My home computer has been giving me problems for several months. These started before we went on holiday and were mainly fixed by replacing the power supply (and its fan). But in the past few weeks, it has been acting strangely: freezing, spontaneously rebooting and displaying the blue screen of death after an unpredictable amount of time. There have been days when I have managed to work without interruption (for example, last Friday) and there have been days (like yesterday) when the computer boots and progresses to the stage when I can download my email then ... pfff! No computer.
I have to replace this computer. I am somewhat wary of progressing to Windows 7 as I have a suspicion that some of the music software which I use won't work. I analysed my computing needs as follows:
- General computing - internet, email, word processing, etc. There shouldn't be a problem here although I hope that I won't lose any of the most recent emails (I have backups but not daily). All my doctoral work - papers which I have downloaded and material which I have written - is constantly backed up to Dropbox, so presuming that I can remember the password to Dropbox (probably stored in an email...), all this material will be accessible at home.
- Programming: all my source code is backed up on Dropbox. The only thing which worries me here is third party code; most of this is not essential, but the Indy 10 communications library is very important.
- Music: the majority of my files - either source MIDI files or final WAV files - are all backed up on external media. If my hard disk goes, then I lose the instrumental piece on which I have been working for the past week (in between reboots). This is based on a file which was made seventeen years ago, so I could reconstruct it if necessary. What really bothers me here is the software - I can reinstall the various programs, but it's the third party code (mainly vst effects) which will be problematic.
My computer technician called just as I was about to start writing this blog. It seems that he has transferred my hard disks to a new motherboard, so whilst he has to work ensuring that everything works on the system level (new drivers, etc), all the installed software and files will be intact and should work as before. Presumably the computer will have a new MAC address (network interface) which will be slightly problematic but easily overcome.
In case anyone is wondering how I can write this blog entry with no home computer, I am using one of my other two computers (one at work and one mobile). All three are connected to my Dropbox and I even copied a recent backup of my emails (a pst file) to the work file server, so I can even access those emails from work should I need to. How do I post blog entries when I'm on holiday? Obviously not from my home computer.