Wednesdays with Mindy: The Day Our Technology Died
Last week, around 11:00pm Wednesday evening as I was scrambling to finish my Photoshop homework (which involved editing pics and building a Dreamweaver site)…I restarted my lagging, cranky laptop to let it take a brief rest before I completed the final leg of homework.
It refused to boot back up, alternating between error message black screens, wouldn’t operate in safe mode. Eventually, after running all sorts of tests and fail-safes, it blue screened and never, ever recovered.
All my data on the laptop was lost. All of my schoolwork from last term. The last four family videos I’ve put together. All the scanned photos from my parents 30th wedding anniversary slide show. Several years worth of writing, including all my TV scripts and two complete movie scripts.
It was especially upsetting, because I had recently purchased $450 worth of Adobe Creative Design software. Thank the sweet and fluffy lords they allowed two downloads. I drove out to Fry’s in Wilsonville on Thursday night to pick up a brand new HP Pavilion laptop for around $770 (with a $50 mail-in rebate, dropping the price tag to $720).
Came back home and began downloading all the needed software to the machine, which is quite a bit better than what I lost (FINALLY, a machine I can successfully PC game with!). The specs can be found here, for anyone interested. The sound is incredible. You can use a finger-print scan to store all your passwords and automatically log into your machine. Basically, tons of cool nerdy things that made my heart flutter and soothed the stinging pain of losing everything.
My new computer died on Friday morning. Poor Dan, who was fighting a stomach flu both Thursday and Friday couldn’t conceive of what was happening. He also had to share some further ugly information…our external hard drive (what I call the dump drive) had also died. Well, a partition had failed, leaving the information contained on it hidden behind some wall we have to struggle to get over. Effectively, and for my sanity, I have to assume it is all gone, because any hope it can be repaired is setting me up for a nervous breakdown.
Yes, within a matter of 48 hours our external drive, my Dell and a second, brand new computer had inexplicably quit on us. All of our computing life went up in smoke. Our computer houses caught on fire, blazed up and nothing is left.
Friday evening we drove out to Fry’s, exchanged the broken HP for another new machine and came home to cross our fingers and install the suite. We called the third-party distributor and were able to get a reprieve in the form of one more download to a functioning machine. I was pretty sure at that point the software in the Suite had killed both machines. We did nothing else that first night, but install the software. The machine was able to boot up after the install, no problem. Phew.
On Saturday morning, I went ahead and downloaded Chrome and just yesterday, Dan installed Steam for Left 4 Dead purposes.
The only two programs I have not installed on this 2nd new machine (Colossus), which I installed on my 1st new machine (Real Steel) are iTunes and Spotify. I became concerned when Spotify was constantly running in the taskbar on my old lappy (Tangerine Dream), popping up ads at really inconvenient times during extended hours using other resource intensive software (dreamweaver, filezilla, photoshop, etc).
My speculative guess as to what killed my two other computers: Spotify reacting badly to some other software (or at least, installed perhaps before important Windows updates). I’m not sure why or how. I love Spotify and used it constantly. I am not attempting to disparage it or warn people away by any means. I just think there’s a connection there. It’s the only thing that makes sense.
Google these terms: Spotify + Blue Screen of death. I’m not the only one who has noticed incompatibilities with different versions of Windows or creative software (Spotify + Adobe = bad news bears?)
I’m still reeling from the shock of losing all my data.
AND I WANT TO WARN YOU.
Please back-up your important data. Using four different methods:
- An external drive. You can even use programs to set up automatic downloads, so you don’t even have to think about it.
- The cloud. I signed up for Carbonite on Sunday. Again – automatic downloads. I don’t have to think about it. Check here.
- Hard copy. You remember CDs? Well, that’s where all our family videos reside now.
- Thumb drive (jump drive). For seriously, every time I complete an assignment, it goes on my thumb drive for temporary purposes. I don’t trust thumb drives. They get weird errors and can be scrambled by improper ejecting methods.
FINALLY: Trust in Google. Without Google Docs, my novel would have been lost. Without Google Music, my entire 10,000 song collection would have vanished. Without Picasa, my pics would be gone. I ❤ Google for salvaging some shreds of my former computer life. A year or two years ago, this would not have been the case.
LIFE WILL GO ON POST COMPUTER APOCALYPSE
I learned a valuable lesson the hard way, and it’s important for my sanity to turn this horrible experience into something productive. Don’t let this happen to you. Backup your important data on an external drive, the cloud and in hard copy. Don’t let your computer house burn down without a fire safe for your passports and baby pictures.