Oy Oy Oy

Today I had every intention of taking my morning walk (in the sun!) and coming back to spend the afternoon writing. Instead it's been a day consumed with computer problems, and nothing eats time like sick computers and their sidekicks the Peripherals.

It started a few weeks ago when our backup drive, a wireless Apple Time Capsule, quit backing up. (The Time Capsule is named Atlas. All our computers and drives have for years been named after ancient gods and goddesses. Ray's current iMac is Phoebe 3 and mine is Phoebe 4. We've previously owned Zeus, Isis, and Athene.)

Atlas is also a wireless router and our wireless access continued to work fine. Over the weeks we tried resetting it, which didn't work, and then forgot about it. A few days ago we dug out an old Apple Express (called Columbia) to use as our wireless router and turned off Atlas, thinking maybe he just needed a rest.

But this morning, getting panicky about leaving next week and not having a current backup—or maybe NO backup—Ray decided he was going to take Atlas to the Apple store in Salem to see what they could do. And since I'm the one who knows most about our wireless setup, I felt compelled to go along. Also, Ray promised me lunch.

We got to the store about noon and spent over an hour with the technician, who discovered that for some unknown reason our backup drive had archived itself and instead of files it contained a disk image of our backup. None of us had any idea how this occurred, but whatever; the action had brought all backing up to a halt. After he reset the drive and got it running we brought it home with instructions on how to access the disk image, copy it onto Phoebe 3, erase the drive, create a new backup, and then link Atlas to Columbia. I'm already disgusted and it's going on 3 p.m.

We hook up Atlas to Phoebe 3, work through the Airport utility and discover we can't access the hidden disk image. So we hook up a second disk drive and start backing up onto it in order to have a safety backup before we erase Atlas's drive so it can again become our primary backup. In the meantime Atlas is asking for a USB connection to the computer and we don't have a USB to USB wire, so Ray drives to Bi-Mart and comes home with a complete set of various wire endings, none of which work. Apparently there is no such thing as a straight USB-USB wire. We give up on that option and decide to just erase the hard drive and start over. And believe me, this is only a rough outline.

Why are we consumed with backups? For one thing Ray has about 12,000 photos. Babysitting these things is turning into a very expensive and time-consuming duty that validates my oft-stated belief that owning things is a burden. But there you are.

It's now 5:10, it's getting dark, and the President will soon speak so my "productive" day is shot. It we get through all this by the end of tomorrow I'll be surprised. And these are the machines that are supposed to simplify our lives? Please. Take them A W A Y. I was perfectly content with my IBM Selectric. And I never needed a backup.