I have not been very productive at work lately. This is how it has gone:
It has been a fairly hot summer at times and the fans in my laptop got to sound squeakier and squeakier—worn out presumably. I got a repair ticket prepared at the company that does our hardware service and thought I'd drop off the laptop as I went on holidays. The last two weeks before this date the laptop in addition became very very slow, showing a beachball per keypress on average. Well, presumably this would be fixed during service.
So, I went on hols and dropped off the laptop at service. I also specifically requested they'd do a backup of the contents (separately priced option).
When I came back from holidays, the laptop had not been fixed. Call and remind them. A couple of days later I got a call that it was done. I went and picked it up. Yes, the fans were now smooth and silent. However, it was still very slow. Call service guys: “Thanks for the fans, but the laptop is running very slowly, didn't you notice that when you tested it?” “No, we just tested the fans.” “You could hardly have turned it on without noticing…” “You probably just need to reinstall the system.”
Hmm, that would be a major operation. Well, but why might it be running so slowly to begin with? Poke around console logs and error messages. Hmm, here's a weird message being emitted every ten seconds, but what does it mean? Google for relevant bits and find discussion on blogs: “The disk has been overheated, get a new one.” Oh, I can still read from the disk, but apparently it's going to get worse. OK, so I need a new disk. I'd better call the service guys again: “Hi, it seems I need to replace the hard disk, lucky that you have a fresh backup for me!” “Uhmm, eh, actually, no, we don't.” “What? But I asked for a backup and you said you keep them around for two to three weeks.” “Uh, eh, well, no, we wiped it, uh, yesterday. Probably we were running out of disk space.”
Effing brill! OK, now what? I'll have to do a backup of my own. Procure disk. Yeah, this has an earlier backup of mine on it, but I'll have to throw it away to fit in the new backup. (Simplification of the real reasons, but the result is the same.) Done. Now, to start the backup. *grind* *grind* *grind* Eventually it is clear that at this rate of performance it will take approximately two weeks to back up my hard disk, unless it breaks down finally first. Well, what to do? Grin and bear it. I wonder how the service guys managed to make a backup in less than a day. Yet another call gives only vague and clearly unworkable answers.
A consequence of the backup is that I can't lock up the laptop in the safe for the night, as the two-week estimate is based on uninterrupted transfer. Well, what to do? So this goes on for a week and a half, and then when I get in one morning I meet a grinning colleague: “Guess whose laptop got stolen in the burglary last night?” Of course… And while the burglars had been as cock-snookingly polite as to leave the external hard disk on the table, the interrupted backup had been corrupted and was unreadable.
*sigh* Now what? “Maybe you can take the little white one?” OK. Hmm, it seems hung somehow. “Yeah, it's a bit dodgy, you have to do a remote install on it to get it running.” Install. Install. Incompatibility. Re-install. When I finally am on the way to get things up and running, the dreaded lurgy strikes and I'm bedridden. Now I'm on my second week of coughing, missing deadlines left and right.
Life, don't talk to me about Life!