When Video Kills Your Drive – Quicktime Waxes Track 0

Alright! Yes, sometimes I do read slashdot when it’s amusing, and the discussion of how you can create your own custom panic screen (or BSOD window) for OS/X via an API is amusing (my son Ben points this stuff out for me – he feels it’s one of his sacred tasks). Joke panic screens have been around a long time, but the battle over “how much information to give people” has led to many not-so-amusing battles, especially when we were creating 386BSD releases and did the Apple approach as an option long before Apple switched to BSD and did the same thing we did. I like information and transparency, but not at the cost of frustrating and annoying lots of people…

But aside from this old debate, probably the funniest *real* programming error discussed (yes Apple, you did it again) was the Quicktime capture bug a video engineer discussed, where it merrily fills up the drive with video and then, when you’ve run out of space on the disk, overwrites allocated blocks. Yes, allocated blocks! And where did that leave our poor engineer? With no track 0. Even Apple couldn’t put that one back together again – they had to give him a replacement drive, and that’s a complete admission of defeat, because as everyone knows Apple is very cheap. (Disclaimer – I have worked in manufacturing, and we all are very cheap in this regard because hardware returns make a nasty entry on your income statement – show me a systems vendor that doesn’t care about hardware returns, and I’ll show you a vendor that won’t please shareholders).

But the question begs – is there another way to recover from a track 0 loss on a disk drive? Well, we faced the same problem at Symmetric Computer Systems years ago, and we recovered that disk, albeit not the way you might think…

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