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The Time Sink

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Most Recent (Last update: 0030 03/31/02)

Let's see... Coming back to the start of the work week when I missed the last two days of last week. Okay...

Umm... Year end inventory is next Monday morning. ...and there are a few things to do prior.

When I connected Friday evening to check on things, my tape drive was giving some sort of device failure error... Likely it wants a power-down reboot rather than the restart that's all I can manage from home (I just can't justify that additional phone line for the UPS control anymore <g>).

Oh, and there was mail saying the head geek is off this entire week on vacation... Lovely. I'm betting the CND on the network is set to go off around 0700 this morning.

Ah, well... It's a starting point <g>...

Monday II

Hmmm... Inventory may not be on Monday as planned; details as events unfold...

Hey, I made it out blading today for the first time in a week. Yeah! I didn't even try since last Wednesday for obvious reasons, but this week could be a good one for working out. With school out for Easter vacation, I should be able to get in to and out of the office early each day. ...and even the church gig we're heading for on Wednesday is at the local roller rink.

...but the reason I didn't get out earlier last week had to do with that troublesome problem I had with that one batch of wheels. ...and I still don't know what is going on. It takes me about a half hour to mount up a set of bearings and wheels, so I can usually just manage it during this time of year if I get right on it when I get home. Otherwise, I loose my light and can't skate (well, I could, with those flashy light things; but I just don't think so...). Anyway, I thought I had a tolerance problem with the bearings, the spacers, the wheels, and the frame... So, I changed out the wheels. ...and it was like rolling in mud. So I changed out another set from the same source. ...only with some 'known good' bearings. No go...

So I was stumped. ...and torqued! Last night I backed way the heck off and mounted up the set of wheels I keep for use at the roller rink. They're a 'softer' ride than I can use on the streets since they wear out too quickly, but they are ideal for a rink because they 'stick' better. ...and I figured I needed to mount them before tomorrow night anyway.

Short version: great ride. Now WT??? is going on with those other ones. The only thing I can figure is a batch of defective wheels. ...and that makes no sense with this brand. I'll wait until the weekend and see if I can figure out a way to A-B test things a bit more tightly. I've been at this for a while and I've never had a problem quite like this one...

Interesting times...

Remembering 09/11/01

Monday III

Sheesh... Did I mention elsewhere that I managed to get out and blade again? Not that it's my life, but the endorphin release can't hurt. Work is still ten pounds of potatoes in a five pound sack. ...but as long as I step lively, I don't much care about the ones laying around on the ground. ...and after this morning's latest addition (to say nothing of the escapade with Shelley's car breaking down on her this morning), I think it's time to dump the entire sack on the floor and resort. ...maybe by number of eyes this time: it doesn't seem to matter which way I sort them; they still won't fit. Nothing new, though; I've been doing this dance for years. There'll be some slack time soon enough...

Oh, yeah; that was the other thing: no workee Monday! The powers that be have declared that we can take either Friday or Monday off. Good timing, since our inventory was scheduled for Monday morning. Tuesday sounds soooo much better.

Ah, well; back to it...

Monday IV

What the heck, why not? This week's just been like riding a tsunami at work. It will pass soon enough, but the wave front seems to be continually cresting and I don't like it when I can't catch a glimpse of the shore!

'Sokay, just two more days and I can catch a break. Hey, I caught a good one last night at the roller rink. Well, one near-break on a fall when a chain reaction threw a kid into me with nowhere to go but down. We both shrugged it off, although I won't be shrugging with my right shoulder for a day or two since that was my point of contact with the floor.

The rest of the hour and a half was just one long cool skate. It was so darned nice to blade without worrying about cars and rocks and bumps (although the actions of the newbies often resembled Brownian motion; avoiding them took some talent). ...but as the evening wore on, the crowd thinned some. ...and I managed to get my legs tired enough that I had to rely on finesse rather than strength to make my way around the rink and through the clusters of people. I don't get to do that on the streets!

...and another cool thing: about that time Bradley hooked up and paced with me for the rest of the evening.

Yeah, that was cool...

Good Friday

It should be a slowish day today. If past experience holds, about half our vendors will be closed, mostly the smaller outfits. We're optioning either today or Monday. I'll be taking Monday off, partly because of inventory and partly because our church's service is this evening.

I'm hoping it will go slow. Yesterday I didn't get any further behind, but that also meant I didn't catch up. ...and late in the afternoon, I felt like I'd hit a wall of some sort and just ran out of energy. Even a nap and dinner didn't perk me up as much as I'd have liked. I'm still not sure what happened, unless I really tapped into my reserves blading Wednesday evening...

Ah, well; much to be done to set up three days off...


A brief review of back up strategy. ...not intended to be comprehensive, rather to be used as a starting point for thinking about what to do with the current and not so current tech.

I was chatting on line with a friend the other day; she needs a new system and the subject of backing up her data (web sites and graphics files) came up. She casually mentioned getting a tape drive and that of course started me off on a comment or two... Like: exactly what is it you want to protect? ...and for how long? ...and do you have off-site capability?

Some random thoughts for your perusal, especially if you're a typical home-based computer user... What is important to you? I'm betting you're going to say your "My Documents" folder. ...and maybe that folder where you've been dumping everything that comes off the digital camera. ...or maybe if you do web work, the folders with the different client projects in them. ...and the graphic arts projects. ...and probably your 'working' folder.

Okay, how about the programs? ...and the OS? What about them? ...and are you covering yourself from catastrophic failure or just the occasional file deletion. ..and while we're at this, how about file storage?

A thought about catastrophic failures: if you hose your system you're likely to be buying a new one, complete with OS. Uh-oh, can't restore on top of that unless it's a full restore that wipes your new OS. ...and throws on the drivers for your old machine, not the new stuff. Owie. Hmm... What about the programs? Restore? ...or re-install? How about the things that have to happen in the registry? Another owie. Okay, your data files... Those would be just a dump, correct? Okay.

...and if we're talking hosing a file because you overwrote it or deleted it in error or it was the unfortunate victim of that last digital hiccup? No sweat. ...if you have a back up plan. ...and a program.

Let's talk media for a moment: Tape sounds cool; all the big guys use it. Yes, they do. ...and they run full backups on a regular basis (once a week at work for me). They also run either incremental (every thing since the last backup of any sort) or differential backups (everything since the last full backup) on a daily or more often basis (nightly differentials for me on the work machine). I like differentials since I can get everything back in two passes, the full and the latest differential. I had to do a machine once that was on the far end of an incremental series and I decided right then I'd match my tape capacity to my needs. ...and keep a spare motherboard on hand for my current machine.

My knock on tape for home use is the expense of the media. ...and to a certain extent the permanence. ...and to a great extent the need for multiple tapes and a regular scheduled cycling of those tapes. ...and the cleaning of the drive. ..and the gyrations you have to go through to pull a file from a catalog and the time it takes to read that tape. ...and the tendency to back up the entire machine on that tape.

But how about CDR and CDRW? Yeah! CDR media is so cheap it's not worth worrying about; and CDRW is coming down nicely. ...and if you don't have the shekels for a Plextor wonder drive? Well, check your local office supply house or online resource for some pleasant surprises. As an example, Office Depot is clearing out some decent Sony units (with 'burnproof') for $100US. Nero (burning software) is selling for $65US in some stores.

...but wait, we're talking back up here. ...and if we don't have to fool with it, it will get done, correct? How about automatic backup? Here's the prize: remember Seagate's Backup Exec? That was probably the best single-computer package available for years. Veritas had it for a while, but they've sold distribution rights off to an unlikely outfit: Stomp, the bunch that started off making CD labels and such.

I found the latest incarnation of Backup Exec last year after I managed to hose the original version on the work machine. This latest one really doesn't care what it backs up to, a tape drive, a CD, a ZIP, a JAZ; if it's there, it will find it. ...and guess what, that old Colorado scheduler software is still built in: unattended backups, sheer bliss.

So, there are a few things to think on. Like developing a systemic approach to backing up anything you don't want to lose. ...and my target audience here isn't the tech crowd; heck, I use tape to back up here. But CDR and CDRW are changing how I think about some things...Like just now: as I was writing this, I pulled a copy of The TimeSink down from my host to the Linux box I'm working on and burned it and filed it. Sure, it's on the local server. ...and that's backed up by tape. But my time spent was minimal and now there's an archive of several years worth of drivel ready to head to my office for safe keeping...

Catch you on Monday...

Easter Sunday

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