The hard drive of insanity

14 12 2012

Dear reader, the advice I have for you tonight is simple, write notes.

I was about to go on a lovely holiday with a friend who had asked me if I’d like to take a few days off and stay at the farm with her, Katie was allowed to come too, She’s my Malamute.

We had a few days before the trip and I was preparing to leave, I packed my bags slowly and made sure I had everything, clothes, dog food, dog blankets, harness, electronic gizmos, cameras, chargers, keys…

And I also took care to hide special things I would be leaving behind, the kinds of things which may appeal to a thief, there is some security here, but still, a little extra care couldn’t hurt… and this is where it all turned sour.

To me, a hard drive is not so much an electronic device, but a place which houses perhaps the last ten years of your life… photos, videos, documents, artwork… and to have one of these stolen, well it would seriously upset my apple cart.

I have too many hard drives, you know how it goes, the original, the backup, the backup of the backup, the backup backup of the last backup (or something), not that all the drives are synced, there are more things on some drives than the others, it’s a headache, I want something a lot more stable, please science?

I have a super secret location where I put two, it’s a place I’ve used before, which works, and um… I think I put three there, or so I thought.

There is a vague memory involving me thinking about putting a note in my iphone about where I put the third drive, but I didn’t, I was sure I’d remember… however I’m more certain that I forgot where I put it almost instantly.

I do that a lot, I’m using something and just put it down, two minutes later I have no idea where the thing is and have to frantically search for it.

Holidays were had, things went well, and Katie and I came home.

I have had an illness years back and although I can mostly hold my own these days, my energy can drop like a stone… when I returned home, I was happy, but totally rooted and spent a few days lazing around the house, not being particularly concerned about anything.

Katie was just as happy to lay around the house as I was, she spent a lot of time catching up on sleep.

I think two weeks had gone by when my Macbook suggested that it might be time to run a backup, so I went to pull out these hard drives… and there were two.


Now the place is a bit dark, and hard drives are black, so I placed an arm down there and felt around, but felt nothing resembling a hard drive, just some sort of dust and a spiderweb.

Then I got the torch out, a friend gave it to me as a Birthday gift, and I love it, it could light up the Eiffel Tower from here, and I’m nowhere near Paris.

I searched around with that, and found nothing, I couldn’t quite believe it and repeated the routine a few times until the FACT sank in that the other drive was not there, and would not simply re-appear like Schrödinger’s cat might.

That’s when I began the hunt, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms, I peered into every nook and cranny, I reached, I poked, I prodded… the more I looked, the more I found fragments of a past life which I had forgotten, old faded photos, and objects I hadn’t seen for a decade or more… but no hard drive.

For the next few days, I slowly tore my house apart looking for the stray item, I was ok at first, it had to be there somewhere, but then yesterday the worry hit its peak.

My mind began playing tricks on me.

Had I only thought I had three drives, did I only have two? I couldn’t remember!

This thought haunted me for a while, I recalled some star trek episode where someone goes missing, but nobody could remember them… but they still had a feeling of loss.

I tried to remember when I last saw it, I had taken it next door to save some things to it, using my neighbours computer, as I was having a technical difficulty with my iphone… oddly I couldn’t save my photos from my phone to my macbook, I knew I could do it on PC, but my PC was down.

Had I simply left it there? unlikely, but plausible.

Then I began wondering if it had been stolen, but by who? The house had not been broken into, and even if it had, then why would someone steal the most hard to find object when there are easier things to take?

The worst things played through my mind, who had been there? friends, a friend was a thief? but who? I contemplated this into the wee hours, it was a truly awful thought. I was still awake at dawn. it had been a hot night and I had been naked in bed with just a sheet over me.

There was another missing object which made the situation worse, a radio, about the size of an iphone, given to Dad as a gift from Mum in the 70s. I have no idea where that went either, but why would someone steal that? had someone just seen it laying there and pocketed it?

Not really, I was sure that I had just misplaced it, but It was about 5am, I was hot, stressed, worried, feeling vulnerable and the paranoia was growing.

I was not being as sensible as I should be.

A question popped into my mind “When was the last time you saw the watch your Mother gave you?”

I knew exactly where that was too.

I got out of bed and had a look, it wasn’t there… things began to get worse, I told myself I’d been robbed, I wondered how many other things, small things I didn’t see every day, were missing.

I tweeted that I’d been robbed, I e-mailed a friend and sent a few SMS messages to others, I was having my Daffy Duck moment.

The drawer which contained my missing watch had another watch in it, I wondered why the thief had taken one but not the other, I decided to examine the remaining watch, I’m not sure why… guess what?

The missing watch was at the back of that drawer.

Oh the relief!

I began to come back down from a possible crime, to simply misplacing something.

It was light, I hadn’t slept, there was stuff all over the loungeroom floor, I started getting messages and phone calls from people who were worried about me.

I left Katie out for a pee, and fed the cat, then went back to bed… where I finally went to sleep.

I slept lightly and woke up often, but finally got up about 3pm.

My neighbour had said that I should go into his house while he was at work and have a good look around, he’s not the technical type and had no idea what the drive looked like.

I thought that was a good idea, and got dressed and ready to do that.

But I remembered the thought that I may have only ever had two drives, and the solution I came up with during the night… while I had hidden the drives, I had not hidden the cables fro those drives, it was only a matter of counting the cables and I should have my answer… it should be easy because the cables were branded with a white sticker.

I walked into my Mums room, where I had left the cables… I put one foot in there and saw something black on the carpet.

It was the hard drive.

I must have stepped past it many times as I hauled stuff out of there and covered the lounge room floor in baskets and drawers and suitcases… it was over.

If I had only found it last night, it would have saved me so much stress, but if I had simply written a note to myself, none of this madness would have happened.

Write notes, folks, for your sanity… write notes.



4 10 2011

I have a problem with Baker’s Delight bread, Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I find it perfectly tasty and buy it every week.

No, My problem, is with, or rather “begins” with, That freebie card that they stamp when I buy things.

And the fault is entirely mine.

This is what happened today.

I asked for two High GI Loaves, and had them sliced.

Then I noticed that I had a free bread on my card, and showed the girl, but she said that I had to spend at least another $1.60 to get the free loaf.

This was fine because as some of you know, I just bought one of those sandwich makers, and if you own one, you’ll know that you can go through bread at an amazing rate.

So I asked for a half-sized, plain white loaf with poppy seeds, which was enough to allow me to have my free loaf.

I also noticed that there were two danishes there, so I got those too.

I took my stuff outside where Katie (My Malamute) was waiting patiently, tied up safely to the hydrant, minding my stuff which I’d just bought from Coles.

I packed everything up and went home.

When I unpacked, I realised that the small loaf was not there.

And that’s it, right there.

Whenever I get a free loaf, something happens to it… I usually leave it on the counter, if not at Baker’s Delight, then the counter at Antipasto… a cafe and deli, just a few doors down.

If I don’t lose the bread, then it gets squashed or some other weird thing will occur.

Today was unusual in that I’d lost an item I had payed for.

I could’ve thrown a tanty when I realised what had happened, but no, it’s normal… I just shrugged and got on with life.

Despite the fact that this happens almost every-time, It’s just typical of me,
and I suppose I just have to laugh.

Perhaps I should give up using those stamp card things?


Rotten Apples

3 06 2011

You may have read about my data loss on my iphone, Not only did I lose photos and videos over a month, but also a lot of voice memos, which had been important thoughts, and a few silly ones, from recent times… I really did want to keep these because they were the kinds of things I would one day wish to look back on, and were the kind of thing I’d like to pass onto others.

In general, when we see family trees, we see names and when these people were born, if they married and how many kids they had, and when they died. But a lot of the important stuff, such as what they loved and despised, how they felt, and what made them tick as a person, is lost.

I had been foolishly trusting iTunes to back this data up for me, while having no idea that it was just backing up basics, such as apps, music and phone numbers.

To me, the art I produce myself is of more importance than product I can simply buy again, (though understandably that is a pain too) because our own media is unique, and often the only copy is on the phone or computer.

I have had computers for decades now, and I know full well that backing up is the very best thing to do, and have several backups for my PC in the form of external drives.

When my phone went down, and I found iTunes had only saved rudimentary items, I was shocked and angry, frankly I wanted to beat both my Mac and iPhone to a pulp with a hammer, and to be honest I am considering wiping both and putting them on e-bay.

Apples backup system “Time Machine” failed to help too.

Although I found that I could indeed take a former iTunes from the past and use it’s contents… I could reload my bought apps, but of course there were no voice memos, photos or videos.

I noticed that some of my notes were from the much older PC sync, with iTunes (iTunes on PC appears to be the safer bet), so I thought I’d re-sync with the Mac version.

However, none of the backups worked anymore, each time I tried to run iTunes, I was greeted with an Apple Agreement and a fresh program… completely empty, no apps or anything.

I completely erased iTunes from my Mac and went back into Time Machine, dug out the old iTunes and ran it again, only to be greeted by the same Apple Agreement again, and a fresh, apparently unused iTunes.

Where was my stuff?

I’m feeling really burned by this, and really just want to leave this stuff in the corner to rot.

I will never buy another Apple product ever again, I’ve had enough. For all the sparkly glamour of the company, what has happened over the last week is far worse than anything the PC has ever done to me in over twenty years of use.

If anything has gone wrong on the pc, nine times out of ten I have managed to recover most of my files with relative ease, but with the Mac it’s just complete frustration.



4 05 2011

Today I needed to go shopping, and as I don’t own a car, I called a taxi.

This process has always worked, Phone, Tell them where you are and where you want to go, they tell you that it’s on it’s way, done!

Now, there’s an iPhone app which is called “13CABS”, and the idea is that when you want to go home again, you tap it’s icon, it locates your position via GPS and the taxi is supposed to come and pick you up… it’s supposed to, but usually it doesn’t.

And I think I’ve worked out why.

On the way, there were electronic messages heard in the taxi, a robotic female voice would ask the driver if he was prepared to take a passenger from wherever they were.

When these came through, thrice while on the way out, the driver pressed a button and the voice said “You have declined the passenger” or some such phrase.

So what I think is going on is that after hailing a taxi on 13CABS, The app tells me that a driver has been notified, but then when he pushes cancel, the request is not passed onto another taxi as it should be, but is totally cancelled.

This leaves the would be passenger constantly checking their iPhone for updates to see if the taxi is really coming or not.

If you don’t check and it’s cancelled, you could be left standing there until you do, I was left standing for over an hour.

The App sounds fine in theory, to find yourself on the side of a road somewhere and not know where you are (I tried GPS on the iPhone and was told I was in Egypt, I have no idea why) and have a taxi come and pick you up, well it’s a great idea.

I was standing on a road beside a major shopping center, but telling the taxi company I was somewhere there was no good, as the shopping area is vast, and I’d be a mere needle in a haystack, and there was very little signage… and I was freezing my arse off.

I wound up phoning my neighbour instead who was kind enough to pick me up, fortunately he knew where I was by description of the area.

I tend to get lost easily, I didn’t inherit that Pigeon-like sense of direction which my Dad had in abundance.

But I got home anyway, Thankyou David.

Our little family is back together again.

As for 13CABS, It’s as reliable as asking a cat to look after a salmon for you, I will never use it again.


* Tonight a friend told me how to make maps find me, in Australia. and as it turns out, hitting the little arrow icon in the bottom left does work. I’m sure I must’ve tried it before though, how could I have missed it?