I'm Back In The Saddle Again, Almost

First off, I want to say how incredibly appreciative I am of all the kindness and support that the Gnomie community has shown me. The loss of my father has been a sobering experience, but it’s been made just a little bit easier with all of your help. Of course, my “rock” has been my wife, Monica. I’m so fortunate to have her to lean on during all of this. I really shudder to think of what it might have been like dealing with this without her. My father’s memorial service was held on Saturday, April 8, in a small suburb just outside of Chicago. The weather was perfect and everything came together nicely. Having the bagpiper was a really nice touch, and well worth the small investment. We had a nice turnout, roughly 50-60 folks, many of whom I haven’t seen in years.

I still have a tremendous amount of work related to my dad’s finances and estate. My mother has been in a nursing home for the past year, so that adds a twist on things for sure. I’m leveraging technology as much as I can when it comes to staying organized. I’ve plugged my dad’s bank accounts into Quicken; I’ve got numerous Excel spreadsheets that are tracking the various tasks related my dad’s Trust and Estate. But the real work is centered on the house – which we are gradually clearing out with the goal being putting it up on the market. Being on a corner lot across from a school, it should be a pretty desirable piece of property. It’s always possible a developer may want it for a “tear-down,” as there is a lot of that activity in that particular town. Since it’s not my childhood home, I’m somewhat indifferent about what happens to the house, although I’m not a big fan of the tear-down phenomenon.

Life, as they say, goes on. My latest technology pet project has been the rebuilding of a dear friend’s iBook G4. It allegedly had a hard drive issue, so they brought it in to the nearest Apple Store’s Genius Bar. They informed him the drive was shot and of course, the laptop was out of warranty. They wanted an absolute fortune to replace the drive, so I intervened. My friend purchased an inexpensive Seagate 2.5″ 60GB laptop hard drive, and I offered to remove the old drive, install the new drive, and reload the OS and apps.

Have any of you tried replacing the hard drive in an iBook? Holy Guacamole is it a pain-in-the keester. I’m no stranger to Mac hardware, although I’m much more used to PC laptops. Apple really, really buried the hard drive deep inside the unit. For an idea of what it takes to get at it, click here. I managed to get the old drive out and the new drive in, but than ran into a glitch re-installing the Mac OS. I kept getting errors during near the end of the OS installation, which was really frustrating. It happened on both my OS X 10.3 Panther CDs, as well as a OS X 10.4 Tiger DVD. The likelihood of two different sets of install media being corrupt was slim. The new hard drive passed all the drive tests I could throw at it, so I didn’t think that was it. That leaves the CD-RW/DVD combo drive, which appeared to be OK other than the OS installation problems.

So I plugged in an external FireWire DVD-RW drive I had sitting around, and ran the OS installation from it. Voila! It worked. Afterwards, I installed some other software using the iBook’s internal combo drive, and had no problems. Very strange. But the iBook is now back up and running. The only dangling participle left was what happened to my friend’s original data (no, they hadn’t done any recent backups). I popped the original HDD into an external USB 2.5″ drive caddy and plugged into the iBook’s USB port. The drive was recognized immediately, but there was no original data left on it… just what looked to be some system software from an aborted OS X install.

When they brought it into the Genius Bar, the Genius was reported to have recovered their data to an external USB hard drive. Naturally, Apple wanted them to purchase the hard drive to get this recovered data back. My question is this… what happened to the data on the original internal HDD? It looks like it got erased somehow. And if the Genius Bar dude truly has their data stashed on another hard drive, how dare they hold it hostage? We’re going to make a case that they should burn the data to CD or something, then give that to us. I certainly don’t want to approach this antagonistically, but the whole thing seems fishy to me.

Stay tuned for updates on the iBook saga.

[tags]apple,firewire,macintosh,ibook,data recovery,genius bar[/tags]