My wife is a university professor and uses her laptop every time she prepares and gives a class. Two years ago she replaced a 15-inch MacBook Pro with an 11-inch MacBook Air and never looked back. She loves the small, light form factor, but since her work involves huge libraries of PDFs and images, eventually she outran her disk space.
The good thing about working at a university is that there are always students looking for a quality used laptop. She sold hers and used the proceeds to buy a new one, but there was a week between the sale of one and the arrival of the other.
Being a geek, she carefully prepared for that week by first doing a full bootable backup of her laptop, then installing Mountain Lion onto our old 2007 iMac and copying her important files to it. She’d be tied to a desk, but she would still be able to get everything done.
The appointed day came. She met her student, handed over the laptop, came home, turned on the iMac — and was met with white space and a blinking folder with a question mark in it.
OS X couldn’t find its boot files because our iMac’s 6-year-old hard drive had given up the ghost. Really, what are the odds that it would die right then?
According to Murphy’s Law, pretty high. We should have known.
The iMac has a new hard drive now, faster and twice as big as the old one. Everything is humming along just fine, and we’re confident that it will stay that way. How do we know? Because my wife has her new MacBook Air, and is no longer dependent on the iMac. Like all technology, it will bide its time until it’s most needed. Then…