Hi. Posting has been a bit sporadic here because my old iBook had its fourth logic board fail. So, this is a short story about technology for you. My iBook had left me in the lurch three times thanks to its faulty logic board. This is a known flaw and has been repaired for free each time it has happened. This last time, when I started seeing signs of impending logic board death, I called Apple and said “I have put up with this long enough. Please send me a laptop that will not need replacement of vital parts every eight months” To my suprise, they agreed to send me a new G4, one G faster than my last laptop. I mailed back my old laptop, after wiping the drive. This meant that I had to backup my entire hard drive locally before getting a new laptop. Fortunately in this household that is not difficult. Since so much of my personal data is online, this was less onerous than it would have been maybe a year or two ago. Calendar, contacts, booklist, websites, bookmarks, are all backed up redundantly online in various places.
I got the new laptop about two weeks later, which is longer than I would have preferred, but I can’t see Apple being really gung-ho on sending me a new free laptop. Yesterday I began the long process of re-downloading and re-installing all the software on my old machine. It took about 4-6 hours, including system updates. If I had dial-up it would have taken weeks, literally weeks. Backing up my home directory meant that I saved my system preferences, my desktop images, my email configuration information and yes, my bookmarks. Being tech savvy meant that all this took me was time. The few times I stumbled in my file restoration [I accidentally removed the mechanism for keyboard entry and couldn’t type on the thing for a little bit, ha ha!] I had the know-how to straighten it all out. I know sometimes listening to my “But what about the information poor…?” harangues can be tiring, but a situation like this which was complicated but manageable for me might very well have been the end of someone’s online life in the community that I work in. For every senior that is happily clicking away at some AARP websites, there are others with computers and Internet subscriptions who have hit some sort of wall, usually just a know-how wall and don’t have a solid plan B. In my librarian utopia, libraries can help be that plan B.