Poor PowerBook

Friday, July 18th, 2003 @ 12:58 am | Mac

I never thought I’d see the day when I was rooting for a logic board failure over a dead hard drive. Yesterday, thanks to the investment I made in an AppleCare warranty for my PowerBook G4 and the sheer amounts of data that I hadn’t gotten around to backing up, it happened.

On Sunday, the hard drive on my PowerBook started making strange noises, so I decided to shut it down for a few hours. After giving it a chance to rest, I’d get the data off of it. A few hours later, I booted the machine only to find it wouldn’t get beyond the gray Apple boot screen. Hoping that it was just taking a really long time to run fsck, I let the system sit like that for 6 hours. In retrospect, that might have been a mistake.

On Monday, I swung by the Apple Store at Rockingham Park and picked up a copy of Disk Warrior 3.0 and a Marware SportSuit Convertible case for my iPod. By this time, I was getting the Flashing ? every time I booted the ‘Book. Also, I could only successfully boot off CDs something like 1 out of every 10 attempts, so I was starting to think something was really wrong. The two times DiskWarrior was able to boot the system, it wasn’t able to locate the hard drive. Crap.

Oh yeah, turns out the iPod case I grabbed was for the original iPod. Perfect.

On Tuesday, I dragged the comatose laptop to work so I could try booting off a FireWire drive. Still no luck.

At least the iPod’s still fine, right? Uhh, when I picked the iPod up out of it’s cradle on Tuesday morning, the metal case looked bent — the lower left corner was bulging out beyond the plastic portion. Wonderful.

I finally dragged the machine to the Apple Store on Wednesday. Of course, the fellow at the Genius Bar was able to get it booting off CDs and FireWire drives with no problem. The Hardware Test CD was still reporting that the hard drive was present and working fine. However, when we booted under OS X, there was no drive information displayed in the Apple System Profiler. The resident Genius told me my drive was probably fried.

On the bright side, I was able to return the iPod case.

My PowerBook should be returned to the Apple Store for pickup early next week. In the meantime, I’ve been surveying the damage.

  • Several months worth of email — gone.
  • Several months worth of ATPM reviews — gone.
  • 3 programming projects — gone.
  • Some recent changes to my Address Book that weren’t yet synced anywhere — gone.

It hasn’t been all bad, though. I found two programming projects backed up to my iDisk of all places. It’s not that I was using the iDisk for backup purposes, but I’d been testing out one of the early versions of DropDMG and just happened to try saving the project folders as DMGs to my iDisk. Thanks, Michael!

I actually shot out of bed Tuesday night when I thought about the money I spent on iTunes Music Store purchases I hadn’t yet backed up. I started breathing again when I remembered my iPod and PodWorks. Buzz to the rescue!

I’ve already managed to replace the lost serial numbers for NetNewsWire and Transmit. I’m currently begging the fine folks at Objective Development and Bare Bones for replacement serial numbers for LaunchBar and Mailsmith, respectively.

Getting back up to speed’s not going to be fun, but I’m feeling better about it than I was a few days ago. One of the missing programming projects will be a bit of a bear to recreate, but I was already toying with some ideas for revising it, so I’ll get to implement them. Another of the projects is fairly simple and I can probably get it running in about 2 days (if I can find 2 days of uninterrupted programming time :/). I’ll need to figure out what I want to do about the third project.

I’m probably going to miss some of my old NetNewsWire subscriptions when I start running that app again. However, I’ve already got a number of feeds to replace those that are missing thanks to Jon Gales wonderful tip for accessing RSS feeds of LiveJournals, I can keep up with many of my old college friends.

After two days of starting at The Bulge in my iPod, I decided warranty be damned, I was gonna open it up and fix the case. I just couldn’t take it any more. The Bulge was sitting there, mocking me.

Armed with instructions for opening the case and my trusty pocket knife, I started to pry my way around the iPod, starting at The Bulge. Fortunately, when my knife slipped out of The Bulge, the case snapped back into place. I’m taking this as an omen that things are going to get better.

One Response to “Poor PowerBook”

  1. mike Says:

    This guy swapped logic boards to get his save games back : http://www.deadharddrive.com