07-Oct-2012 If It Is Broke, Fix It

An inauspicious start to the week…

The bedside alarm sprang into life at an unearhly early hour as Val was spending a few days temping and, so, we had to brave early morning commuter traffic after a hurried breakfast. Returning home, Jimmy pottered about, played some guitar, read a few pages from his current Armistead Maupin, did a little bit of computing, and felt generally out of sorts until driving off to Morpeth to pick Val up after work. We switched Val’s 13 month old PC on and… nothing… except for a black screen with with white text proclaiming “Hard drive failure” and “Boot device not found”.

Had it not been for the fact that we were heading off to the North Briton in Aycliffe Village to see Anthony John Clarke, the rest of the evening would have been spent tinkering, testing, dismantling, re-assembling, testing, swapping out data and power cables, installing the drive in other PCs, and other equally frustrating tasks. But no, we put it behind us and were rewarded with Anthony John on good form as always and lots of floor singers too. In addition to our own floor spot we were part of the evenings finale as Anthony John invited performers to join him as he encored with our very own ‘One More Song’… it’s all part of the masterplan to have this song end the night at every folk club in the land!

On returning home we did spend the early hours of Tuesday morning doing some of the aforementioned diagnostics before grabbing a few hours of sleep before the onslaught of the following day which promised another early start and much frustration and disappointment with technology (the computer being one month out of warranty) and a certain local computer firm who proudly boast their data recovery work but who failed to get back to us after our initial enquiry. So, a replacement drive was duly ordered from scan.co.uk with promised next day delivery.

And sure enough an email arrived on Wednesday (luckily we are able to do our emailing on smartphones and tablet too!) giving us a one-hour window for delivery – 17:04 to 18:04… possibly the worst possible time as Jimmy sets off from home at 16:30 to pick Val up from Morpeth, and we get back some time between 17:20 and 17:30 depending on traffic. No, they couldn’t change the time, but they could re-schedule delivery for the following day. So Val had to leave work early so that we could guarantee being home during the allotted hour… and… 17:04, nothing… 17:30, nothing… 17:45, nothing… 18:00, delivery!

Since then it’s been full on with setting up Val’s PC – a completely fresh installation of Windows 7 and gradual re-installation of programs and peripherals (we’d just been through all that with Jimmy’s brand new PC). We hadn’t lost everything – our jiva database of songs, performances and venues (yes, we DO have one) had been backed up a week earlier and we’d backed up emails, contacts etc from MS Outlook a fortnight ago. We don’t keep masses of data on the PC hard drives – we have a networked server for all that kind of stuff – so documents, spreadsheets, videos, songs, websites, design commissions etc are all safely to hand. But we have learned a lesson that backups are not a luxury to be undertaken as and when, but that they are essential and should be scheduled, undertaken rigourously and regularly, and tested.

In a week of turmoil we do have good news to report – new gigs to add to the end of year schedule (one from a phone call to Val completely out of the blue), and we can also report that the the green Mega Defenders are doing there stuff keeping our gravel free from marauding cats.

Must go, can’t be enjoying ourselves for too long… just in case anything else might go awry, we have a backup to complete.

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