Friday, October 06, 2006

Leaning Tower of Freakin' Perdition

A few days ago I related the charming story of the Death of My Hard Drive. About 75% of the past 72 hours has involved my rapt attention to rescuing data, files, software, and reinstalling everything I had prior to the crash. Sheer, bone-breaking tedium. The best news is--the system is back up, running smoothly if disturbingly differently, and most important of all, I learned I will survive.

At first I thought the pain would be unbearable. I went through the stages of grief. First I was in denial, tried to save everything and believed it would be recoverable. It turns out it's not. It also turns out that the external hard drive I had thought I was diligently backing up to every day was not backing up, because the software it came with is actually not at all intuitive to use and the "manual" does not get installed with it even though it looks as though it's getting installed. Plus, once you finally find it, the documentation SUCKS. (That's probably why it's so well hidden.) I speak as an expert; while not parenting, blogging, writing, or crafting, I have been a technical writer since 1989. So do not question whether or not I can judge usability. I have rarely seen so many missed opportunities to explain to eager and willing users what, why, when, where and how. It's that "you can do this" school of documentation: 'Blah product lets you blah. You can blah. There's a blah menu from which you can blah some more.' Okay. That's great. But what is blah? How do I do blah? Where is the aforementioned blah menu, and which option do I choose? What do the other options mean? Under what circumstances should I do blah? And is any of that blahing all I really need to do?

Ultimately, after the denial and the pleading and the hoping to bargain with the devil, I had to accept the Leaning Tower of Perdition:

There it is, that pile of boxes and CD jewel cases to the left of the resurrected machine. It's not everyting I had to reinstall, since over the few days I'd already put some back. And it is only the stuff I had physical installation disks for; the rest I had to re-download from online sources. Thus the several pieces of paper on the left, which are four pages of list I recreated from memory, a sort of check-off plan for the downloads. Holy smokes. Today, I can report that except for my winzip utility and my hundreds of beloved fonts and images that I have bought over the years from the awesome Scriptorium, I am back to wonky-normal.

There's a vacuum cleaner in the background, which was for cleaning up the loud and messy emotional shattering that occurred when I realized All Was Lost. You will also notice that my desktop wallpaper is currently sporting Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Beata Beatrix." That's one of my [many] favorite Pre-Raphaelite paintings. I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting it in person during one of my several visits to the Tate Gallery. If you were to see the actual painting, you would realize how crappy the reproductions are in print and onscreen. The real color is astounding, especially Beatrix's brilliant green tunic. I remember that it seemed to pop right out from the wall. Awesome painting, Dante. I'm not such a fan of the poetry, but you made up for it with the painting. Interesting that this should be the wallpaper that was cycling through at the time I took the picture of the tower. Because that is exactly how I have felt since the hard drive died--meditating and praying and begging for deliverance.

But it is almost all back. There is grace.


At 10/11/2006 2:18 PM, Blogger Neil said...

A monument to the human spirt. We can rebuild it!

At 10/13/2006 10:32 PM, Blogger Schnozz said...

Ugh. You have my sympathies. If I lost my hard drive ... I just don't know what I would ... (falls silent, presses lips together in grim line as a solitary tear slides down her cheek)

At 10/20/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger Tuesday said...

The computer broke! Oh verily no -- did you really get everything back? You've done a lot of writing over the years and personally I think the bubba-leaner drives pieces was one of the best.


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