The Cost of Hardware Breakdowns

I’ve been hit by a bunch of hardware issues lately, and though none of them were devastating they’ve certainly been problematic.

My first casualty was my old PowerMac G4 – the machine that ran my backups. Replacing the power supply seems to have brought the G4 back, and I’ll be setting it up again this afternoon. However, as it was the first hardware failure I’d experienced in years I didn’t have the appropriate sense of urgency to get my backup system running properly again – and I’d have to learn from that later.

The next hardware to go down was my TiVo – I lost a bunch of TV shows, but that was under warranty and was replaced for free by DirecTV. I don’t really mind missing the TV shows, but I lost about 5-6 hours due to the failure. Some of that time was on the phone w/ DirecTV support, confirming that the hard drive was indeed the problem, unpacking the new TiVo and installing it (the component cabinet is in the crawl space and requires unscrewing the back of the unit, etc.) and packing up the old unit to be sent back.

My Quad experienced a couple of freezes when trying to sleep (my hunch is that my Kensington mouse that seems to prevent any Mac from sleeping for long is to blame here) and the directory structure was corrupted. Luckily, I hadn’t used the machine much since my previous clone and I was able to recover some files from the drive before I had to reformat – but I did lose a little non-essential data due to this. I’m back up and running on the Quad now, but I lost at least 8 hours trying to fix the corruption, reformatting, cloning and getting my configuration up to date.

The hard drive in my PowerBook was dying… I had it replaced last week at the same time I had the power supply replaced in the G4. Luckily, the drive wasn’t dead yet so I was able to clone it before I replaced it. One of the screws on the back of the PowerBook seized while the tech was trying to get the case open. He had to dremel out the screw – leaving some nasty scars on the back of the PowerBook case. I was able to clone the drive image back to the new HD (put the PowerBook in FireWire target disk mode and cloned back to it). I was without the machine for about a week and lost about 5 hours to the trip to Mac Outlet for the repairs.

These failures have cost me a lot of time and a little money – but the time was the biggest problem. The time spent recovering from these failures was the primary reason I wasn’t able to get my new Tasks Pro™ and Tasks releases out last week, and it cost FeedLounge the release of a feature or two as well.

I’m going to be working to get my automated backup system running again, and I think I’ll be adding some additional hard drives and scheduled clones to the mix – I’ve got way too much going on right now to have this kind of downtime.