About a week ago I upgraded my hard drive, which was much less simple than it might have been, largely because of an incredibly overtightened screw.
Today, I was sitting on the bus, working, when suddenly my laptop shut off. It wouldn't come back on. At work, on the AC power, it was fine, but it sometimes showed that I had no battery at all in my computer. Toward the end of the day, while it was claiming I had no battery, I yanked the power. I'd done this while it said there was power, earlier, and nothing had happened. This time my laptop immediately shut off. Looking in the battery compartment, I made a horrifying discovery. The third, originally over-tightened screw on the L-bracket in the battery compartment was not fastened. Worse, it didn't seem like it would stay fastened. Unscrewing it had, perhaps, caused some kind of damage. I fiddled with the battery and brought it back online, and it rebooted itself once or twice before giving me a login. I put it to sleep and headed to the bus.
At the bus stop, I found that my laptop was, once again, off. I used a little scrap of paper, folded into a shim, to hold the L-bracket in place, and the laptop turned on. It would repeatedly get to the grey boot screen, then reboot. It did this over and over.
Basically, I had no laptop use for the majority of my ride to and from Philadelphia today. By coincidence, I did not have headphones with me, or a pad of paper, or a book. I made some notes on some index cards and tried to nap.
When I got home, I tried to use Disk Utility to recover my drive, but the filesystem seemed too far gone. It was time to format and restore.
My backup was from the 24th, and I back up a few key directories several times a day. Still, this was a serious pain. I don't back up to Time Machine often enough because it means going upstairs and plugging into my firewire drive on my desk. I'd love to update my backups over the wireless, but Apple pulled that feature before release. I could get a Time Capsule, which wouldn't be so bad, except I'm really irked at buying an 802.11n access point when I can't upgrade my MacBook (rev A) past 802.11g. There have been rumors that 10.5.2 will let me use a normal (cheaper) AirPort with an external drive. I also might just try backing up to a drive on my Ubuntu machine. We'll see.
Anyway, once again: Apple's stupid hardware techs caused me grief, but their excellent backup software helped make me care a lot less. If you're reading this, Apple, you can buy my total forgiveness: just send me a Time Capsule, and maybe a MacBook with newer networking hardware. battery