Suddenly a gray transparent screen appeared on my laptop over the existing one. The keyboard and cursor were completely frozen. I could see what I had been working on behind it. The lighter gray screen in the middle sent an ominous message in 4 different languages about how I need to restart my computer. So I did and within a few seconds the same thing happened, so I "zapped the pram" and tried again. I did this 6-7 times and each time it was only a matter of time before I got the bad screen.
I thought about all of the files that I either had or I had not backed up.
Dissertation? Check. It's in numerous places.
My teaching files? Years of work. Hundreds of Powerpoint presentations that each took me hours to do, photos of primates for slide shows...
Check. Backed up in numerous places.
Music? My iTunes has hundreds of songs, even videos, that I've purchased but not burned or saved anywhere. CRAP. I would lose those.
Hundreds of photos I have spent hours and hours making of my inventory - GONE.
Email messages and drafts that I have saved there. Contacts info - GONE.
We did all the stuff you're supposed to do when this type of thing happens - disconnect everything that might be hooked up, reboot with the start up CD, reload the OS. None of that worked.
I wasn't happy about it. No scientist ever wants to lose data. Fortunately Mr. Field Notes acted quickly and set up an ethernet connection between his desktop computer and my laptop and in between zapping of prams (talk about defibrilating your computer!) we managed to save the music and photos. I was able to forward some important emails to another account.
Obviously my computer needed help, so I saw 2 choices:
* Take it to a tech
* Buy a new one
A tech costs $60 an hour and may not be able to revive it. It's a 2005 model. The nearest tech is at least 60 miles drive away, and no one is going to be able to fix it and send it home with me on the spot, so that would add to at least 240 miles of driving for the possibility of having it work again, plus whatever it cost to fix. It's no longer under warranty.
Given all of that and the really unpleasant reality of being without a piece of equipment I use more hours in the day than my bed, I decided to just get a new one.
My new white 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 160 GB storage Apple laptop is on its way, along with info about sending my broken ones back to Apple for free to be recycled. I am so pleased, not to be shelling out 1400 bucks, but that my new machine will be blazing fast and I will be able to process more video. Yahoo! I will have to celebrate by producing some footage from my travels to Japan.
** I uploaded this on my old laptop. It's missing the option key and the right arrow, not to mention the paint has chipped off several of the keyboard letters and it is SO FREAKING SLOW. It's sort of hard to believe that at one one point I actually thought this thing was blazing fast. It's amazing how quickly computers evolve.