Patrick writing here, not Teresa. We’ve been at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, DC. It’s been a good weekend, with one exception: overnight, while powered up and connected to my iBook, Teresa’s external FireWire drive, her main personal mass-storage device, suffered some kind of catastrophic failure. While there are backups, naturally they’re neither as complete nor as recent as one would prefer. As a result, while we won’t know exactly until we get home, it’s very likely that Teresa has lost all of her email from the last several weeks—possibly longer—and quite a bit of other recordkeeping and work.
Hardware techie Jordin Kare did pry the drive out of the case in order to check whether the IDE-to-FireWire bridge was at fault. This doesn’t appear to be the case; in fact, all the signs point to the worst sort of random disk crash, the sort where the drive clicks repeatedly while trying to power itself up. As best as I can tell, some or all of the data might be recoverable at a cost we probably can’t afford. When we get home, first I’m going to buy her a new drive, second I’m going to restore as much as I can from various old backups, and third I’m going to figure out what we can afford in terms of easy home backup systems. Then I hope to put some energy into inquiring in detail as to whether there’s any hope of prying data off of the crashed drive. To this end Teresa and I may be appealing to our many readers who know much more about hardware than we ever will.
To say that Teresa is upset about all this is an understatement. Jordin said a good thing: “I’ve known people who’ve suffered this level of data loss and life does go on, although it feels for a while like it won’t.” Teresa will be back here to post when she has the heart to do so.