About 10:30 last night there was a failure in the raid system on my computer - it's a twin hard-drive system that mirrors the data just in case one hard-drive crashes. The system has somehow got out of sync, although the computer itself I've managed to reboot. This is a very good sign and hopefully that means that the mirror system has rebuilt itself. Meanwhile I'm taking the precaution of copying everything I can onto external hard-drives.
It's about one in the morning and I'll probably be up most of the night making sure that nothing has been lost before I risk turning the machine off and on again. It probably also means that I won't be getting up at my usual early hour and that I might not have an opportunity to post anything over the weekend.
While this is going on I'm effectively out of action. You can still comment on Bear Alley but I'd suggest you don't try sending e-mails, just in case the re-build doesn't work and I lose any new messages when I try to reboot again.
Hopefully this is a temporary setback and I'll be back to normal within 24 hours, jet-lagged but OK. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
It's now 8:20 am and everything seems to be working OK. The computer rebooted without incident and I'm not getting any messages about hard-drives being "unavailable". Now to see if I can figure out what happened last night and what I can do to prevent it happening again...
It's now 9:10 and my e-mail appears to be working OK. I've sent and received mail and nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Looks like everything is back to normal, although I still have some sleep to catch up on, so things might be a bit random for a day or two.