I wish I'd realized sooner the drive was dying; I could probably have hooked the laptop directly to the backup disk and gotten the weekend's photos from St. Patrick's Day and Atlantic City and the hockey tournament backed up. The good news is that I uploaded a lot of those to Flickr and/or Facebook over the weekend, and when I got home, so the real loss is minimal. And, because I've been using Gmail for 14850.com mail, the mail I'd downloaded since Thursday was still in the Gmail trash, and could be moved back to the inbox. Total loss? Negligible.
I'm also, once again, happy with Apple's warranty and AppleCare service. I called Wednesday, a box showed up Thursday, I sent the laptop out in the box Thursday afternoon, they got it Friday morning before I got to work, fixed it and sent it back Friday afternoon, and I had it Saturday. I'd have had it even earlier if I'd given them my home address, but as it is, I had to run out to FedEx to get it after they couldn't deliver it to a locked Cornell building in the morning. Now that I think about it, it's just as well; I was up late Friday night and would've been unhappy getting woken up by the doorbell!
So, how old is your last backup? If it's more than a few days old, do something about it, or take a last long look at all the files you're going to lose when your hard drive dies. Remember, it's not if, it's when.