Thanks to everyone who left a note during my vacation; it’s been a little over two weeks and I have lots to tell.
Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened during my vacation, or at least the thing that had the biggest impact, was a spectacular hard drive crash in the Pentium. Lots of buzzing and ticking from the underside of the laptop, a few cracking noises and suddenly, my portable-but-outdated link to the Internet, e-mail and so forth was completely gone. No boot, no BIOS recognition, nothing but a persistent tapping from the belly of the beast, every time I turned on the machine.
On a scale of one to 10, this was an eight on the drastic-meter. All my local Crux repositories were gone, my to-do lists, e-mail archive, personal calendar, application settings, list of things to blog about, notes for before and after the vacation … you name it. All electronic vapor.
In a manner of speaking, of course. I made a point of e-mailing myself most of the lists before I went on vacation, and I did sync some things between machines before I left, but those files were 10,000 kilometers away, on a machine that wasn’t even plugged into the wall, let alone the Internet.
The real tragedy here was that I lacked the tools to get it going again. I was in a position to pick up a cheap laptop drive at a bargain basement price, but I couldn’t just delay my entire vacation for a day, while I recompiled an entire system from scratch on a piggybacked machine in a hotel or a friend’s house, inconveniencing any number of people in the process.
Now if I had been using, for example, the Thinkpad, I might have made a go of it. The Thinkpad has a CD player, a (relatively) fast processor and enough memory to at least rebuild a console-only system overnight.
But even that would have been mostly pointless, considering all the configuration and setup that would have been required. In all, the issue was closed.
So I borrowed a family member’s laptop from time to time, and did most of my e-mail checking and surfing the old fashioned way — from a graphical browser. Not my ideal situation, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
I should note that this is the second time in roughly two and a half years that a hard drive has imploded on me. The last time was shortly after I moved to Japan, but looking back there’s very little that seems related between the two incidents. Different manufacturers, different drives, different situations … all unrelated. I’m willing to chalk this up to bad luck.
And now that I’m home and I can inspect the machine, I am willing to accept it as only a minor setback. I have spare drives, and can start right away, rebuilding it if I want. But you know me — I already have a few ideas that are outside the “norm.” …