Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

4/26/2013

Creating A World

Filed under: Art,Fun,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:06 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

It’s been said that every writer creates the world in their fiction, even if it’s not science-fiction, for their characters to explore.
Photographers can do the same thing.

I’ve always been a fan of science-fiction and fantasy in all its forms.  I remember as a kid seeing Star Wars in the movie theater and being completely captivated.  And, of course, like most geeks of my generation, I played Dungeons and Dragons and other table-top role-playing games.  Games that were born from the…
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4/19/2013

Perfect Portrait Posing

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:03 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, as promised, or threatened, this month I’ve got nothing but photography posts for  you on Friday.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned how I wanted to do more portrait work and gave you a link to a portrait cropping guide.
Well, I have to admit, one of the reasons I want to do more portrait work is because I find people a little challenging sometimes.  Believe it or not, I’m actually really shy, and have been most of my life.  One of…
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4/12/2013

Light Painting

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:58 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Cool light techniques.

I love doing tricky things in camera.
Look, I work with software all day long at my regular gig, so when I get home, I don’t really want to spend hours and hours working with Photoshop to make a “photograph”.  To me, the whole point is to make photographs with the camera, not with software.  I know, it probably makes me an antique, but, well, there it is.
I’ve done some work with light painting, though, thanks to my tragic…
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4/5/2013

Portrait Cropping Guide

Filed under: Art,Fun,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 9:15 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

More photography links this month.

I started this blog, and this entire website, to highlight things I enjoy, things that give me life.
I meant that to be writing and photography, and maybe a little spirituality lightly sprinkled through all that.  But, I have to admit, lately, there hasn’t been a lot of time or energy in my life for those things.  Oh, spirituality is something I pursue constantly, regardless of my day-to-day circumstances, but the writing and photography have sort of…
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4/4/2013

Backups and Data Recovery – Home Edition – Part 1

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Fun Work,Geek Work,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:24 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

“Two is one and one is none”.

I’ve quoted that a lot over the years.  I’ve reminded people over and over again that just moving your data to an external drive is NOT a backup.  If you can’t afford to destroy it, then it’s not backed up.  I’ve said all those things.
And, yet, on Tuesday, I lost data because it wasn’t backed up.

As many long-time readers know, I’m an amateur photographer.  In the past five years, I have taken over 18,000 photographs.
On Tuesday evening, the network attached storage device, an IOMega two terabyte personal cloud edition NAS, to be exact, died.  Or, more specifically, the drive inside it died.  The sad thing was that I was preparing to copy it all to another device when it bit the dust.  Oh, sure, I still have a little over 4,000 of the best shots uploaded to my Flickr photostream, but, it’s not the same.  (I talked a little bit more about the backup portion and the loss over at my other site, JKHoffman.com)
So, here’s what I’ll be doing; First, I’m investigating the data recovery services of DataRetrieval.com and Second, I’ll be ordering two more large drives for my Pogoplug to store and backup my photos from here forward.

Let’s take these in reverse order.
I plan on adding a new feature to this blog called “Tools for Tuesday” which irregularly reviews various tools, software and hardware and even non-computer, that I’ve used and enjoyed over the years.  One of those early reviews will be of the fantastic Pogoplug.  In a nutshell, for those who aren’t familiar, this little beauty lets me attach up to four USB-based drives at a time to my network.  They can be any kind of USB drives I happen to have available.  Right now, I have two one-terabyte drives in generic enclosures hooked up to it.  They are set up as a master and a mirror drive.  In other words, one drive is where I put all my “stuff” and the Pogoplug automagically mirrors it to the second drive.
It’s really, really nice and when I have the right software installed on my various machines, I can map a drive to that device via the internet and upload to my own personal cloud in my server closet at home.  It’s very nice, albeit a little slow sometimes when I’m away from home.  Still, it’s private and reasonably secure and automatically backing itself up.  I’ve confirmed that two of these devices in separate locations can be used the same way, make a truly redundant mirror, if you really want to do that.  (I do, but I haven’t gotten around to getting the second Pogoplug and setting it up on another network somewhere.)
I really cannot convey how happy I have been with this setup.  I’m super, super impressed with this as a low-rent solution for the small or home business person, or, like me, the hardcore hobbyist.
So, by the time you all are reading this post, I’ll have ordered two three-terabyte USB drives of some kind.  And, clearly, I’ll be setting them up in a similar configuration as the ones I already have, so that one backs up the other.

I’m also sending my drive off to DataRetrieval.com to get an estimate on restoring the data.
I chose them because they had an office in Houston, and I like using local businesses.  Also, they sent me a free shipping label to send the drive to them to get an estimate, which I like.  And, yes, I did try several things to get the data back myself, including the ultimate hard drive “Hail Mary”; the “frozen drive” trick.  I only got as far as seeing the drive, but not being able to access any of the partitions.  And, based on the horrible clicking noise it was making, I’m pretty sure it’s going to take getting the platters out and mounted in their special recovery equipment to get the data off.
I’m choosing slow over expensive, so it may be a couple weeks before I hear back from them with an estimate.  And, depending on how pricey it gets, I may not even decide to follow through and have them recover it.  But, I have to admit, it really hurt to lose five years worth of my photography, even if I don’t really go back to the old stuff all that often.  Now, if I were a professional photographer, or a business owner, I’d pay through the nose to get that data back, but for me, it’s really not hugely important.  Still, I’ll be interested to see, and share, what the quote is and how it’s handled by the service techs at DataRetrieval.com

So, stay tuned!  I don’t know how long it will take, but I promise to do a Part 2 when I get the data recovery quote!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A hero is no braver than anyone else. A hero is only brave five minutes longer."
   --Anonymous


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