Thursday, April 14, 2005

How Mirra saved my vacation

I wrote earlier this week about our week in Florida, and alluded to my laptop woes. Here’s the rest of the story: we flew to Orlando on Saturday morning. On Sunday, after a busy morning, we got the kids back to the room for a nap, and I fired up the laptop to catch up on some pre-election e-mail.

The hard drive had been experiencing some sluggishness, and Sunday was no different. Very slow boot-up, eventually got to the Windows login screen. Less than two minutes after logging in, my screen went blank.

So I rebooted. And rebooted. And each time, the time before the screen went blank got a bit shorter, until I couldn’t even see the boot splash screen. I turned it off, put it away. Came back to it on Monday, with the same results. When I got home, I plugged in an external monitor, thinking that the problem was with the laptop’s display. Except that I had the same behavior. Whether the problem’s with the video card, the motherboard, the hard drive, or some other gremlin lurking in the machine, I don’t know. What I do know is that the machine is beyond salvage right now. I need a pro to either reconstruct it or replace the broken part(s).

But I wasn’t the least bit worried… thanks to the Mirra server I installed a few weeks ago, I knew I had a complete backup of everything: my e-mails, my documents, everything. I had a new laptop delivered this week, and within an hour everything was restored to the new machine. It took less time to restore my data than it did to install and update Microsoft Office. In other words, once Office was installed, my computer was completely operational.

I’ve gone through plenty of computers over the last 15 years, and never have I had such a simple, thorough and stress-free process of recovering from a fatal computer crash. Without qualification, the Mirra is the best $300 I’ve invested in technology. Ever.

The other thing that got me through the week? My new Treo 650. I’ll follow up next week sometime with observations about the Treo; I’ve had it 2 weeks and so far it’s been spectacular.


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