It’s been many weeks since I’ve posted, but I do have an excuse. Over the holidays I was traumatized by my Mac Mini. First, it was processing at a glacial speed, which was bad, and when I took it in to be checked (at an Apple Store, in a packed mall, a week before Christmas), I was told that my hard drive had crashed. “That’s good,” the young man in the bright red T-shirt told me, and in a way it was. The hard drive is major, but it isn’t an outrageously expensive fix.
So, I left the computer in the shop for organ replacement, along with the nifty little external backup drive, which I had remembered to bring with me. After the new hard drive was in, the folks at Apple would reinstall the software and files from the backup, and I would be up and running again. They said they’d call within forty-eight hours.
After about sixty hours, I called them. “I was going to call you,” the guy said. “There was nothing on your backup device.” I hadn’t hooked it up correctly to the computer; it turned out there was much more involved than just plugging it in.
So, went back to this bustling mall on the Sunday before Christmas to pick up a repaired computer with nothing on it.
I did have a plan B. Carbonite was one of the first in-the-clouds backup systems, and I had been subscribing, by auto-renewal so I didn’t forget. Only two months earlier, my credit card had expired and Carbonite had called for the new numbers. I paused for a moment then. Did I need this second backup? Yes, yes, yes, I did, and fortunately I knew it at the time.
The day after I got the computer home, the stored files began streaming… trickling… drib-drip-dripping into my computer.
I spent a lot of time talking with Carbonite’s friendly technical support crew, and twice I got to speak to people in the second echelon. The first time I did, we scrapped the first day and a half of downloads and restarted the process, routing the files into one discrete directory on my desktop. They were streaming again.
By the next morning, they were back to a drip. I saw how many files were left, how it was taking three minutes per file… and I called technical support. “At this rate,” I said, “it’s going to take another twenty-three days to download my files.”
That was the second time they sent me to the upper echelon. This young man told me that my Internet connection was slow.
I asked him, “What does that mean, ‘slow’?”
“Here, where I am, and even at home on my own computer, I can download ninety-four megabytes a second,” he told me. “You’re downloading two.”
He, of course, lives in a city and has huge cables, while I, a country girl, was downloading my entire computer through a telephone line.
Whidbey Telecom is a divine company. They fixed it so that I could increase my Internet access package for the time it took me to download my computer, and they also delivered the improved equipment on that very afternoon—Christmas Eve!—and let me keep it after I lowered my access.
They’re all great, actually—the brilliant techies at Apple and Carbonite and Whidbey Tel.
I got it all back on Christmas morning, and I knew it was a gift. But I haven’t felt the same about my computer since. The magic is gone.
What was horrifying about the experience—and it was horrifying—was seeing how much I depend on this technology for support in my work, information about my world, connection to my friends, entertainment…and how little I understand about how it all functions and how to use it intelligently.