I thought it was extraordinary that the computer guy was taking my word for things. Ok, that's not fair. He didn't know anything more than a grad student walked in asking how to deal with creating a disk image of dying disk and then returned later with a laptop. He ran a bunch of disk utils and it showed no symptoms. None of my files are corrupted! huzzah! (I was nervous about my Library files.) So he yanked off my entire user directory. and then called me and told me he needed a password. ("why didn't you just boot single user mode and change it?" "people get upset when i do that.")
So I walked over and there was my laptop booted up. I never thought i'd see that desktop again. I explained that I was a former sysadmin and that I had heard the death rattle of hard disks before, and then he was willing to take my word for it and label it "intermittent" and ship it off to apple. If I did not have that experience, he would have run a bunch more tests while logged in and if still no symptoms, he would have handed me my computer back and told me that he couldn't find a problem. I went poking through the console program looking for an error log. I couldn't find squat in the way of IO errors. So, I asked him to make an image of the whole disk. the files are uncorrupted, so why not? If it works, then I can figure out if I want to ship off the computer to apple (symptom free now. do I want to sit on it until it dies for real and have it my hands, or do I figure it's death is imminent and ship it anyway?). If it doesn't work, then the problem has been replicated. also, I really want an image of that disk drive. really really. i think i will do an image once a month in the future, not archiving old months, but Just In Case.
anyway, so I ended up talking to a grocery clerk about how I really didn't know if I wanted my computer back, knowing it's unhealthy, but I have it, or sending it off and not having it. Anyway, like a minute after I left the store and not but half an hour after I left the computer center, the tech guy called up and said my disk had started clicking and grinding. He's going to leave it off for an hour and then try again to create an image of the disk and then drop it in the mail to apple.
Goodness, I want an image of that disk in the worst way. also, I knew this would happen. It would have really sucked to walk out of there with my computer in hand and then get it home and have it start making noises a half an hour later, only to have to bring it back again. denial is exceedingly tempting.
this is all fascinating, no? Mumble an request for intercession to your deity of choice asking for a disk image.