E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

MacBook Pro – The Down to Earth Experience

Gran Canaria - In the SpringOnce again, I keep struggling with being connected while travelling on business trips. I guess very little has changed in the last few years … Specially, if it is abroad, outside of the reach from my 3G card(s) which would only work in Spain and for which I wouldn’t want to expose them to massively expensive roaming costs. So, as you can imagine, it’s been a few days, since my last blog post, because, as most of you know already, I just got back, over the weekend, from another one of those biz trips. This time around to Germany. This time around to talk about Enterprise 2.0 and social software adoption, community building, something called Knowledge Management 2.0” and, of course, living “A World Without Email“. I am now back to the office, business as usual, therefore resuming my regular blogging activities…

Now, over the course of the next few blog posts, I will be sharing plenty of insights on the outcome of those various workshops I did with this particular customer, more than anything because most of the conversations we had over the course of three days were just wonderful and worth while sharing across! I do hope as well that I may be capable of sharing some of the slideware and recordings that we managed to put together during the course of those couple of days… But for now I thought I would share with you folks something that, before leaving for Germany, made me remember why, despite the years gone by, I still hate computers. Any computer, no matter what the operating system…

But first, let me share with you over here one of those hilarious YouTube videos that one gets to bump into every so often and which, I am sure, you can relate to quite a bit, specially, if, in this case, you are one of those people who uses a computer, regardless of the operating system and are not too sure about whether it would make a difference one way or another… I should probably share it across as one of those Friday Fun activities, but, to be honest, I have been having one of those days today, on a Monday, and I could surely do with a good laugh or two! So here it comes …

And this is where most of you folks out there would relate to it. If you have watched the video already, my story relates to about minute 1:05 of the short video clip… Last week Wednesday, as I was about to make my way to Germany for that business trip I mentioned above, I experienced something, for the first time in three years, that surely brought me some not so good memories. Yes, indeed, for the first time ever, my nearly two year old MacBook Pro (Second one I have had so far, after the first one year experience with an older model …) decided to let me down and go with one of those kernel panic crashes that surely provoked quite a scare on yours truly!

Yes, I found out about 2 hours before leaving for the airport that my MacBook Pro crashed, for whatever the reason (Wish all computers would be a whole lot more helpful at throwing back at your really weird error messages!) forcing me to go through a hard, cold restart fearing for the worst! Unfortunately, it was far too late to fire up Time Machine to save a last backup before leaving. Fortunately, I could restart the Mac and hope for the best. This time around, it seems to have worked. I was on the road for the following few days, and the problem didn’t come back! Phew!

Too close, indeed! To the point where I think I may have nailed it down to what may have appeared to have been the problem (A specific software application I had to uninstall and re-install again). Thus, over the weekend, I decided to take things further and, at least, have a more recent backup through Time Machine, so, if worse comes to worse, I would only lose a couple of days or so or work.

To be honest with you, I am not too worried, since I have now got that safe copy (If you can ever say so!) of the critical data I would want to keep further, since most of the other stuff is already backed up anyway, with all of those other applications in the cloud I keep using on a daily basis. I think the main issues though are the various different things I learned from that overall rather stressful experience, which I think would worry me over time if things continue to behave like that with those kernel panics. Specially, these:

  • No matter how cool and efficient / effective Macs are, they will also fail eventually! In this case, I’m just waiting for mine to die off a slow and painful death after two short years of somewhat intensive work. I bet it will have its time a week after the two year guarantee expires (In a couple of months from now… And, if you don’t believe me, watch this space … I can feel it!)
  • You can never tire of having a more recent backup of your critical data! Indeed, over the course of the weekend, I realised I did my last backup copy over six months ago! So when I booted up my Time Capsule I had over 60GB of data waiting for me to be backed up! So guess what Time Machine did for the last 24 hours … Yes, 24 hours non stop!! (Yes, happy to now have that one safe copy a bit more up to date…)
  • I must move all remaining critical data from my Mac into the cloud! Yes, I know and fully realise that most of my critical data, both work and personal related, are already up in the cloud, but not entirely. So scares like this one would surely help me get moving with a couple of new experiments I have been toying for the last few weeks, but which never found their place. Well, maybe this experience will help me make the jump … (Don’t worry, I will be blogging about them shortly, too!)
  • Need to start relying more and more on the iPad as my backup machine! More than anything else, because, after all, it’s not really a computer and, as such, it may not fail as badly as computers in general do! Who knows! I was on the brink on relying on it entirely altogether and travel light. But, eventually, I didn’t. I guess for my next one I’ll give it a go all the way to see if I can finally say good-bye to rely so much on standard computing power. And perhaps make it all last for a little bit longer! I have already managed to do with my 3G iPhone, so this could well work out! What do you think?
  • And, finally, computers, ALL computers, for that matter, will always suck! Whether it’s a software failure, or a hardware one (where the hard disk fails miserably, or the fans run out, or whatever else!) I have, at long last, realised that all computers will eventually fail to meet your demands and, as a result of that, make you lose critical information along the way. Even Macs! Even though it may have taken me three years to realise such potential failure I’m glad it’s happened when I could still recover, so I can prepare better for the next time, because you never know, right?, whenever you would have to experience another hard, cold restart. MacBook Pros are not invincible, unbreakable or … perfect!

It took me three years to bump into such conclusion, where one acknowledges that Macs are just as erratic and problematic to provide you that unique computing experience as all other computers out there. Yes, it may have taken me three years, but somehow I am sensing that very shortly I’ll be experiencing it again. Hopefully, this time around I will be slightly better prepared … Fingers crossed the damage would be minimal!

Oh, in case you are wondering whether I’m contemplating a potential switch from Mac to Windows or Linux, despite the hiccup(s), the answer would be the same one: once a Mac, always a Mac! There’s no way back! It is just that from now onwards, my everlasting idealistic Mac computing experience would be a bit more down to earth. Where it should have always been, after all … Because, sooner or later, without remedy, it will break. Like it did last week Wednesday… Time to wake up into reality!


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