Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Awful! It was awful!

Darlings. You've no idea. I was sitting there minding my own business, when the most dreadful sound began emanating from the keyboard. Like punk-rock music. I checked the stereo, but sadly, it was definitely the keyboard. Then it changed to a high-pitched shrieking noise, as of Pretty Lady's hard drive immolating itself against the interior wall of the laptop. At this point, Pretty Lady quickly pressed the 'shut down' button, but it was all too late. The hard drive was, indeed, toast.

So now we have a new one, utterly innocent of the many and various intimate and irreplaceable files, documenting Pretty Lady's insouciant doings over the last three and a half years. One must not look back. One must Look Forward. One must start writing The Book, in fact. It is to be called, tentatively, On Civilization. This is a sufficiently ponderous title, do you not think? One is taking recommendations as to chapter themes, although there are many lurking ideas already.

Cheers! I have missed you all.

11 comments:

danonymous said...

welcome, back, my dear. Since you said toast, I can only imagine that you were in Europe for an extended Continental breakfast.

prettylady said...

No, merely in Coney Island, breaking the hearts of men from South America. Story to follow, after the Yankee game.

jackadandy said...

Missed you! It's been a flatter World Wide Web without you. :)

Chapter suggestion: Discipline: The Zen of Backing Up Files.

The Aardvark said...

Hello, my sweet!
So glad to have you back.

Howzabout "Zen and the Art of Hard Drive Maintenance".Your nom de plume can be Robert PeaCee.

...or not...

prettylady said...

You people are psychic. I was just going to include a list of 'Recommended Readings for the Civilized Individual' and "Zen and the Art..." was going to be very close to the top of it.

There is a packet in my desk, labelled "Hard Drive Backup 2/17/05," but it looks suspiciously thin. I cannot imagine that the entire missing 20 gigs can be contained in it. Have not had the courage to pop the discs in and see what's actually there.

thimscool said...

I think a chapter on abstraction. Of religion, of state, of education… of anything that has gotten too complex for any reasonable individual to grasp entirely. But abstraction is necessary, if people are to specialize. And specialization is part of the essence of civilization. The benefits are obvious, and the cost is becoming obvious too.

I’m sorry about your data… DVD burner is your friend, Pretty Lady; cheap, archival, reliable, and universally accessible on virtually any other machine, should yours become toast. $50-$100ish for the unit, and < $0.50 per 4.5GB disk. Last’s 10-30 years, depending on storage techniques. Obviously it will last one second under the influence of a blowtorch, but put it in a sleeve in a closeted shoebox and don’t worry for 7 years. Sorry to geek out on ya, Pretty Lady, but your work is valuable and I hate to see the source data disappear. Oh well; God’s got a backup. ;)

Meanwhile, I’m glad to hear you’re still breaking hearts, and additionally that you find the Yankees contemptible. I love NY, but the Yankee’s demonstrate the downsides rather adroitly, as you explained. George Costanza hit the nail on the head. Ignore them at will!

The Aardvark said...

Yeah, Pirsig was a must-read back in the college days. I must reread it, along with "The Children of Sanchez".

The North American caricature of machismo is anaemic indeed, along the lines of "My Mother The Car" being an accurate picture of doctrinaire reincarnation.

Ooooh, I feel a commercial coming on...

"ReinCarnation...The milk from Contented Transmigratory Cows".

...I should really do a shirt...

The Aardvark said...

Oh, and AAAAYYYYY-men to the whole DVD burner thing.

Don't wait for terabyte crystal burners...
;^)

prettylady said...

Abstraction and specialization! Well, if anybody is abstract and specialized, it would be moi.

I have a Kanguru Quicksilver High Speed USB2.0 Drive, is this sufficient? My credit cards have taken such a thrashing in the last month that I doubt they'll ever recover. But my birthday is coming up.

I would buy that T-shirt, Aardvark, assuming there is any space left on my credit card.

thimscool said...

"I have a Kanguru Quicksilver High Speed USB2.0 Drive, is this sufficient?"

It's better than no backup, but hard drives, and particularly portable hard drives, do not last 10-30 years*. Moreover, the device itself is the storage, so you can't just store cheap disks in a shoebox, while keeping the device handy.

The two issues are discipline and cost. At $0.50 per 4.7GB disk, there is a very low cost barrier to making a backup. Now remembering to do it is another matter...

Obviously, you stand to lose all data since your last backup. So it is important to set a reminder and make it happen, at a frequency that you feel comfortable with.

The other consideration is to ensure that you are really getting all of your data. A common mistake is to backup all files, but to miss the email, contacts, calendar. Ouch. Certain accounting applications default to storing their data files in their program folders... bad. You'll need to go and get them for backups too.

* The "Mean Time Between Failure" for hard disks is supposedly better than 100,000 hours (11 years) ~ yeah right. I don't trust any hard drive over four years old, and actually I keep all my important data on a RAID array, with offsite optical backups. But if you


Hey. You asked for it.

thimscool said...

Never finished my last thought... I got geeked out. ;)