Posts Tagged dropbox

My Mac Crashed

That is something I have never have to say in my 10 years or so of using a mac. I used my first macbook for about 4 years before giving it away to a friend (who still uses it), and my current Macbook is also 4 years old….before it crashed for the first and hopefully the last time.

 
My friend came back from Kenya on Sunday night, and because he bought so many things, he forgot one of his bags in the Taxi….the said bag contains his Laptop. Try as we may, we couldn’t find the Taxi driver. Luckily for him, it was a new laptop, all his important work are done directly on dropbox and he still has his old laptop (unformatted).

 
On Monday morning, I opened my Mac, and instead of being greater by the login screen, I was greeted by a black screen. I reckoned the battery must have run out, so I pushed the power button, I saw the white screen, waited a while but no login screen…2 mins turn to 5 mins which turn to 10 mins. I was beginning to worry.
 
A week earlier, I had travelled to Addis Ababa, leaving my backup disk at home in Lagos, so you can understand my panic. I had backed up before leaving Lagos, but my Addis trip will not be over until another 2 weeks. I booted up again, holding the option key and I was greeted by the recovery screen. At least all is not lost.
 
I immediately opened terminal to see that all my files are in place, yes they are. Only problem is my mac is 250GB, I don’t have a 250GB HDD (The one I have is 100GB) nor the time to back up the mac and re-install even if I got a 250GB USD Drive. So I did the most sane thing I could think of, launched Disk utility from the recovery screen and did a repair a couple of times. I rebooted my Mac, but all I still see is the white screen….I waited another 10 mins, but I wasn’t greeted with the login screen.
 
I decided to re-install the Mac at that point, I thought to myself if I have done any worthwhile work in the past one week….just a bunch of documents (which are in dropbox), a bunch of notes (which are in evernote) and some code (which are in github). I decided to format the Mac and do a re-install from the recovery screen. Easier said than done.
 
First, The re-install download is 5GB, There’s no where in Addis I could download that….Even at the fasted internet connection I could find, it will still take about 11 hours. I tried and tried and tried several offices of my friends, but the fastest internet will take about 8 hours to complete. I finally decided to leave it overnight in a friend’s office, only to come back the next day and found out that the internet connection had gone off sometimes in the middle of the night, I have to restart installation. 
 
By now it is Wednesday and I have not been able to do any constructive work for 2 days. I deceived I am going to give it one more try and if it fails. I’ll pickup the Mac and wait till I get back to Nigeria. By Thursday evening, I had packed up my Mac. I could have downloaded the Mac Install from torrent, but torrent (and a lot of other things) have been blocked in ALL the places I tried.
 
The two weeks without my Mac was like living in the stone age. I did everything on my phone, Skype, Evernote, Documents, Excel sheets etc etc. I have an iPad back home, but I decided not to bring it to Addis, I also have two windows PCs that I rarely used…back in Lagos. This time I was wishing I had brought at least one of the iPad or the windows PC. So many things suffered, I couldn’t update my website as regularly as I used to, I have to stay plugged in to a PC or power outlet all day, because my phone battery doesn’t last more than a few hours, I have to sacrifice twitter (which is my major source of news and updates), etc etc.
 
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Back in Lagos, I downloaded the Installer from torrent, created an 8GB Partition in my 100GB HDD I usually carry around and make it bootable into OSX. It took me about 3 hours to torrent, make the bootable disk and get my Mac back up (Maybe one day I will have enough time to post a tutorial how I did it….google is your friend though). I am typing this from my Mac.
 
LESSONS LEARNT WHEN TRAVELLING
 
  1. When travelling, NEVER rely on a single Computer, always pack a spare.
  2. If you are using a Mac, carry an 8GB flash disk containing bootable OS X with you.
  3. ALWAYS have some sort of Backup locally…As for me, I have a 2TB disk that I use for TimeMachine backup. It was easy to get back on track, after re-installing, there’s a point in the configuration that asks you if you want to restore from a TimeMachine backup.
  4. Use Evernote, iCloud, Dropbox, github etc…use them often…they could save your life one day.
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