We are familiar with adrenalin junkies. We see them online doing very stupid things. Feats that normal people marvel and laugh at in equal measure. People leaping between buildings or base jumping or diving off cliffs… And as compelling as these feats are, I always fret because having survived, they are likely to seek out something even more perilous until their luck eventually runs out.
And this is where I enter the frame – because it transpires that I am a maverick also, every bit as cavalier and foolhardy – for having my life’s entire work on a single laptop and without any of it backed up.
Surely, even the youtubers who scale the outside of skyscrapers wouldn’t be so reckless.
The timing of my MacBook Air crashing is apocryphal having just completed a revised edition of a manuscript – and having just received the audio files of Tom and I discussing Eclipsed (for the forthcoming audio version, read by DH and in conversation with TH) – but any sense of smug satisfaction quickly evaporated.
My machine dies. I cannot even coax it to turn on. I call Apple in a blind panic because all of my eight books are on this dead laptop, plus my new and unpublished novel, my screenplays, stand-up scripts, blogs… my entire life is on this machine.
“…and you didn’t have anything backed up?”
This is a question I am asked frequently and its hurt never diminishes.
Speaking to one of the Apple experts, I quickly discover that a dead MacBook, outside the 12-month warranty and without Apple Care means that in fact Apple Don’t Care and I was cut adrift by the world’s largest company. They suggested I contact a data recovery specialist firm and sent me a link for their preferred outfit.
The company are based in the heart of London. I decide that this is bad news because how can a firm like this afford the exorbitant rents of Central London?
This question is quickly answered. Having inspected my machine, a company representative goes on to explain how they charge for their services.
I have a rudimentary grasp of economics. I understand supply and demand. That constrained supply and or excess demand leads to higher prices.
But a dead laptop containing the life of the owner really does present a unique economic opportunity for people with the ability to fix said situation. There is probably an official economic term for this which I don’t know of – preferring my own, having me over a barrel or having me by the short and curlies or more crudely put, having me by the bollocks.
Very basically, they have lots of price points. They should really call these tiers – because anyone unlucky enough to have them explained to them will almost certainly end up crying.
Tier 1 – with no guarantee of any data being recovered – what data they do recover will be provided to me within 3 weeks – a snip at £1500
If 3 weeks is too long to wait – then can we interest you in Tier 2… what data we can salvage (no gurantees) within 1 week for £3000
And if you are really important and you need your data (no guarantees) within two days – we can duly provide this for a mere £5000.
This poses an awkward conundrum…
How important is your data and how soon do you need it?
This is not straightforward or easy to answer. It presents a subtle equation of time and effort against real income and potential income.
I authorise option 1, wipe my wet face and make off for the Apple store because my machine has died and needs to be replaced.
So I am 3k down and with nothing new to show for it which is a tough and very expensive lesson to heed. How much data will be recovered and when remains to be seen. I hope the new novel, Made in England, the revised edition of Eclipsed and the revised edition of Only in America.
And yes, I am planning to back things from now on. Harry is away in sunnier climes playing golf but he is home tomorrow and whatever plans he has the rest of the week, these will need to be adjusted to help out his old and desperate dad.
Unlike the junkies who need risk in order to live, I am merely a fool. A fool who makes his life unnecessarily complicated and painful – but I am a fool who is now determined to change.
The outcome and fruits of these changes (and the data recovery) will become apparent (or not) over the next six months or so.
Bear with me people.
Clearly, all these forthcoming projects and publications are now subject to delay – but if you are interested in them – and or you would like an inside track and some special offers – you can sign up to my newsletter here. Welcome along to a man who struggles.