Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The slow spinning blue line of life

Noel has been cursed with hand-me-down computers for the last couple of years. First Archer sat on and cracked the screen of his iBook, but it seemed too soon to replace with a "real" computer, so he bought a cheap obsolescent model as a stop-gap. Then that failed (predictably), and so I upgraded to my beloved Air and gave him my white MacBook. Now the Airport card in that computer has begun to crap out, and it's not user-replaceable. (Also the bevels around the keyboard casing have been flaking off steadily for more than a year.)

So it seemed only right that he buy an actual brand-new computer. Not the latest model (unfortunately), but a upgraded black MacBook, which arrived today.

I suppose I should be able to remember from year to year how best to handle the migration to a new Mac. I've done it enough. But when Noel called this afternoon to ask if I had a FireWire or ethernet cable, I blithely assured him that there were ethernet cables in the computer-stuff box in the back. What I should have done was to tell him that I'd bring my FireWire cable from the ancient iPod I keep at work. I should have remembered how much faster a FireWire connection is than an ethernet connection.

But because I didn't, the information from his old MacBook -- its keyboard edges held together with Scotch tape -- is sloooooooooooowly transfering to his sleek new black beauty. So slowly that even as the blue line has infinitesimally moved to the right, the window still reads, just as it did when it started two hours ago, "About 18 hours 8 minutes remaining."

I remember when I had to transfer data to my Air that the same very lengthy process pertained. It was necessary because there's no FireWire port on the Air. And it got done eventually (overnight and on into the next day, as I recall). So I'm confident that the transfer will succeed, but I'm kicking myself for not remembering that there's a faster way. I know Noel is eager to use his new computer, and might even be in some need of it tomorrow before it's done. There are backups -- his iPod Touch can access the internet, and my Air is at home during the day -- but he needs his files and schedule and half-written drafts.

I suppose that as a last resort we can abort the process by disconnecting the ethernet cable, and restart it with the FireWire cable tomorrow after I retrieve it from my office. My hope is that if we leave it to churn away all night, we'll see enough progress that we can resolve to wait it out for as long as it takes.


Khakionion said...

Actually, since the TiBook, most Macs come with Gigabit Ethernet these days, which is 1000 Mbps, much faster than FireWire.

Donna B. said...

Somehow I doubt that my ancient Ethernet cables are Cat-5 compliant ...