April 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm 7 comments

About three weeks ago, I was sitting on an airplane with my work laptop. Never used the computer on a plane before; have always been more of a book person when flying. But, it was going to be a long flight, and I wanted some variety. So, I turned on the work-Mac, slipped in my ear phones, and sat back to enjoy some music.

But then the music stopped, and the screen went blank as the computer turned itself off. I turned it back on and got one of those international no symbols, with the circle and the slash?

Now, those of you who know me know I am a bit technology-challenged. You likely will not be surprised by the following confession.

I thought this meant I could not use the computer on the airplane. Not as in “you don’t have permission” but as in “we’re too far from earth or some setting is searching for something and can’t find it up here in the clouds.”

Those of you who are not technology-challenged know exactly what horror that symbol announced. But, for the sake of those like me, I’ll explain. The circle stands for “O crap!” and the slash is representative of the sound “pfft.”

My hard drive was gone.

I lost a lot of stuff. Including:

  • About a thousand or so family photos, slides, and movies that I spent about 6 months gathering and digitizing last year. Had been meaning to get those onto a DVD . . . and the road to hell is now paved with my baby pictures.
  • Every setting, add-on, preference, bookmarked web page, etc.
  • A few work files. (Computer gods be praised, I had done a backup not too long ago.)
  • All of my itunes, about 180 purchases and about 10 hours of uploaded (or is it downloaded?) CDs.

I thought my tunes would still be accessible because I had itunes (with the same login) on my home pc.

O crap!

I thought, well, they’ll be on my work backup server.

And pfft!

I figured, well, these were purchased electronically, and the company will replace them. Uh . . . not according to their Help page.

The Official Policy is, basically, “Tough beans you should have done a backup you moron.”

To my credit, I have done itunes backups previously, when leaving a job or changing computers. But . . . it’s been a while.

Well, after trying the click-here-ho-ho-try-this-ha!-how-bout-here?-omg-snicker-she’s-still-trying!-heh-heh snipe hunt for over an hour, I figured that was it. But decided it couldn’t hurt to send a note to someone.

I snagged the next Contact-Us email address I found (which was completely unrelated to my question) and sent a plea. I got one of those immediate emails that say things like “We got your question! And we’ll get back to you,” which younger, less cynical types might feel pleased or even hopeful about.

But I am in my mid(ahem)-forties. It’s been quite a long time since Hope swung it’s little hobo stick over a shoulder, flipped me off, and strolled out the door.


Get this.

I heard back from Apple the very next day. Got a very friendly, very helpful note from a customer service rep (who seemed to be a real person) that demonstrated empathy for the problem, provided easy-to-understand instructions, and granted me a one-time deal of replacing all of the music purchases I had lost. FOR FREE. Couple of clicks and it was all downloading.

I am still a bit astounded.

In this day and age when overworked-ness or over-lawyered-ness or budget cuts or just plain bad manners have amped up the Useless Jagoff Meter in nearly every aspect of so-called service, there is a company—that already has my money—that helped me? Even though their Policy says otherwise? And they did it for free, without secretly adding an automatic deduction from my checking account somewhere deep in the fine print? And they were nice about it?

This my friends is what I call the international symbol for yes:

Entry filed under: Life Preservers. Tags: , , , , , .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. WritingbyEar  |  April 15, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Awesome and Awful at the same time! I just read an article in Family Circle (of all places) about the importance of backing up your hard drive and the various options for doing it. After hearing your story, I’m thinking the gods may be trying to tell me something. (For the record, I use Carbonite online backup service, but haven’t ever tested it, which the article said is critical to make sure it’s working.) Anyway, at least part of this story had a happy ending. (And “I’m so sorry for your loss” — words that work on many sad occasions.)


  • 2. WritingbyEar  |  April 15, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Oh, forgot to mention. My friend lost her PowerBook hard drive a couple years ago and was able to send the whole thing away and get her files recovered. Something to consider…


  • 3. boatdrinkbaby  |  April 15, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Yes, the send it away option was mentioned (and I have the old drive) (and may do it at some point). But what was also mentioned was the cost ($800-1,000) just to see IF anything could be salvaged. And, after talking to a couple of IT experts, it appears unlikely that I’d get much back. They can tell, apparently, by the sounds it makes. Silent is okay but scratching or scraping noises (which mine did) are very bad noises that mean the needle on the drive is going bonkers (picture a spastic four-year-old with a sharp knife drawing on an LP).


  • 4. WritingbyEar  |  April 15, 2010 at 2:05 am

    I’m cringing for you and your hard drive. Ouch!


  • 5. ruth  |  April 16, 2010 at 12:17 am

    so, you haven’t clarified…has Hope come back into your life? ;-)


  • 6. boatdrinkbaby  |  April 16, 2010 at 12:46 am

    haha, No Ruth. But, I enjoy the occasional visit from Pleasant Surprise.


  • 7. mel  |  April 18, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I am a fan of Mac. Your story has sealed my fandom. And I love, love, love the mental picture of Pleasant Surprise slipping quietly into your world for a moment. Hope is far down the pike, and yet? It sent back a little messenger in a slightly different form. Sorry for the headache, and thank you for the reminder to back up.



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