Cristian Livadaru's blog

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Clack, Clack, Clack – Noises You Don’t Want to Hear From Your Hard Drive

This is pretty long story, don’t know quite where I should start.

Let’s start with monday. It started as a normal monday and then some minor issues appeared, a bit of stress but all in all rather a normal Monday. Ok, Tuesday already started a bit worse and then … Internet connection is gone. We try to call the Provider (Optima in Kiev, hands of this provider! Really! but this is a different story). As usual no answer from Optima.
Then it came to my mind that there where some road works around the corner and said “can it be that they destroyed the phone lines?” Well, unfortunately I was right! They destroyed ALL phone lines and Internet lines, a gas pipe and also electricity, although I don’t understand how they did that since I was expecting that electricity lines are above the ground, but I don’t have to understand everything.
Now without internet of course I had so many things where I just needed a quick patch or something I could only get via internet. This went like this all week and each day brought new problems and I needed Internet more and more. But for larger things I could still download them at home and bring them to work with me.

Weekend, finally weekend. After a quite stressful week it was time to relax a bit, watch a movie and half way into the movie my MacBook just froze.
WTF? What is happening, no way to get my MacBook to react so I shut it down and tried to start it again. Well … I didn’t really expect any problems but as it seems my bad luck wasn’t over since my MacBook refused to start. I tried a second time and then … this noise …. this “clack – clack – clack”.
Well, what do you think, my hard drive is dead! I hear you say Backup? Well, I do have a good backup (thanks to Time Machine) but the problem is that my backup was made on my fileserver at home, in Vienna and we are currently still in Kiev, so copying 47 Gig over the internet is quite the best solution.
I tried! Really, the download was very fast, 1.2MB/s but unfortunately I have a download limit, what I didn’t know and this resulted in no internet at home! So now, no Internet at home, no Internet at work and a dead hard disk. What I did manage to download though was my Leopard Disk Image (from my purchased Leopard DVD). So what now? The fastest solution was to buy a external hard disk but I didn’t find one with firewire so I got a USB version, with a bad feeling since I wasn’t 100% sure it would boot from USB. Apple never claimed officially that it does (at least that’s what I read) but … it works! It works great actually.

So now I have a naked Mac OS Leopard and no internet, still not quite optimal, but after one day, the internet in the apartment was payed and stupid me tried to download the backup again, since I still didn’t know about my limit and initially though the company owning the apartment just forgot to pay. Well the result was once again no internet, for one day so I had to give up the idea of downloading my backup, I have to restore when we are back home, which is pretty soon.

But, this isn’t the end of my story, meanwhile a week has passed and we still had no internet at work! It is really incredible what “I don’t give a shit” mentality Optima has!
Finally, after 1 week and one day we had internet again, but only for about an hour, since after that hour they blocked our internet, because we had to “charge” our account! Incredible, after leaving us offline for over a week they have the guts to block our access because of payment.
This is pretty complicated in Ukraine as I have noticed. Almost everything is prepaid here. It’s pretty strange to get used to it, especially if you are working with big companies (Kyivstar, Volia Cable, Optima etc) and pay them monthly huge amounts, that you still have to prepay the use their service.

So in conclusion, get yourself some small external disks where you can do your backups, and have the backup on the fileserver as second backup, in case your laptop gets stolen which probably means that they have also stolen your external disk!