By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 12, 2014
I woke up very early Sunday morning and, because I realized I wasn’t going to fall back asleep, went to the Starbucks in the hotel where I’m staying in Las Vegas. (The structure actually has three separate Starbucks branches — that I know of — that can be patronized without setting foot out of doors.)
After fruitlessly struggling for a while to connect with any of the nearby wireless networks, I gave up and decided to do something that I hadn’t tried since sometime in 2013: Draft a blog post on my computer.
An hour or so later, I had all but finished a post, but my computer was running out of power. I wandered over to a nearby hotel (again, without seeing the actual sky — although there were artificial ones) and settled down at a spot in the lobby where I could plug in my MacBook Pro, a 13-incher that I acquired in August 2009.
The computer powered up nicely as I wolfed down a yogurt and played with my phone. But the lobby didn’t appear to have an unlocked wireless network for me to use.
With my computer battery lights showing plenty of green — and, conversely, my iPhone battery running low — I went to get some tea. I did this not at any of the Starbucks in the structure but at a fourth coffee retailer that is also part of the same structure as both of these hotels. Three facilities — the hotels and a fairly nice shopping mall called the Miracle Mile — all share a parking garage.
I’d been to this coffee shop on Saturday, and I knew my computer would link into its wireless network. I ordered a large genmaicha tea and settled down to transfer my blog post from my laptop hard drive into the digital cloud.
Alas, ’twas not to be. My computer began acting up. My web browser crashed. I tried restarting the computer, but it wouldn’t boot up properly. I kept on restarting it, trying different tricks, but it didn’t come back.
That evening, in my hotel room, I tried again, and this time the computer booted up! Unfortunately, I don’t have free Internet access in my hotel room, and I was preoccupied with doing Vegas things, so I just put the computer to sleep and left it.
Later Sunday night, I noticed that the laptop didn’t seem to be sleeping. Properly. I shut it off and restarted it — but it never resumed functioning.
It still hasn’t. I suspect that the hard drive is shot. Since the computer is more than five years old, that means that it’s time to buy a new computer.
The good news is that, for the past few years, I have been diligent about backing up my computer. I have multiple backups that date to shortly before I left for Vegas.
Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of what turned out to be a narrow window of opportunity to extract that blog post that I composed so early Sunday morning. That may be lost for eternity.