mode. As soon as I get the chime the HD just spins down again. This is the new HD, which disk utility says is just fine. ??? What gives ??? Firewire is alive and well, because I can hook up a firewire drive no problems. (In fact that’s how I cloned: I set up our aluminum powerbook (“Curmudgeon”) in target disk mode, and then booted sugarpunk off curmudgeon as an external drive. Sugarpunk running off curmudgeon’s OS saw sugarpunk’s new 100G HD no problem and I was able to format etc. Hmm.