Friday, August 26, 2011

Adventures with my Mac

Last month I managed to delete 8.5 years worth of writing from my computer. 2 unpublished books, articles, extraneous chapters, both parents life-histories.  

Everything.  Gone.

I still don’t get how I did it.  I was waking at 4 a.m. because of jet lag after arriving in Hawaii and getting a lot of work done while the state of Hawaii slept.  By accident, I copied “Writing” onto the sidebar of my Mac’s finder, as well as made an extra copy in my main folder.  I checked several times to make sure it lived in the main folder before deleting it from the sidebar. 

The Mac made a chomping sound when I emptied the trash.  When I looked in the main folder, everything was gone—all gone.

Palm trees in front of the Ala Moana Apple Store!
I did some mad emailing back and forth to husband and friends on the mainland to see if anyone knew what to do.  All they could suggest was going to the Apple Store in Honolulu.

Now this situation wasn’t as dire as it sounds.  Ever since my colleague lost everything when her hard drive crashed, I’ve been pretty good at backing up on an external hard drive.  I knew my writing still lived on in a small rectangular plastic box back in Boston. 

But I was in Hawaii with 27 more days in paradise before seeing that small rectangular box.  And I still felt overwhelming sick despair in my gut.

I made an appointment with the Honolulu Apple Genius Bar for 9 a.m.  The guy who helped me was very nice, but there was nothing he could do.  For hundreds of dollars, I could buy a restoration program or take it to a shop.  Not worth it with a back-up back in Boston. 

When I explained what I had done, he couldn’t understand how I managed to delete the folder but was too kind to say what my husband, the IT manager says, “Operator error!”

Since I was there, I also asked how to access my year-long “One to One” membership for which I had lost the info packet.  The kind workers managed to see that I never activated it, voided it and signed me up for a new one.

Yesterday, back home in Boston, I tried to restore my writing file.  I plugged in the external hard drive, opened up Time Machine, and couldn’t figure out what next to do. 

So I made an appointment at the Burlington Apple Store Genius Bar and also a 2 hour “Personal Projects” session.  The girls always complain our mall visits are too short, so I might as well learn something while they shop and Ren plays with Ipads.

At the Genius bar the nice guy talked me through plugging in my external hard drive, opening up Time Machine and clicking on the “Writing” folder. 

See the very faint "Restore" button on the bottom right?
Neither did I.
“Now hit ‘Restore,’” he said.  Less than 2 seconds later, 8.5 years worth of writing resided once again on my laptop.

Sheepishly, I said, “I didn’t notice that Restore tab.”

“No!  No!  It’s good!  With something like this it’s always good to have someone look over your shoulder.”

He gets paid to say things like that to computer idiots like me.

During “Personal Projects” I learned how to put my I-photos in date order (click “Sort Photos”, then “By Date”), how to re-date the 1.5 year’s worth of photos that all said they were taken January 1, 1980, and how to put names on Faces.  I didn’t even know there were “Faces.”

Steve Jobs, my heart goes out to you as you battle cancer, but thanks for not only inspiring incredibly user-friendly technology, but also the help centers that make it possible to use the technology.  

Even for computer idiots like me.

1 comment:

KJ Kenfield said...

Thank God for Backup, and thanks for reminding me. Sitting at my desk at home w/ my little grey external HD waiting on the left corner and saying; 'when did you last plug me in?' Well, right now seems like a good time. It's been over a month (I say sheepishly...)
The office still likes us to be on PCs but our next computers are going to be MACs... soon as we get back to the US!