“Mister?” said the very small man on the floor of the kitchen. His parents had come from Cambodia, all the way to the middle of North America, their son had learned the art of appliance repair, “Mister, your dog pooped.”
And so he had. He’d been out a few times that day, the timing had been off, I guess. I apologized and said that the dog was old, and makes mistakes.
The repairman was fixing the fridge, which has a very stupid part: the Actuator. While it actuates as well as can be expected, letting ice fall from the maker to your glass, it requires pressing on a piece of plastic. They designed something that would be shoved several times a day by a hard object, and they made it out of plastic. When the tab snaps off, it’s $95. Like that. Just like that. Because I bought this five years ago and subjected it to that unforeseen set of circumstances some engineers dread, namely “daily use,” it required the repairman to come by, and because pulling the fridge out wasn’t really an option - “it’s a bear,” said the very small man - we had to cut power. Because the fusebox doesn’t have a label that says FRIDGE, he went through the others without labels, including the one that cut power to my studio.
I went upstairs to turn on the computers. The iMac did not turn on. Nothing. Pressed the button. Nothing. Checked the surge protector: all lights green. Checked the cords, as though the act of flipping a switch two floors below had caused a wire to kink up and short out. Nothing. So I did the only sensible thing: unplugged everything, took it to a different room, and plugged it in. I came to life, fans screaming at 100%. FAN PANIC.
Well, good thing I’m backed up, I thought, except, well . . .
A few days ago I checked my status on my online cloud backup, and discovered that I was backed up, totally and completely! As of 8/31/2012, that is. Nothing since then. Checked the status at the website: there was no backup online at all. In fact there was the word DELETED next to my computer.
Well. A few emails with the help desk revealed that something had gone very, very wrong with my backup, with my unique user ID somehow spraying two sets of data at the backup site, overwriting everything. Hence the deletion; didn’t you get an email about that? Check the spam / junk, well, there it is. It said they had made several attempts to alert me - which, as the tech said, meant “the program was supposed to tell you it hadn’t backed up.” That’s a bit different. In other words, we’re relying on the malfunctioned program to tell me it had malfunctioned, even though it didn’t think it had.
It was an enjoyable series of exchanges, really; I like people who want to get to the bottom of things, solve the mystery, and not incidentally keep you as a customer. He offered me my money back and said my case would be one of those things the bug-fix blokes really get their teeth into, because this was pretty much the Nightmare Scenario for an automated set-it-and-forget-it backup service.
So my backup continues automatically over night, and in 68 days I will be backed up again. But here I am with a screaming computer, and I’m unsure if it’ll come back on if I turn it off. While the fans are screaming, then, I backed up everything from the last few days - even though I knew I had two versions elsewhere, and as I selected which folders to dupe -
“Mister.” The dog had pooped. Also, daughter came home, passed the small man kneeling before the fridge, went upstairs and saw the iMac in the hallway, fans gusting.
Okay then, she said.
Computer calmed down when I rebooted. Everything is working fine. Ice now clatters from the door. I have learned the term actuator. Every day has something new.