Mac data recovery

Interesting day yesterday. I talked with my agent about where I’ll be writing next. There’s a UK magazine editor who is expressing interest in my work. We’ll see where that goes. My college degree is in journalism, and my field of emphasis was in magazine editing and publishing, so writing for computer magazines doesn’t seem foreign to me at all. I actually have been published before in computer magazines, but the last time was in 1997, and the time before that was in 1991. And I think the UK attitude towards technology is a bit more sensible than the US attitude–the UK seems more interested in making the most of what they have, as opposed to the US philosophy of replacing right away. (My English, Scottish and Irish ancestry must be showing through right about now.) So I like the idea of writing for magazines in the UK.
Due to my weak wrists, magazine writing is probably better suited for me at this point anyway.

Just don’t expect me to move to Manchester, England right away. (Of course I’d choose Manchester. That’s where the good music comes from. Joy Division, New Order, Joy Division, The Smiths, Joy Division, Crispy Ambulance, Joy Division…)

More emergency Mac procedures. It should be noted that what I stated about dual G4s not booting off the current utilities CDs also applies to other new models, such as the iMac DV and the G4 Cube (assuming you’re one of the 12 people who bought one).

Unfortunately, my tip for yesterday won’t help you if the machine is already in service and you can’t take it down for a reformat and reinstall. What to do then? Go ahead and copy (once again, DO NOT INSTALL) the contents of your utilities CDs to the hard drive. When you need to run them, boot off your MacOS 9 installation CD. Assuming your drive isn’t damaged to the point of being unreadable by the OS, you can then launch and run the full battery of utilities programs to get the machine back up and running.

If your filesystem is damaged to the point of being unreadable, your best resort is to take out the hard drive, put it in a Mac that is working, and run DiskWarrior, then if that doesn’t bring it back from the dead, run Tech Tool Pro’s volume recover. (Unfortunately, I’ve had to do this before–good thing for me that I’m not uncomfortable ripping into the innards of a computer and transplanting pieces into another.) Of course, this trick works better for G4 towers than it does for iMacs.

If it happens to a PowerBook, your best bet is to put the machine into SCSI dock mode (where the machine just emulates an external SCSI hard drive), connect it to a SCSI-equipped Mac, and run repair tools from there. This is also a great way to transport large numbers of files in a pinch. This is much nicer than taking out a PowerBook hard drive.

Ahem. I see Dan Bowman has introduced me as the Daynotes’ “Resident Expert on Macs.” I suppose I qualify as that. But I’m not a Mac zealot. There are things about every computer architecture that drive me up the wall. I’ve had fully multithreaded, pre-emptive multitasking systems since I bought an Amiga in 1991, and frankly ever since then I’ve found it very difficult to live without that. I’m always doing more than one thing at a time, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all to expect my computer to juggle a few things. (For a few blissful days in 1992 I had two Amigas, which let me really juggle a lot of things. These days I normally work with at least two networked PCs going, and sometimes as many as six.)

So while I’m no friend of Microsoft, I’ve probably said more critical things of Apple in these pages than I have of Microsoft.

The only computer that I was ever religious about was the Amiga, and to a certain degree I probably still am. That got me absolutely nowhere. Microsoft zealots drive me up the wall. Linux zealots drive me nuts. Anti-Linux zealots drive me even battier. I sympathize with OS/2 zealots, when I run across them, but I won’t join them. They’re machines. Tools. Do you expect me to sing the praises of Craftsman screwdrivers while I’m at it? They’re nice screwdrivers, but hey, I can get work done with a Stanley too…

So… Thanks for the kind introduction, Dan. I guess I just finished it. So if you’re here courtesy of Dan, welcome aboard. I hope you’re not too offended. (Don’t feel bad. I offend everyone at one point or another.)

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