Well, that was interesting, but I'm glad it's all over. After a couple of days of upheaval and camping out on Mr. Bsag's computer, trying to find files or applications I needed, I'm finally back on my own, working computer.
I've learned a few lessons:
- Do not trust the hard drive S.M.A.R.T. status -- in my case, it was gaily saying everything was fine (la la la) until the second it wasn't and my hard drive failed.
- Backups are good. Frequent backups are even better. It's only when you find that your last backup is 48 hours old that you realise that you actually do get quite a lot done each day, and that you've now lost that last 48 hours of work. I was very fortunate and only lost a few emails.
- Web applications really come into their own when you lose your files. I still had access to my calendar, some of my email from another computer when mine broke. Of course, the opposite is true when your internet connection goes down...
- Apple's Migration Assistant is actually rather good. I haven't used it before, but faced with many gigabytes of data to somehow shift onto a fresh system without wiping out default files, preferences and so on, I thought I'd give it a go. After all, I still had my backup, so if it went wrong, I could just reinstall and start again. It was very easy, and as far as I can make out, almost everything transferred smoothly, even my custom installed applications in /usr/local. Mysql seems to be broken, but that's not too bad. I'm also glad that my backups are just plain filesystems now, rather than some obscure catalogue format, which you have to restore using a backup application. I just had to plug in the firewire drive, point Migration Assistant at my full back up, and go.
I'm so reliant on a computer for work and personal stuff, and have my computing environment so customised to my habits, that it's amazingly disruptive to be without my own computer. The sooner I get multiple computers and easily sync-able files sorted out, the better.