Tuesday, June 27, 2006
"On The Way to the Wedding" is out today, and Julia Quinn is here with a shocking, I tell you, shocking GuestBlog! Well, not shocking, but definitely an entertaining treat in that wry, inimitable Julia Quinn style. She'll answer your questions, and loves your comments.
So I knew it was time for my new book to come out when my computer died. Because really, what self-respecting computer would choose to expire at a convenient time? (Note to self: determine convenient time for computer death. Any such time would imply excess time, during which I might catch up on all the tasks I have been putting off since 1998.)
It all started with a crackling sound in my left speaker. Like, the first time it booted up. But I was an idiot, and I thought it was the sound of my external hard drive, which I had recently purchased to back up the data on my previous computer, which hadn't quite died, but was clearly fighting one of those long, malingering illnesses (brought on, I'm sad to say, by three successive travel-related injuries, only one of which was my fault.)
Anyway, I didn't think anything of the crackling sound at the time. I was too busy basking in the glow of self-congratulation, because I had actually BACKED EVERYTHING UP. (Such sentiments deserve to be capitalized, I assure you.) But after a few months, it became apparent that the speaker was crackling at every start-up, so before I went off to a conference in San Diego, I dropped it off at the Apple store, deciding this was a good excuse to absolve myself of having to do any work on the airplane.
Computer returned. Crackle gone. For about two start-ups. Then it came back.
But just as there is no convenient time for a computer to die, there is rarely a convenient time for one to be in the shop. So it took me two months before I managed to bring it back, this time while my husband and I went away for our tenth anniversary.
The timing was perfect. My laptop returned from the Apple repair center the day after I got back, and I popped into the Apple shop, pleased as punch, only to be greeted by an annoyed associate who said that they had done the same thing as the time before and it was still crackling. (She was not annoyed at me; she was annoyed at the repair center. I found this reassuring.)
She said to me that they would send the computer back in. The rule is that if they can't fix it after three times, I get a new computer. I was somewhat pleased by this; even though I bought my computer only six months ago, it is already obsolete (ain't that just the way of things?) and the new model is a decided step up.
The Apple associate said she was going to put a big old note on it saying, "It's not the speaker! Try the logic board!"
It was at this point that I did something very stupid. I asked her if I could use the computer for a half hour or so to forward some emails to myself. I had been accessing email on the web using my old computer (the one with the vaguely terminal disease, which I have to say is holding up quite well all things considered) but I didn't have access to my downloaded mail. And I needed to reply to a few of them.
So I took care of that. And then (here is the stupid part). I figured I might as well download the mail I had received while I was gone. I had read it, of course--my husband had brought his computer on our trip. I just figured it would be easier to deal with my webmail if there was less of it on the server.
It never occurred to me that this mail would not be in the backup I had made on my external hard drive. (Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!)
But it also never occurred to me that the next conversation I would have with the Apple Store would be something like this:
Apple Guy: Um, we got your computer back, and we weren't able to repair it, so we're going to replace it.
Me: Oh. (thinking: Yay! New computer for me!) What happened?
Apple Guy: Well, it won't boot up.
Me: (silence, then) I'm sorry, what did you say?
Apple Guy: It won't boot up. When you press the button, the fan comes on, but that's it.
Me: (in a very small voice) But it was working fine when I dropped it off. It was just a crackle in the speaker.
Oh wait. This was the part where he remained silent.
Me: Can I get my data off of it?
Apple Guy: (slowly, because he is certain he is speaking to an idiot.) It... won't... boot... up.
Me: So you're saying it won't boot up at all?
Apple Guy: Yes.
Me: But it was working fine when I dropped it off. What did they do it?
Apple Guy: I don't know. It just came back to us this way. And it's been in for repair three times, so I really don't think there is any point in trying anything else.
Me: But is there any way to get my data off?
Apple Guy: Didn't you back it up?
Me: (testily, because let's face it, no one likes to have their backup skills impugned) Yes, I backed it up, but it wasn't a perfect backup, and it would be much easier for me—
Apple Guy: Well, I could send it back to the repair shop, and then maybe they could do something with the logic board again, but if they could get it to boot up, then you'd probably be stuck with this one because it would be officially fixed.
Me: (because I felt the need to say it one more time) But it was working fine when I dropped it off...
I'm not sure what the moral of this story is. It might be that there really should be eleven commandments. Thou Shalt Back Up Every Five Minutes, anyone?
Or maybe the moral is that when your computer is dead, dying, or missing, your cosmic pain is great enough that you must tell everyone your tale of woe. (And with the internet, "everyone" takes on a whole new meaning.)
But I promised Michelle something about the new book. This is where you guys come in. Ask me questions! I will answer them all--provided that my poor beleaguered travel-dented computer doesn't decide roll over and die for good.
P.S. If you happened to send me an email June 15-19, please re-send. ;-0
Posted by Michelle Buonfiglio at 6:00 AM