Friday, 28 August 2009

Rotting Fruit at the Apple Harvest

The second disaster of the year occurred last week at the Apple Harvest farm. At the beginning of the summer (for those of you in the UK who have forgotten, summer is the season when the weather is supposed to improve) I had to replace the display on my MacBook Pro which cost me about £500. I had hoped that it may have been a loose connection due to wear and tear from being hauled around the world, but it was not to be.

Then, last week, the internal hard drive on my iMac failed. Initially the machine just hung so I was forced to switch off and restart. Unfortunately the machine never rebooted. I linked up the MacBook Pro using a Firewire connection and ran Disk Warrior which appeared to do the trick. About three hours later exactly the same thing happened, only this time even Disk Warrior gave up.

While it was still possible to access the hard drive, and there appeared to be no loss of data, trying to use the disk as a start-up drive was no longer possible. Being a forth generation iMac (April 2008) it is of course not only out of warranty, but not trivial to upgrade.

I've looked into the cost of repairs and it looks like it's going to cost between £150 to £200, and probably means a week without the machine. Neither of these is a particularly attractive option at present.

However, given the cost of external hard drives at present I decided to purchase a 750Gb Seagate FreeAgent Pro desktop drive with the Firewire 400 interface. I already use a 500Gb Seagate FreeAgent drive as my Time Machine disk, so I'm familiar with the make. I made the purchase through Amazon and the cost was under £60 including next day delivery using Amazon Prime.

Setting up the new drive was a breeze, restoring the Time Machine backup from the old disk (about 250Gb) was fairly quick, and despite a couple of glitches I have a fully functional system again. I don't really notice any difference in the restart time as it isn't something I do very often - I tend to put the iMac to sleep at night.

The glitches are that the Hyperspaces programme that I use to help manage Spaces crashes out when I try to set the preferences, and when I attempt to share the iMac screen from my laptop it goes into an infinite loop, which is an interesting effect but not much use to man nor beast. Finally, the iMac wouldn't play with my Belkin Wireless USB hub anymore, but that was easily solved by removing the hub from the network as it now surplus to requirements. I'll live with these problems until Snow Leopard arrives later today and see what effect that has.

Next time I'll post my experiences with Snow Leopard installation and my first impressions of using it, both on the iMac and MacBook Pro. I'll hang on before trying it on the Hackintosh ! Two hardware failures in a year are quite enough thank you!

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