Last Tuesday, I folded my laptop lid (into standby) with all the e-mails written to send that day and three posts for the blog. Because it was to be a day of meetings, I was rushing to squeeze a few minutes of internet time before the first meeting; my kids did not cooperate. The girls woke up late and were dragging their heels, so Liam (2) decided to take off for school by himself. This meant I had to wait a few extra minutes for him to clear the sidewalk. He goes happily on his own, but if I am too close, he refuses to part. I watched him from the kitchen window, then waited a couple more minutes for him to walk the last few meters up the school driveway – out of window range. A few minutes later, as I rushed to the library, I met him coming back from the school gate. He had fallen and was covered with dirt, so I picked him up, dusted him off, and carried him up to his classroom while he narrated the whole experience to me.
When I finally got to the library and propped open my laptop lid; the screen went bright red. The hard drive has never been heard from since. It is dead dead – verified from several other devices. Back in January, the motherboard on my IBM Thinkpad – on loan from the school – had died. (Fortunately my newly installed hard drive worked beautifully from it’s external cage, and I lost nothing.) The two people in Nairobi who work on IBMs eventually threw in the towel, so I was left to limp along on Christi’s six-year-old Dell , which was very, very, very, very, very, slow and has about 30 mins of battery life – see my earlier post. May it RIP.
I had suspected that the Dell was breathing its last, so I had backed up my entire dissertation folder (full of hundreds of PDF articles) and all my recent work a couple of days earlier. The previous all-hard drive back ups was done about two weeks previously, so I also lost about two weeks worth of “minor” work in church and a few biblical studies articles I had downloaded – nothing major (at least not that I have discovered yet.) The big blow is the realization that my bibliographic files (Scholar’s Aid) were last backed up to the school’s network at the end of January. I had been backing up regularly, but apparently only to hard drive itself ;-(.
Christi came up with a plan C and gave up the family desktop. For the last week, I’ve been moving all my academic files onto it, and trying to sync it up with the school’s proxy server. (It hasn’t seen the light of the internet in almost three years.) I’ve had to lug it back and forth from the library to the IT office several different times to get all the bugs sorted out. It is amazing how much trouble a simple unchecked box can give you. It is still installing various updates.
I think I am mostly done with the transition now, but it means there will be no more ruminating (blogging) from home, or early morning writing. The kids will have to do without their DVD player (only affects weekends), and Christi will have to do all her photo work at my desk now. On the plus side, it is super fast in comparison to what I’ve been used to.