Mondays. Mondays are *bad*.

Life is kinda routine these days. Get up at 5.30am, get to the office around 8.30am (only 120 miles on a train, right), pack up around 5pm, and get home around 8pm. Today was special - I was sitting my Notes Application Development v8 update Exam in Edinburgh. Excellent. So as is usually the case, I download the latest test helping software from CertFx, and of course, as its windows only, onto the Parallels partition on my hard drive. So far, so very boring.

Ah. But on Sunday - Yesterday - around 10am, the hard drive in my new mac stopped working, and started "clicking". Uh-ho..

The hard drive died. No worries - everything is backed up and/or replcated, right ? But first - lets see how Apple can help me. I called the support telephone number - no dice. Closed on Sundays. To be fair, they were open every *other* day of the week. So. Called the AppleStore in Glasgow. Could they fix it ? (A long shot).

Actually, they could. If I could get there (a mere 250 mile round trip - no worries). Ah. But I need an appointment with a Mac Genius, and all appointments were taken. Okay. Will try again on monday.

The rest of sunday was spent howling at the moon, napping, and trying to direct ICMB's onto the CEO of Seagates home..

Monday, around 6.03 am, hopping across the bedroom trying to put socks on in the dark (dont ask), and I thought - "How do I practice for my test ?"... Mmm. The Blingmaster. Its been sitting in its bag, discarded like last years christmas tree, since the Mac went full time. And I have Notes 8 on there.. Right. So. I'll pack BOTH laptops in the blingmaster bag, and hobble to the test (around 25 pounds of technology..). Right.

On the train, opened the blingmaster and - horrror. I had scrubbed *everything* in preparation for an unbuntu install. Oh. Crap. Still, I could still use the Crackberry as a modem, and attach to the internut. And browse help documentation from my server.. Slow, but it did work. Frustrating as hell - everytime I went through a tunnel, lost signal, etc, the help database web interface would reset. Still. Better than nothing.

A quick stomp across three blocks of Central edinburgh, 25 kilos of broken technology on my back, and to the test center. Awful coffee, beautiful receptionist, and the most stressful 60 minutes so far. Around half way through I realised I just hadnt prepped enough. So got on with the "disassemble test' strategy.. ALMOST there.. 63%, and the pass mark of 70%. AWWWWGGGGH.

Right. out the door, throw myself into taxi. SCOTSYS - I yell, and four minutes later, I walk into Edinburghs premier Mac dealership. It even looks nicer (albeit smaller) than the Applestore. I felt ugly just being there.

"Can you fix my macbook pro? Dead hard drive.."

"Yes of course" (Good answer, liked his style..)

"How long would this take?" (thinking: I'm on a clock here and over an hour - I'm in trouble.. )

"14 Working days". (silence)

"Well thats not good enough, is it?" and walked out.

(Please dont take this as a criticism of Scotsys in Edinburgh. I *wish* they could have repaired my machine onsite within a few days - but clearly theyre not set up to do that. So they didnt react badly to my request. Just I was - as usual - expecting miracles. David Clark got his monster-mac from there and has high praise for them. )

Such was the rapidity of this conversation, that I *almost* caught the same taxi driving off.. But no. A 3 minute wait, and I got another one. Who then proceeded to drive me to the office on the outskirts of Edinbugh. Now this chap wasnt happy with traffic lights. Red ones. Which might be considered a drawback given his chosen career. But no. This guy was heroically raging against all traffic lights, the roads department, other road users, and God himself. I hope he didnt notice me armlocking myself into the back of the cab about the third time he almost tailgated someone off the road...

Phew. Into work, and into code. A quick browse of the apple website during coffee and (thanks again to my wonderfully tolerant and flexible boss (yes, he reads this..)), and I could scoot across to Glasgow for 5.20pm..

Hack, type, curse, smoke, slurp, fart. Repeat till 4pm, whereupon I lugged my technology mountain to the train station, and surprisingly - got to Glasgow on time. No mean feat, believe me. Another 500m insane jog, and I was in the store, at the counter, and checking in. With a whole four minutes to spare!

Phew. Right. Explain, chat, plug in machine, run diagnostics software. The Genius then placed his ear on the macbook and confirmed that it sounded like a Death Watch Beetle orgy in there. Dead as a doornail. I then explained that the keyboard was a wee bit dodgy (as was my typing).. "Mmmm.. " he said. Back in a min..

In a trice, the Business lease manager appeared, shook my hand and explained that they were all quite shocked that a new machine had died like that. Look - it has two faults.. We're not happy fixing it.. Would I like a new one? Now ? Yeah - just post us the box.. Oh - and how was Squid enjoying her MacBook? ....

I was - to put it mildly - gobsmacked. Its a very large, very busy Applestore, and I must have been in there for 45 minutes in total. Ever. But yet he remembered me, the story, the wife Mac, etc, etc. Very very good. And not only that - produced a new macbook pro, and sent me on my merry way...

Wow. Now *thats* what I call service. i didnt expect a new machine - I fully expected them to retain my one till Wednesday or thereabouts. But no. Its interesting seeing a companies customer service process when something goes *wrong*. Thats when it matters. I remember waiting for Dell for three weeks to replace a faulty motherboard. (So much for their premium service, right?). Granted, I wasnt very happy (*cough* - understatement!) when the hard drive broke on Sunday, but at the same time - there I was a mere 30 hours later - up and running.

So it was off to the train station - again - and just missed a train home. So a nice relaxing 45 minutes, sipping a single beer and reading the paper. And then two hours on the train home.. Thats a sum total of 300 miles today by train, and three major scottish Cities..

Lastly, given that my hard drive was deader than the atmosphere at a Microsoft Exchange party, I realised early on that my data was gone forever. Thank god that all my important stuff is replicated with my servers at Prominic, and all the document files get picked up by Mozy. Both well recommended.

When was the last time you checked your backups ?