I’ll listen to the radio

My mother is an extremely intelligent and educated woman. Her wit and ability to problem solve are formidable indeed, and seldom have I seen her completely overcome by a situation. (We shall excuse the years that she had four teenagers. Now that I’ve got three I don’t think it’s fair to bring it up.) I think that’s why I find her reaction to a power outage hysterically funny. She can’t quite get that the power is truly gone, all gone, everywhere in the house. Mum just keeps trying everything that plugs in and is disappointed over and over. When the tv goes off, mum says “Never mind, I’ll listen to the radio. Oh? Radio’s out too? Nevermind, I’ll turn on this light and do a little reading. Oh….crap. Well, now’s as good a time as any to catch up on the laundry. Damn. Forget that, I’ll just get online and do some work while I wait….”

It goes on and on, and up until today, as I entered the first 24 hours of laptop withdrawal, I thought it was really, really funny. Laugh out loud funny.

Then there was today. I made coffee and went to check my email to find out what time I had an interview. Damn. Nevermind, I’ll just sit here and wait. I’ll do a little writing while I just wait for them to call. H. E. Double hockeysticks. Can’t do that either. Screw it. I’ll write on paper, I’ll just print out the outline from the …..Son of a !!!, Chuck this. What time do I have to be at the dentist? I’ll open my scheduler and….of for the love of all things holy… FINE. I’ll phone the dentist and …oh yeah. Can’t open the address book. Well. I’ll just load an audiobook onto my ipod and go for a walk….

You get the idea. Turns out the apple might not fall so far from the tree.

The laptop has gone to the computer doctor and he’s pronounced it. Deader than a doornail. Totally bricked. It’s still under warranty, so Apple will be sending along a new hard drive but that takes three to five business days. Once the new drive is in they are going to try data recovery from the old drive….and we shall see. I’m pretty worried (if we understand that by worried I mean sort of weepy and fragile) about two things. Firstly, that there will be no data recovered, since – and I’m only going to say this once…I had no backup. (I know. I know. I am being punished. Turns out that I had some pretty strange ideas about computer memory and servers and…well. You don’t know what you don’t know until you don’t know it. I do think that they should come up with another name for all that “memory” you buy for a new computer if it doesn’t remember anything….but that’s a fight for another day.) Secondly, I’m getting on a plane on Wednesday to go to Madrona Fiber Arts, and if the computer isn’t fixed by then I…I….well. I don’t know if I can go away without a laptop. No blogging? No surfing? No internet chat with Joe and the kids? Five whole days of writing on….paper? (A friend reminded me today that War And Peace was written on paper. There’s a sobering thought, sort of gives me a hand cramp just thinking about it. Can anybody write by hand faster than they type these days?)

I’ve got my fingers crossed.

In the meantime I’m back on the old eMac, vying for time and space with Joe and the kids, patched together right here in the middle of the main floor. There’s (sort of) email capability, though I don’t have access to all of the emails I had in my inbox, just brand spanking new ones, I think that I can post to the blog…I guess I’ll know in a minute, and



Oh look! I was going to say that I couldn’t do pictures but I figured it out. That’s the finished yoga bag that I gave my sister-in-law. Nice, eh? (Cat bonus at no additional charge.) Wait….


Yo! A new hat. Noro Silk Garden in colour 84. It bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Steph’s hat pattern, and it would bear an exact resemblance except I couldn’t look it up on her site because my laptop is a brick applied a little creativity to it. Mine is knit flat, with fewer stitches and different decreases. Totally inspired by Dr. Steph though. Actually, now that I think of it, she designed the yoga mat bag too….All Steph, all the time around here.

Now, if nobody minds, I’m going to go and call the computer store to ask about the data recovery and see where the hard drive is for the 457th time. I’m pretty sure it’s helping keep them on track.

PS. If this works I’m totally going to have a celebratory shot of good scotch.

192 thoughts on “I’ll listen to the radio

  1. I would be lost without my laptop. Hang in there. Think of all the time you’ll be able to knit as compared to surfing the internet!

  2. Great yoga bag, great hat. That is one mean stare on your cat. Sorry about the brick (maybe hte cat did it). Have fun at Madrona.

  3. Scotch with a Screech chaser. Poor Harlot. Lovely yoga bag though (what a nice gift!) Great hat too . . . I’m going to frog a sad Noro Silk Garden scarf I have and make that sucker!

  4. Glad to see your vaguely functional and your sense of humour didn’t crash. You can always…knit.

  5. I was talking about backing up yesterday and now I will go get what I need, losing what’s on the computer scares me.
    Love the yoga bag- it came out great. And the hat looks warm and cozy.
    I think waiting for electronics in the mail is like watching a pot boil. It takes forever to happen. Congratulations on figuring out how to post and include pictures.

  6. You gotta love linen stitch for a strap like that but it’s some awful tedious, isn’t it. I think you deserve a scotch already dear.

  7. Great yoga bag, great hat, great CAT! What’s it’s name? I totally don’t trust memory or my back-up hard drive. Something goes wrong and you don’t catch it before the next back-up? It’s GONE. For important things, I also write them to a CD. And whenever I’ve done more work than I would like to re-do, I make another CD. Stacks of them, but at least I have the information. Good luck, squeeky wheel gets the grease. And oh yeah, I have the same reaction to power and internet outages.

  8. Yup, it works! Glad to see you back among us. We’re all thinking soothing thoughts in the direction of your hard drive.

  9. Looks like an “Apple” a day…didn’t keep the (computer) doctor away…sorry I absolutely could NOT resist!!!! Must be the virus I am fighting, totally warping my humour!! πŸ˜‰ Hope all goes well. bets

  10. OMG – I’m #7!!! Love the yoga bag and the hat – especially love the cat (A-a-a-choo). I know you will find a way to blog while away – perhaps the coimputer shop will give you a loaner. And please get a jump drive and do your back-ups – Just like flossing for the computer.

  11. I love the hat. The colors are great. I love that you post the yarn and colorway! You are a good blogger even if you are laptopless at present.

  12. First off—where I grew up in northeastern Ohio, it was H. E. double toothpicks. πŸ™‚
    And, my computer had no back-up and the compu-doc recovered approx 95% of the material from the hard drive. There IS hope!

  13. Poor Steph. To have had bad-ass electrons rise up and bite you. And you’ve scared me, along with hordes of other readers. I *don’t* have a backup (almost spelled it “backurp”, kind of what I’m feeling) for my iBook G4. I truly hope a number of things: 1) that your dear Mr Mac will be well VERY SOON; 2) that (sorry to say this) you have been our sacrificial person and we *all* won’t be picking pieces of orbitals out of our tushies; and 3) Mr Mac gets to go to Madrona with you. Yes, I’m praying hard for #3. Can you imagine what life would be like for your 62 gazillion readers who wouldn’t have a fix for the duration of Madrona!!?! It’s not a pretty thought. And think of their partners, spouses, children? I grow pale at the thought. Oh Great Lord of All, including Stephanie’s Mr Mac, please grant healing and that right swiftly. Here endeth …

  14. Coming from a minor in computers… I haven’t backed up for over uh hmm yeah.. that long.. why is it we only do something after someoneelse has a major problem? You can bet a lot of us will be backing up more.. till we forget again..
    You will get your laptop back… think positive. If not… what about a typewriter… remember those nasty things you have to put paper in, and white out and all the junk? You will have your laptop…
    I can relate to the electricity..Ever wonder why normal intelligent people do such crazy things? Try hitting the power on button on your computer 5 x, then calling local computer store… where you bought it.. local as in they know you… and you tell them it won’t come on.. and they say.. uh duh. the electricity is out where you live isn’t it? I went and hid after that…
    Good luck… You will have laptop… !

  15. When you are reunited with your Mac, hopefully with a new hard drive containing all your old data, please thank it for reminding me to back up my work . . . after reading your cautionary tale, I immediately taught myself how to make back-up copies of my email & calendar. I do keep my books-in-progress on 2 computers simultaneously since losing all that work would be . . . words cannot say what it would be. Anyway, have a lovely time at Madrona – by then our snow ought to be gone.

  16. Many condolences on the loss of your laptop, and best wishes for the new one and for retrieving your info. Do you know Why? And What Happened? I’m getting kinda panicky that something similar will happen to my iBook G4 with no warning. I’m going to sign up for .mac and back up now.
    Also, I may well buy some Noro Silk Garden.

  17. Just remember that it’s okay. It’s not so bad to be out of power. You can knit by feel right? And candles. After the huge issue that we had with the rolling black outs in SD, life is alright without electricity.
    But I think they should be able to do a lot of data recovery. I think you can pretty much set an explosion off in your house and your computer’s harddrive is kinda salvagable. Kinda. And if you didn’t like… take a magnet to it, you should be okay. Really. Sometimes, things have a certain lifespan that we are completely unaware of. It’s okay. This is why I print out my patterns and put them in a folder.
    *patpat* It’ll be alright. Really it will.

  18. My yoga mat is very jealous… great job! I’m sorry to hear about your laptop. I have a hard time believing that no data can be recovered at all. Good luck with that! And have a shot for me… got an infected tooth and can’t drink (sobs).

  19. Double hockey sticks in Detroit — but that’s just across the river from Canada, so we had some benign influence.
    Tolstoy’s WIFE recopied War and Peace by hand five times. Until you have a wife, we’re praying for the laptop.

  20. I read that bit about your mum three times before I realized it WAS funny. I had a dear old aunt (of blessed memory) who was very determined that all outlets not in use be covered – with tape, if necessary – because otherwise all the electricity just poured out of the little holes onto the floor. And NEVER walk past an uncovered outlet with wet feet. One shudders to think!
    Yes, we’re all hurrying to back up stuff (as soon as someone comes to show me how), and your Mr Mac WILL be healed, and WILL be recovered in his little hard drive….harddrive. I looked at that event in Washington, and oh, Steph, if I could somehow imagine to GO there you could use MY laptop. I wanna GO! OK. If all of us Knitters and knitters pour our Positive Organic Hot Vibes the direction of Mr Mac, he WILL be recovered entire.

  21. sucks that its deader than a doornail… oh well, at least its under warranty. nothing like my last computer. it “bricked” a week out of warranty. talk about a moment where the only appropriate sentiment is “sh*T!”

  22. O Goddess of the Memory Card,
    Please hear the prayer of Steph,
    And in her crisis be not hard,
    Unto her pleas not deaf,
    And let her data be retrieved,
    Out of the the hard drive sucked,
    For without it, we believe,
    She’ll be really, really annoyed and difficult to deal with and we don’t want that, do we?
    …I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

  23. I mentioned your “brick” of a laptop to my husband this morning, and he said, “Oh. That sounds like what happened to my mac laptop a few years ago.” They sent him a new hard drive…but they were also able to recover what was on the fried one. We will keep our fingers crossed!

  24. I would say this calamity does indeed call for a “drinky-poo”. Good luck with the data recovery. If your local techies can’t rescue any of your data, I would recommend talking to a data rescue company and pay them good money to recover your data.
    Enjoy your scotch!!

  25. I hope to high heaven that the computer doc can help you out and at least save your data. This has happened to me in the past, and losing much of my teaching material was not FUN!
    However, I must poke a bit of fun at the fact that you are using an APPLE product. Those commercials are pretty funny, but I am an avid PCer, so . . . this would be a place to say that it doesn’t matter which you prefer. Neither one is 100% reliable—much like two other things in our lives. Men and birth control.

  26. Your knitted objects are admirable even if the computer is “bricked”. I’d say you are very much under control. Most of us would be flat in bed with cold packs on the forehead. In library school we (at least some of us) say that the best way to 100% archive/save something is to print it out!! All other computer media is fallible!

  27. Shot? What’s this talk of “shot.” Sounds like you deserve a whole snifter/tumbler/or–as we do around here–a real sized glass of the stuff. (hope it’s single malt, aged)
    I always try to use the microwave when the power is out. Don’t know why.

  28. What color is the Noro in the yoga bag? I always find the Noro colors wonky with the weird pinks and turquoises.. but I like the color of the yoga bag!

  29. I feel for you, I really do. Not that I write books…but I do write briefs, with deadlines and judges who don’t understand “my hard drive failed.” I bought myself an external hard drive and plugged it in (it was that easy). Now I save everything to the external whenever I get up from the computer to eat or pee or go to bed.
    So now two hard drives will have to fail before I am well and truly fucked. Consider it.

  30. Yeah, when the power goes out…I wander around the house…automatically flipping those switches and whappin’ my head….I do this over and over…flip, whap…..flip,whap…..
    yes, it’s nuts.
    Very nice yoga mat bag, and hat.

  31. Hate to point out the obvious but Steph–you have three teenagers in the house. That means that each of them knows at least one of those computer kids (other people call them geeks–I like to think of them as future millionaires) who can hack anything. If all else fails, give them your hard drive and let them run wild. I bet they’ll get your data back.
    P.S. The cat is gorgeous. It’s been scarily warm in NY lately but suddenly it is so cold that even my cats have decided to learn to knit so that they can keep warm.
    P.P.S. Have a scotch. It’s good for you.

  32. You need a fabulous pen, a fountain pen would be best, and a classy notebook. It wouldn’t be as fast as your laptop, but it would be such a sensual pleasure you might not miss it so much.
    I just received a replacement notebook computer and I’m going to continue taking notes with a pen.

  33. You thought you had a memory card,
    don’t let a panic seize ya.
    When days passed by and you found out,
    your computer had amnesia.

  34. See, it’s times like this that I get really nervous in my job. I work at a television station. And we don’t air things from tape anymore. They’re all little data files on a computer. Right now we use tape backup for archive, but the Boss is wanting to go to an all server setup. I’m getting fluttery just thinking about it. It could crash! I could lose days/weeks/months of programming. Yikes!
    And yes, not only drink a shot, but drink the whole danged bottle! You deserve it!

  35. I’m just coming off a 40-hour power outage, and I did the same thing. Found a portable radio to listen to and for a minute thought I had to find the cord . . . the mind can’t truly comprehend “powerless.”
    And about War and Peace–while Tolstoi was writing and revising, Mrs. Tolstoi recopied it SEVEN times by HAND, putting in his changes. All of it, seven times. Ack.
    S’truth!! He couldn’t have done it without her.

  36. Good thing knitting is low-tech. I shudder to think what would happen if you couldn’t knit — I bet Joe and the girls do, too.
    I mean this in the nicest possible way: Maybe you should make an emergency kit with a couple of pencils and some twine.
    But…that would be a backup. Never mind.

  37. I really like the yoga bag and its colours. I’m going to have to learn to knit faster.

  38. I know exactly what you’re going through right now. I “bricked” my own laptop about a month ago. Data recovery did not work and I’m very very sad now. I hope you have a better outcome than I did. And yes, I do now know the meaning of “backup.” πŸ™‚

  39. I started zipping up my files for backing up after I read your last post. So if it’s any consolation, you’ve inspired at least one knitter-blogger to back up her data!

  40. Thanks for reminding me to back up my hard drive. I did it yesterday, directly after reading your last post. Whew! Sorry for your bad luck though, that really bites. I get soooo cranky when my laptop craps out.

  41. About the disk recovery — if the Apple people can’t do it, there is a company that specializes in these sorts of things: http://drivesavers.com/. These people work miracles. My hard drive was ‘bricked’ when I was in college — and I had not backed up my thesis work. Apple could do nothing. I mailed Drive Savers the hard drive and they were able to recover something like 90% of the data on it. It cost A LOT (comparable to a brand new laptop), but if the data is well and truly irreplaceable it is worth the cost. However, you must work carefully with Apple because due to their warranty policy, once your hard drive is replaced you do not own the old one anymore. I think what I ended up doing was mailing the entire laptop to Drive Savers, and they did their miracle work and mailed it back to me. Then I took it to Apple to get my hard drive replaced (under warranty). I hope this helps (and I *love* your blog!).

  42. Our imac died about a month ago and they were able to do data recovery on the hard drive so take heart; the apple geeks may be able to save it.
    However to live without a laptop…my powerbook and i are inseperable.
    Good luck!

  43. Wow.. I spent most of today working up the patterns for three hats that I’ve recently design, doing photos and page layout and such.. and the Noro Silk Garden hat in that exact colourway is the FOURTH hat, that didn’t get finished and will now have to wait until Friday for its own pattern to be drawn up. Isn’t it the loveliest colourway? It is the only Noro that has ever made me think “Mmm… this could be a sweater”… ’cause none of the other colourways speak to me.
    On the laptop side of things, I too had a bricked hard drive (haven’t heard that name before, but I guess it makes sense..) … and it wasn’t backed up either… and the only silly thing was, it was my NON TECHNICALLY TALENTED boss who decided to do some fiddling on my machine the day after I left for vacation, over the protests of my co-workers (including the most technie of all of us) who thought it would be a good idea to check with me first, and perhaps let me do a backup. Guh. I understand your pain.. I was wandering around work for about a month, with a ton of things to do that I couldn’t. Very frustrating. Be careful that you don’t knit too much in the meantime, ’cause overuse knitting injuries just aren’t pretty. (that’s me still recovering from my 8hrs/day, 5days/week knitting binge before Christmas)
    And, I think I’m going to go copy my new patterns onto a second hard drive… ’cause only one could die at a time, right?

  44. Oh you poor thing! I can’t stand to be without my computer. We have some PCs in the house, but it’s just not the same. When I needed a recall fix to my computer I drove it to the Apple store and waited, stalked, haunted them until I could take it back home with me. And there is a reason I have 2 ipods. Horrors if my ipod broke and I didn’t have a backup (that has happened before).
    Enjoy the scotch!

  45. I just went through major problems with my MacBook. I had to take it in for repair every month for the six months since I bought it. FINALLY I got a nice person on the phone from Apple who replaced it with a brand new computer. Thankfully the “geniuses” were able to get my info from the old one after it crashed for the last time. I really hope you are able to do the same.
    I love the yoga mat bag. Something that cool might make we want to exercise :).

  46. Don’t worry–data recovery’s done all the time. No big. However…..to ensure that this does not happen again, please knit, “I will faithfully backup my data” 253 times on a scarf.

  47. Great yoga bag, *beautiful* hat, and even more gorgeous cat. Hi Millie!
    Maybe for Madrona you could get a rental laptop, then burn your files from the trip onto a CD before you turn it back in? Heck, I dunno if any computer store even does that sort of thing, but if you can rent printers and such from business electronics places, well…
    Your power/computer outage musings made me very, very glad I scrimped and saved and bought a slightly older (cheaper) Creative mp3 player with mass storage, because damned if I was gonna pay for an iPod. 40 gig. Sure, once the charge ran down I’d be outta luck, but I’ve still only used about 4 gig of space on it for all my music. In an emergency, I could use *that* for backup, ’cause it’ll take regular files, too. Of course if it were a real emergency, with my fumblefingers, I’d probably drop the sucker and wups – a much smaller brick. πŸ˜‰ Although I’ve dropped it a couple times by now – first time was right out of the package, in fact – and it survived. ::crosses everything available::

  48. I’m sorta sorry I giggled at your plight, I was laughing with you…wait…you *were* laughing in there, weren’t you. Then I reached the end, sighed, and said out loud…”Bless your heart, poor Miss Steph”.
    The yoga bag is totally wonderful. The hat, too. Pet the kitty; they say it reduces stress…
    Cheers. I’m praying for Mr Mackie.

  49. Ohhhhh, lovely bag, cat and hat! Keeping fingers crossed they can pull data off your old hard drive..good idea calling every 10 minutes or so..keeps them focused. So have I backed up mine since this horrible happening…duh, no…awwww, there is always tomorrow, I just want to knit and listen to my needles clicking tonight.

  50. I’m not sure what it means when a computer is β€œbricked” but I used to work with Apple Customer Service (not Tech Support). Because you are still under warranty you got the best that Apple offers, a pipeline into Tech Support, where they diagnosed your problem. Apple Service is very good and if the files are recoverable, they can do it. I would continue to purchase Apple Care as your livlihood depends on the durn thing.
    But seriously, not backing up is a laughing matter at computer customer service centers everywhere. There is a running joke about the customer who calls in with a complaint with the information that their life is now in the toilet because of some computer difficulty. The joke is this: after a few questions that determing that the drive needs to be reformatted, the sorry Customer Service representative informs the hysterical customer that the problem is easily fixed – β€œJust go get your backup…”
    Many calls, unfortunately, are like that. The wisdom is not IF your hard drive will fail, but WHEN. I fielded many calls like yours, often from people who worked out of their homes, making their computer feel like a household toy rather than the vital business tool that it is. I hope you’ve dodged a bullet or only felt it pass by. Also, just as an FYI, laptops in general are β€œdelicate.” Kid mohair gloves?

  51. I completely understand your mother–the last time our power went out, we decided we’d just take ourselves out to eat. But the garage door opener didn’t work. Duh!

  52. You definitely deserve a Scotch. You haven’t had much luck with this laptop.
    Two words, jump drive. Cute, tiny, sometimes comes with a key chain, portable hard drive, and will survive several trips through Mr Washie without damage. (Did I mention they fit in your jeans pocket? Haven’t tried the dryer though.)
    Having finally broken down and bought a laptop for myself for Christmas (so I could write knitting patterns and use the electronics on my knitting machine), suddenly I don’t want to find out what I’d do without it. However, it’s doubtful that I’d go into total withdrawal as there are 2 towers at work.
    However … I don’t want to find out. That reminds me, I should back up all those knitting patterns I’ve been putting into it.

  53. So help us God MACHINES are going to be the death of us all. I’ve said this at least a dozen times this past week to DH. Telephones that are now digital and do everything for you but go to the bathroom –they’d probably do that too if we knew how to programme them . Televisions that are hooked up to some kinda black box thingy that gives us more channels that we don’t need or watch and won’t turn off when you want them to. Washers and dryers that have so many push buttone that you have to go take a class on how to run them before you can get some clean clothes, AND the MOTHER of them all this marvelous machine I type on that is SUPPOSED to make our lives easier. I’m getting too old for this , my brain cells are on OVERLOAD!! SO help me GOd machines are gonna be the death of us .Turn them all off and knit

  54. I do a lot of research and I have lots of computer files. The safest way to keep them is to have copies offsite. For instance, if you back up files to CDs, and you keep them in your house next to your computer…well, what if your house burned down? (God forbid). Then the CDs are gone too. Also, CDs have a limited lifespan, they don’t last forever either.
    I’ve heard that the safest method of making backup files is to use one of the online file storage services. I am in the process of figuring out how to do this myself. Here are two that I’ve heard about, for Windows XP users: Mozy at http://www.Mozy.com., for Macintosh systems: BackJack at http://www.backjack.com. Your files are encrypted automatically before they’re stored as well. I think that Mozy has a lot of storage space free of charge.
    Anyway, these are just some thoughts for you. You’re living my nightmare right now, and I feel for you. Really.

  55. It worked! Enjoy the scotch (and then let us know what kind it was — I find myself more partial to Irish Whiskey (triple-distilled, you know), but am open to scotch as a possibility).

  56. I went through a similar drama recently. It’s incredibly stressful to lose a hard drive. I’m crossing my fingers and sending some positive energy your direction about the data recovery (since sending scotch through the mail is a risky endeavor these days). Don’t beat yourself up over not backing up your data. Do buy yourself an external hard drive so that you can back up compulsively from now on.

  57. I am so sorry lady. I hope they can salvage what you had on the drive. I know your pain, I lost 3 years of blog entries to two jerks- me and the guy who ran the blog site I was on. Neither of us did backups.
    The cat seems to be saying “One more picture of me lady and the bag gets it.”

  58. I was just reading your post to my husband (a Mac guy) and he seems to have high hopes that the computer doctor will be able to recover some, if not all, of your data. FIngers’ crossed for you.
    Now I’m going to back-up my Mac laptop….

  59. Wow, do I understand that!!! My computer died the day after Thanksgiving, bought a new one, had it turn out to be crud, and returned it. So now I’m waiting on buying a new one (waiting on the new Vista). Turns out I’m not a good non-computer person. Can’t find knitting patterns. Oh, and I didn’t back-up. Learned a hard lesson.

  60. I know we should always have a backup, but I’ve watched a lot of Law & Order and CSI. I think if you call them back and say, “But what about the child porn?” They’ll be able to find everything.

  61. Your cat looks like my cat’s (Mimi) long lost sister!!! Sorry about your computer…it’s it funny how technology is supposed to make our lives so much easier (haha!). Love the yoga bag and hat! You are an inspiration to all of us…smiles!

  62. I love the color of the Yoga bag. I think that is looks great. I need to make one for mine.
    I really can’t stop re-reading your books. My husband thinks that I am crazy and that they describe me perfectly. I will stop him no matter what he is doing to read a passage and he just laughs and said that you hit the nail on the head (me) when you wrote the book.
    I hope that you have a wonderful day.

  63. I feel total sympathy for you! I had to send my MacBook Pro in for a new inverter and it sucked being without it for 5 days but even worse? We had no power for 5 days last month! Seattle was hit hard and we were one of the last to get our power back.

  64. it’s amazing isn’t it how we becomes slaves to the things we own?
    It’s trying and frustrating, but its also liberating if we let it be.
    don’t post for 5 days. We’ll all be here when you get back. Look at this as a few days of freedom, not deprevation. See it as an opportunity.
    (my computer was dead for most of October. not dead as a doornail dead (till the end) but…(and died again in November (a simple easy to fix power supply failure, not a catastrophy, but dead non the less.) things fail. We survive.)

  65. Um, didn’t you just have a laptop die? Maybe you should look into something other then a Mac?!?! I hope they can get your stuff off the old hard drive. Love the bag and the hat.

  66. Prosit! (Yikes, I still haven’t made my own backup.)
    True confession: When I was first living on my own, the first time the power went out, I immediately ran some water into my stockpots like we used to do when we lived in the country. I was so proud of myself that I called my mom and told her. (Later, when I had power again.) She said, “Honey, we had to do that because we had well water. You have city water.”

  67. Sorry to hear that the lap top is a paper weight at the moment. I have my appendages crossed for you that you can recover all your precious info.
    On the brighter side the yoga bag turned out really nice. The hat is really cute too.
    I guess if you don’t get the laptop fixed before you leave you better pack some extra knitting.

  68. Don’t save good Scotch only for good things–it works well with bad things, too.
    On the night George W. was elected president (or so they say), my liquor store had a handwritten sign near its cash register, allegedly quoting Napoleon, which read “Champagne–in victory we enjoy it; in defeat we deserve it.”
    Same goes with Scotch.

  69. Oh dear… I had one of those adreleine lurches that made me catch my breath. As soon as my eyes debugged a bit more I started doing a back up. Now that I’m knitting again, I’m finding myself being more creative in all sorts of different ways. So I printed out hard copy of some of my “I would die if I lost it” creative writing – poetry, prose, short story, sarcastic essays. I also have the start of about a dozen knitting patterns that just got backed up to several different locations including hard copy. Wasn’t the computer supposed to save us from all this other data storage necessities? Oh well. Off to knit some cool bookmarks for my returning to college after years friends.

  70. Sorry about your laptop troubles. I hope you are able to find some comfort in wool while you go through these trying times. Thank you for mentioning the challenge of teenagers. I needed to read that. Thank you. I like your yoga mat bag. I like it so much that I may make one for my mat even though I only do yoga in my living room.

  71. My Significant Other, the Software Engineer for a biggie hard drive manufacturer, has his tongue hanging out wanting to know the manufacturer of the crashed drive. But we all know they all can go south. I can’t say a word about backing up since i don’t either.

  72. ok, here is the way around power outages: get a blackberry. one can use e-mail and the internet on a blackberry. it operates off of a cell tower. and best of all — if the power goes out, it can get charged off of your car battery. you never miss e-mail again. as a matter of fact, i no longer travel with a laptop. i get all of my e-mail, and i can reply (although i don’t do long messages with such a small QUERTY keyboard. if i need a larger computer on the road, i can go to a local library. i mean, going onto a blog might not be the easiest thing, but one can do e-mail. there are other phones that do more with the internet/pictures. so, for the e-mail junkie who can easily go through withdrawal, imagine being able to read e-mail at a red light. in the hospital (i’m there a lot because of a sick parent), on the road, in a boring meeting, etc.

  73. Steph, If Apple can’t resurrect the files, the DriveSavers almost certainly can – although it’ll cost ya $.
    Now, I know you don’t want to hear this but you have an iPod? and an eMac? and a network? Every night, just copy the file
    over to either the eMac via the network, or stick it on the iPod if you are traveling. A world traveling notebook is more likely to bite the dust (or walk off) than a calm stay at home eMac. Or at least they are not likely to bite the dust at the same instant.
    As for me, when the power goes out here, I still flip the light switches on when I’m going into rooms. Stupid, eh?
    Grab a nice glass of something, ask a cat to sit next
    to you and knit while thinking kind thoughts about the
    nice computer doctor. Me, I’m about to dive into the mental
    abyss of a shawl.

  74. I’m backing up right now. And when you travel, until you get your new powerbook (macbook pro? what does apple call them now? mine’s an old iBook), you could rent a laptop. I don’t care what anyone says, I still need my WHOLE iBook when I travel!

  75. I’ll be schlepping my iBook to Madrona – I’m sure there are enough geeky knitters around we’ll get you on the internets. We’ve all been without power enough around here that we know the crisis levels that can be achieved by knitters without internet.

  76. After I was ill in 2004, I have a requirement to get the lightest laptops made (so as not to exceed the maximum of 10 lbs that I’m allowed to lift). When I opened up Full Thread Ahead, I got a ultra lightweight IBM (no mac for me unfortunately). It’s been to the IBM madhouse no less than 5 times for hard drive/fan failures. I’ve become fanatical about backing up onto the store server at the end of each and every major update and at least once a day. It’s back in Atlanta again, but this time they’re giving me a new machine – BUT – I have to wait 3 weeks to get it. I completely empathize with you, I have to share nicely with my kids on their computer. Nice yoga bag, btw.

  77. On the bright side, look at all the swell responses. Karen’s advice sounds great; Donna’s also, and Davy’s. Can’t beat the offer from Constantina! Love Kristin’s idea, but they might brick it again if they found none on there. NOTE TO ABBY: Have someone show you where the bypass button/switch is so you can open and close the garage door by hand.
    Doesn’t the faucet still turn on? No hot water if you have an electric water heater, but I don’t remember losing water due to a power shortage.
    Great yoga bag. Maybe you should have kept it and done some yoga while you wait, or at least meditate or chant. Turn the time off into a benefit. ***APPLE: LaCie hard drive, 160 GB, $159.95, and it not only backs up automatically whenever you turn off the computer, but does it periodically if you are working on it for a long time. One-year warranty. No need to even think about it, and at that price, as a business tool, you could buy a new one each year. Also portable, and only about 6-3/4″ by 7-1/2″.
    Best wishes for complete recovery.

  78. On the bright side, look at all the swell responses. Karen’s advice sounds great; Donna’s also, and Davy’s. Can’t beat the offer from Constantina! Love Kristin’s idea, but they might brick it again if they found none on there. NOTE TO ABBY: Have someone show you where the bypass button/switch is so you can open and close the garage door by hand.
    Doesn’t the faucet still turn on? No hot water if you have an electric water heater, but I don’t remember losing water due to a power shortage.
    Great yoga bag. Maybe you should have kept it and done some yoga while you wait, or at least meditate or chant. Turn the time off into a benefit. ***APPLE: LaCie hard drive, 160 GB, $159.95, and it not only backs up automatically whenever you turn off the computer, but does it periodically if you are working on it for a long time. One-year warranty. No need to even think about it, and at that price, as a business tool, you could buy a new one each year. Also portable, and only about 6-3/4″ by 7-1/2″.
    Best wishes for complete recovery.

  79. Take heart, mine died died died right in the middle of scheduling job interviews for a much needed (and much wanted) job. Fortunately, my own personal IT guy (aka the brother) was able to recover all of my data with a lot of hard work.
    So it happens
    And curse all the Apple advertising for giving you a false sense of security. They die like PCs.

  80. Poor Harlot! I hate when that happens! My husband is a serious computer geek and deals with other people’s “bricked” computers all the time. His current favorite term to describe what’s happened to your hard drive is “pooched”! It cracks me up, as long as he’s not using it to describe my computer that is. Whenever there’s a power outage around here, both he and my son just wander around lost. I just knit, spin some yarn or weave LOL! I almost always have an audiobook in either my personal CD player, or tape player. Since they run almost forever on rechargeable batteries, and I always have a ton of batteries hanging around, I’m usually all set and ready to go. It makes them crazy. Hope you have a great time at Madrona. Your yoga bag and hat are stunning.

  81. Two Words: Flash drives. They’re neat, they’re cheap (comparatively) and you can back up tons of text and pics on even a small one. I use multiples for critical data – one stays at home, one lives in my purse and one gets taken to work so that no one disaster could demolish all my data. OTOH for all the gabble about the reliability of Macs and so forth, the only people I know who have had catastrophic computer failures with no warning in recent years have been arts types with their Macs.
    I work for a Large Corporation in Tech Support and with some thousands of PCs out there in the hands of mostly non-experts, we see about one or two HDD failures a month and most of the users do report that they got warnings that all was not well in Hard Drive World, but most of them ignored the warnings. Even so, we are generally able to yank individual data off all but the deadest of drives.
    I’d suggest burning CDs except that they can be damaged, you end up with a lot of outdated CDs and it’s always the last backup that’s FUBAR and the CD\RWs are much more prone to errors, whereas you should be able to fit a book’s worth of text on a 1GB flash.

  82. We deal with bricked (we say f****d, but your word is much nicer) computers all the time (it’s what we do to pay for my yarn habit and feed the kids), and you musn’t give up hope of recovering your data just yet. There IS hope. Usually. Although today I had to pronounce death on a hard drive that contained the only copy of someone’s wedding photos uploaded from the digital camera. Not a single one could be recovered. Six people stood in my office and cried.
    Flashdrive. If you do nothing else this week, buy a flashdrive. If you can use an iPod you can use a Flashdrive (they are like floppy disks, only hold more). Think of your data. Think of the photos. Think of our nerves!!

  83. I’m pretty sure you are among many who don’t backup their stuff (myself included, despite the many efforts by my computer-geek Dad). If they say they can’t recover the data, my friends in Guelph run a data recovery business and are gurus in the field – they can get stuff back when the tech guys say it can’t be done! Good luck!

  84. You just may get lucky . . . the data probably is mostly there, just that there’s stuff missing in the block that got damaged.
    My hard drive died on me last year, but before then I’d been getting strange behavior that should have been a warning sign. I took my laptop to Apple store. The Genius goes through the usual procedures, when these didn’t work, he took it to consult with the Wizard behind closed door, and came back with a tragic look on his face and said the hard drive was dead and they’d have to send it to the Mother Ship for repair. I rescued the laptop from his grasp, and took it to my genius BIL, who hooked the laptop up to his computer, and I was able to get most of the vital files off the dead hard drive before I went back to the Apple store.
    Yes, now I regularly backup using a firewire external drive. These can be found with plenty of space for a decent price. You don’t need a fancy external drive, just plenty of space. Just be sure to disconnect the firewire drive properly (eject it in desktop view before unplugging it) or it might get bricked itself.

  85. Sorry to hear about your technical meltdowns. Been there, done that. I, like Valerie, have several of those flash drives to back up critical data even though we are told that the flash drives are not supposed to be used for that purpose… they have saved my backside several times.
    The totals are getting huge… this is over a 1/4 mill now, right? I’m not a math wiz, but that’s a lot of money!

  86. A friend of mine sent me your first book in the mail and I am totally loving it. You are freakin’ funny! Although I may differ in opinion when it comes to crochet (I love both knit and crochet equally), I won’t hold it against you πŸ™‚ I see that you have a lot of readers, but now you have one more! I have a ways to go with knitting since I only started both crafts about 3 years ago, but I can see that there is a whole other world of fiber and friends that I never knew exsited.
    Oh, and I’ll be buying anything else you publish, and reading here, and passing it on to my new knit friends. You rock!

  87. “I am frightened,” she said caressing the closed surface of her MacBook which contained the sum total of work on her own book. “Perhaps,” she mused, “a little back up might be in order today.”

  88. My daughter is so stuck to her IPod that when our power went out for two days, knowing that the power was out, she still plugged it in to be charged and couldn’t understand why the battery was still dead in the morning. It gave us all something to laugh about as we labored over our flooded basement for the next week. We do tend to take our conveniences for granted.

  89. My 12 year old just lost her science fair project. I have to say that I wasn’t totally compassionate since I had told her to “save and make a back-up” AND gave her a memory stick thing to do so . . . she didn’t . . . nor had she printed anything out.
    I highly recommend memory sticks. I have THREE. One for pics, one for documents (taxes, address book) and one for ongoing projects. I’m anal.
    Did you consider renting a laptop for your trip?

  90. I’m getting twitchy just thinking about not having a computer… *twitch twitch*
    The yoga mat bag complements the cat nicely.

  91. AYE!
    I hope that shot was good!!!!
    Sending lotsa DR vibes to the hard drive peeps.
    Keep up with the phone calls to keep them ON task.

  92. We regularly get power outages in the summer during heat waves (power grid gets overloaded) and, inevitably, my mother will tell me to just turn on a fan (since it’s 9pm and still 97F with no breeze) at which point I have to remind her that it’s not that the air conditioner is broken but that there is no electricity with which to power the AC. Or the fan.

  93. Amazingly, my lives-on-her-laptop daughter told me the other day that she can still hand-write faster than she can type. I was amazed. Then I remembered that she resisted learning touch typing. So her still-impressive looking speed is done with maybe 4 fingers. Who knew those old 1960s high-school-learned skills — back when it was assumed we’d become secretaries — would come in so handy in this liberated age?
    Love the hat and the yoga bag! Good luck surviving the laptop crisis. Think I’ll go do a backup.

  94. Poor lappy. but look on the brightside, atleast it wasn’t the day after your warranty was up!
    and you still have access via the family computer! and seeing as it is work you must do, you can kick all the little teenage rearends off any time you want to or tell them there will be no dinner all of next week.
    the yoga bag is unbelieveably gorgeous!
    and while i tend to look horrid in any hat, i’d put that on my head in a heartbeat! as a matter of fact, i know i saw some noro silk garden on sale somewhere . . . now i have no choice but to buy it

  95. I think I’m going to print out your posting and cheerfully show it to all the folks at work who give me crap about still using my trusty Franklin planner instead of keeping all of my phone numbers and appointments in the online office software.
    And don’t worry, we Seattle/Tacoma knitters have your back. We’ll make sure you don’t have internet withdrawal while you’re here.

  96. What the H.E.Double hockey sticks did you do to that sweet wee kitty to make her look so pissed off?

  97. Don’t feel bad about the lack of back-up…you aren’t the only one. Our desktop hard drive died over Thanksgiving and I lost all of my school work from previous semesters. For some reason I had used the desktop to back up stuff from the laptop and then somehow thought that it would be “safe” there and deleted it from the laptop. Luckily I still had my current work (including my thesis) on the laptop, or I would have definitely given a thought or two to suicide as a solution to data loss.

  98. Hang in there! This one time, my DH decided what I “needed” was a vacation from computers. No computers. No laptops. No email, no Internet, no writing, just restful vacation stuff.
    It…didn’t work out that well. “Twitchy” doesn’t begin to cover it. “Restful” was not a word we used. My shoulder muscles could have been used to build a suspension bridge.
    And then we stumbled into a coffee shop that had computers set up for Internet access and…well. I frightened the poor children staffing the place. I believe I may have bodily removed a teenager from in front of one of the machines; looking at the receipts from the day, there are line items for ‘broken front window’ and ‘bandages’, so I may have been a tad forceful about it. It is rumored that I actually sprouted snakes from my head and that my gaze turned several innocent bystanders to stone.
    But at least I got to catch up on my web mail. πŸ™‚

  99. H.E. double hockey sticks – that cracks me up! I think it may be time to renew the ‘creative ways to cuss’ effort. I thought my mom was such an angel growing up until I figured out what Sugar and Fudge were substituted for.

  100. If it helps I know of a really excellent data recovery service. They managed to get data off a hard drive that had been under water for 2ish years. Maybe they can work some magic on your new brick? If you’d like their info (just in case) don’t hesitate to holler.
    Meanwhile, best of luck sans computer!

  101. That cat looks like one of mine – black with a gray mane. Ask the computer doctors if they make SpinRite for Apples.

  102. Surely to Gourd the folks at the McGyvver Arts Fest can come up with a way for you to reach the outside world ! Probably using only elastics and belly button lint.

  103. Yikes…I am soooo sorry! I am a knitter with an IT degree and even I forget/neglect to back up…how embarrassing. Just the other day I (yelled with exasperation at) was sympathizing with my darling teenager when she was working along, without saving,on the mini movie she was making for a school project when all of a sudden the application froze entirely and she the lost 4 hours of editing…because that was the last time she saved. Happily the recovery period only took 2 hours! big sigh…grumpy teenager. But she now saves every few minutes! sometimes every few words. πŸ™‚
    My advice…always expect that the computer is gonna crap out.
    I am sorry for your potential loss. Keeping my fingers crossed that the recovery of data is successful. Great success is possible!!! Just breathe.

  104. Laughing at “Boo” and “Bryn.” When you find out what happened to Lappie and why, will you post the results? Because I don’t want to do the same thing.

  105. Backing up doesn’t help. I had my backups on the second hard drive, that’s why one has two in case one toasted itself…. and they stole the whole comp.If you burn it all on the cds and dig a hole in the courtyard to hide them, something will destroy them anyway. No help.
    And, did I mention that our office geek got a testing version of a server with some beta and didn’t tell anyone, just got a pay raise for solving hte network problems fast and cheap? And when one day, all that was saved on it – here I’d like to attract your attention to the fact that I worked in a publishing house and that there’s always like ten publications in progress – just disappeared. Office geek made just this I didn’t do it look but when the boss called the company who sold us the thing, it came to light that it’s a test version of both the server and the software. They came, dug out the data after like two days and the office geek was almost killed on the spot by the editor in chief who was on the verge of nervous breakdown and since there was almost nothing to do for three days, she was yelled at that she isn’t keeping deadlines.
    Paper and pencil.
    Steph, it’ll be better.

  106. I write by hand as fast as I type, and as a secretary, I can type pretty fast. Handwriting has advantages, like sitting in a really cozy place and not to be able to delete so fast (this is an advantage!). It is much easier to balance a pad of paper on your knees, plus you don’t have to worry about coffee or wine accidents. And stop calling the shop, except if you want to bribe them with beautiful knitted items. But you have my deepest sympathies … good luck!

  107. o the pain of technology dependency! i’m recovering from surgery today and i think you might be in more pain than i am! but on a happy note: that yoga bag is soooooo cute! is the pattern available onine?

  108. Though you may not get to read all your comments with such limited access…hey, this gives you more time to knit!
    When I was in grad school and had a presentation to deliver, I would email it to myself (home and school addresses) as an attachment, upload it on the school server, and burn a CD that I carried with me. Just in case. Never actually needed all those backups, but I always felt like if I didn’t have them, I would need them. Sort of like when I bring an umbrella, it doesn’t rain, when I forget it, it pours.
    Fingers crossed that Apple can ship to you quickly!

  109. Regarding data recovery, I saw a story on one of our news magazines (CBS Sunday Morning) about a place in the states (California I believe) that specializes in data recover. Don’t give up on it, because these guys are apparently miracle workers. It’s not cheap–but they’re the best. I just wish I could help with more details.

  110. Love your goody shots today! Btw, being in the IT field gotta say data backup is equivalent to gauge testing. The Gods frown on you if you don’t do it. I know, I’ve been burned myself. I feel for ya sister!

  111. Ugh-sorry about your computer. Ours croaked some time ago-all our pictures gone. Are the ones on our new computer backed up? No. Apparently we’ve learned nothing.
    Writing is still faster than typing for me. But I’m getting better!

  112. I can’t write as fast as I type, but the last time I tested typing I was at 125 wpm. Of course if I have the steno machine (like Norma!) it’s more like 260 wpm. I love the yoga mat bag! The cat is gorgeous. And I’m happy that Joe and the kids gave you some computer time!!

  113. Steph, if all seems lost, which I am hopeful it will not, send the drive to me and I will bring it to our Mac guy, who can do anything.
    This whole situation calls for Screech.
    BTW this might be a good time to throw back a few shots of Screech, dust off your old Jethro Tull “Thick as a Brick” album and play it at top volume.

  114. It’s in the ether (I would say in the water, but computers don’t drink). My laptop bricked this week as well. Five years of faithful service, and now it’s just not working. There was no indicator that this was going to happen, which I think is the cruelest part. Just suddenly the screen went fuzzy and froze while my boyfriend was working on it. I told him to shut it off in the hopes that would fix it, but no. Nothing. It is dead.
    I had some backups, and I think most of the photos I took are on Flickr, but not all of them. And there was music on iTunes I didn’t have backed up (I know, I’m stupid). And several stories I was currently working on (which are in rough form on paper, but the happy sparkly edited version was on the computer). And Zuma, my game of choice. I keep telling myself that at least I still have a PC to work on, but dammit, that laptop was where I did my creative work: photos, writing, music. And at 5 years old, no warranty still covers it.
    Guess where my tax return will be going this year?

  115. Backing up: an easy way is to email yourself copies of essential info. Or start your own Yahoo group and upload files to there.
    For writing when the power is out, or on the road, or when you don’t want the distractions of a desktop/laptop (email, solitaire, etc), – try an Alphasmart. (www.alphasmart.com). Wonderfully handy, lightweight, a fraction of the cost of a laptop, runs HUNDREDS of hours on 3 or 4 AA batteries, holds about 150 double-spaced pages worth of text. When you’re ready to format/transfer material, it’s simple to upload it to your regular computer of choice. I’ve had one for years, as have most of my writer friends. Highly recommended.

  116. Okay, dude, having a brick-attack just READING this… seriously…it’s killing me–I’m going to go get a memory stick from my husband and it’s going to become like a growth or another appendage or something…I just keep flashing back to when my computer did this and my heart practically stopped… but nice yoga bag–and have a nice walk! (The i-pod has totally revolutionized the simple walk, hasn’t it? I’m so totally in love w/my ipod we need our own room and an engagement party…)

  117. My husband bought me a spare hard drive to back up my laptop for Christmas…(he works for IBM,
    LOL). Seeing what happened to you I need to get on that and back-up my computer!

  118. Glad to see the cat (is it Millie? I forget) is still in your life. She’s been missing in action for a while so I was worried.
    I mean, who ELSE is going to get black cat hair on your light-colored knitted items?
    Take a deep breath and think of all the knitting time being without the laptop has freed up.
    I, on the other hand, have become a pacing, frenzied harridan when MY laptop had to go away.

  119. I do the same thing as your mom when the power goes out. Except the laundry bit. I never think to do laundry. Good luck with the data recovery!

  120. Hi Stephine… I’m in a kinda similiar boat to you. I’m headed to Cat’s Visionary retreat (you know that writing thing…) and have been using a desk top for years. I found out my iBook is too old to run my design software! My ‘new to me’ powerbook G4 shipped out on Wednesday & I leave on Sunday. I’m sending both of our computers good thoughts & wishing UPS guys quick trips. BTW if you find yourself laptopless in Madrona my roommate is headed down there Friday, I’d be happy to loan you my iBook. It runs everything but Knit Visualizer. Just a thought~

  121. I can sympathize with your mom and I can also giggle at her too. My mother did the same thing when we had an ice storm knock the power out at her house over New Year’s weekend. She’s smart enough to put batteries in the radio, not geeky enough yet to really go online, and well aware she can’t do laundry. But it was quite a sight to see her trying to call the electric company with a telephone that was run by ELECTRICITY. “Why doesn’t this phone work?” she asked incredulously. “Um mom… this one has can only run when the power’s on. You have to go into your bedroom or downstairs and use one of the older phones that doesn’t run on electricity.” She blinked at me in silence for about a minute before my father (who works for the telephone company and is the reason everyone in my family keeps a non electric powered phone in our homes for just such a situation) went back to the master bedroom and called the electric company.
    Sorry to hear about your computer. Hope you are able to salvage the data out of it.

  122. Well, I sure hope you enjoyed your scotch. πŸ˜‰
    I have a little tip which might help a bit with those day-to-day life things that were on your computer… likely, you iPod has your address book and iCal loaded onto it. Whey you have a mac and an iPod it usually auto-updates these things. Check on your iPod under Extras>Contacts for Address Book entries and Extras>Calendars for iCal events.
    When you get your computer back, ask them about plugging in your iPod and recovering data (and audio files) from there. You won’t want your new computer to delete everything on you, and the sync doesn’t work both ways (computer to iPod yes, iPod to computer no). If they can’t help you get Joe and the kids (or any of your kids’ nerdy, techie friends) to do some research online about getting it to go the other way (there are programs out there to subvert iTunes).
    Good luck! It’s so frustrating to realize how tied into our computers are lives are… especially when the computer’s gone.

  123. Well shit. Good luck on the data recovery – I’m pulling for you. I’m also going to back up everything on my computer this weekend. Not that I have important things like a book or anything, but you know.

  124. Like all those before me, I feel your pain over the lap top. I have confidence that the tech-ie-s will recover everything for you.
    I truly feel your pain over the power issues. We just spent 6 days with no power, following (actually during) a wind storm that brought 60′ trees down around our house like they were kindling – 9 of them!
    The good news…the weather here in WA is predicted to be fairly pleasant next week. The bad news… the wind storm was here in WA. I live 30 miles south of Tacoma, WA (Madronna).
    See ya there!

  125. Well, at least the phone works. It’s going to be centuries before someone engineers something THAT reliable. It even works when the power is out!
    Sorry about the no backups thing. They say experience is that which you don’t have until just after you needed it. Now you can be the backup queen and tell us all how it’s done!

  126. Wait. You gave the cat to your sister-in-law? Or is it that the cat is just a bonus picture for us? BTW, that cat is telling you that no backup is a no-no.
    They have these neat memory sticks now, with massive amounts of space on them. They have become my new backup friends. I’m so paranoid I do two backups, one to carry with me, one to leave home . . . check them out!

  127. For everyone running off to do backups, I have a warning.
    I support a software product installed at a vareiety of law firms. Big ones. Think the entire AMLAW Top 100. Think the firm the White House employs. You’d think they’d know about backups, right? Wrong.
    Turns out a great many of these firms, and a great many individual users, have lots and lots and lots of backups that are 100% useless. Reasons include not grabbing all the data, not having access to the restore software and not knowing how to do a restore. Incremental backups are great, but then you need to do incremental restores. Keep that in mind when you set the increment.
    Please, keep the goal in mind when you devise your backup strategy. You want to be able to restore things later. So make sure you know how to do that, you have everything you need to do that, and if you can, test to make sure it works.
    Me? I’m lazy. I shove all user data in one huge folder keep the install CDs for all of my software. Once a week that huge data folder finds its way onto a double layer DVD and that finds its way into my office. Yes, that means completely rebuilding the box if my drive crashes but it lets me rethink what I’m still using so I’m fine with that. Essential files (like the novel I’m working on and a short piece the going before the editorial board of the Wittenberg Door) sit on my flash drive in my purse as well as on my hard drive. Other techs have other ways, the point I’m trying to make is, make sure you don’t just have a backup, you have a restorable system.

  128. And if it doesn’t work, perhaps a consoling shot of scotch. or two.
    The yoga bag looks great and that’s a very groovy hat. Knit on, my Northern Fiber-sister. All may yet be very well.

  129. LOVE the yoga bag πŸ™‚ Good news is–you might at least arrive while the Seattle area has power (for Madrona). It seems to have been in dubious supply around here the last month or so (can’t decide if it will be a tsunami, earthquake, or volcanic eruption next, but at the rate Mother Nature is going, one of them must be in queue).
    You need a back-up drive. I swear Steph, all that energy you generate must be spilling over into your computers and shocking them to death! Back-up, back-up, back-up. Even a 1G thumbdrive for a book in progress would help πŸ˜‰

  130. Wow on the KWB almost total. “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” Mother Theresa. Well I would have to say knitters have endless love, and much thanks to you for poking us with the needles inspiring us to donate, knit on and laugh!

  131. Come on chaps – we have all done this at some time and probably more than once (haven’t we?). Think of the times at work when the server is down and we think “I’ll just….” before the penny drops that that too needs some electronic input to be completed.
    Before you tell me otherwise everybody I work with now has done it at some time. And some of them are young. And they are all bright, vibrant intelligent people. And we are all capable of being a bit dim sometimes.

  132. I can relate. Yesterday I blew my fourth, yes fourth, motherboard in a year on my ‘brand new’ desktop machine. The land of relentless sunshine (New Mexico) is also the land of relentless static and, despite all my precautions (grounding myself before I touch the machine, using three surge supressors before the computer links to the wall outlet, etc.) I killed another one.
    I’m back to using my much older, much slower, but much more reliable Sony VAIO laptop (shameless plug for good equipment). I must say, however, that two motherboards ago I learned a valuable lesson…in three words: EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE.
    I work from home too and was tired of being unable to work until I could get a new motherboard and get it installed (fortunately my husband does this sort of thing for me, but he says it’s getting old). The external drive now holds all of my important data files. I still lost a bunch of local stuff (e-mail, my iTunes library, my Favorites, my address book), but nothing ‘mission critical’ like years worth of digital pictures. Might be able to remove the hard drive from the dead machine and recover the stuff, might not.
    In any case, invest in the external drive (USB) it can be connected to any computer whenever one gets ‘bricked’.
    On more important matters…I’m going to try that hat and I continue to be amazed at the ability of knitters to change the world.

  133. I’m so very, very sorry to hear about your brick. But I couldn’t help but laugh at the description of the power outage. Here in OK, we had an ice storm, and power went out in many areas. My father was talking to a former coworker, and she said that she wasn’t worried about the power going out because she…wait for it…
    She has an electric blanket.
    We all got a good laugh from that one…

  134. I think it’s time for a PDA. Last summer, after hauling my laptop on a 2 week road trip, I got a PDA with wireless internet to replace my old PDA that lives in a drawer.
    I love it! It weighs 6 oz (not 6 pounds) and I have lots more room in my luggage for yarn. I don’t have to remove it from my bag when I go thru airport security. I can load everything on it and take it everywhere in my POCKET!
    I recently took it to Europe for 3 weeks and it was great — I could see of the photos of trees down in our yard (but not on our house) following the big Seattle wind storm.
    And to justify the expense to DH, I got it with GPS. Now a female voice other than mine can tell him when to turn left! And get an external hard drive for your laptop and backup to it everynight before you go to bed — make it a habit.

  135. The power went out for a few hours at the library yesterday, right before the monthly tea. Picture a bunch of octagenarians all dressed up, a silver tea service, cucumber sandwiches and cookies, and a herd of kids plus all the library patrons. But, no electricity to heat water…
    So they raided the teen library group’s stash of pop and a fellow played ragtime on the piano while one of the elderfolk sang and danced. It was glorious fun.
    In your honor, I did an extra back-up of everything yesterday.

  136. Apple care, at least here in the states, is VERY good and have always managed to get the data off of bricked things for my husband. Me, I’m a pc girl. So I save my snarking for things like “well at least Apple can fix all those computers that die”….
    πŸ˜‰ good luck. I have faith that you’ll get everything back. At that point I know you are smart enough to do backups.
    There are 200 gig drives (external, you can just plug them in when you need them) for pretty cheap now. Whatever way works for you to backup is the best way. If you don’t do it even the best backup method isn’t much use. Fingers crossed.

  137. So, I’m having a totally off-topic moment here in the midst of my sympathy for you . . .
    If we emailed you our KWB donation news after Dec. 24, 2006, so that you hadn’t had a chance to tally it in before the recent computer crisis, should we send it again?

  138. I’m afraid this isn’t consoling, but the reference to War & Peace reminded me: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was also written on paper, by hand; then sent to a friend to read over before publication. The friend’s housemaid (they all had them, then) mistook it for a heap of rubbish and used it for a fire. I’m pretty sure that’s true, but could be graduate-school legend.
    All ideas about Scotch are good, and probably better if single malt.

  139. My two-month-old Dell PC tanked yesterday, although the geeks in the family managed to get it back up on crutches around midnight. I kept wanting to say to them, I TOLD you we should have bought the Apple!! I mean, this thing didn’t get carried all over creation and have to endure adoring throngs and baggage-check X-ray indignities and the like, like your laptop, so it had no excuse. None whatsoever.

  140. you sound like me yep when it comes to powere outages. its tough to just sit and read a book or go knit by candle light. but i do that after i think oh yea go watch tv. no no no can do go on line not a chance. radio? no way . give up take a nap knit by candle light or read a book like a kid with a flash light LOL
    hope you pc troubles are over soon man what a wthdrawl that is. nerrve racking my desk top died of old age before christmas took me a week to get a fairly new one up and running i know how you feel. i feel your pain.
    hugs and love and tons of prayerrs from me crissy in alaska

  141. I’m so sorry. Sounds like my worst nightmare.
    One tip: what I do, is I let my e-mail addy automatically forward to a gmail address. That means that when my computer crashes, I still have all my mail online. The capacity is almost endless, and the search function is beyond brilliant.
    In the mean time, let me offer you chocolate.

  142. I must agree with the person up there *points up through the comments* and sing the praises of Drive Savers again. No, I don’t work for them or anything, but I owe them the life of TONS of data, some of which was upwards of seven years old, all not backed up due to my “oh, I don’t use that very much and it’ll always be there when I need it” mindset. Then *POOF* went the drive it was on.
    Let’s just say I can understand the weepy reaction. Times several hours. As long as you can keep from throwing the computer out the window if the Apple people’s data recovery doesn’t work, you’ll be fine. πŸ˜‰
    But seriously, here’s hoping the Apple people get everything back for you and your laptop returns in full working order. Computer problems = teh suck.

  143. I think I did my Lady E in that colorway (or shall I say colourway since you’re Canadian and all).
    And the Sheridan Tacoma has a business center:
    “State-of-the-art automated business center providing fax machine, copier, access to internet, and Microsoft office applications.”
    And while it doesn’t say it has a computer, wouldn’t it suggest it does???

  144. I think you should have a celebratory shot of a little high-quality high-test something-something while you’re *waiting* to hear from the computer shop. It’s all part of the positive thinking process, you know. Plus, you wouldn’t want to drink on an empty stomach, would you? πŸ™‚

  145. I hope you enjoyed your shot. I lost everything in September, including photos, work files, knitting files, family data, everything. I feel your pain. I just saaw an Apple commercial this morning – poking fun at the PC which was broken, since Apples never ever break. Right?

  146. Hi Steph,
    Try to breathe. In my experience, Apple ships pretty fast.
    Is there anyway you can borrow a laptop for your trip?
    Also, using Firewire they really can retreive stuff off of a fried (that’s what we call it here in upstate NY) computer. I am here to tell the tale. It was done from my fried iMac and transferred to my DH’s eMac. Can be done. Try to think positively and make this a good learning experience. OK… I did say try.
    BTW that yoga bag really rocks.

  147. Stephanie – I use an internet-based backup service by a company called “Carbonite”. It backs you up every time you connect to the Internet. It’s at carbonite.com, and it’s a pretty reasonable price. Takes about two weeks going full out to back up the first time though.
    Good luck!

  148. Here’s hoping your data can be save, Stephanie.
    I, too, hope you have a laptop to take on your travels.
    Still, as a blog backup for those who not just want but need a daily dose of Yarn Harlot, might I suggest this: If you’re traveling without a laptop and forced to go days without blogging, faithful readers could re-read your blog archives the way they re-read your books. Still entertaining, still Stephanie. Classic Stephanie!

  149. I do feel your pain of no laptop access, but I’m in the Midwest where folks are going on 6 days without power in frigid temperatures due to a devastating ice storm. And, we’re expecting snow this weekend. There are worse things than a crashed hard drive.

  150. I will be at Madrona Fiber Arts next week (I live in Seattle). I would be so very happy to loan you an iBook for use while staying in Tacoma. It is just a G3 with a 12 inch screen but it is very stable and does have an airport card — so you could surf/blog and chat with your family. Just let me know and I will leave it at the hotel with your name on it. So, while I am hoping they get your MacBook repaired before you depart (including recovery of all data!) — if you need a laptop while in Tacoma, I would be happy to provide one!

  151. So, uh… you’re like the Knitter of Knitters. You can’t sit still?? Where’s your knitting??? Blog later! We’ll all still be here when you get back up and running. You’ll see the fam soon – look on the bright side and use this as restful, rejuvenating down time from family and blogland. I hope everything works out well. πŸ™‚

  152. Newbie to this website, but great lover of all things knit. Will you do another knitting olympics??

  153. Such beautiful color on the yoga mat & hat. Hope your data is recoverable. All the ideas for saving & backing up are great. Maybe you are carrying a “bugged” coin like the contractors I read about who were working in Canada? There was a story in our local paper about espionage. I laughed when I heard that they were working in Canada – Russia or the middle East I could see. Have you been feeling like you are being watched or anything? Any electronic buzzy fields emanating from your person?

  154. Judith at 3:54 — It wasn’t The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, it was Carlyle’s The French Revolution, but otherwise you’ve got it right. And supposedly he didn’t tell the host, just went home and wrote the whole thing over again, but come on…

  155. So sorry about the very expensive brick. The same thing happened to me a couple of months ago, including the inadequate back-ups. Do not feel bad–I am a professional IT geek, and I did the same thing to myself. Well, an electrical storm helped, but still.
    And maintain hope–by wonder-husband retrieved every single byte of data. All is not lost. And you have a warantee. And knitters are throwing money at MSF. All is well.

  156. So I read this post last night. And about an hour later my three year old mac decided that the hard drive would start clicking. there’s nothing scarier on a mac than seeing that folder pop up flashing the question mark and the finder icon. πŸ™
    I still have a warrantee on it, though, and an appointment at the apple store tonight. If they can fix it, or grab the data that was on my HD, I’m getting a backup HD hardcore. πŸ™

  157. HELP!!!!
    So… I did what I said I would never do again!!!!
    I RAN OUT of Yarn…I am desperately looking for 1-2 balls of AC MOORE’S(discontinued???)Fantasy Yarns- ALPACA in light grey????
    Can anyone help me? jmjtavill@aol.com…Thanks in advance!!!

  158. Nice finished knitting. I feel famous by association.
    And I’m REALLY sorry about your computer. I hope you can recover your stuff. I’m all queasy just thinking about it and have this uncontrollable urge to back up all my files. I’m pretty good about work stuff, but never remember to do my photos.

  159. I’ve heard tales that – if They really want to – They can retrieve data that has been written over ten times. It’s not cheap, but it’s possible.
    Oh, and all you people who are backing up stuff – have a _print-out_ that documents how to do the backup, and keep it up to date. It should also state where the backup materials are.
    And never keep anything on the computer that you don’t want some stranger to see.

  160. Very interesting bloggit (blog entry) and comment “thread” (or should I say “yarn”!).
    Love the yoga bag, especially the colors, but also the handle (shoulder strap?) and drawstring.
    By the way, what is *in* the yoga bag? A straw mat?
    Where does your wool come from?
    I read or saw something about a business in South America where they use llama wool to knit things, and also as a kind of accounting or bookkeeping (see http://pages.citebite.com/p8w3t7u0ecmb).
    Anyway, crafted items are cool. Knitting is cool.
    I like the informal and conversational style of your blog. I hope I can find time to read more of it.

  161. Way cool! I knit almost the same hat in the same color of Silk Garden… except it was knit circularly (and top down). And it has a rolled edge. Oh, whatever. It’s the same color.

  162. Steph, I’m in Tacoma, going to the Madrona and have a spare iBook I can lend you. Check FT mailing list for my latest post and drop me an email if you need it. I’m JayneFury there.

  163. I haven’t laughed out loud for so long, in such a long, long time. This post was hilarious! Doesn’t it seem a bit like an oxymoron….getting all freaked out (and who of us wouldn’t) about our computer “bricking” and having to WRITE LETTERS and NOTES and all that….taking so much time to do so, and then quietly and patiently sitting down to knit someone a beautiful lace scarf or shawl. Or knitting and felting someone a lovely yoga bag or lovingly knitting someone a sweater or an afghan for a new baby? Doesn’t that seem like such a funny and fun contradiction?
    Stephanie, I totally feel your pain as I also have “bricked” my computer that my son (lovingly and patiently) built for us…(he finally password protected this one with an Administrator log-in so we can’t download stuff to get it all bricked up!!! haha)
    Well, good luck Stephanie. I hope you get your new computer soon and they can retrieve all your information…

  164. Hi! re: The question of writing large documents by hand, I’d like to note that I wrote a 200,000 word novel entirely by hand (I am, it turns out, incapable of being creative while looking at a computer screen) and the answer is that no, I cannot write by hand even remotely as fast as I can type. Also, you don’t get hand cramps after a while because the involved muscles strengthen up. Also, your handwriting eventually gets really neat and pretty. Also, you get a HUGE MONSTER CALLOUS on your middle finger that looks like a freaky growth.
    More than you wanted to know, I expect.

  165. My husband is one of those computer geeks, not the kind that fixes your hard drive problem, but he has friends. They are wickedly brilliant with computers. To the point that I think it might be divine intervention that Computer Geeks have no social skills, because if they did they could unite and take over the world… but I digress.
    When our hard-drive crashed I was told that they can almost always get something off of it. So, don’t jump off any bridges yet. (In our case, we proved to be in the small percentage of “brick”.)

  166. Do you have the pattern that you used for the yoga mat bag? Is it felted?
    It looks great!
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  167. Do you have the pattern that you used for the yoga mat bag? Is it felted?
    It looks great!
    Thanks πŸ™‚

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