What does “Brick” mean to you?

I know I’m going to post this and somebody is going to say that Mercury is in retrograde and that’s why this has happened to me, but I’m starting to harbour a secret suspicion that Mercury is in perpetual retrograde.
At Christmastime, Ken and Joe had this software (software that related to a router somehow.) and the it cautioned that one must take this precaution or that one, lest one (I swear it) “brick” ones router. “Brick” as a verb.
“Brick?” I said, rather inquisitively, as computer terms are foreign to me and therefore an endless source of intrigue… “What does that mean?”
“Brick?” said Ken. “You know, brick your router.” (I may have looked pretty blank.)
“Brick?” I queried…trying to look informed and clue-less at the same time.
“Yeah” Ken (giving me that look that he gives me when something is obvious and I am dense. ) “Brick. As in ‘turn into a…’.”
Turn your router into a brick. I get it, I thought. How very descriptive. We all know exactly what that would look and behave like, a “bricked” router. I have told you this story, my lovely knitters, because about 11am this morning, I committed a crime against my computer (we shall never know what exact keystroke did me in) and I have, effectively… “bricked” my laptop.
This afternoon and much of the evening was spent in on the phone with Apple and I have been informed by a very, very nice young man named Adam that I should not be optimistic. It would seem that my new laptop hard drive is toast. In fact, when a diagnostic disk was finally inserted in the laptop, it denied that it even had a hard drive at all… and that’s a pretty bad sign. In the morning I shall take deep even breaths while Joe takes it to the computer doctor, but I am emotionally resigned to learning that all is lost. (Ok. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, so maybe I’m not as resigned as I think I am. There’s a new book started on that computer. My email is on that. The great picture of Sam on skates… My… everything… is on that. It’s all I can do not to lie in the road.)
The only thing comforting me at all is the KWB total. I was adding things up at the moment that that Everything. Went. Wrong… but before I was consigned to the abyss, I knew the total.
$320 093.
Seriously. That is the total up to the end of the 24th December (so there is more to come) and dudes, that means we blew by the goal like Nicole Richie blows by a lunch buffet. We are so far past the goal that even “bricking” a laptop can’t be that bad. This is like the hugest afghan that anyone ever knit. $5- $10… $100 at a time, one knitter at a time, we are changing the world.
Now that I think about it? I’m just glad that I live a good enough life that I have a laptop to brick. Yeah man… that’s it. I’m grateful for my bricked laptop and I am thrilled that this has happened. Vive le MSF dudes… me and my bricked laptop don’t mind at all.
(OK. I’m not quite there yet, but I am really proud of all of you. I’ll write later when I find out if I’m totally screwed. Give Ken a round of applause for posting this. He’s such a nice boy. )

258 thoughts on “What does “Brick” mean to you?

  1. Oh goodness, Ken is a saint. Great total so far, it’s amazing that it’s going higher, hope you can retrieve those emails. Let me know if you need me to resend my picture for prizes.

  2. I’m so sorry for your laptop and so happy for your KWB.
    Let’s hope that computer magic can fix the puppy because, let’s face it, we know it was black magic that put a curse on it. If computers were logical, we would reign that realm.

  3. Aaaahhh! Not the laptop! Is it still under warranty? I’m unfamiliar with the term “brick” but I’ve heard the term “doorstop,” as in “the computer is now a very expensive doorstop.” I hope they can salvage something.
    May I offer a bit of advice? If you have a .Mac account, you can back up things to your iDisk and they will be all safe and snuggly. You can even download a (free! more money for yarn!) piece of software called Backup that will automatically backup to your iDisk!
    Saying you are glad to have a life good enough for a laptop to brick is very zen of you. I think I would be tempted to put it out in the driveway and back it over with the car. Um, if data recovery doesn’t work, that is.

  4. As the owner of two previously bricked Macs, all I can say is that I have my fingers crossed for you. But thanks for the reminder to go back up my entire hard drive. Twice.

  5. Thanks Ken, I was JUST saying how I couldn’t go to bed because the new total was coming up today and I hadn’t seen it yet. You’ve saved me from losing sleep! My beloved however can’t understand, he just keeps repeating “what is WRONG with you?” Nothing is wrong I’m a KNITTER!

  6. You poor darling! I can’t even imagine. What could little you have possibly done to brick anything? Scary, isn’t it. Well, they can recover almost anything these days, so my fingers are crossed for you. That MSF total is simply amazing. They are good people and will use it well. The only charitable organization ever to say (after the tsunami), “Please stop sending money, we have met our goal.”

  7. Sorry to hear about your laptop. My iBook hard drive failed 2 years ago. I hadn’t backed up (me so bad) recently and lost some things I really needed. A place in California was able to recover my data. As EZ would say, “Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.”

  8. Oh the horror of it all. I am sooooo impressed by the MSF efforts and your leadership, and so sorry for the bricking. I too am someone who believes that Mercury is perpetually in retrograde. *sigh* Astrological conspiracy is such a shame. Good luck and keep us posted!

  9. I’m on my second laptop hard drive and I anticipate being on my third by next year. Will I back things up and prepare for it? Nope.

  10. Oh NO! Not a bricked laptop. I’ve never heard that term before, but anytime it means you are losing data…that’s just not good. So, thank you Ken for posting this and thank you Joe for taking Mr. Mac to the doctor tomorrow!
    Oh, and I am so freaking impressed with our knitters!!! WOW!

  11. Sorry to hear about your computer troubles, it’s very unfortunate. ๐Ÿ™ At least your knitting isn’t bricked right? And wow, the total is amazing! Go knitters!

  12. oh no!
    I had to live through one hard drive crash in september, where i very nearly lost all, but managed to get it back. two in one year just seems wrong.
    best of luck! I hope you get some data back

  13. Oh crap, sorry that your computer is fried. I hope that they can recover at least the important parts to you.
    I would never have grasped the “brick” thing either. Why is it that people that know computers have to use these off the wall words?.
    Thanks to Ken for posting for you.

  14. Ah, your laptop is “sneakers up.” That is another technical term. Your laptop must have been speaking to the (former) bankers for Blue Moon and couldn’t comprehend what was going on with the knitters. Obviously, you need a more knitter-savvy laptop.
    Chin up. Keep looking at that total. It is a fabulous thing.

  15. I understand about “brick” because it seems similar to the way CD’s can somehow become “coasters”.
    Please get Ken to explain how making keystrokes could cause brick formation to happen (even if blue shirts in closets or something similar is needed) because we want to know how to avoid this.
    And yay knitters!

  16. Well, son of a brick. That sucks! I’m a Mac person myself, so I feel your pain. Mercury goes direct for about three days in between retrograde cycles, if you ask me. I’m setting aside time to backup my hard drive this weekend and defrag it. I’m praying for your laptop in the meantime.

  17. man, suddenly I’m relly relly happy with my little ole dell laptop. occasionally, I’ll wax poetic about “one day owning a grown up computer” (ie. an Apple) but if owning a pc keeps me from puking in the back of my throat, all hail the mighty pc!
    and we knitters are freaking awesome! What a total!
    Good luck with your new doorstop… ๐Ÿ™

  18. you are still covered under applecare, so you have that going for you but still… i feel your pain. i hope all is recovered and ok.

  19. Oh noes! I’m sorry about your computer! By the way, I consider myself a pretty techie person and had no idea what “brick” was supposed to mean.
    I’m amazed by the KWB/MSF contributions.

  20. Oh I pity you. 4 days ago my hard drive went kaput on my laptop. I got the new one today and spent 7 hours, 7 HOURS, reinstalling windows and all the software.
    Not to mention all the data I lost from the old hard drive. I saved a bunch of stuff but I couldn’t get into my email program. Not a big deal if there wasn’t emails from about 15 yearn stores wanting a info packet from KnitWit Momma.
    So really, if you need a shoulder to cry on while installing that new hard drive, I’m here for you. I understand what you are going through.

  21. Yes, we must always remember, to err is human, but too really foul things up, you need a computer.
    I am not obsessive about backing things up, but.. when my drive was over run with a nastly litte virus a few months ago, i was very glad that most everything was backed up.
    (i too, couldn’t sleep, wondering what the total was.. it remarkable. Its amazing what we can do, when we just do it, and don’t get bogged down in why it wouldn’t work, or other negative thoughts.
    I need to remind myself of this all the time.. thank you for showing me in a big way, what a single person can do.)

  22. Hurrah for Ken!
    Even more, hurrah for your attitude. Seriously — it takes something special to remember how rich you really are in the middle of a crisis. I may laugh at my neighbor’s broken washing machine woes when I remember women I have known who made a home for their children in a lean-to with a piece of galvanized iron for a roof, but I don’t laugh when a tree branch crashes onto my roof and I’m trying to figure out how to pay for repairs. I don’t even remember how lucky I am to have a roof until things calm down a bit.
    You are remarkable. Inspiring, too — so hurrah for KWB as well!

  23. where I used to work, we’d call that computer “Frank-ed” after the guy who always messed up his computer.

  24. “Bricking”. Hmmm. Yet another noun converts to a verb. Sigh. Where’s Lynne Truss* when you need her?
    *Author of “Eats Shoots and Leaves”

  25. Oh noooo! I feel for you. I hope they can resurrect the “brick.” You may need to invest in an external hard drive…
    By the way, we used to use “brick” as a verb in high school, specifically in contest with the game of basketball (which, incedentally, I was not so wonderful at.) When one (or I) tossed the ball in the general direction of the goal and it missed entirely, one (I) was told they had “bricked it.”

  26. Oh man! It really stinks that your new book was on the laptop. We will all hope you can retrieve it! But YEAH for the great total! We are awesome!

  27. It’s midnight, but I have an overwhelming urge to back-up my iBook….. The two times I’ve had to call Apple, I’ve been so impressed with how nice and helpful they are — then I realized that it was partly that they weren’t surprised/appalled/frightened by the fact that I was on a Mac!
    And thanks to Ken for posting, so we know the new total!

  28. Oh no! I feel for you. My most important hard drive (NOT backed up, mind you, very stupid of me…) recently failed and I spazzed. But, in the horrific event that all *is* lost, if you can spare a couple dozen sweaters’ worth of yarn money, there’s a company in CA called DriveSavers that does data recovery.
    Really, though, I hope all is not lost. I’m hating computers right now and I don’t wish technology failure on anybody. *Especially* not with a new book on your hard drive!
    *knitterly hugs*

  29. DriveSavers Multi-platform Data Recovery. 800-440-1904 (Novato, California). They have an amazingly good reputation.
    As for “brick”? Bombyx and tussah tops come in brick format, a lovely folded block of exquisite silk. Was I supposed to think of any other kind of brick?
    Good luck. Oh, Patriot Memory (and many others) makes a really nice little 2G USB drive that is lovely for quick back-ups of things like book manuscripts.

  30. Hope the computer de-bricks (what would that be, a Tetris?).
    My Sony laptop hard drive was fizzling out when I had it replaced. I feel your pain.
    Oh, Apple Hard Drives are kinda known for dying. A few famous bloggers have had dead MacBook Pro hard drives in the last year. Hope the mac dead drive count doesn’t have yours added to it.
    Thanks Ken.

  31. I hadn’t previously heard the term “bricked”. I think, though, that I prefer it to the term our IT guys use … tombstoned. This is what happens to our corporate laptops and other devices (cell phones, pagers, remote access tokens) when the device hasn’t been logged into the network in xx days. It’s tombstoned.
    Fortunately, it can be fixed/reversed/un-tombstoned. It’s just a bother.
    Good luck with your new brick.

  32. So sorry to hear about your computer! Maybe a Mac-compatible external back-up hard drive would be good insurance against any future spontaneous brickings? (http://www.maxtorsolutions.com/en/catalog/OTIII_FireWire_USB/)
    Also, my own work pc laptop hard drive tanked recently and the local computer shop informed me that they had an external device available that would allow us to us to connect the dead laptop hard drive it to another computer as a ‘slave’ drive so we could extract data files from it. Perhaps a similar device is available for Mac drives?
    So should we wait until computer healing occurs to let you know about our MSG donations?
    hoping the best for your computer!

  33. You know, ‘Ken and Joe’ doesn’t have the same ring to it as ‘Ken and Barbie’. It’s missing something. That and I’m still envisioning red dust and wood chips. I’m just not a part of the new generation but thanks for keeping me informed.

  34. I was going to suggest the same thing as Denise, but also when my laptop did this last year, I took out the hard drive and put it in an external hard drive case. It works now if I plug in to the new laptop.
    Don’t know if it would work with apple though.

  35. Oh Honey, do I ever relate. We’re up here in the Himalayas of North India and the electricity is unstable enough around here that we had THREE laptops turn into bricks in the first few months before we found a solution (though we referred to them as “paperweights” instead on the advice of our tech person.) And the knowledge that at least we HAVE laptops and HAVE the (okay it’s minimal, but it works) technology to be on the internet at all, is infinitely reassuring in a place where a cell phone modem costs nearly what the average family pays in rent for a year!
    Our endeavor isn’t anywhere near as big as TSF/MSF but we are raising emergency medical funds for the Tibetan refugees and Indian villagers up here (my partner is a doctor who treats people for free, but we need supplies, medicines, nutritional supplements, etc. for people who have lost their country, their families and their entire context so we ask for help see http://www.customjuju.com/joy/joyblog) still, the outpouring of support and encouragement has been wonderful from all the fibre folks out there and it wouldn’t be possible without the internet and the potential bricks And having things like the Yarn Harlot blog to read while hiding up here in the mountains, makes us feel a bit more connected, so thank you for being one of the lifelines. And thank you for doing the work you are doing for others. You rock!

  36. Dear Steph
    No Mercury wasn’t in retrograde. Mercury goes retrograde Feb 13th until March 7th. So we will blame it on the ice/snow/global warming and the fact that southern california got frozen for 3 days. Yeah Yeah that sounds good. Knitters are amazing loving the total so far.

  37. Everytime the MSF total increases, I run in to tell My Muggle, who is always suitably impressed by the power of the fiber people. Yeah Knitters & Spinners & Crocheters! Fiber People Rule

  38. So I gather that you didn’t hurl a brick at the laptop or the router. . . under the circumstances, it does sound rather tempting, though.

  39. After consulting with my boyfriend/techie we;ve decided the term ‘brick’ as a verb may be a regional thing. Here in California we use ‘doorstop’ and ‘boat anchor’ to describe new uses for our dead technology components.
    I’m SO excited about the MSF total! Especially since I know it has to go up because you haven’t counted mine yet! ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. To my ear, “Brick” sounds like a form of revenge.
    Step 1: Place (laptop/router/etc) on (concrete/driveway/rock/etc)…
    Step 2: Drop a large brick on it—repeatedly.
    Maybe this also counts as “therapy”.

  41. Let me share with you a phrase I know you WILL immediately understand: hot sick. I first heard this from someone who said “oh, that gives me that hot sick feeling” – maybe it should be written hotsick. Also counts as “heartsick” in a Boston accent, I guess.

  42. I recently got myself an external DVD burner and I also got one for my brother who is a photographer & had mentioned how constipated his laptop was getting; burning to CDs would have taken him forever. What I like about backing up to a DVD rather than to an external hard drive is that the DVDs can be safely squirreled away so you don’t have the heartbreak of the person who put up a flyer asking the person who broke into his house & stole the computer & external hard drive to please return the hard drive or a copy thereof, no questions asked & $$ given; he had lost all his photographs.

  43. Tell me that you have backed up your data… If you haven’t… my condolences. I mean… look at it this way, there’s a bright side of this. There’s a silver lining in every cloud… until you brick your computer, which is a term that does not exist in SoCal. Sorry. ^_^ But you can reformat and completely nuke it. ^_^ I have a CD for that, want to borrow it? ><

  44. noooooo hope mr apple gets unbricked soon and that they can save your important stuff. i guess i should be thankful that when my hp decided to brick on me(before xmas still dont have it back, even though it should have been done before the first…rghhhh) i had only had it for THREE days, so there was not much on it to lose. thanks ken!

  45. I hope you discover that the data is recoverable and that your laptop harddrive can be replaced for free by Apple. I think this is probably the case, given all my ‘bricked’ laptops in the past ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. WOW. Just…WOW. Steph, you could TOTALLY take over the world if you really wanted to – all you’d have to do would be issue a cleverly worded challenge on this blog, and voila! The deed is done. Forget Lucy Neatby, you’ve got some pretty potent voodoo of your own goin’ on. MSF should be thrilled that you’ve got their back.

  47. But… but… you only got the MacBook in September! They’d better fix that under the warranty!
    Have you considered backing up? Would you like some advice? Would anyone? There are even external back-up things (not getting too technical for you, I hope) that will back up your computer all by themselves without you having to even THINK about it. Really.
    Can’t bear to think of bookbookbookbookbook being lost.Say it isn’t so.

  48. Oh, no….brickage! eek. I’m Joy’s “tech person” and believe me, we completely sympathize with what you’re going through. At least you’re not in for a 12-hour bus ride just to see if your warranty’s still in effect (which is what I have to undergo here in India every time something tanks).
    Meantime, sounds like its time to call in data recovery specialists…
    Fiber folks are indeed amazing. 320K, for TSF/MSF? Wowzers. And here in India we’re quite certain that some of the folks who gave $ to our little emergency fund already gave to TSF….y’all rock.

  49. How come this happens to your macs? Mine all live long and happy lives (until the processors can’t keep up with the input anymore and they die SPECTACULAR deaths). *hugsmuch*
    Either way, GO KNITTERS! That MSF total is staggering! *has a little party*

  50. OK, first… Way to go KWB!!!
    Secondly, if one can “brick” a router, does that mean that one can “blob” one’s sweater by accidently felting it? Just saying….

  51. Condolences, along with congratulations re donations. I remember, way back before laptops were even heard of, hitting one key, seeing FATAL ERROR, and that feeling. Never forget that feeling. Wiped out everything and had to reprogram the hard drive all over again. Didn’t know anybody in this day and age still didn’t believe what they say about backing up. And at Apple, it just is not that expensive, especially considering the price of yarn these days. Suggest, as above, external hard drive with automatic backup, plus the disks for specialized items, like photographs and book mss.
    On the lighter side, you won’t forget again in a hurry.
    On the astro side, maybe you were meant to rewrite that part.
    On the worst side, had a friend whose wife got out of the Bel Air fire with just what she had on and the car she was driviing; friend (husband) had only what he was wearing and his car. He stopped by my open door on the way to his office to tell me, “Never get too attached to anything.” They lost all the pictures of their kids growing up (their daughter was a ballet dancer), along with truly EVERYTHING except as mentioned above.
    BACK UP! Store copies of important stuff elsewhere. There is a reason people tell you these things. But you know that now. So sorry.

  52. Maybe backup would be a nice thing to consider next time? Didn’t this just happen a little while ago too ? Good luck rewriting ๐Ÿ™‚

  53. Thanks for reminding me it’s time to back up the important stuff and to make it a regular monthly routine – omg, it’s my first 2007 resolution! Of course the important stuff is the banking info, a few photos and all my downloaded knitting patterns/stash&needle inventory, etc! The rest can go hang ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m off to visit Joy’s site and bookmark it for payday ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay warm and let’s all be grateful for what we have.

  54. That’s an awesome total! And I, for one, didn’t donate until Dec 28. I’m sure there are many others like me, so that total is still going up, up, up!
    I did receive a lovely card from your brother-in-law!

  55. Oh, Steph! I am very sorry.
    It is very early here… so I may be wrong… but didn’t we go through this with you not too long ago? I hate to suggest this, but you may want a desktop to be your work horse and the laptop as the secondary ‘free and easy’ computer. Working in IT for 12 years or so – laptops are considered to be ‘disposable’. They aren’t expected to last more than a year or so. (Yeah, I almost puked when I heard that – this was after plunking down the big bucks on mine.) Laptops go through a lot of wear and tear. Plopping it down a bazillion times, dragging it everywere, opening and closing it constantly… verses a desktop that just sits there. If you ever saw a hard drive – it is easliy breakable. though they can sometimes are able rescue the data stored on there.
    Now on to back-up my laptop and desktop… so sorry, Steph. ๐Ÿ™

  56. Computers are a being unto themselves. Nasty sometimes.
    *hugs* Hopefully it will get sorted and you donโ€™t lose any info.
    My suggestion (although youโ€™re probably sick and tired of it being suggested) is to take plenty of backups!!! On different devices. Honestly. Itโ€™ll save you so much grief in the future.
    And thanks to Ken for posting!!

  57. Yay Ken! Yay TSF! Boo new laptops that suddenly find themselves to be high-priced bricks!
    This does mean that I won’t win the contest to guess the final number. I guessed way too low. What can I tell you? except that I am trying to redeem myself by having a contest to (among other things) put a little something in this year’s total.

  58. I’ve heard of the term “brick”, and I’m sorry to hear it happened to you. But I’m also pretty sure that it wasn’t something you could have done through normal use. Perhaps they can recover the hard drive for you. Have you started making regular back ups yet?
    BTW – I offer this reference: http://outpost9.com/reference/jargon/jargon_toc.html
    as a way to up your computer lingo in a humorous way. Maybe if you can laugh, some of the sting will go away.

  59. Quite familiar with the term actually. Familiar with the terms “played lights out hockey” or “stood on his head”. Brick is definitely the opposite – as in sat there like a brick and did nothing. Brick is not good. I’m so bricking sorry for you btw. Good on the knitters for KWB.

  60. My computer did the same thing a week ago and then miraculously came back to life. My computer and I are sending you good karma! Hope yours is revived too.
    By the way, I actually work as a professional fundraiser and can’t tell you the joy that KWB brings to me. I used to work in the same building as MSF in NYC and can attest to the fact that not only is it a great organization, the folks who work there are, to a person, just terrific. Viva KWB!!!

  61. My coworker’s laptop died a noisy and painful death last week. It made horrible screeching noises not unlike that of an animal which has been hit by a car. Someone suggested that he put the hard drive in the freezer as it would shrink the, uh, components (?) and then perhaps they could get it to spin just enough to grab some of the data from it. He tried it and was able to get some things off it.
    We put yarn in the freezer to save it, why not a hard drive?

  62. Wow. And what a perspective on life. I’m going to take that thought with me today – if and when things go wrong, I’ll be thankful that I have it in my life to screw up! When my daughter is moody and cranky (she’s 13, she can’t help it) I’ll remember to be thankful she’s here…
    Good vibes to your laptop.

  63. Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your brick. I hope you will find some way to salvage the information in it. It’s a small consolation, but at least your story reminds me that a backup of my computer is way overdue. That was actually the first thing I was taught when starting my Masters thesis: Always keep a backup of your work! I hope some knitting will soothe your troubled spirits.

  64. Oh no! I had the same thing happen to me in December. Two years of grad school paper…pictures…music….gone. The lovely Apple geniuses did all they could to restore the hard drive or even just retrieve the data to put on another computer, but alas. Here’s hoping they have better luck with yours. I second all the recommendations for .Mac, iDisk, and backing things up (not that I ever remember to do such things, but still…)

  65. When I read that you were having computer problems… and then that you had bricked your computer… I really thought you meant that you had smashed it into pieces with something heavy. If it cheers you up – it looks like 500,000 raised is a plausible total (maybe even reached already)!
    Hey, if it does turn out that your computer is unsalvageable, instead of throwing it out – I bet it would be highly fulfilling to pulverise it on your driveway (maybe run over it with a car) first.

  66. Oh dear, so sorry about the bricked laptop…dang it! Do like the way your trying to look at it, that we are fortunate to have these things in the first place!!! Which brings me to the Knitters wihout Borders total….Wowie Zowie!!!! This is what happens when we don’t buy that new knitting book or skein of yarn!!…ok, not “don’t buy it”, but delay buying it…’cause you know..that yarn is sooooo calling us….but so is the Doctors without Borders…I have always been proud of my fellow knitters, but right now I am bustin’ my buttons!!!! Thanks again Steph for getting that ball rolling……Oh and Ken..you rock..thanks dude.

  67. I know how it feels to lose the data.
    I know that all the post-misthap advices like You should have made a backup make one feel like killing. Slowly.
    I know that hardly anyone makes backups. Including those advice-givers. I lost my thesis and my archive in a robbery and I haven’t recovered yet.
    I just hope it goes better for you than for me since you at least have the brick to try some data extraction or something.

  68. That is a stunning total for MSF! I’m sorry it came at the cost of your hard drive going bye-bye, so to speak, but still, you should be very proud of yourself for writing so well that thousands of knitters suddenly decided to give to MSF. Good job, Steph!

  69. Serious commiserations on the laptop. Just been there… just done that.
    Backup is like knitting swatches. One skips the step at one’s own peril.
    On a much happier note,
    just like in novels, my breath literally ‘hitched’ when I read today’s TSF total. Amazing feeling on all levels.
    We rock– and — again!– thanks for inspiring us and to the team for making it happen.

  70. *clap clap clap* and a hug to Ken for posting for you.
    HOLY SHMOKES, I love that we raised that much money for MSF…and that there’s so much more to come.
    I also have a few words for you: External Hard Drive Backup. Trust me…I know. I’ve been there.

  71. I have a feeling the computer couldn’t listen to Lucy and compute at the same time too…darn that all-powerful woman and her mischievious ways!

  72. “Expensive paperweights” is what we call screwed up pieces of technology. Good luck with your laptop!
    And I am just in awe of the MSF total. Thank you for telling us about such a wonderful charity.

  73. Thanks Ken:)
    Way to go KWB and still going.
    Let us know if we need to resend you emails sent after the 24th.
    I think it’s the sudden drop in temperature!!!!!!!!!

  74. Is your laptop an Apple? My new MacBook Pro has a bug where the component that causes it to start and “sleep” gets corrupted and has to be reset. I thought I lost the hard drive too because the only thing that would show up when I restarted was a folder that had a question mark on it. You have to set the PRAM. Here’s how you do it:
    This has not just happened once but a number of times. Each time it has scared me into thinking I lost everything on my drive. Hope that helps!

  75. My condolences! I hope your data can be saved. I have a mac and I use my .mac subscription to backup all my important data to my iDisk. It is so simple with Backup (the program) – it automatically backs up every morning, 9 am – I usually never notice it going on. But it is. Btw, if you want to get an external hard drive, I suggest you get one that uses a firewire cable to connect to your computer, such as LaCie. Fireware cables transmit data faster than USB. Faster backups = less time = less frustration = more backups!
    Congrats on KWB, what a fantastic result!

  76. I’m lighting a candle in hopes that the computer wizards can retrieve your stuff. And *congratulations* on helping us all to raise DOUGH FOR DOCS–well done, everybody! YAY.

  77. *****SOLUTION TO MAC PROBLEM********
    (Please look at my previous post)
    Take your battery completely out of your laptop. Unplug all external devices and the power cord. Press the power button down and hold for 10 seconds. Wait 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, replace power cord, battery and power on. Your computer should turn back on.
    You can email me directly if you need to. I’ve figured out many Apple problems over the years.
    Let me know if that works.

  78. Three words: External Hard Drive.
    …learned this the very hard way….twice.
    Son #1 rescued, through extraordinary means, Son #2’s data from an overheated (fried) laptop, not once, but miraculously, twice. A certain local outlet of a “Shop” with a Futuristic word in it’s name, where the laptop went for repairs (questionable use of the word repairs), was a large part of the problem.

  79. Oh no! I don’t even know what I would do if my computer crashed… I’m so sorry.
    But that KWB total! Awesome!!!
    Oh, and by the way – the first thing that comes to *my* mind when I hear the word ‘brick’ is triathlon training. A brick workout is a bikeride, followed immediately with a run. Yeah, sure, that has nothing to do with computers, but I guess that’s what ‘brick’ means to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  80. My deepest condolences. I don’t care how often you back up — there’s always *something* lost when a hard drive goes kafloozie. And it’s always heartbreaking. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the universe rights the balance by giving you extra credit for the KWB fundraising and revives your hard drive at least long enough to extract the data.
    Yay Ken!

  81. Wow, the KWB total gave your computer a hard drive attack!
    Great total but I’m sorry your laptop was able to survive.

  82. Sorry about the laptop, but hang on to the hard drive. There’s a chance (however small) that you can recover some data from it. If you’re willing to spend a little money on it, you can send it off to a company that will take it apart and recover the data, but that can be a bit pricey, and I’m not sure if you’d want to do that.
    There’s always a chance that the hard drive is fine and something is wrong with the connections to it. Ask Apple if they can plug the hard drive into a working laptop and see if it recognizes it. Emphasize that you have data on it and see if you can talk a tech into trying to recover it. Sometimes you get lucky.
    Good luck with the laptop!

  83. I am literally biting my tongue so as not to whisper the “B” word to you. I am sure you’ll set up your new hard drive to do the “B” thing without delay. Get Joe on the case. My hubby set up our macs to “B” to each other – we take solace in the fact that both of our hard drives are unlikely to tank at the same time. We write out to DVDs when-we-get-the-time. Strangely, I’ve heard ‘bricked’ for routers, but not for computers. Is it the shape, do you think? Ah, well. It’s quite descriptive enough.
    Congratulations on the MSF total. While we are mighty, we wouldn’t have done it without you.

  84. I apologize for my people’s tendency to create verbs. As a technical writer, I try to smack this urge out of whichever IT department I’m near whenever I have opportunity.
    That said, please please tell me you considered/purchased a USB keychain drive to store important items like, oh, in-progress manuscripts and treasured photos…I know I and several other people mentioned how cheap and savior-like they were the LAST TIME YOUR COMPUTER DIED. er. Sorry. It’s the frustration of seeing someone in need. Ahem. I’ll behave.
    If you do not currently have a USB Keychain drive, please email me with this confession and I will send you one, complete with harlot-friendly instructions for how to use it. (I think that means pictures of yarn and a promise of someone buying you a beer at the end.)
    Handling yarn and Ethernet cables with the greatest of ease (okay, really, I mutter a lot at both, but shush, that’ll give away the game),
    P.S. I think that MSF should give you your own radio button for the “what caused you to donate today” question (at least it’s there on the US version): YARNHARLOT. Yup. You should totally get your own radio button.

  85. I just realized that all my wedding photos are on my four year old desktop computer… along with all the photos before and since. Hmmm….
    (ironically, my friend bought one of those magical external hard drives, and IT failed… unrecoverable)
    I feel your pain. Many a grad paper was lost to power outages, etc. Someday I will learn. Now, must find a way to backup: my burner bit the biscuit last year… Congrats on the very good things you are inspiring! Good luck on the data recovery!

  86. Yuk. I hate learning new words by experience. Brick is not good. I’m sorry about your laptop, but the KWB number??? Holy cow.

  87. Oh Stephanie… you’ve just learned a very expensive lesson. BACKUPS ARE IMPORTANT. Your laptop most likely isn’t totally toast, but losing all your data is a bad way to spend a day. (I just had a grad student lose the 8000 pictures he’s taken since he came to the US 6 years ago. He and his wife have spent their vacations traveling around and taking pictures… all gone.)
    Hard drives are easily replaced, and reasonably cheap (compared to a new laptop)… it’s the data that’s irreplaceable. After the nice computer “doctors” fix your laptop, buy an external hard drive. Back up your data every day. You can set up a way to do it automagically while you’re asleep, but do it EVERY DAY.

  88. So did Ken and/or the Apple guy named Adam manage to refrain from saying the dreaded “You do have everything backed up, don’t you?” in that annoying passive-aggressive way?

  89. KWB totally rocks! What an amazing total! You should absolutely get your own button on the MSF donation page.
    As for your laptop, once you’re up and running, go immediately to dot mac and sign up. For about $50 US you have tons of storage on a server, and you can download and install a program that will incrementally back up anything you want as often as you want it to. It does it in the background, all by itself. So if your hard drive dies all you need to do is go to your iDisk and click on “restore”. I would also do a one-time back up on dvd of the entire thing, apps and all. Good luck!
    And remember, Mac hard drives may fail occasionally, but pcs are a nightmare from start to finish, every single day. Do not be tempted by the dark side.

  90. (salutes laptop while “taps” plays in the background)
    Poor laptop.
    But – GO US!! $320,098 ain’t no small thing. I can imagine a conversation with somebody’s mother right now:
    “If Stephanie told you to jump off a bridge, would you?”
    “If it was for charity or there were sheep involved, yes.”
    (and go Ken! *clapclapclap*)

  91. I’m so sorry! My beloved iBook became a brick on me in December when I was in the middle of backing up my data. Unfortunately, when they changed all of the inner parts of my computer, I lost all of my data. Of course, that made it much easier to swallow when the laptop bricked AGAIN the night after I got it back… there was nothing on it!
    Best of luck with the book, and that total is mind-blowing!

  92. Yay Ken! Hurrah knitters – what a total!!!!!!!!
    Ron (resident hubbie) says your info (book, etc) is not lost. It will be retrievable. So take heart, sit back with a coffee, and knit while the computer doctor takes care of it. (I’m so sorry about the hard drive though)

  93. From the depths to the heights — your leading knitters to such an outburst of generosity is incroyable. You do *not* deserve a bricked computer (your kids, cats, computer, and car all have to be functioning well for the rest of the day to proceed, IMHO). May the knitting gods (are there others?) smile on your computer; they’ve already smiled on you.

  94. Ahh wow. It is amazing what the right person can get done. There is no doubt you are a person with clout in the knitting community. I stand in awe of your total. It is truely awsome and at the same time makes me wish for just one mention of my efforts to help rebuild the Earl family’s home.. on some one anyone’s site who would be the ‘right’ person to motivate this big knitting team.. Cause I am just not it.

  95. I’m flumoxed. First, OH NO, then, OH YES. Your personal tragedy has reminded me to back up this mac upon which I now write. MSF donations are glorious. I think they should add you/our efforts to their annual report, and add a button, and hell – buy you a new laptop.
    Really, it sounds like the computer didn’t brick, it STR’d you… shut down cus it couldn’t believe the amount! (How’s that for a new verb, eh?)

  96. So sorry to hear about your laptop. Now I’m rather sheepishly thinking that I should be backing up some photos that I’ll miss horribly if they just go “Poof”.
    The numbers for MSF are absolutely awe-inspiring! And you thought we wouldn’t do it. Maybe we can push it up to 500,000 by Easter? Ya never know with Knitters…

  97. My condolences on the bricked laptop. My congratulations on the total. Maybe if we knitters all ganged up on the computer people, they might start making things that don’t go kablooey. Ever. (Maybe we could gang up on the bomb-makers with the same effect.)

  98. Your hard drive can be removed and sent to a “data retrieval service” who, hopefully can retrieve all or some of your data. It’s worth a try even if you think the hard drive is toast, data retrieval services can do amazing things sometimes.
    In the future, burn a backup CD or use backup software. Even if you perform backup only once a week, in the event of disaster you have only lost 1 weeks’ worth of work.
    Best of luck to you!

  99. So…I guess that means you didn’t get my email about my finished snowdrop shawl.
    ah, well….it’s on my blog. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    hope you can get it fixed!!

  100. A person as nice as you are – entertaining the masses daily, keeping the fire of knitting alive, raising money for doctors without borders, taking care of the fam – should not have this many freaking computer problems. Perhaps this means you are soon to win the lottery or have your favorite yarn drop from the sky by the gross. I’m hoping.

  101. I know this is no help now, but as someone who’s lost more than one computer (along with everything on the hard drive), I always feel like I’m spreading the gospel when I share this info: have Ken set up an external hard drive (very, very cheap these days) and install a program called Cobian Backup – it’s free, simple to use, and can back up your stuff either manually when you want, or automatically as long as the computer is on. Why throw up when you can spend that mental energy on knitting? Good luck!

  102. I hope that some guru can retrieve your data. I just received a notice from my employer that some program of theirs called Iron Mountain can retrieve nearly all irretrievable data. Fortunately I haven’t had to test them on it.

  103. sorry about your mac, the last time I had one fail on me was in college. Hopefully its a hard ware error and they can save the data, that happened with my last PC I spilt rootbeer on! I was able to get everything but then had to completly re-install everything.
    It’s awful isn’t it? It’s such a pain to back stuff up, but we all should do it but I doubt even 1% actually do the way we should. I know better, yet I don’t do it.

  104. Bricked computers suck.
    Ken is a sweetheart!
    And KNITTERS ROCK!!!!!!
    Now if we could just figure out how to take over the world.

  105. I SOOOOO get where you’re coming from with the computer problems…I think the whole “species” of ’em has a hate-on for me! But really, I want to say YAY US! for that MSF total…and also that I hope you’re giving yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for being the instigator!

  106. I have had to recover my hard drive twice on my laptop. Take it to the local computer shop and they can easily do it. It cost me about $75 each time. Then, you get a new internal hard drive and just restore all your stuff. I now also have an external drive that I back up to every so often.

  107. I’ve never heard the term bricked. But dude, that SUCKS! I hope I hope I hope it all works out!
    Sending much love and virtual chocolate!
    And HOrrah for knitters!!!!!!!!!

  108. Glad I’m not the only one who had an inappropriate chortle over the connection between Adam and the Apple. (Hi Gina!)

  109. At least you have the amazing, wonderful, splendid news of the KSF total to offset the Tragedy of the Mac! And thank you for reminding so many of us that our computers are not impervious to strange maladies — I vow to go out and back up all my important stuff (knitting patterns, photos of knitting…oh, and school stuff) ASAP!

  110. I guess your next is a MacBook Pro. Maybe the retiring one was too. It seems to me it’s not been around for long. Extended warranty? Replacement by Apple? The suggestion about .Mac is a good one. Computer troubles are such a time-waster. I did my backups, I just don’t know anymore where I’ve saved them. Here a CD, there a Zip disk and over here a thumb drive. I’ve even got old ones on floppies.
    The MSF total is fabulous and thanks for acknowledging our donations.

  111. Yay Ken!
    Yay MSF total!
    Boo hard drive. Speaking solely as someone who has managed to wig out her fair share of Apples, I offer you my deepest sympathy.

  112. that was the first time I heard the word Brick refering to something technical and I’ve seen it happen before, but I’ve seen it happen less on a PC (it keeps me in business :-))
    Mazel Tov on the total for KWB

  113. So I take it the router’s still up and functioning? What a smart machine, knows how to be fully functional when there’s nothing for it to do!
    Hmm, I have a book project or two going as well. I’d better learn how to back this sucker up (iBook G4).

  114. So sorry about the computer i am on my 3rd logicboard, one of those wonderful updates killed mine, would not turn on, but it was able to be fixed and I didn’t lose anything. Hope that you have good luck too

  115. But….but….but…it’s NEW! Almost BRAND new! Life isn’t fair! The knitting fairy must just be on a really long coffee break. (Hey, knitting fairies have rough days too.) Any minute she’ll be back and fix the computer.

  116. Ok, this will sound like voo-doo, and I wouldn’t believe it if it hadn’t worked for us. If you can get the Hard Drive out of the laptop, stick the HD in the freezer, for about an hour. Then plug it back into the laptop and start her up. Have a back up device ready and start copying. We’ve had 2 HDs that we’ve been able to retrieve some data. Once it heats up again, it’ll probably shut down. Lather, rinse, repeat until you get the most important data off.

  117. Two words. Forensic Computer Technology!
    Ok, that was three, but I forgot the original two (no chocolate yet today!).
    Apples FRY, they don’t ‘BRICK’. Fried Apple sounds SO much nicer and evokes feelings of warmth and comfort while someone else does the work….
    Can Apple laptops come with backup hard drives that save the data periodically to protect it from Bricks From H***???
    Best thoughts and thank you Ken!

  118. I know this is a late comment, but you might want to consider, for next time, an external hard drive to back things up. I had a HD failure a while back, and at my first opportunity I got a Maxtor external HD, which backs up my entire hard drive on its own (or by a manual ‘one touch’ button push) every other night. My sanity/comfort level is worth the $100 or so I spent on the drive…..
    Not sure if there’s a Mac variation, but it’s worth looking into???? I hope they can get your data back…..

  119. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you. I *heart* Macs/Apples, and I hope that they can restore your hard drive.
    FYI — When I was in college, “brick” had a different slang meaning. If you looked at someone and said “Brick!”, that was shorthand for “Here’s a brick. Build a bridge and get over it.” A term that came in handy for the self-absorbed whining of (most) college students.

  120. as it relates to kwb, if i were you, i wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to see angelina jolie show up on my doorstep one morning just to give me a big ol’ hug. that is AWESOME. in every literal sense of the word: AWESOME.

  121. BOOO on the Brick!
    HURRAH for the total! It is fabulous.
    And thanks for the life perspective. Posessions are a blessing that often go uncounted.

  122. OMG! Kudos for your efforts on KWB! And I’m so sorry your Mac is sick. Hope it gets well soon and that the “Dr.” doesn’t charge you very much.

  123. Just having had to replace a laptop hard drive in the last year, it completely died, I completely sympathize. Luckily, my husband has an external drive set up for me which automatically backs up everything periodically so I didn’t lose much. I do hope yours is resurrected soon.

  124. Quelle bummer! I am so sorry you appear to be the owner of a rather pricey “brick”. Perhaps all is not lost. As noted numerous times above, backing up is everything. I was fortunate enough to have this tattoo’d into my brain by a near miss. Not being an Apple type, I don’t know if this is an option, but flash drives are awesomely quick and handy for those pesky backups. They are, indeed, fashion statements among the nerdy set, but in the way a child will be delighted to have a Scooby Doo bandaid – they know everything will be OK. And, of course, this would also present you with the opportunity to create some smashing new knitted flashdrive accessories – a case?, a wristband?, a lanyard? Endless options for the real you to be expressed while still safely backed up in, well, a flash. Hope this is a “near miss” experience for you as well.
    PS Never mind “Socks that Rock”. What about “Generous Knitters that Rock”?! Amazing total everyone, nice going! BTW, this might be a good time to consider anything you gave up that you didn’t really miss and consider contributing that money to this or another charity on a regular basis. If you’re so inclined…

  125. Holy crap! (On many levels!)
    Mac is great, I love my powerbook. I second the whole back up on idisk thing…though maybe you need a bigger hardrive in the first place? I think Mac should give you a free computer. Tell them that KWB bricked you in.

  126. it doesn’t help now… but for future bricked laptops, I have three words: “external hard drive”
    even though I hadn’t backed up in about a month, those three little words saved my life when my laptop with my phd work on it was stolen on my wedding day (yeah, some people are jerks).
    say it with me now: “external hard drive”
    back up everything on it. books in progress, email, even photos. (I always feel like photos are less important than my work and don’t NEED to be backed up, but I’m always really sad when I lose them… they are MEMORIES.)
    that said, I hope they can revive the drive, or at least get your data off somehow.
    major congrats on the KWB total! that’s amazing. way to motivate.

  127. I can totally sympathize with the demise of your hard drive. At Christmastime we lost ours, and along with that, three years of pictures of my three adorable kids. I am so sad. Now I have a separate zip drive for my precious pictures. From now on, I will always back up!
    Love your blog!

  128. From Wikipedia
    Brick is the slang term for an electronic device which cannot function (or has been rendered useless by a damaged firmware). This comes from the fact that the device in question can be considered useful as a brick, and little else.
    The firmware can be damaged by accidents during firmware update or by malicious software.

  129. Steph! I don’t have a Mac, but I’ve called my Friendly Local Geek and arranged for him to come over and teach me how to back up stuff. Of course, I don’t have a new book on either my laptop or the hub’s desktop, but still! I’d lose all those kitty pictures! And… my genuine e-mail from you. Regarding that total, applause to us all and HUGE kudos to you, oh starter-upper-of-that-thing. (And only you would mention throwing up in your mouth, which is THE ultimate…..we’ve all done it and know EXACTLY what that means!) Sending love, empathy, and fervent prayers for the Mac.

  130. So sorry about the laptop. The worst thing my computer has ever done was not inform me that I was about to delete a driver and thus, render it inoperable. ‘Twas fixed after I spoke to a lovely Indian gentleman from Dell for about two hours. Had to reformat the entire system and reinstall all software.
    Your loss is far greater than mine and I admire you for your fortitude.
    About the total, I had guessed that the grand total at the end of December was going to be $320,000. Sometimes, its okay to be wrong. =:)

  131. So sorry about your laptop – you are living my worst nightmare. I backed up the book-in-progress every day from the laptop to an external hard drive, so that even if I lost everything else, the manuscript would be safe. I thought I was being paranoid – you just taught me that I was not.
    I wish you every possible bit of good luck in retrieving your data.

  132. Hot holy heck, lady. You may need to divert some of the devotions away from the woolly shrine and give a little love to the Gods of Bits and Bytes, because I think they’re a tad peeved with you for some reason.
    Hooray for Ken! Good tech people are worth their weight in gold, aren’t they?

  133. I’ve just been skimming through all the comments with so many helpful suggestions and wondering how (or when) you will read them.

  134. Sweetpea:
    Even though we had a similar experience with our PC last week…and still don’t know if we will be able to recover Myfanwe’s painstakingly balanced checkbook…I feel it is my duty to recommend purchasing an external drive onto which you REGULARLY back up anything that is really important. Like a book.
    I suggest having a plate of tim tams and a mocha latte. When you come out of that sugar coma the geek squad should have worked their magic.
    Keep passing the open windows.

  135. Knitters or non, people can be just amazingly generous for a good cause. I find it very admirable of you to bring such a cause into such awareness. And I appreciate that your popularity has not made you jaded as I’ve seen among other ‘popular’ people (mostly artists whose egos grow to legendary proportions with all the stroking it receives).
    So here’s to you and I hope that perhaps a brick thrown at the laptop will…un-brick it.
    *mutter* of all the ridiculous computer tech terms…

  136. I’m going to have to agree that “brick” as a verb must be a regional thing. I’m fairly competent with computers, have a BS and MS (and hopefully someday a PhD) in computer science and robotics respectively, and I have never, ever heard “brick” used as a verb before.
    ‘Round here, things may become expensive paperweights, but they are not “bricked”.
    (Not that that makes any difference in the current state of your laptop, but at least it says something about your competence, right?)

  137. Because
    1) what you described is my greatest fear, and
    2) I don’t have an external backup drive or any of that fancy stuff
    at the end of each day I send myself an email on my gmail account, with the document (article/book/whatever) I’ve been working on attached. Because it’s web-based mail, the attachment is saved on the Gmail server.
    It helps me sleep. Maybe you’ll end up getting a external hard drive or something, but this is a good trick in a pinch.
    Good luck with your computer. That really sucks.

  138. OMG–it’s like you were there at my house a month ago…you know, right before I was submitting my manuscript, and the only other copy I had was a hard copy without copious edits and about twenty pages of added text… all I could do when it happened to me was lean my head against the fridge and mutter “Chicken Ranch Slough”–because it sounded happier than the “Slough of Frickin Despond!!!”. You’re in much better shape than I am, seriously… when those laptop thingies EZ bake, it’s like the devil pitchforked your cerebral cortex–excruciating, debilitating, and just a little taste of hell all around.

  139. Had similar experience myself. Consider sending hard drive to a company called Drivesavers – I think I remember them being in California? – managed to retrieve lots of data. While not an inexpensive solution, to recreate all would have cost more…www.drivesavers.com

  140. I hope that the computer guys can get your stuff off of the laptop. it’s so sad when you’re on the receiving end of a computer meltdown.

  141. oops! should have read all the comments – several others have already suggested drivesavers!

  142. WAAAHOOOO on the total ๐Ÿ™‚ Awesome job to all knitters all over the world!
    I am very sorry to hear about your laptop – but it also makes me chuckle – its happened to us. Hence we frankensteined a PC together to act as our backup box….er a server where everything is redundant. And its all done on the sly – gotta really appreciate wireless at times, you never know how effecient you can be when your not at your laptop. Precious husband of mine rigged it up since I am petrified of losing our photos – not a single one is printed on paper!3 kids 1 dog and lots of crafts….the enormity of it all, it would shock the local photo lab. So its quietly waiting for its public show and tell on the PC.
    Best of luck on that laptop. If not – put on a pair of steel toe boots and give it a field goal punt to the park!

  143. The hard drive is always, always, always the first part of the laptop or regular computer to go kaput. Really. And usually happens within the first year of ownership.
    You know, when it owns you.
    Invest in a backup external hard drive.
    Huh? Yeah. Ask Joe about it.
    Amazon sells them relatively inexpensive pricing, don’t go to a computer store/doctor for them.
    Just have your in-house computer guru(s) show you how to set it up. I bet one of the girls could show you.
    Oh, I forgot, I’m too much of a computer geek. Maybe I should stick to knitting ๐Ÿ˜‰ instead of showing off.

  144. Make sure you have backup on your Apple. You can get it for free from your .mac account. You can set it to back up anything you want daily, weekly, monthly (whatever you choose). I backup up my itunes, iphotos, and files (like your book) on a weekly basis to a couple of DVDs. At least if something happens to my computer, I will only lose a few days and not everything.

  145. Oh, my. My thoughts are with you. With regard to the goal, I sent you an email a while ago with a note about my $50 donation to the cause. It bounced back once and I resent, but I didn’t know if you ever got it since I didn’t receive a confirmation.

  146. Yay Ken! Steph, might I recommend an external USB hard drive that can act as a backup drive? They’re relatively inexpensive, and can save your life in situations like this! Hugs to ya.

  147. I have loved your blog for many moons, and unfortunately I don’t think this is the first time I’ve heard of your Mac cyber-slapping you. I know that it may be heresy, and I’m sure it’s not the first time I’ve committed it, but have you considered using a PC instead? (The audible gasp of hundreds of knitters!) I’ve had a PC for umpty ump years (as my mother says) and I’ve never had a system crash on me, except for once when I moronically removed essential extensions that my PC warned me not to remove. Just a (heretical) thought…

  148. In case no one has mentioned it yet, there is a chance that you can recover your information.
    Search for “hard drive recovery” on google and you’ll find lots of info on it.

  149. As verb: to brick something. This is the action of rendering any small-medium size electronic device useless. This can happen whilst changing the firmware, soldering or any other process involving either hardware of software.
    I bricked my mobile phone when I tried to install Linux on it.

  150. ……………..sweetestjeezelouise………….. sending my very best un-bricking energy your way, and Ken, dude. Thank you………………

  151. Ugh!
    I’ll also be happy to resend my pic for prizes. Just give us a shout when you’re ready for it.

  152. All is not necessarily lost! My husband’s Mac entered total-systems-failure brick mode (of the sort where the computer denies that such a thing as a computer ever existed). The apple doctor people still managed to retrieve all the data from the hard drive, using magic of some sort. (In what can only be described as a real-life cliche, this happened when the hard drive was the only repository of the first half of his PhD thesis. Yeah. There was some sweating.)
    It will be ok. But you are still entitled to freak out as much as is necessary.
    I’m going to go home and back up my stuff now.

  153. Smug tech types sometimes say there are two kinds of people in the world…those who make backups, and those who will.
    (I am somewhere in between…I do backup work stuff regularly, but personal stuff only gets that kind of attention once a year.) A few people have mentioned data retrieval services — such things are expensive, but possibly worth it depending on how much of that book was lost.
    The KWB total is truly delightful.

  154. All Hail Ken, emergency-back-up-poster-and-fixer-of-all-that-is-electronic extrodinaire. So sorry about your laptop. I will pray to the Tech Gods of Silicon Valley that they can un-brick the thing. Kinda makes you love things like needles and spindles even more, huh?
    Meanwhile, the MSF total made my day . . . looks like $100,000 over goal is entirely within reach (remember all those folks who were going to donate after New Year’s?) Awesome, Ms. Harlot, totally awesome. I wish that you and Ken ran the world–and don’t forget Joe, bringer-of-bricked-laptops-to-the-fix-it-geek-people. Couldn’t live without him. Hey, maybe you should knit that guy a gansey!

  155. So sorry about your computer. It’s hard to lose all your data like that especially the first part of a new manuscipt.
    But…so yeah about the total for MSF. Aren’t we amazing?!!! GO KNITTERS!!!!

  156. The term “brick” is really quite logical. Think of what bricks do to windows. Then think of how many times you have wanted to chuck that bricked computer right through one!

  157. Teyla is correct on the Mercury retrograde dates, and while I *am* one of those dreamy people who think the alignment of the “stars” has something to do with real life…this is, sadly, probably much more mundane. This writer’s guts twisted in sympathy for your pains.
    …but as a fellow Mac user, I disagree with the idea (however well-intentioned!) that you should abandon the fruity electronics. I think plenty of users on both “sides” can regale you with horrific crashes and data losses, and I chalk all of it up to the vagaries of technology. Maybe it’s just your particular Mac…
    I don’t think I’m helping. Would you feel any better if I told you it’s only 10 degrees F warmer in Houston, TX than it is where you are? No? *slump*
    Well, good luck with the recovery all the same. I hope you get better answers from someone more mechanically-inclined than me.

  158. Dude, you need a thumb drive to back up your data. Frequently. I had a laptop do what yours did, and lost a term paper that nearly blew my grade for the semester. Back. Ups. Are. Good.

  159. [Taking notes of all the suggestions] Ah yes, paper. There’s nothing like a paper printout. Even when thieves take all the diskettes and zip drives with the laptop, they usually ignore paper. A session with the OCR scanner and it’s all back on disk.

  160. even the cold balance-seeking universe wouldn’t be that cruel to you…so it must be the mercury in retrograde thing. So sorry about the brick; hope you’re up and blogging again soon, and basking in the knitterly love we are all sending your way!

  161. Hmmm. “Brick”. Is it what you sh*t when your laptop goes tits up? Man. I am sorry.
    Hopefully they can pull your data off your hard drive like my friend did when my drive went south over the summer. Much like Ken, he is a creature from another planet that has magical computer skills not possessed by mere mortals.
    All I know is that it took him 10 hours to pull everything off the drive. We then bought two new drives and put all the important documents on both so that if one failed again there would be a back-up.
    The MSF total astounds me. I donated on 12/31, so you still have an entire week (or more!) of totals to go through.

  162. Personally, I think the moon is in asparagus, with a citrus rising (citrus is FROZEN solid out here in California). So sorry for the McBrick thing…I pray Ken sets up a fabulous back-up for all your future thoughts and work. Along with the others, thank you for your leadership on MSF. My muggles was astounded at the total!!
    Knit On.

  163. Oh god, Stephanie, you poor thing! No, no, don’t go lie in the road; we don’t want *you* to get bricked. Screech. Lots of Screech. And chocolate. Sending lots of good luck vibes for data recovery. And god bless Ken for getting a post up.
    KWB total gave *me* total. Damned. Wopjaw. *Look* what you inspired us to do!! You rock, we all rock, and I can hardly believe it, but the evidence is there. We may feel like doing a communal faint when the ‘final’ total comes through! For this time around. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  164. Oh my, bricked and dead computers are worse than loosing one’s stash–or maybe not that bad. Everyone’s advice on external hard drives and internet available back ups is sending knitters all over the world to the nearest computer geek. Thanks for giving us heads up on computers, as well as knitting, problems. You are a treasure–even if this problem may be costly to you.
    Way to go knitters on KWB
    Way to go Ken on being the computer savior

  165. Crap- that’s two down….. OK- I’m 130 pgs into a book/proposal…..and have a chapter outline for my second—- all on my hard drive—- I’m so going to back up—- RIGHT this MINUTE!
    best of luck- retrieving info in limbo-
    and let’s make a few extra donations- to quell the pain;)

  166. Oh no! I am so sorry! I hope restoration is possible. My hard drive crashed once… I then learned a new mantra… backup backup backup. I lost everything. Photos, documents, everything.
    I got a new external hard drive to backup to. I can’t say that without picturing a pickup backing up into something, say, a loading dock?
    Excuse me while I go backup.

  167. Dude. That sucks! And now I’m a little scared, because I can’t remember the last time I backed up my desktop Mac. Now that I think about it, maybe a .Mac account is worth the annual fee, considering that fee is less than the cost of an external hard drive, or worse, a hosed hard drive.
    Not everyone backs up, btw, even those who know better. I have a techie friend who used to wear a t-shirt that said “Backups Are for P*ssies”.

  168. Sweetie – perhaps it’s time for the computer gurus to design a system where your machine does incremental backups to another dedicated machine in the house? Do daily partials, and then once a month a full backup of everything. You (or Joe) then just has to burn a DVD once a month, then you’d stop losing *everything* each time your laptop goes ti^H^H toes up.
    You would have to investigate in getting a server for your house with a DVD burner on it, but frankly, that’s just another computer tower – doesn’t really even need it’s own dedicated monitor, mouse & keyboard. I promise it’s not at all scary, difficult, or expensive. (This is what we do after my hubby was too lazy to install the new huge 400Gig hard drive in our server, and lost a years worth of photos.)

  169. OMG, I am still breathing heavy from the shock. You do seem to have a bad time with computers and such. Good luck!
    P.S. Thanks Ken for your help.

  170. Oh, Steph. Man.
    Just one word: backup. Backup. BackUp.
    (Okay, so that was three words, but they’re all the same, right? ;o)
    I believe that Apple has some really kickin’ backup software included with their OS, so once you’re back in business, have Ken set it up for you, and you’ll never have to fear bricking anything again . . .
    My condolences . . .

  171. Dear Ken and Joe
    It won’t make a big difference in my life other than in empathy-factors, but have you considered that it might make a big difference in yours if you acquired and set-up an automated back-up system for the Stephanie-Joe-girls household? With an offsite copy hanging around Ken’s and getting renewed every one or two weeks? Just sayin’.
    Good luck! Kabira

  172. That total was enough to bring me out of lurkdom. Wow. Unbelievable. I can’t imagine how long it takes you to sift through all the emails and enter the totals, because I’m sure you have a few other things to do. I just wanted to say thank you for rallying the troops and all of your hard work.
    Way sorry about the laptop. I’d have a bad case of hives.

  173. Wow! Wow! I am so happy to be part of that total!!
    Also, I live in great fear of being bricked (although I had never heard that term before today). All the patterns, photos, yikes!
    I am keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  174. Stephanie, I am so sorry. I have had this happen to me TWICE on two different barely-a-year-old Apple laptops. One an iBook and one a PowerBook. Two hard drives that went *sizzle* and turned my computers into bricks, once in the middle of a term paper. I’m still an Apple fan, but am convinced that the Toshiba hard drives they put in their laptops are complete and utter pieces of…you know. Bricks waiting to happen. Get a nice new hard drive in that computer and get in the habit of backing up regularly, and keeping all important documents-in-progress to a thumb drive, and you should be okay. I hope you get some of the data back…I never did, but it might not be too later. Oh, and it wasn’t your fault, don’t feel bad!

  175. Apparently, you won’t be reading these comments for awhile.
    My husband is currently installing a new hard drive in a coworker’s computer. Their old hard drive is dead. He got the computer to recognize it but it doesn’t see any data. Now, I read your story. Ugh, how awful. I’m so sorry. Excuse me while I go back up everything I can on my computer.
    Good luck. I hope the computer doctor can recover your data, at least.

  176. I have been working in the software industry for 10 years, and needed help understanding the term “brick”. Possibly it’s a regional idiom? Sorry about your laptop. For megabucks, someone could probably do some reading off of your now dead hard drive – they have specialists that do just that, when the data is important enough to garner the cost. And it probably wasn’t a keystroke; it was more likely heat or dust or knocking around (in its history) and one last straw, like a dust speck or a bit more heat or something that did it. So maybe it wasn’t your fault.

  177. Oh Lordy. Please tell us you backed up stuff or I will lie awake sweating and fretting on your behalf…
    Yes, the total is something to make a person’s day warmer. (It’s finally winter-like here today!)
    Reassuring hugs,

  178. good luck.
    let me tell you, i’m scared for all of us. i mean, i know that i got a new laptop right around the time that you got a new laptop… and i bought the “free” ipod to go with it (upgraded of course) because it was going to be used as a back up for all of my work.

    and have i figured out how to do this? nope.
    good luck. i hope that it all works out.
    *crosses fingers*

  179. If the diagnostic disk says there is no hard drive, then it isn’t because of anything you did. Most likely, the drive just died young; it happens sometimes. When you get it fixed, I’m sure you’ll remember my mantra: Back up early, back up often. Good luck!

  180. Brick is a variation on the old term “door-stop” – as in, it is so dead or old or outmoded that it is only useful as a door-stop.
    And yes, there is a method of getting your Mac to boot the drive as a slave to another computer, but it involves recognizing the drive, which seems to be your problem. I’m guessing you fried the controller. (Deep breathing people!!!!) Those new drives suck eggs – well, not reallly, but they seem to particularly be sensitive to overwork and heal. Thou shalt not trust a drive that has not been backed up. Which is why I have not only CD back ups but a funky looking Zip drive for truly critical files. If the house is burning down, I’m going to get the cat, the dog, the shawl on the needles and the zip disks before jumping out the door.
    I want to talk to Ken….Ken, you are a dear. However, you must do the following for your friend Stephanie – please get an external device – a friendly one – possibly even a nice eensy little USB thumb drive so as not to scare Stephanie. Use the Automator to write her a little script for her that when she wants to shut down at night or at regularly scheduled intervals to stuffsher little documents folder (or where ever else her current folder is) and into the drive. Therefore backing it up without scaring her by calling it a back up. Because we all know that if it WAS backed up it wouldn’t have dared to die. Got it? Back to work, son.
    Clapping and applause for the Border $$. And I still say you should put yourself in for a Webby – you’ve still got a couple of days to do it.

  181. I just learned about mozy.com. You download their little program, set a schedule and choose some files, and it backs up for you.
    Automatic. Free. 2GB.
    Knitters Without Borders? That’s a whole ‘nother comment for a happier day.

  182. New Book? How about a measuring tape printing on the inside cover. For those of us who can never find our tapes. Easy to check guage, easy to check the length of that mitten, etc.

  183. hmmm…first I need to get over brick as a verb. OK. I’m there. Now I want to tell you – good! You have a good mind and a good heart and you know what is important. I hope your computer unbricks and nothing is lost and I’m so glad that you don’t need to depend on that or any other material thing to know who you are! I like ya!
    yep. bye, now. I just backed up my hard-drive a couple of days ago. And a good thing too as I have one and a half novels going on it.
    oy yoi yoi – would I have your equanimity. One can only hope.

  184. Oh noooooooo!!! That isn’t supposed to happen to Macs! Ugh! OK, going to go frantically back up all my dissertation files now.

  185. Ouch. Didn’t you just brick another laptop a few months ago? Owieowieowie.
    Brick. I wish I’d known that term when *I* bricked *mine* a couple weeks after you lost yours…I also settled for the ‘doorstop’ term. And since I replaced mine with a MacBook also, I’m going to keep a close eye on it now.

  186. Everyone’s already offered the useful advice, so I simply offer solace:
    You didn’t cause your computer to “brick up.”
    It did it all on its own.

  187. Argh! Brick? Nice thing about it is that it’s Apple. Anytime anything goes upsy-daisy with my computer I know that for $300 bucks they’ll fix everything… everything – flat fee. I love my Mac. I hope you back up often… Oh please say you have the mother of LaCie’s MondoMegaAtrociouslyHumongous Gig external like moi?

  188. I am not sure I understand what “bricked” means, but if it means “f*cked up” then I get it. And don’t blame Apple. Blame the Others (Hello, Microsoft) who make software for Apple that implant seizure chips in your computer to make it “brick” on its own.

  189. Oh, god. I’m going to back up my laptop today. I know these things happen in threes, right? I’ve had this happen to me before with the hard drive, and the only thing that saved me was that I worked at a computer manufacturer and there are plenty of nice tech support guys that helped me recover the data. Good luck!

  190. That bites. Maybe they can rescue some info off of the hard drive even if it is “bricked”? My hubby managed it for a friend’s hard-drive that went “ceramic” on him. I hope you backed up. and if you didn’t….ummmm..lesson learned, I hope?

  191. Congratulations on the fundraising! Fantastic!
    And about your poor laptop, I’ve had Macs since 1984 and none of them has ever bricked itself. It is most certainly not something you did. And you are undoubtedly not in the mood for a backup reminder, but, the buddha taught that one of the three marks, or characteristics, of existence is impermanence.

  192. Oh Steph. {{{HUGS}}} I am so sorry. Just hearing about it makes ME need to throw up. I will be your stunt-vomiter today, okay?
    Do get a flashdrive and back up occasionally, sweetie. Ask the Big Man of Canada for one for Valentine’s Day. Having a backup and not freaking out is very, very romantic.
    BRICK as a verb: when I was a waitress at a local diner while in college, “bricking” the grill was a very unpopular but necessary activity which essentially involved burning the day’s grease off an overheated grill while scrubbing it with a brick to get all the burnt stuff off. Hot, sweaty, stinky work.

  193. We are storing a lot of useless information just because a computer makes it easy. You will probably never miss 90% of what you lost. The ten percent you do miss will be a killer.
    Here’s another one row scarf pattern.
    Double Thick Scarf
    Multiple of 6+4
    Slip all stitches with yarn in front.
    *Sl1,K1,Sl1,K3*repeat to last 4 stitches,S1,K1,Sl1,K1.
    Repeat this row for desired length.

  194. We are storing a lot of useless information just because a computer makes it easy. You will probably never miss 90% of what you lost. The ten percent you do miss will be a killer.
    Here’s another one row scarf pattern.
    Double Thick Scarf
    Multiple of 6+4
    Slip all stitches with yarn in front.
    *Sl1,K1,Sl1,K3*repeat to last 4 stitches,S1,K1,Sl1,K1.
    Repeat this row for desired length.

  195. Dear, dear, dear. . . .
    Same story here. One more miligram of dust that the Apple couldn’t take, and I had fried apple for dinner. Couldn’t read a blessed thing.
    As a result, I now have I-disk, a back-up that gets stored with Apple and happens automatically. As in, I don’t need to think about it.
    I also have an external hard drive, and one of these days, I might actually hook it up!
    *passing Stephanie the wine*

  196. Ohhhhhh, no – the loss of the new book must be a very cruel blow & your daughter’s picture – that’s worse (could there possibly be a copy somewhere else?). Maybe you can recover the data from your hard drive. I know nothing about computers but my SO is a computer professional & I’ve heard him refer to doing that. But the news about Knitters Without Borders is terrific!!! Yay fiber folk. And thanks to Ken for so kindly posting for you.

  197. Ack! It’s a plague! My poor iMac went “paws up” last week. Turned out to be a fried logic board. Good news, Apple said: it’s under warranty and the repair is free. Was told that the hard drive is fine. Flash forward 2 days: repair done, boot up, all data and programs (other and OS) on hard drive -> GONE!I just kept staring at the screen in disbelief.
    While I do have all my data backed up to an external drive, I *don’t* have my applications backed up. Now I have to try to figure out where the install disks are, where their passwords are, which programs did I download from the web and never back up, etc. I am NOT a happy camper!
    Now I am in search of a megahumongous external drive and back up software that will copy my *entire* hard drive so I don’t ever have to do this again.
    And I’ve been a Mac user since the Mac Plus. Ya’ think I’d know better! *sigh*
    Big sympathetic hugs, my dear.
    Barbara L in MA

  198. WOW! That is amazing. That is only until Dec 24th?!? Unbelievable! Sorry to hear about your computer problem. I don’t know how things like that happen. Computers are strange, strange things.

  199. I’m so sorry about your computer! I did something similar to my computer a few months back and i thought it was the end of the world. take a few deep breaths and we can all get through this together.
    i suggest knitting your stress away.
    some lovely soft socks seem to be the answer to all my stresses… well, atleast it can’t hurt!
    and a big t00w00t for the KWB! i cannot believe how high the total is! that is absolutely unbelieveable!!!!

  200. OK, if its not mercury it’s some other major planetary tech/communications nastiness today. Weirdly, I had a warning not to brick my router , never heard that phrase before, and there you are with the same. Who says knitters aren’t on the bleeding edge.

  201. I think the hard drive crashed for some other reason. There’s no keyboard combo or mouse action that could possibly have bricked your hard drive. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!!!
    (I have never heard the term ‘bricked’ either, and I work at a computer consulting company)

  202. “Brick your router” makes sense to me when I imagine the IT guy with a Scottish brogue and that he’s actually saying “break your router.” ?
    Just an English major’s desperate attempt to make sense of computer lingo…

  203. Aw. Sorry about the laptop, but congratulations on being the impetus for so much giving!
    Can a person be bricked? I can’t knit for the next few months, and the resulting mismanagement of stress (duh, who didn’t see that coming?) has caused a bad bout of shingles (not far from brick, right?) on my face, which the eye doctor tells me necessitates frequent resting of the eyes, and avoiding eye strain in general, so reading late into the night instead of knitting is right out. I’m feeling well on my way to brickitude this evening. Whoa. Who bricked me?

  204. I’m sure Ken would be just as befuddled at the use of “frog” as a verb, if he didn’t know you.

  205. Oh gad, over 200 messages, you will probably never get this far! Maybe someone has covered this above (I haven’t read them all yet) my mind is boggling at the donation amount! I made mine after the New Year; if you have lost your e-mails, you’ll let us know so we can re-send you the amount we donated? I’m so sorry about your laptop – I don’t know what I would do, and you seem to have to deal with this stuff alot. You must be getting good at handling the stress? Or not? I hope you have some nice easy knitting to calm you!

  206. Mercury in retrograde? Sounds to me like Mercury is in CLEVELAND.
    Crossing all available extremities for the salvage of your drive and recovery of your data. Hobbling upstairs immediately (can’t run very well, with all those extremities crossed) to back up mine.
    For what it’s worth (quick quick knocking wood and spitting through fingers so as not to jinx it), my experience with comptuters – and it’s plentiful – is that these things CAN be saved, more often than not.
    As for “brick,” I prefer a more old-fashioned interpretation. As in, “Ken is a brick for putting up your blog post and solving your computer and server problems.” Or “You are a brick to raise so much money for MSF.” (And “we are all bricks for doing our share.”) Dude – by the time you’re done tallying I bet you’ll have more than doubled the amount of the original goal.
    Perspective. Awe-inspiring.

  207. for some reason, I’m amused that I guy named Adam works for Apple. Adam’s apple. yeah, I need to get out more. (I’ve been amused at a lot today. it’s not taking much.)
    wow, that total. amazing.
    hope the laptop is rescue-able.

  208. oh dear… sending lots of hugs. not much helps in these cases – i was there in june – lost three months of stuff –
    one word you know by now – backup. (cant say it enough) at least your email.
    can you add an external hard drive and save things there? that’s what i do – of course it was a scary day when … well, won’t go into that one today.
    knit and breathe. computers have been known to be resurrected.

  209. I feel your pain. Last summer my hard drive gave up the ghost and had to be replaced. I was fortunate that I only lost some photos-that was sad enough. When I went back to pick up the laptop they gave me the dead drive. I said I would set it on fire. The guy suggested that instead I hang it up on the wall as a reminder to BACK UP. I have gotten much better at it. May they be able to recover your data.

  210. I’m so sorry that your laptop thinks it’s a toaster. That stinks. I’m sending feel better vibes to you and your laptop.

  211. You know, I think I’ll just do a full backup of all documents and pictures tonight. The music…that can always be put back in!

  212. Are you sure your laptop is not baroque Ken? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Although your laptop is probably fried, maybe they can rescue something from it. I hope you have back ups of your stuff – you do have back ups, don’t you?

  213. Ummmm… I’m back to check on you– (I AM the perpetual mother- I suppose) Since you’ve not updated—-I can only take that as a bad apple sign…..praying the worm can be extricated from your apple… ts in mi

  214. Ouch! (That reminds me, I really need to do a backup on my computer . . . like, right now, huh?)
    But that total? Wowzer! That is some serious change!

  215. I “bricked” my supposedly uncrashable Apple as well. It lost its hard drive a few months ago. No terminal illness or anything, just that blinking question mark, a blue screen, and instant death.
    How do they lose their hard drives? I’ve never lost my brain, even if I had tried…
    I’m sorry.

  216. so to ignore the obvious and focus on the postitive… i have not done yoga outside my own house in years. but that bag is so unbelievably cute that i want to knit one anyway. and i am a dog person (he’s 107 pounds and named bear), but i almost want a cat because that bag makes him (or her?) look that good…

  217. Ken is a saint. Maybe he can intercede with the laptop gods for you, because man, you are having the worst luck with those things. And may I just say about the Knitters total — wow. My co-workers join with me on that one too . . .

  218. Keep in mind, at least with WinTel machines, if the problem is the boot sector the data could still be there. I did that to my Dell a while back and even though the machine wouldn’t acknowledge the hard drive not even to reinstall the OS, I was able to get an external bay for the drive (about $16US at the time) and plug it in to the USB port at which time I found every file perfectly intact. I backed up what I needed and I use it as a transfer drive now.

  219. Okay. How is it that whenever you have computer problems, my boyfriend’s computer seems to experience the same thing? I think you are sending bad computer vibes my way…Best of luck on getting it fixed.

  220. You know, it’s funny- I’m staying at my inlaws and I keep looking at their favorites to find my bloglist.
    Guess what? It’s not there.
    Good luck with the ‘puter.

  221. Oh I hear you! This machine has just made me sit for ten hours reloading Windows from the bottom up. I have my doubts about the whole thing, and expect it to croak any minute. But at least, at the moment, it’s not a $1000 paperweight. For now. I hate computer troubles, and I hate it for being one of life’s essentials. We did exist before 1990, didn’t we, we can do it again! On the other hand, when it was down, I did get an extraordinary amount of knitting done.

  222. Don’t give up on the data recovery. If those people can’t do it, then find someone who can…it can be done.

  223. Glad to see someone else posted about their hard drive dying! My iMac bit the dust last year. I lost everything! All my client files, emails, all my doula business info. But now, I have a trusty new iMac (gorgeous) and have been backing up everything to a tiny reader each month. So cool!
    I’ve also come up with a new word to describe birthing in our own way, creatively…iBirth.

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