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schwern (1528)

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Schwern can destroy CPAN at his whim.

Journal of schwern (1528)

Friday January 14, 2005
12:51 AM

You don't ever replace a drive without asking.

[ #22709 ]

Apple FUCKED me. Its true I helped. iBook battery wouldn't charge. Battery OK. AC adaptor OK. Must be the DC board. Very simple fix. Take it to the Apple store and they say it'll have to be shipped to Apple. Why? I don't know, they have a laptop repair guy on site. So they ask,

"Did you back up your hard drive?"
"No, why would I need to?"
"Apple might replace your drive."
"Why would they do that? The drive is fine. Its a simple DC board swap."
"Just in case, you probably want to back up your data."
"I don't have the room for it anywhere. Don't worry, they wouldn't replace the drive."

I've had, oh almost 10 repairs by Apple done now. Every time they've told me to back up the drive. Every time the conversation goes something like the above. This time -- get the computer back. Boot it up. Panther install screen. AUGH!! Look at the work order... they replaced the drive. Frantic call to AppleCare (got the world's calmest and nicest tech support guy) reveals that the technician noticed a ticking noise, figured the drive was about to fail and replaced it. Very nice and thourgh of him, but not so good for me.

Can I get the drive back? Almost assuradly not they tell me. The procedure for a drive replacement is to put all the broken drives into a big bin and every day ship that bin back to the manufacturer. So most likely my drive is at Toshiba and I'm unlikely to get it back out of their corporate maze. But there is hope. The repair was done by Flextronics, a shop in Tennessee, not Apple. Talked with a human there and they're talking with all the techs who handled my machine to see what happened to the drive.

There are two lessons here. One: backup your data before giving anyone else your machine. Two: never replace anyone's hard drive without asking. The first is for me. The second is for Apple. Apple Customer Deflection^WService's attitude was essentially "we told you so" and "it would cost too much to do otherwise". But both the AppleCare rep and the fellow at Flextronics asked if there was a note on the repair to not replace the drive. It sounds like if you put a note to that effect on the repair job they might stop and think before replacing the drive. This is something I'm going to suggest to the folks at my local Apple store. If the customer says they're not backed up, put a note on the repair not to replace the drive!

PS Certain really critical pieces, like my CVS repository, were backed up. Others, like my spam filter training database, were not so email is going to suck for about a month.

PPS Anyone want to suggest a cheap, reliable, external USB 2/Firewire drive or enclosure? Either in the 40 gig range for just backups or the 150 gig range for a little more than just backups.

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  • I'm surprised whenever someone hands their computer over to repair drones without wiping the disk. There's information on my disk I don't want anyone else to have. Like, say, my keychain. I'd not be surprised to find fragments of passwords and passphrases in the swap file. I don't particularly want anyone else to be able to see my browser history or to have a copy of my cookie.

    But regardless of that, if you don't have backups which you know are good (because you test them regularly) you g

    • There's nothing on my machine that I really mind Apple having. All the personal stuff's in my home directory and that has hard encryption on the whole thing - without my password you can't access any of it. Yes, I know in theory apple could install a keyboard sniffer or some funky routine in the root partition, and screw me as soon as I log in for the first time when I get the machine back, but I'm not that paranoid - they make the O.S. anyway, so I figure you gotta trust them somewhat. I don't think any
  • I don't really understand them either. My experience with Apple Care has usually been good. My iPod has died a few times, and every time they just replace it. This is fine, because it's just music that's also on my server.

    My sister's hdd has died twice. The first time, they forced her to /buy/ DiskWarrior. It didn't work, they wouldn't give her a refund, and then they replaced her hard drive. The second time, they said, "Back up, because we're replacing your hard drive." -- "How can I back up if the
  • FWIW, I've been using this enclosure [] (or an earlier version of it without the silly lighting), a commodity 60G drive (Seagate, I think) and Firewire connected to a Powerbook for a year or so with no problems. I don't know if there's a size limit to what the chipset will handle though.
  • you only make once. Enjoy it Schwern. :)
  • You've got a Mac. You've got firewire. Save a few bucks and forget the triple interface. Just get a firewire drive.

    I'm happy with my LaCie Pocket drive, which is about 2 years old now. But I would get something 2x-4x larger than my disk for an external drive like this. That way, you can have a backup of your crud (stuff on your laptop you really don't need to keep, but don't want to delete), regular backups, plus room to do a disk image of your boot drive before you wipe it^W^Wsend it in to AppleCare

  • If you want to be able to buy IDE drives to use as "heavyweight disks", for backup or whatever, take a look at []

    and other similar products. The $100 device doesn't exactly 'enclose' anything, but it does let you buy IDE drives for backups and not have to have an enclosure for each drive.

  • I have been using Gmail as a spam filter in the last couple of weeks and it works very well. I forward everything to my gmail account and then fetchmail via their pop3 service.

    Most of my spam gets caught in their server.

    As an added benefit now I can read my e-mails in places without ssh enabled.