The past week has been pretty painful as I have been without my trusty macbook. Unfortunately it died in what I can only call freak accident.
Last week whilst I was flying to visit a clients site the plane hit some turbulence. Now when I say some turbulence, you could probably translate that as the worst turbulence I have ever experienced. Not wanting to sound too blasé about such things; I fly quite a lot and being originally based in London I've experienced quite a bit of extreme weather whilst flying. Anyhow, before departing i did what I always do; put my mac into sleep mode, loaded it up in my trusty pull along samsonite laptop case and headed off to the airport. After going through check-in, stopping off for the obligatory coffee at the qantas lounge and boarding the plane I settled in to reading my book. (This week it is 'Existence' by David Brin).
Takeoff was pretty bumpy and the ride did not improve as we rose above cloud level, then about 15 minutes into the flight we hit some turbulence. I can only liken the turbulence to what it must feel like to be trapped inside an industrial washing machine, stuck inside of a cement mixer that is bouncing on the worlds biggest bungee. In fact, I'm not really sure if that is an adequate analogy, but I'm sure you get the gist.
Whilst such a ride is no issue for a skateboarding petrol head (I did at one point think of throwing my hands in the air and giving a 'whoop' or two), I've got to admit that the sound of the engines straining and the wings creaking was making the engineer side of my brain ask questions.
Eventually, after what seemed like half an hour or so the turbulence subsided and we landed safely. Unfortunately when I went to get my laptop bag from the overhead locker I found that it was open and that most of the contents had spilled out. I thought little of it until I got into work and discovered that my macbook would not boot back up.
Fortunately I use an online cloud storage solution to sync work between my macbook, iPad, the mac at my office and the mac at home so I had a relatively recent backup of my work which was just as well as no matter what I did I could not get the macbook to boot up. Eventually I did manage to get the system to boot and recovered the additional data but both the hard drive and hard drive controller are now cactus.
I would guess that putting the macbook into sleep mode rather than shutting it down completely may have been a contributing factor, and it is also possible that the hard drive may not have survived regardless, but it still remained a complete PITA that needed resolution.
After some consideration I decided that it was a good excuse to buy a new laptop. The macbook was a mid 2009 model and nearing the end of its useful life, it was already on it's second keyboard and third hard drive. As I travel a lot and have the use of a 27" iMac at work I decided to go small and have ordered an 11" macbook air with i7 2Ghz / 8Gig RAM and 512Gig SSD. Now I just have to wait for it to arrive, it's the longest 5-8 days of my life.
So I guess the moral of this story is remember to completely shut down your laptop before you fly.