2STF/1/4: MAC-IO ata-4 – Master

2STF/1/4 is Apple’s way of telling me they hate my soul and I should fuck off and die. Well, not really—it looks like I’ve actually succumbed to the infamous IBM Deskstar 120 GB drive failure. My rig started freezing intermittently on the evening of the 7th and the two 120 GB drives on my ATA/66 bus would randomly disappear and then reappear upon reboot. Running hardware diagnostics resulted in a 2STF/1/4: MAC-IO ata-4 - Master error (Master disk on ATA/66 bus bad).

I panicked. Guess which drive my Retrospect backup index was on? After four or five reboots I managed to copy my Retrospect backup indexes to my boot drive. As soon as my indexes finished copying, the Deskstar breathed its last breath and my rig froze again. Reboot after reboot—I had no ATA/66 bus. The drive was gone. I let out a barrage of obscenities, and I swear I could hear Taps playing softly in the background.

I started searching for big drives since my current 4-drive 400 GB setup was slow, almost full, and now short 120 GB. I missed out on the Office Depot special on 300 GB internal drives for $150 and couldn’t find any other bargains on internals, so I started looking for deals on the LaCie Bigger Disk Extreme 1.0 TB and 500 GB. After finding a sale at Dell, I managed to stack multiple now-expired 30% off and dollar amount coupons and came away with 1.0 TB of storage with free shipping. It took 2 or 3 hours of digging, collecting, and trial and error testing both current and expired coupons, but it saved me over 50%.

A majority of the weekend was then spent restoring just over 100 GB of incremental data from 62 4.7 GB DVD-Rs. Even at 270 MB/minute with two drives sequentially churning away it took quite a few hours of running up and down the stairs as I multitasked swapping DVDs, reading a book, and working on the Powerbook while vegitating in front of the TV. While I was at it, I also restored 8 20 GB TR-5 tapes and two dozen miscellaneous backup CDs and DVDs I had previously created as I ran out of disk space.

Everything eventually successfully restored, and this week will now consist of anally sifting through a decade’s worth of haphazardly-organized projects as well as weeding out duplicate files and old revisions. I’m a loser, but the effort will be well worth it.