Saturday, June 12, 2010

From the back to the middle and around again

OK, I know I said I'd write about my epic crisis yesterday, but my internet was down all day. And it was the awesome "all-day window," which means that instead of being told to be home between 8:00 and 12:00 or 1:00 and 5:00, I was told that the cable guy would be coming "sometime between 8:00 and 8:00." So I was stuck at home all day yesterday. And when did he arrive? 6:45 PM. Alas.

Anyway, on with the crisis . . .

As you know, I was all excited to DJ the big party at my Grinnell reunion last weekend. I spent hours and hours compiling my playlist for the perfect early/mid-90s dance party. This playlist was going to be monumental. I'm talking Prince, Madonna, Depeche Mode, New Order, the Beastie Boys, the Pet Shop Boys, and the amazing dance floor pop songs such as "100% Pure Love" and "Mr. Vain." That's right, "Mr. Vain." In addition to the party playlist, I also created an pretty awesome background music playlist for our class dorm party on Saturday night (great 90s music, but not necessarily dance tunes).

I got home from work on Thursday, packed my bags, and double checked my sweet playlists. I had decided to bring my computer with me, and was excited because I have a cool DJ program, made even cooler because it has a companion iPhone app so I can control the music remotely in case I need to step away from the booth (to chat with friends, get a beer, etc.). Then I got in my car and started off on the nearly five hour drive.

I arrived in Grinnell at about 9:30, checked in at the reunion desk, and headed for my dorm room. I immediately turned on my computer, because five hours is too long to go without Facebook, plus I wanted to see if my iPhone remote DJ app was going to work on the Grinnell College wireless network. And then I plugged in my external hard drive, the one that has all of my music. Not just all of the music for the party--ALL of my music. 13,000 songs. The hard drive did not appear on my desktop. It was spinning, and it sounded fine, but it was not sending any information.

I panicked, and I truly felt like I was going to throw up. My immediate concern focused on the party--how would I DJ without my music!? But I also thought about all of my music being gone for good. I started cursing myself, since I had told myself two weeks prior that I would go get another hard drive to back up all my music once school was out and I had more time. I don't know why I used my external hard drive as my only music storage. Fool!

So on Friday morning I took my hard drive to the college help desk and the techs took a look at it. After a few hours of checking things out, the people there told me, "You need a replacement part for your drive, but we don't have it here. We think all your stuff is recoverable, but we can't do it."

Relieved a little, I began the task of figuring out what to do about the party. Fortunately, I did have my iPod with me, which had about 60% of the songs I needed for the party. So I spent the rest of the afternoon gathering songs from friends' computers, downloading new copies of songs, etc. By the end of the afternoon, I had rebuilt most of my party playlist. And it turns out that a few of the songs I needed were also stored on my computer's hard drive, so I figured some of the songs must have been backed up at some point. Not very many of them were on there, but no matter for now. The party was saved, and though I stressed out for the next couple of days about my external hard drive and the music recovery, the party was a success and the weekend was great. But I did not get to use my DJ program and remote app, which bummed me out a little.

So I got back to Chicago on Sunday and immediately did some research on data recovery companies in my area. I made some calls, and made arrangements to take my hard drive in to a place on Monday. So I did that. And the tech guys took a few days to diagnose my drive before calling me to tell me that the recovery would require massive labor, removing layers of the disk, etc. And the cost would be $799. Holy shit.

So I had to decide whether the recovery was worth that much money. I thought about what else besides my music was on the drive, and though I know that a bunch of Word documents and school stuff is on there, nothing super important popped into my mind. So I then decided that I needed to figure out exactly how much of my music would be lost forever. I still have all of my hundreds of CDs, so much of my old music would be easily (if time-consumingly) replaceable, but I would have nothing that I had purchased (or downloaded) in the last few years. That is a lot of music.

But then I made a happy discovery. As I mentioned, some of my music was on my computer's hard drive, but when I was getting my music for the Grinnell party, only a few songs I needed were on the computer. But as it turns out, just a low percentage of the songs I needed for that party were on the computer, but a lot more of my music was on there than I initially thought. And I'm not really sure why it is on there, but I'm glad it is. I must have backed some of it up without knowing it (in a brief moment of unintentionally responsibility) or maybe the computer automatically put stuff in the iTunes folder on the internal drive. Whatever.

So I discovered that I had about 75% of my music! Hallelujah! What's missing is many of my most recent downloads and iTunes purchases, but I can replace those things. Very importantly, I decided obviously that I did not need to spend $799 to recover my data. If someday in the future I remember something on the hard drive that I need, I can decide to recover it then, but for now, I am very happy and thankful that this major crisis did not turn out worse than it did. Obviously music makes up a large part of my life, and the thought of all of my music being gone made me want to cry and/or throw up.

And I have already purchased a redundant hard drive.


At 1:03 AM, Blogger P "N" K posited...

Glad it worked out for you Dub. A couple years ago I had to get a new hard drive after having it hit the floor from too high a distance. I too had to go through the re-find, replace process and it was a pain.

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous Kath posited...

I'm glad to hear the resolution of the hard drive drama...we were all worried ;)


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