October 29th, 2003


Bad Computer Luck

I spent Thursday and Friday wrestling with some FEA (Finite Element Analysis) problems in Mechanica.

Ailsa calls me midday Friday to say that there is a problem with my computer. When I get home I discover that the hard drive is toast, though it took several hours to determine that for sure.

Well there's some good computer luck at least, I thought. My parents were coming down. Mom was buying a brand new 15" PowerBook and wanted my help setting it up and transferring files from her old iBook. They waited in line at the Salem Apple Store for two hours Friday night. Their trip just happened to coincide with the OS X 10.3 release.

They were staying at the Sharon Inn because Mom's in a wheelchair 90% of the time now and my house isn't very handicapped accessible. (Split level, bathroom upstairs, bathroom downstairs, but no bathroom on the ground level.) I went over Saturday morning and helped them with a lot of file transfers, upgrades, and demonstrating new features.

"OK, Mom. Your new computer has a CD burner. You didn't buy Retrospect like I recommended, but you can at least back up one CD's worth of material at a time. Which 640MB of data files are the most important to your work?"

Everything was copied from her old computer to her new computer. Her most important files were backed up to a CD and set aside. I reformatted her old computer and was getting ready to install OS X on it when we left for dinner. Dad took his PowerBook along because he wanted to check email at my house after dinner. I took the old iBook, because I wanted to check online about a few problems I was seeing with it. Mom's computer we left in the room. Didn't really think about it. The curtains were closed. The room was locked. Sharon's a quiet town...

After dinner at Ahaar of India, we stopped at my house for a little while and then headed back to the hotel room.

While we were gone, someone smashed the back window. Grabbed the PowerBook off the desk and ran off. They didn't enter the room. They didn't even grab the power cord. They just smashed and grabbed. Computer gone.

Dad called 911 and the hotel front desk. The manager blustered that it couldn't have been any of his people. The hotel was full (it was the night before a Patriots home game) and he couldn't move them to another room. We left everything completely untouched until after the police detective had finished, but then I was even more annoyed at him when he wouldn't sweep up the glass. "Just make sure you wear shoes," was his comment. My mom is in a powered wheelchair with inflatable tires. We can't have her getting a flat from running over broken glass. I ended up vacuuming up most of the room. He did replace the window at least and did a bit of vacuuming.

Fortunately I had a complete backup of her old computer from the end of September and I had the backup CD from earlier that day with the most recent files. I spent most of that night upgrading her old computer and restoring from the backups. They had to leave first thing in the morning since Dad had a real estate appointment at 4:00 on Sunday.

This week has sucked.

  • Current Mood
    melancholy melancholy