My iMac has been dying a slow death the last couple of weeks. Main issues: Ethernet didn’t work at all, and Airport [Apple's WiFi hardware/software] was, at best, flaky. It got so bad this morning that I sucked it up and made a Genius Bar appointment. 20 minutes later, it was, “Yeah, you need a new logic board.” Oh well, there goes $700. [I didn't have AppleCare. I'm kicking myself right now. I will do that on every Mac I buy in the future.]
But, remember when I speculated that Time Machine could make loaner machines a reality for AppleCare? Obviously, Apple hasn’t gone that far, but all I’ve had to do to replicate my setup is this: go downstairs, shut down and disconnect my Mac mini, bring it upstairs, plug everything, boot into the every-night backup drive, and BAM! I’m back up and running with everything as of 0330 this morning. If I’d thought about it a little more, I would have done another SuperDuper! backup right before taking the iMac down—then I’d have everything as it was when I shut the machine down. Ah well—I didn’t do anything of any import this morning anyway locally.
Being meticulous about my backups has saved my bacon. It’s not that I expect data loss on the iMac at the Apple Store—I don’t. But I’m up and running right now. The only things I lose on this setup is the smaller screen [I have a 20" LCD I brought to bear] and about 1/3 of my CPU power.
Obviously, not everyone has a spare computer just laying around like I do. But if you’re making your living off of a computer—and I do—you’re crazy if you don’t back it up religiously.