But on the flight back, the same thing happened. I opened up the laptop and got an error. And this time, nothing I did would get the machine to work. Yet when I got home, everything was fine. What happened?
Here are the working theories:
1. I was in the same seat, 6F, on both flights. Possibly I was on the same airplane. Perhaps there was some strange electromagnetic phenomenon (or a ghost) that kept my hard disk from working.
2. The ThinkPad has a protection system that parks the hard disk when it detects shock or excess vibration. It could be that the vibration of the airplane kicked in the protection system and kept the hard disk from working.
3. The lower atmospheric pressure in the cabin may have affected the hard disk or a cable connecting it. That would explain why the machine started working during descent. An editor I work with at CNET says her iPod acts up in airplanes; another has a similar problem with his PSP.
What else could it be? Should I get a new laptop?