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Author Topic: Single point of failure - sort of  (Read 2794 times)
David_E
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« on: June 15, 2009, 08:27:57 AM »

Hi, all.  Here's my (longish) tale of woe, which isn't so woeish as it might've been if I hadn't been taking seriously all the DAM stuff.  Even though I've only implemented about 3/4 of the whole DAM system, I'm in MUCH better shape than I might've been.

So my Macbook Pro crapped out on me over the weekend - turns out it needs a video board.  It seems to boot just fine, but the screen is black.  When I connect an external monitor, same deal:  nothing.  Computer is now useless.  I've been using the laptop as the primary conduit to the 3 external hard drives that hold all my data, normally connected through the ExpressCard slot via eSATA.  I keep two drives at home and one in the safe deposit box, and that one gets swapped out about once a week.  There are also all of the DVDs with raw and derivative files, and occasional backups of business stuff.  My calendar, contacts, email, etc, are all up to the minute through Apple's MobileMe service.  Thank goodness for that.

I took the computer in to the Apple store.  They said they need to send it out for the part, and the whole process should take 7 days.  (Youch.)  The work order requires that I confirm that I've backed up all my data, because if they decide to format the drive as part of the repair process, they will do so without asking for approval.  Of course, it turned my stomach to check that box, but I'm pretty confident everything is backed up.  The Apple store people were pretty surprised how profoundly backed up all the data are.  Anyway, now I wait.  They said the repair would have cost about $310 if I didn't have the AppleCare extended warranty.  That's just slightly more than the $300 I paid for the warranty a year and a half ago.  Woo hoo.

So I rush home and try to connect one of the external hard drives to the old PC.  No go.  The computer won't even recognize the drive.  Then I try to connect it to my wife's Mac and it pops right up on the desktop.  All files are there, everything's fine, I'm happy.

So does anyone have any ideas how to get the drive to be readable and writable on the PC, so I don't have to co-opt my wife's computer?  I have three Seagate 500 GB SATA drives, each in their own enclosure.  The enclosures have USB ports, eSATA ports, and "brick"-style power adapters.  I'm pretty sure that USB won't power a 3.5" external drive, so the drive was powered by the adapter when I tried accessing it on the PC.   The drives were all formatted on the Mac (I forget the file format), and the PC is running XP SP3.

Lessons learned:  1) Try to use the backup system before it's needed.  A novel idea, right?  2) I've been looking at buying a used desktop system on eBay, to be used as a file server and as a backup for the laptop.  Turns out that was a good idea, and I should do it, providing redundancy for every piece of the puzzle, except the mobility feature of the laptop.  3) Keeping a drive in the safe deposit box is the greatest.  Just knowing that everything is there, off-line, is so completely wonderful.  The weekly trips are only a very minor annoyance, as I've got to go to the bank anyway.  3) AppleCare is worth it for a laptop, as swapping parts is difficult and expensive.  This is the second time I've made use of it.  4) Macs all play nice together.  Even though my wife's Mac is a 2003 iBook G3.  5) MobileMe, or some other similar service that keeps data in the ether, makes things a lot easier.  Yes, I have all the data available on my external drives, but getting it is a lot more difficult than just logging in to MobileMe and looking at it.  6) Always stay properly hydrated.

David E.

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peterkrogh
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 10:47:10 AM »

David,
Great to hear that you were prepared for the unfortunate problems.

Macdrive for the PC can see the mac disks - worth getting.

And yes, another mac box might well be worth it (depending on how suitable the PC is, and if you have the software on both platforms.)
There's probably some use you can put an additional machine to, which would determine if you should go cheap - mac Mini, Macbook - or get a more powerful machine.
Peter
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David_E
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« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2009, 06:00:13 AM »

Hi again.  Thanks for the reference to MacDrive, it's exactly the solution to the problem.  Here's the update on my tale:  My laptop is back to me and good as new.  I'm so thrilled by the extraordinary service from Apple.  I dropped it off for repair on Sunday, and had it back on Wednesday.  In that time it went from Chicago to Texas, got a whole new motherboard, and came back to Chicago smelling slightly of barbecue and wide open spaces.  They did not need to wipe the drive, so everything is exactly as it was.  Amazing, and fully covered under the AppleCare. 

David E.
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