Revolution? Well, it certainly makes me want to hurl something!

I watched the first episode of this clunker, but couldn’t stomach any more. I keep seeing ads for it, though, claiming it as the hot new show of the season. Ugh.

Electricity is somehow suppressed. OK, doable with a great deal of effort over a limited area for a limited time. Let’s suppose that some additional tech has been created to extend the effect in both time and space with minimal energy. Electricity is the basis for much of current civilization, so civilization falls, millions die, and now it’s fifteen or so years later (so skipping all the tough bits during the Fall) and we’re in the rebuild phase.

Guns work, but they’re forbidden to the general populace. Yeah, I can see how that would have been trivial to impose on the US population. Nobody made guns before electricity… Oh, wait…

Guns work, but as far as I could determine, not steam engines, and not Diesel engines (currently most diesel uses electric glow plug ignition, but it’s not a requirement, just easier. For some reason a cool new bow type is needed – standard cross-bows, self-bows, reflex bows, and compound bows need not apply. Everyone seems to have become expert in the use of the sword – uh, hello, didn’t anyone watch Indy before the Fall? Guns beat swords just as Rock beats Scissors. Use swords if you have to, but if you have guns, shoot the swordsman before he gets close.

And about the trick device on which much of the story depends – a mcguffin which somehow makes it possible to use electricity. The device itself uses electricity, as best I can see, and so do the peripheral devices it enables. Somehow it shuts down completely, but then powers up again even tough electricity is being suppressed – i guess it works even before it is turned on. a working power supply after fifteen years of limited (probably No) recharges and replacements? Oh, just give up. The show is too stupid to watch further. At least Dies the Fire and the rest of the books in the Emberverse storyline call for a single point of suspension for your disbelief.

Oh yeah, that’s right…. The claim is that this turkey is original in concept. S. M. Stirling got there earlier, and did it better, and before him there were other yarns with the same concept (I remember one in which an alien culture imposes the effect in order to give Man more time to develop effective social sciences, only to have it backfire when Man does that better than they do….).

Somebody, please. Pull the plug on this show!

Data recovery – when should I give up? A learning experience in progress

My daughter’s laptop decided a week or two ago that it was a good day to die, and so its hard drive refused to mount. The symptoms were basically those of a startup file problem, so I hoped to be able to refresh the system and move on, but unfortunately it soon became apparent that the hardware itself was at fault – and there was no backup available.

In the past I’ve run a disk utility against errant drives and salvaged what I could, but my usual utilities were unable to get the drive to mount, so that approach was a no-go. I decided instead to try a program new to me which has received good reviews, Data Rescue 3. I ran a demo version briefly to see if it could recover anything, and managed to pull a small file out of the drive. On the strength of that I purchased the full package and aimed it at the failed drive, trying to get a clone of the entire disk, warts and all.

The software immediately reported it had found a problem – slow reads – which suggested the drive was about to fail. OK, I knew that, but at least the software knew something was wrong, and I told it to keep going. About 24 hours later it had processed slightly over 75% of the drive, but somehow, magically, the disk appeared to have mounted – though a system message told me that the system software – not Data Rescue – couldn’t repair the disk, and that I should immediately try to recover as many files as possible. So I did.

The disk directory opened up, and I tried to copy a folder. The system tried to copy, but couldn’t get a handle on the files to be copied – the disk was just in too bad a condition. Oh well, I’d just have to work through Data Rescue. Which was no longer reporting any progress.

Perhaps it was in the middle of a very slow read.

I waited, but the block count which is the underlying progress indication remained unchanged. I waited some more, but there was still no progress. I cancelled the program, but it refused to quit, kept going even though no progress was being reported, and the lights on the recovery drive continued to flash – which should have been a clue. Figuring Data Rescue had simply crashed, I forced the program to quit and tried to restart it. It refused to start, telling me that background activities were still going, and I should try to log out and log back in. Instead, I restarted the system – my second mistake – and fired up Data Rescue again. Wait – where was the 75% of the disk I had already recovered? Evidently in abandoning the process I had left the disk image incomplete, and my system had deleted it, recovering the space on the recovery drive. And so, I made my third mistake, and told Data Rescue to begin again. What I should have done was undeleted the previous disk image first, and tried to recover files from that, but by starting over I over-wrote the previous disk image, making recovery from that image impossible. And the new image is being created from a disk which has had more time to go bad – dying even as Data Rescue was working on it – and no longer contained as much good data as before.

So far, after three days of work, Data Rescue has been able to recover only 30 Gb of “good” disk space – which does not mean good files! – and has slowed down dramatically after getting only 28% through the recovery process. It now projects that it will be weeks, if not months, before the disk is fully processed, and I am considering stopping the cloning and working on what currently survives to recover what I can.

Lessons learned: don’t mess with a disk while recovery is underway; try to recover from partial copies if that’s all that remains; and – for my daughter – back up regularly. In which regard, I will say that I myself do backups, but if the backup and original drives fail together, I’m still dead in the water – so I should review my processes.