Hardware Life

NOOOOO!!!! What?!?!?!? NOOOOO!!!!!

Okay… what have I learned today?

cutting drive wires

  1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
  2. Ignoring rule number 1 should only be proceeded by backing up your crap.
  3. For those who are too lazy or too confident to pay attention to either of the first two rules, this advice: don’t dick around with it… dummy.
  4. Don’t be a cheap bastard and use RAID striping instead of buying a full sized disk (unless you’re dealing with data that is totally expendable).
  5. It takes a really long time to rip 870+ CDs… you don’t want to imagine having to do it twice. 
  6. The perceived time it takes for Windows to start up increases in  logarithmic proportion to the amount of data you think you have just lost.
  7. System restore can save your butt.
  8. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (that deserves mentioning twice)

Okay, what ruined my day you ask?  This morning, before going into work, I did a quickie web search to see if there were Vista-compatible drivers for my RAID card.  This weekend I plan on installing Vista on my home machine and I realized I needed to lay some groundwork first… like making sure there were drivers for the various bits of hardware I have.  So, there are Vista drivers, Yay! 

So, genius boy here decides to download and install the new driver at 7:30 in the morning before going to work.  Heck, it’s for the card I have, no need to worry about something going wrong (sure, it seemed perfectly reasonable at the time).  A quick install and reboot later and my 500 gig music drive is suddenly two 250 gig, unreadable drives.  I almost cried.

Knowing I had to go to work and didn’t have time to futz with the damn thing I just shut down, kicked myself, packed up to go to work, then kicked myself again.

The worst part of it all was that as soon as I wasn’t focused on a task at work my mind would wander and …


If I had only bought two 500 gig drives instead four 250 gig drives the failure would have been no big deal… I’d have had two identical copies of my data (see rule number four above).  Given my RAID array wasn’t fully bullet-proof (and running just fine, thank you very much) I really shouldn’t have even played with it in the first place (see rule’s number one and three).  And so on…

All day I kept re-living my idiocy.  As soon as I could reasonably leave work I came straight home (panicking again every time my mind would wander at a stop light), dropped my coat just inside the front door and ran straight upstairs to sit down in front of my computer… the machine which I had so unceremoniously raped this morning.

I tried a couple of things, each requiring what seemed a stupendously long reboot time.  It’s amazing how painful it is to watch what usually seems a reasonably quick boot time when you’re imagining your entire CD collection going through a digital paper shredder.

In the end I did what I should have done first thing this morning, I used system restore to put my machine back in the state it was before I installed the drivers this morning.  Well, actually, what I should have done first thing this morning was poke myself in the eye with a pencil, and then kick myself for even considering updating the drivers for my RAID card when there was nothing wrong with it’s operation to begin with, followed by poking myself in the other eye to ensure I was unable to see well enough to screw myself. 

Honestly, sometimes I have the common sense of a small soap dish.

Cars Overseen

This morning’s entertainment

Leaving the house this AM I saw a smoking truck parked across the street, but the smoke wasn’t what drew my attention, it was the sound.  The small delivery van was idling fast and didn’t sound the least bit healthy.  The van had smoking coming out the tailpipe, but not much worse than you’d expect from a diesel.  It didn’t, however, look or sound like it was going to make it very far at all. 

Here’s what made stand and stare: The driver got out, walked around back and looked at the smoking tailpipe.  Satisfied it was okay he left van running, locked it and walked off.  Here’s the thing… it sounded like the accelerator was stuck half-way down (at least), it was smoking badly and the guy just locks the van and goes (presumably) to find help… with the van still running!  It wasn’t the brightest move.  The van continued to run at high idle… smoking more and more.  It got to the point that it looked like a James Bond smokescreen and cars had to stop for fear of driving through the dense cloud and hitting something. 

Smoking van

The driver was gone for several minutes before there was a bang and smoke started coming out from under the hood as well as from the tailpipe.  When he came hurrying back with someone in tow and the driver decided it would now be a good time to turn off the truck.  Genius.

Smoking van

Pop quiz hot shot: turn off the van or leave it running and walk away?

TV Video Games

Woo woo!

My current gaming addiction is Gears of War (GOW)… spent almost 4 hours playing it with friends last night (yes, Paula is out of town… aren’t you clever to figure that out).

Every time I play I can’t help thinking: “Hey, that Cole character sounds totally like Terry Tate.”  Well, last night my curiosity finally got the better of me and I looked it up. I was not mistaken.  Agustus Cole in GOW is played by Lester “The Mighty Rasta” Speight, recognized by most as “Terry Tate, Office Linebacker”. 

I can’t resist the Terry Tate commercials… once I watch one I have to watch them all… over and over and over.  Have a little taste of what Terry’s dishin’ out.


I’m doing the math… and I think I’m getting short-changed

My DSL speed seems like it’s been going downhill, so I ran a speed test.

The rate I should be getting? 3072 kbp/s download, 384 kbp/s upload.  Now I have to sit on hold.  What a great way to spend the weekend.

Before you ask, I tried multiple tests on servers in Ireland, England and the US.  Reported download speed ranged from 175 kbps to 972 kpbs (upload was consistently around 300 kbps). 

“All of our agents are currently on calls.  Please hold and your call will be answered in rotation.”  GAH!

Life Music

The soundtrack for my life

Saw this on Christopher’s site (he saw it on Trina’s site (she got it from her brother-in-law (he saw it on CC Chapman’s site (he got it as a chain mail from his sister))))… have I mentioned I have trouble staying on track?  Where was I?  Oh yes… 

The general idea is this: put your entire music library on shuffle, write down the first 14 tracks and slot them in for these pre-set sections of your life movie (rules, my play list and movie scenes below).

So, here’s the thing, I wanted to link to clips of each of the tracks so people would be able to listen to them if curious, but Amazon doesn’t have samples of all these tracks… so I instead went waaaaayyyy off the reservation and and started pulling pictures in from my life, slapping them into Photo Story and adding the musical tracks.  The end result lands somewhere between nostalgia and narcissism.

Video: My Life


  1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
  2. Put it on shuffle
  3. Press play
  4. For every section below, type the song that’s playing
  5. When you go to a new section, press the next button
  6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool …
# Scene Track
1 Opening Credits Embrujo by Triumph
2 First Day At School Breaking the Silence by Queensryche
3 Falling in Love Boomerang by Kiss
4 Breaking Up Play Rough by Night Ranger
5 Prom In Search of a Rose by The Waterboys
6 Mental Breakdown Seeing Things by The Black Crowes
7 Flashbacks Knights of the Round Table by Monty Python
8 Getting Back Together Mr. Rainmaker by Warrant
9 Wedding Scene Apples and Pears by moO
10 Final Battle Homewrecker by Gretchen Wilson
11 Death Scene Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon by Neil Diamond
12 Funeral Song Full Sail by Rick Emmett
13 End Credits Two Guys a Girl and A Horn Section by Redwood School District
14 Anthem World Start Turning by Rick Springfield

Now that’s entertainment!

I love this show! 

studo 60 logo

Are you watching it yet?

No?  Go, right now, set your TiVo.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait right here.

What are you waiting for?  Shoo!


I feel your pain

Paula and I were at the mall the other day and as we were walking out another couple was coming towards us, into the mall.  Just inside the door the man stopped short and turned to the woman with a look like she’d just kicked his dog… twice… with big, heavy boots:

“Three hours?!? In here?  What do you need that for?”

She ignored him and just kept walking as he wilted and sulked after her into the mall.

stock photo

Microsoft Software

My new favorite Vista feature

I suppose I should start by telling you what my old favorite feature was… I’m not sure what it’s called but it allows you to navigate up and down folders much more quickly.  It’s great for going from one folder to another at the same level (e.g. from one folder of pictures to another).

Quick navigation in Vista

My NEW favorite feature comes courtesy of Omar’s blog: the shadow copy. Here’s the MS description of the feature:

Windows Vista now includes shadow copy functionality built in, which enables users to access previous versions of their documents, even when they are stored locally on their computer instead of on the network. Accessing the previous versions of a file you’re working with is easy.

What happened is I was bit by a bug which removed all the date taken information from the pictures I took over Christmas time.  Big deal?  Not to people who simply print their pictures… but for me it meant all the pictures were in random order on our web site.  I searched high and low for a tool to copy the date information from another part of the file and then remembered Omar’s post.  The process of restoring files was pretty straight-forward… and really made me happy work provides us with Windows Ultimate (unfortunately for home users, it’s not available on the consumer version).

For the curious, I made some screenshots of the process:

Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore Shadow copy restore

Oh, also cool: if you get a Windows Home Server your backups on the server will show up there too.  Sweet!  Dang I want that cool round one! See the Digital Amnesia site for more info (presented in an entertaining fashion) or for a great demo, watch CJ’s video interview on 10.

Thanks Vista for the save (and thanks Omar for the pointer :)).