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Wed 29 Sep 2004

My Mac Life

Category : Commentary/MyMacLife.txt

My iBook crashed on Saturday night, right after Ruud van Nistelrooy scored the penalty for Man United against Spurs, at which point nothing could puncture my feeling of elation. It was half-time and I was about to check my mail.

But it didn't take long for me to feel distraught the next day. I've got my whole life on that iBook and I hadn't backed things up for a while.

Let's see - there was Stefan Hartmann's German localisation for Postfix Enabler, a lot of stuff from the hostel project, and the material that I was revamping for our Java and AppleScript Studio courses.

And lots more. I hadn't backed things up since WWDC. There're bits and pieces that I had stashed all over the place that I can reconstruct from, but I would still have lost quite a bit of stuff.

Fortunately, the iBook resurrected itself when I sent it in to AppleCare and I wasted no time in copying everything out to an external hard drive, and from there to my wife's Titanium on which I am writing these thoughts.

So I must never ever forget to back things up again. The problem is, I think, I've stopped thinking of that iBook as a computer system, separate from myself. I bring it wherever I go - I read mail or do some writing wherever I find a McDonald's (where we continue to get free Internet access) or when I'm in a mall that has free wireless access. When I close its lid and put it to sleep beside me on the bed, I'm used to having that throbbing light that serves as night light for our kid who sleeps next door across the open doorway. I've used it in and out, without a break. So I've quite forgotten that it's a computer, and that computers can fail.

So my work life had merged with the rest of my life and there's no real break between them. I can work at home, or at friends' or relatives', so long as there's Internet access. And at work, in our office, I often do other things that wouldn't be considered working, like surfing the web, listening to music, and just seeing what turns up.

I'm reading The Cluetrain Manifesto. It's set me thinking quite a bit. Some of the writing may be said to be smug. But I've enjoyed the sections by Rick Levine ("Talk is Cheap") and by Doc Searls and David Weinberger ("Markets are Conversations").

I think it's true that our notions of life, work, and the market-place are all changing, ever since we had the Internet. I can feel the changes in my own life, but we're all in a flux. The journey that we're on is to work out how we'll fit in, to take advantage of the new realities - to make a living while still leading a life of some quality.

Note : while following the links from The Cluetrain Manifesto, I came across this interesting Salon review of Bill Gates' book, "Business @ the Speed of Thought" - or why Bill Gates still doesn't get the Net. I would like to add that this is also why a lot of IT managers, following in Microsoft's wake, still don't get the Net. Do read it.

Posted at 9:27AM UTC | permalink


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