What happened was, my Black Mac frapped out last December and I had to rebuild it from scratch, with no help from Apple. The new disk I’d put in only lasted seven months; it died about ten minutes after I got off the stage at OSCON (I bow in the direction of blind good luck).
Getting back on the air ended up involving quite a bit of laughing at T. Bray, and considerable credit due to Apple Computer.
There was this amusing scene in the speaker’s room at the conference with me sitting there, having booted the Mac in single-user mode, watching fsck emit thousands of error messages. There are few places in the world with that concentration of Unix expertise, and one by one they wandered by, looked at my screen, shook their heads, and said “Doesn’t look good”.
I landed in Vancouver at 4:30 and managed to get over to NCIX and score a 7200-RPM 200G Seagate before dinner.
The only thing I stood to lose were my conference photos and I was just delighted when I managed to force-mount the damaged disk in FireWire mode on another Mac and dig ’em out of the wreckage.
The nice thing about MacBooks is that replacing the hard drive is a snap, a moron could do it. So I did, and unfortunately the Disk Utility couldn’t see the new disk so I couldn’t format it so I was pretty well hosed.
It dawned one me that the problem could be upstream of the disk, so I made a Genius-bar date at Apple’s new Vancouver store, and got one the same afternoon. The place was jam-packed, I get the feeling it could be three times its size and still busy.
I was a little worried that they might be unhelpful because this was after all an aftermarket disk, and it was marginally possible I’d broken something in inserting it. It occurred to me that if store staff included avid readers of Apple-oriented blogs, someone might recognize my name and cut me some slack.
Damn, the Genius-bar guy was efficient. He plugged in a FireWire drive and booted it and poked around, said “hmm”, then opened up the computer and pulled out the disk, while I made conversation about how easy it was to replace. He got this oddly-blank look on his face and said “This disk is upside-down; hold on while I step into the back room.”
I’m pretty sure that the howls of laughter I heard from the back room were the product of an overheated imagination. Did I say something about how any moron can replace a MacBook disk?
Anyhow, the guy was back in like ten minutes and the system seems fine and I’m in the middle of a hundredG-plus Time Capsule restore. Good on ya, Apple.
[Update: It took about six hours but seems to have worked perfectly. Stand by for some OSCON picture-blogging.]