Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Losing It

Have you ever had that moment of panic when you realize it’s all gone?

Your files, calendars, music, notes, recipes, contacts, legal papers...

I did this weekend. Then I didn’t. Then I did again. Now I’m clear. I think.

I remember a nighttime campus ministry service from my college days where the speaker challenged us to let go of our stuff. I don’t remember exactly how it was put, something about strings or sacrifice or idols or burying your father maybe. But the point was this: we should have nothing in our lives of material value that is so important to us we could not give it up in an instant at God’s call. That night I took stock of my limited possessions and came to this conclusion: I would happily give it all away, except one thing. My golf clubs. I mean, it took me years to collect the perfect combination of clubs. The irons, the grips, the cleveland wedges, the swing weighting, the extra inch of length, the Nike driver. Could I part with those... even for God?

Today, I can happily say yes. I made the decision before going, and wo years in Tanzania without them confirmed that I didn’t need my golf clubs for life fulfillment. But I may have a new material vice. My computer.

It’s not that I idolize it, or am so stingy I wouldn’t be willing to give. If someone close to me needed it more than I do, I think I’d try to buy them a new one... because if I gave mine away, I’d be giving away a part of me. I mean, my whole life is wrapped up in the thing. I really don’t know how to function without it. This is a confession of sorts. As I’m typing, my son is hanging on my leg and holding a drum while looking at me with pitiful “play with me eyes”. Moments like this remind me that I should shut this aside and go play, go live, go have fun...

...Ok, I’m back. Back to the story.

My computer hard-drive crashed and burned this weekend. Friday morning I plugged in my mp3 to update it for my morning run, and my computer froze and started clicking. Never good. Once I knew that my hard-drive was deader than a doornail (I feel like I should be sipping an RC Cola on a wooden porch in order to use that phrase), I called Hitachi to confirm that this particular drive, less than a year old, was still under warranty. It was, so I was basically covered. Had some work ahead of me, but no big deal. My files are backed up, I’ll get a new HD in the mail in a month, and I have an old one I can put in my computer to use temporarily. So I popped my laptop open and swapped out the hard-drives and then installed my OS and had again a working computer. But then I discovered a little glitch that much of the internet world knows about but I’d never experienced. And when I did... well the timing was bad.

Apple Time Machine uses a file known as a sparsebundle to store hourly backups under one single manageable file. Oh so user-friendly, right Apple? Nice, but what if that one single file becomes corrupted? And what if that happens to be a frequent occurrence when backing up over a wireless network? And what if the corruption happens at the very moment one’s hard-drive crashes? Ahhh!!! I had this massive 320GB file that was a bunch of useless 1’s and 0’s, because no computer known to my world could open the file up. Oh how I wished Chloe O’Brien was on my speed dial.

I jumped to the internet and researched the problem. Turns out there’s basically 3 solutions: 1 - Buy Disk Warrior, and expensive program that can fix messed up files... sometimes. 2- Use terminal, the basic computer code aspect that 95% of mac-users don’t know exists, to input a magic combination of obscure commands and hope something works. 3 - Scrap the file and start over.

Thanks to help from friends around the world, I was able explore these options and more (but the truth is that these are the only 3 legitimate ones for a corrupted sparsebundle file). I spent close to 36 hours straight on my computer pulling out my hair. In the end it was jthon’s blog that led me to the promised land and when I rearranged quite a few of the commands I found there I was able to open up my backup just long enough to copy all of the relevant and recent files to another drive.

So now I have my files, I’m running a temporary set-up until I get a new HD, and my world is close to normal.

If Jesus was alive today would he carry a laptop? I guess he could remember all of his appointments and passwords and answer prayers instead of e-mails, being God and all... but I am but a man.

How about this: I’m willing to give up all of my possessions, even my computer, but can I upload all of my files to an internet server somewhere so that I can access them again someday?

Nope, I’m still holding onto something. Argh.

I think in this picture, he's also wearing Chaco's, the official sandal of mission trips. Love it. Jesus was so hip.


Kevin Eby said...

you are a loser... of it all.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Thanks Kevin, I believe it coming from you!