Register to post in forums, or Log in to your existing account
 

Post new topic  Reply to topic     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:19 pm   

The worst possible news
 
I can't believe it. You guys must be psychic. All of the talk about whether or not I had backups when sending my computer in for upgrades was amusing, but I never took it seriously. After working with computers for over 20 years, I've actually never had a hard disk die.

When I called the computer store to go pick up my computer, looking forward to it being finished, I was told that the hard disk was dead. They got the new system all put together and when they transferred the hard disk and hooked it up, it just started making clicking noises during the BIOS disk detected. I went down and looked at it myself and we put it back into the original case and it still cannot even detect the disk...it just clicks like it's trying to read something and failing.

They claim that transporting a system can do this and that they have seen disks crash like this many times before. Since the BIOS won't even recognize the drive, there isn't even any way to run any recovery software. The only way to recover it is to send it to one of those data recovery places that take the disk apart, and that costs something like $1500!

So, I'm screwed. They let me buy a new drive at cost and are not charging me any more hours for installing Windows, and it's hard to really blame them too much because I can't think of anything they could have done themselves (unless they dropped the drive or something) to cause this. Of course, they are covered by a service contract that says they are not responsible for data loss, so there really isn't anything I can do about it.

What does this mean? Other than the fact that I'm furious and totally pissed off at the whole world right now, it means that I get to spend the next week reinstalling my entire development system.

I have been really careful about making backups of really critical files, such as the zMUD and zApp source code. I made a ZIP archive of my entire CVS tree before I went on vacation in December, so all of that critical source code should be fine.

The problem is my email. I never thought to back up my local email files. Most of the registration codes for various software are stored there. I have paper copies of some of it, but not all of it. And I've lost every email that was sitting in my various folders waiting for attention. Some stuff is in our common IMAP server folders. Hopefully most of the urgent stuff. And I've got a backup of the entire disk from one year ago when I upgraded from Windows 2000 to Windows XP, so I've only lost email from the past year. Still, there is a lot of stuff in there that I'm going to miss.

Of course, the current version of zApp on the server expires tomorrow and there is probably no way I'll be able to recompile and rewrap a new version before that happens. Last year when I upgraded to Windows XP it took about a week to get all of my tools reinstalled and configured, and even then I had the old disk to grap files from that I had forgotten. I still have that disk intact from last year, but it's still going to be several days before I can even compile something.

And there is lots of other stuff that is just really going to annoy me. For example, when I designed the new zMUD logo using Fireworks, I have now lost the original Fireworks file. So there is no way for me to resize the icon or anything like that without recreating it from scratch. Same with the new Zugg Software logo. I've got the GIF images on the web site, but all of the original artwork in Fireworks files is gone.

And anything that was still on my computer from the old web site that I hadn't copied to the new web site is gone. I don't think there is anything that isn't on the new web site, but one example is the eMobius Features Matrix. That was an Excel spreadsheet, and then I saved it as HTM and copied it to the web site. But the original Excel spreadsheet is gone. Not to mention everything else in the "My Documents" area, which includes a lot of personal letters, SCA stuff, etc.

I really just feel like my whole life has been trashed. That's the trouble with these new huge disks...there just isn't any good way to back up the *entire* disk. So you try and backup the really critical stuff (like source code) and then realize that in fact there was a lot of other important stuff too.

I went ahead and paid the extra money to get two ATA drives (120GB each) in the new system and will set them up in a RAID array so that they mirror each other. This should prevent any problems in the future and is what I was planning to do in another year or so when I had more money.

I really wish I understood why I'm having worse and worse luck with computers. This month has been a total mess. Everytime I get ready to go back to work on zApp, something else like this happens. I'm *really* getting depressed by it.
Reply with quote
Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:50 pm   
 
/comfort Zugg

That's terrible news :(

I've had hard drives crash before but most of those have been the operating system drives, not the data drives. I keep meaning to RAID my drives, but every time I buy a new one I stick it in for the extra storage hehe.

At least the source code is the main thing, but it will be very frustrating to rebuild those fireworks/etc. Let us know if we can do anything to help... I could probably rebuild that feature matrix spreadsheet for you later this week if you like.

With you RAID disks, you should purchase different brands, or the same brand from different batches/different manufacturer dates... I've never had problems with 2 disks from the same date before, but for mission critical stuff, it is theoretically possible for both disks to have the same defect because they were from the same batch and therefore fail at the same time.

On the bright side, you will be starting with a clean PC, I find I like formatting windows once a year or so, clears up the clutter and makes me throw out all that crap which "I might use one day but never quite get around to using" and also "I used this once, it did its job but I'm keeping it installed just in case I need it again" hehe.

It is a pain reinstalling delphi and all the 3rd party packages though. I acutally moved all those 3rd party addons into my CVS tree under /projects/components ... sure, takes up more space but its so much easier to just have them there ready to be installed again.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:16 pm   
 
I've got most of the 3rd party components under the CVS tree. However, I didn't store *everything* because of space issues (the bigger new drives will help with that fortunately).

So, while I think zApp is fine, and I'm pretty sure zMUD is fine, some of the miscellaneous other projects might not have everything that I need. I'm worried a bit about zMapper/zExplorer, and I also didn't get the latest update of my own customer order database (the database is fine, but I'll need to do some work on the software to get it to compile in Delphi 7 again). I did a bunch of various Delphi 5 -> Delphi 7 conversions this past year and am not sure whether I've got both versions or just one.

It's going to be a lot of little stuff that keeps bugging me when I find out it's gone. I'm sure I'll come back here and whine if I find something critical. Mainly I'm pissed that I'm going to loss another week or so of work time on eMobius, and it's *not* going to be fun work...it's going to be frustrating and time consuming work that is going to really be depressing and make it harder to get excited about working on eMobius.

The timing is just awful. With the new extra energy from the low-carb diet, I was at an all-time high and really gung-ho about getting going with this and I've fallen from that high to a new all-time low in just a couple of hours.

Yeah, having a clean system will be nice...but a clean "Windows" only lasts for a short time. By the time I get all of the 3rd party software reinstalled it will still end up the same mess it was. I know after starting fresh with WinXP last year it didn't take long to get it messed up again.

If anyone wants to try to rebuilt the Features spreadsheet in Excel and email it to me, that would be one less thing I'll need to spend time on and would be much appreciated.
Reply with quote
Taz
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 1395
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:55 pm   
 
Shitty biscuits!!! Not a good start to the year. Things really haven't been going well for you recently, get yourself an exorcist!!

Are you sure that the recovery companies are that expensive? In the UK they don't cost as much as that, 250 to 500 depending on size, given the exchange rate that would be $500 to $1000 and they also charge less if you don't class it as an emergency and allow them a week or more to do the recovery.

In the end it all boils down to how much is the data worth that you have lost. If any of it turns out to be business critical then its worth a hell of a lot more than $1500.

Perhaps the Icon Bids will pay for both this years taxes and the data recovery.

Nightmare, nightmare, I've got my fingers crossed for you.
_________________
Taz :)
Reply with quote
Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:53 pm   Re: The worst possible news
 
Zugg wrote:
I can't believe it. You guys must be psychic. All of the talk about whether or not I had backups when sending my computer in for upgrades was amusing, but I never took it seriously. After working with computers for over 20 years, I've actually never had a hard disk die.

Some time ago the MUD I play used to crash now and then. It was "probably" a heating problem but it was actually quite odd. Like once when I sent as channel message "The server seems pretty stable now" it crashed instantly. Making it all worse was that no one could restart the server if it went down until after some days. Which of course annoyed everyone playing the game.

As I remember it I talked about the "good state of the server" some time again afterwards, and guess what happened? It crashed Mr. Green.

After that people didn't want me to comment on server status Rolling Eyes. Even though it obviously was just bad luck that it crashed at the same time as I discussed the fine uptime.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:52 pm   
 
If anoyone knows of a good rate for an exorcist, let me know Twisted Evil

I'm going to see what I am able to recover from my various backups and then decide if I need the disk recovered. This morning I realized that all of my financial data in Microsoft Money was also lost. I have the disk from the upgrade last year, and Chiara will help me type in all of the past year's statements and bills which we still have paper copies of. Again, it's a really annoying loss and will take a while of data entry but it should be possible to recover from it.

For now it beats just sitting on my hands and waiting for a data recovery company.

On the positive side, maybe I can do a better job this time around making Delphi 7 and Delphi 5 coexist better together.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:25 pm   
 
Well, I must say that on the positive side, this ATA RAID disk is FAST! Office XP with most all of the options turned on just installed in about a minute. I couldn't actually believe that it did anything and had to run all of the apps just to be sure! I never realized how much faster ATA was over IDE.

At least something good has come of this.

(Of course, now I'll have to be sure to test eMobius more on slower systems because it's going to always be lightning fast for me now)
Reply with quote
Vijilante
SubAdmin


Joined: 18 Nov 2001
Posts: 5182

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:47 pm   
 
I know this really isn't the place to post this, but it will make you feel better. I haven't exactly had the best of years (2004) either. While my computer has been happily stable...except for losing one of my 2 sytem drives (I had them RAID mode 1 so scratch that whole install, reinstall everything plus diagnostic time; and it died that same way for different reasons) and subsequently swapping it out. I finally declared bankruptcy in November. I know I said I would try to actually get your Christmas present to you around Christmas (guess it is going to be mid-February again). The best part was that the event breaking my bank occurred right as I bought another car. I promptly bounced both checks that went to the purchase of the car and didn't even know it. To add insult to injury the check I wrote the lawyer involved in the bankruptcy bounced when he said it should clear just fine and was totally aware of all my financial stats. Things sorted out, and while I am still not entirely back on track (my sister needed to have here truck fixed, another $2K down the drain); I am getting there. Overall I am actually much better off then I was at this date last year. Don't you feel better now?

We all have bad years. Just keep in mind that 5 years from now you will be able to look back and say, "2005 started rough, but it was one of my best years." I have a feeling this 'downtime' will actually be beneficial to the eMobius project. We will see things like duplicated mail stores in multiple locations available because you understand the importance of having an automated backup or 4. Even if that backup is not 100% assured; just having 2 drives, even just 2 locations on the same drive; will give many of us peace of mind that our important data has a chance of surviving some sort of catastophic failure.
_________________
The only good questions are the ones we have never answered before.
Search the Forums
Reply with quote
Taz
GURU


Joined: 28 Sep 2000
Posts: 1395
Location: United Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 2:11 am   
 
Taz wrote:
Are you sure that the recovery companies are that expensive? In the UK they don't cost as much as that, 250 to 500 depending on size...


I've looked about a bit and found http://www.ecodatarecovery.com/pricing.html which has $625 for a 10GB IDE disk with Windows.

I'm guessing that the disk wasn't bigger than 10GB even if it was it's not much more for the 40GB something like $725.

At that price roughly 300 quid to me I think I'd be sending it off and getting it done. These services are amazing and often get the whole lot back.

Anyway keep us posted.
_________________
Taz :)
Reply with quote
SpiritWolf
Wanderer


Joined: 02 Jul 2002
Posts: 74
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:01 pm   
 
Of course if you wanted to play with the old disk a bit as a last ditch effort, you can try putting it in an anti-static bag (or a ziplock if you don't have one), toss it in the freezer (or out your door and into a snowdrift) for 20-30 minutes, remove it from its cold home and quickly hook it up as a slave drive and pull as much data off it as you can.

It might work, it might not. Up to you if you want to spend the time.
There are also several other free ways to try to get data off a 'dead' hard drive if you do a google search on it.
Reply with quote
Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:05 am   
 
Yeah I've noticed a correlation with heat and hard drives going whack. Course, if its critical data I would leave it to the experts, but that being said you did leave it to the experts and they buggered it in the first place. This is why I always build my own systems, least I know that they've been handled with care etc.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:18 am   
 
I tried the freezer trick, and also tapping the drive with the handle of a screwdriver. Both of those methods are really for the case where the drive platter isn't spinning up. It's a fix for a stuck head. In my case the drive is spinning up just fine. It just makes clunking sounds when it tries to access any data. The BIOS can't even determine the type of disk that it is. It really is totally dead I'm afraid, and is in the category that costs a *lot* more money to recover. To recover this they will basically need to remove the platter in a clean room and place it into an identical drive. That's more than they need to do to recover most drives.

In any case, I'm working on restoring source files today. I have successfully installed Delphi 5 and have gotten zMUD 7.05 to compile again. Actually, this is better than before since some of the things I messed up when trying to convert zMUD to Delphi 7 got fixed. I ran into a problem that was really confusing me at first...zMUD was just crashing when I tried to run it for some reason. Took me an hour to realize that I hadn't yet installed eLicense on this new machine, so my copy protection checks were crashing it. Silly me. Once eLicense was installed, then it worked fine.

Next I need to get zMapper, zExplorer, and AC Explorer all compiling. Once that is done then I get to start trying to install Delphi 7 to get zApp working. It's taking a while, but I'm slowly getting there.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 6:59 am   
 
Vijilante, I'm really sorry to hear about your year too. I definitely hope that we can all look back on this in a few years from a better vantage point. But definitely do *not* worry about sending any money this year. The icon bidding should take care of things this year and with your bankrupcy you need everything you can get right now more than I do.

The new diet has helped me stay more positive about life than I used to be able to. I haven't sworn at this computer nearly as much as it deserves for losing all my data. Chiara and I are definitely more thankful that we have each other, are in reasonably good health, and have a job that we mostly enjoy. It's easy to take stuff for granted and times like this force you to look at your life and remember what's really important.

And you are exactly right...eMobius is going to have an amazing set of backup and recovery features that make it *easy* to mirror your mail in multiple places. Having just installed Outlook XP from scratch again, I am still shaking my head at how insanely bad most of the Option screens are and how buried some important stuff really is.
Reply with quote
slicertool
Magician


Joined: 09 Oct 2003
Posts: 459
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:26 pm   
 
Speaking of poor option screens... I've recently had to disable offline folder syncronization on several machines (because one of the servers that they were syncronizing to went poof in a major way... and its replacement (which will become a DC in AD as opposed to a PDC in NT4) had to be named differently as to actually work in AD... 3 different dialogs and none of them seem to actually link to each other and only 1 of them turn it off.

It has to be the most sickeningly poor implementation of a rudementary feature in Windows.
_________________
Ichthus on SWmud: http://www.swmud.org/
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2005 12:51 am   
 
Today I got Delphi 7 working and all of the 3rd party components installed for zApp. zApp compiled without any problems. I had to recreate all of my installation scripts for the Wise installer from scratch, but I think the new versions are working ok.

So that takes care of the business stuff. I can compile the old Delphi 5 apps like zMUD, zMapper, zExplorer, etc, and can also compile the new zApp stuff in Delphi 7. This is actually a bit better than I was before when my Delphi 5 and Delphi 7 installations were interferring a bit.

This weekend I need to re-enter all of my financial records for the past year into Microsoft Money so I can send everything to my accountant on Monday to get my tax stuff prepared. Oh boy...just what I want to spend time doing.

If all goes well I'll be back to zApp programming on Monday.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:18 pm   
 
Well, we have re-entered most of our financial records. I ended up having to get a new version of Microsoft Money since our bank had upgraded their servers and no longer supported my Money 2001 version. That required me to get a new Microsoft Passport account because my old account was tied to my cancelled Asheron's Call 2 game and the credit card had expired. And even if you reset the expiration date on your card, it still has your Passport account locked, with no way to actually contact a real person! So, I just created a new Passport account with a different email address, then was able to download the new version of Money. I admit it was nice not to have to make a trip to the computer store to get this.

Took 4 days to get all of our stuff entered. Everything except one month of credit card charges that we lost the statement for. Fortunately it is within the past year and the credit card company can mail me a printout of it.

Now I just set up all of my backups of the Money data and my email so that this will never happen again. Even though this RAID array should prevent that, I'm still paranoid now. I discovered that Windows XP Home doesn't have a backup utility. Well, so I thought...turns out that there *IS* a Backup program on the Windows XP installation disk. If you go to the CD drive and then into \ValueAdd\msft\ntbackup and run the ntbackup.msi file, it will install the Microsoft Backup utility. Using that I scheduled some daily backups during the night to a networked disk for my email and Money data, along with our Zuggsoft customer database that is currently sitting on our mail server and wasn't getting backed up either.

So, I think that does it. Tomorrow I'll be deep into programming FINALLY! Hopefully the new faster computer and my new higher energy level from this low-carb lifestyle will allow me to still get everything I wanted to get done on eMobius before May. Stay tuned to the eMobius and zApp forums for the latest status info. You'll probably also start to see additional documentation for zApp show up in the Knowledge base.
Reply with quote
Kiasyn
Apprentice


Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 196
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:13 pm   
 
Hey Zugg! I think that exact same thing has happened to me!

AND GUESS WHAT
IT STARTED BACK UP AGAIN

I got a new computer right and was playing with that
after a while (not sure if it was weeks, months) I turned on the old computer and to my astonishment it worked!

If this does happen to you, pull AS MUCH data off as possible XD

I didnt do this and regretted it.
oddly the drive seems to go up and down.. some days it works some days it doesnt!

anyway. goodluck :D
_________________
Kiasyn
Owner of Legends of Drazon
Coder on Dark Legacy
Check out Talon, an easy IMC connection.
Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Home » Forums » Zugg's Blog All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
© 2009 Zugg Software. Hosted on Wolfpaw.net