Feb 02 2009

Mungo dead at age 5


The Twisty Mainframe, Mungo, keeled over this afternoon at El Rancho Deluxe, surrounded by family and friends. The Dual 2 GHz PPC G5 running OS 10.4.11 had been emitting an odor of burnt plastic and pitiful chirping noises for two days before its fan assembly finally erupted in a last hellish death rattle. Roaring like a DC-10 in a wind tunnel and in the throes of a hung software download, Mungo suffered a sudden, though not wholly unexpected, narcoleptic seizure. Efforts to revive it were unsuccessful. It was taken off life support at 2:36 PM.

Mungo is survived by a broken Firewire backup drive on a shelf, a 13″ PowerBook with a dead battery, an iMac without any version of Photoshop whatsoever, and an iPhone with a loose sim card that won’t connect to a goddam thing out here in Rattlesnake, TX.

A new backup drive, ordered when the odor first began a-wafting, did not, alas, arrive in time to save Mungo’s files, because spinster aunts are too cheap to spring for overnight delivery even when 5 years’ worth of data hangs in the balance.


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  1. IvanQ

    The hard drive (and thus your data) might be just fine, since it sounds like the problems were elsewhere. If that’s the case, then it’s pretty easy to retrieve your files. (at least for a tech geek– do you have one?)

  2. Orange

    Oh, how sad. Does ranch country have Mac experts who can exhume Mungo’s files?

    (Also: What? You skipped overnight delivery? Tch. Live and learn.)

  3. Pinko Punko

    I hope that the hard drive is still intact and can maybe be accessed via some sort of thing I don’t know the word for. Dangling preposition.


    Perhaps Mungo will be made to feel some hopefulness based on these two Burmese fisherman being saved after three weeks at sea floating in an ice box (click the link for hopeful pic). Sadly, it seems the ice box would have been devoid of cool whip.

    I though of you because of its particularly whimsical and existential nature. Mungo is gone. Long live Mungo.

  4. Deanna Zandt

    Oh, Twisty, I’m so sorry to hear this… but this was an awesome and hilarious obit.

    In other news, you might want to try a USB enclosure for Mungo’s hard drive. Something like this should work, but double-check what kinda drive it is for sure.

  5. gimmeaminute

    Thinking of you at this difficult time.

  6. VibratingLiz

    The Noble Truth of Impermanence strikes again.

  7. Twisty

    Thank you all for your sympathy.

    I haven’t performed an autopsy yet, but I suspect the problem is related to haywire temperature regulation. There is every reason to hope that Mungo’s two hard drives are unaffected, but there can be little doubt that either the power supply or the processors or both are fried. In any event, my data — passwords, contacts, iTunes library, etc — is stuck in limbo until I figure it all out, and something tells me I’ll be caving in and taking it to the dreaded repair shop once I realize I can’t fix it here. I SO don’t like leaving hard drives with strangers.

    WHY didn’t I overnight that drive? I’m such a moron.

  8. Astrophilia

    Rest in pieces, sweet computer.

  9. wisewebwoman

    Disaster recovery service, tho expensive, saved my sad and sorry ass one time.
    My deepest sympathy. Should I send flowers?

  10. Jonathan


    “Thinking of you at this difficult time.”

    This was the response of my S.O. (reading IBTP over my shoulder while she studies for the CFA) to your comment:

    “That one line is what all the marketers write to us whenever we loose somebody.”

  11. Alex

    Aw, heck Twisty. Computers die. Fact of life and all that. Yank those drives out, stick ’em in a USB enclosure, as Deanna so helpfully suggested, and they’ll be right as rain when lil’ Mungo Jr. enters El Rancho Deluxe. Your new Mac — you will be getting a Mac, right? — will come with Migration Assistant, which can get all your crap — settings, passwords, user accounts, iTunes libraries, etc. — off your hard drives. You’ll live to blame another day.

  12. Vera

    I have two words for you, Twisty: Time Machine. When used in conjunction with an external USB drive, it works beautifully.

  13. Jeanne B.

    My G5 and I extend our deepest condolences. Mungo was so young.

  14. incognotter

    Dang. I hate it when that happens. Sorry it happened to you.

  15. Shelly

    Aw, poor Mungo. May its replacement be even more stylish, sleek, zippy, and long lived.

    And I tritto the advice to pop the old drives into USB enclosures. That saved my ass the last time I had a catastrophic computer failure. Since then, I have gotten religion about backing up my back-ups. Mind you, that’s the only thing I have any sort of religion about.

  16. Hollywood Marie

    Is there any way to blame the patriarchy for this?

  17. strasmangelo jones

    Apple hates you, Twisty.

  18. rainie

    I lost my trusty companion Xena, a Dell Optiplex, this past summer. She was decked out with massive RAM and HD and kickass video card and had been my main work at home machine since about 2000. Since she’d already gone through so much, near complete replacement of most of her innards after a lightning strike, this time I let her die a natural death and rest in peace, Dog bless her soul. Fortunately my closest pal on the planet was able to do some sort of engineer magic vulcan mind meld with Xena and transfer all of her files. She’s been replaced with the iNathan, a glorious iMac that will go to college with my son next year, but serve as the household public space computer till then. That is the first computer that I have owned that I did not name Xena. I did however name her PC partition Gabrielle.

  19. slythwolf

    You need to develop a working relationship with a computer geek. Then it wouldn’t be leaving it with a stranger, it’d be someone you know and trust. It’s what I had with someone at the shop my mom’s office used for their repairs. I loved it. Then I got too poor to afford it so now I just hope for problems to stay away. (And they pretty much have, interestingly enough, now that I’m not using a computer that used to be used by my porn-addled dad–amazing how much weird stuff porn sites download onto your computer, crashing it again and again even years later.)

  20. SuzyQ


    I’m a former techie currently working as a product demonstrator.

    Your data probably lives.

    I recently checked a drive for a co-worker who presumed all his family’s digital photos from a vacation were lost when his computer died. They were in fact all there.

    Get an external drive case that supports fire wire. Pull the drive and install it into the case.

    If the drive is connected to the computer via a wide flat cable that plugs in to an about 2 inch connector it is an ultra DMA or ATA drive and you will need a case that supports that. If it is more the thickness of a phone or network cable and plugs into an about 3/4 inch connector it is a SATA or Serial ATA and there are specific cases for those.

    You may have to set the jumper on the back of the drive. You will want it set for C Drive or Master and not for D drive or Slave (That is part of the sort of sexist language used)

    Then You can plug the fire wire into another computer and probably recover your data.

    This is the cheapest way to go about it.

    Costs can escalate from there with the next step being the download or purchase of Data Recovery software.

    If there is an email address where I can offer personal support point me to it and I will give you my email and phone number.

    Tiger Direct is a good source for things like external drive cases if you do not have a Frys Electronics near by.

  21. Lara

    I’ll send the flowers.

  22. Hattie

    What abou those servers that do automatic backups for some bucks a month? They are password protected & would be safe, I assume.

  23. Kuleana

    Damn. That is crapitude of a high magnitude. But my guess would also be that your hard drive is fine, as that doesn’t sound like the type of death that would come from hard drive failure.

    amazing how much weird stuff porn sites download onto your computer, crashing it again and again even years later.

    Heh heh. That’s what I call karma. Now if only somebody would figure out how to pass on viruses (preferably really nasty ones) to the hands of anyone who holds a copy of Hustler, we’d really have something, particularly when said readers go to wack off…

  24. orlando

    Maybe Stephen Fry could exume your files for you? I seem to remember he did that for Emma Thompson when she almost lost the whole script of Sense and Sensibility.

  25. terristrange

    I second the idea that Stephen Fry become involved in this tragedy.

    Sorry about Mungo.

  26. Megann

    RIP Mungo.

    Here is some good news that might help a bit.

    The European Court ruled in favor of Women on Waves and against the Portuguese government when they tried to keep the abortionship out of Portuguese waters in 2004:

  27. Eibhear

    I’m so sorry for your trouble. My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

  28. Shabnam

    Was the old IBTP forum data all stored on poor Mungo? I noticed a few days ago that it was no longer accessible. I hope it’s not lost for good. If it would help, I’d be happy to donate a small amount towards data recovery costs. Data recovery – very expensive for most, free for paedophiles! I suppose it must be that way.

  29. Shabnam

    Ok, I spoke to soon or late depending on your perspective. The ruin of the forum seems to still exist, hurrah!

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