Half a brain

Imagine waking up one morning and discovering that you only had one of your legs, or one of your ears. You'd remember that you used to have other capacities, other abilities, other things that you could do -- but for some reason you suddenly can't do them. You'd look for the missing limb or missing piece of sensory input, but be unable to locate it.

Oh, and to that, add the fact that you wake up thinking it's a month ago, and having absolutely no memory of what transpired during the month that has apparently elapsed since your last memory was recorded.

I'm very glad that my Little Digital Companion -- my trusty PowerBook "Akasha" -- isn't a sentient being (as far as I know), because I suspect that it would be terrified and frustrated at the moment. Tuesday evening my hard drive developed symptoms of an immanent total failure: clicking sounds and v-e-r-y slow access times. I took immediate steps: connected an external drive and grabbed the most important files. In order: this semester's folder (containing grades, lectures, papers, etc.); next semester's folder (with provisional syllabi and the like); locally archived e-mail; recently purchased music. The copy got about a third of the way through the e-mail before the drive totally conked out, and I mean "totally" -- it couldn't be mounted when the machine was booted from the system disc, and when I took it to the hospital, er, the Apple Store, even they couldn't get access to it with the Serious Deep Mojo known as "Open Firmware." Basically, it's a dead duck.

The machine is under warranty so they are replacing the hard drive free of charge, but no one is optimistic about being able to recover my data. Fortunately I had a bootable backup, which is what I am presently using to run the emergency machine (a three-year-old G4 tower) that I was able to secure from the university's stock of old computers. Unfortunately, that backup is about four weeks old, which creates a little bit of dislocation -- I remember doing things, moving stuff around on the hard drive, and all of a sudden none of it has been done. And, of course, a bunch of stuff is missing, particularly e-mail correspondence. I'm just glad that I didn't write anything new in the past few weeks, because that would be irrecoverably gone as well.

It's not as bad as it could have been; all of my e-mail passes through an online server and I can get back most messages. But for the moment I am running on an old backup, trying to piece the last four weeks of my working life back together.

Oh, and the computer I am running on has no 'Net access. I am borrowing my wife's machine in order to post this, and will probably borrow it again in order to check e-mail and the like on and off for the next week. It's extremely odd working on a machine in my office the contents of which look very familiar -- but the capacities of which are sharply limited. I can't click over to check baseball scores, or follow a reference online, or even read e-mail; doing all of these things now requires a lot of additional effort, and another myiscla machine entirely.

Yes, it could have been worse. But it's not fun in any event.

No comments: