Diary of a Network Geek

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

5/31/2013

Writerly Advice

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:16 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

There is no shortage of advice for writers.

And, honestly, the advice you like least is probably the best for you.  Why do I say that?  Because the advice that rankles you the most is probably digging at the precise issue that you have as a writer and are trying to ignore.  Or, is that just my Freudian slip showing?
I hate to admit it, but I fall into the classic traps of wanna-be fiction writer all the time.  My biggest failing? …
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5/24/2013

Rainy Coffee Shop

Filed under: Art,Fun,music,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:14 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Remember two weeks ago?  When I was talking about ambient coffee shop sounds?

Well, now someone has come out with an improvement, at least in my mind; rain.
So, really, this one is even simpler than the last one.  There’s just two buttons; one to turn on the “cafe sounds” and one to turn on the “rain”.  That’s it.  Though, I assume if you want some music, you can just go ahead and play your regular MP3 player of choice as well…
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5/21/2013

Backups and Data Recovery – Home Edition – Part 2

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Calamity, Cataclysm, and Catastrophe,Geek Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Horse which is around lunchtime or 12:07 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

So, I’ve finally heard back from DataRetrieval.com!

(Actually, I heard back a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been a little busy and haven’t had a chance to write things up.)

After a couple days of trying to get a response from an actual human being as to what was going on with my drive, I finally got a quote.  Well, actually, two quotes, which was kind of confusing.  The first quote was for about $300 and the second quote was for $1800.  But, I got no explanation of what the two quotes meant!  After a whole lot of back and forth over the course of more than a week with what seemed like an email autoresponder, I finally got in touch with a customer service representative to find out what was going on.
As it turns out, the quote for $300 was the minimum price to just get started.  Let that sink in for a minute.  They wanted $300 up front before they even started working on this drive with no promise whatsoever of actually retrieving data.  The $1800 quote was an estimate of the entire cost for retrieving all my data.

DataRecoveryReturnDrive Obviously, that wasn’t going to work for me and I told the service rep that.  Then, apparently, we started negotiations.
He came back with a counter offer price, which was still way too high and I told him so.
A day later, he came back again with another, lower offer.
In the end, that $1800 got cut down to about $500, which made me wonder just what they were charging me for in that first outrageous quote!

Finally, I convinced them that I wasn’t going to use their service and that I just wanted my drive back.  They charged me $25 for shipping, which I thought was fair enough, and they sent my drive back to me.  And here’s where they really lost me as a customer ever.  To the left, you see the box they sent my drive back to me in.  In case you forgot from the first post about this incident, since it was so long ago, I sent the drive to them in a larger box that was specifically designed to ship drives in, to keep them as safe as possible.

At the right, you see how they packed things inside the box.DataRecoveryReturnDrive-3
After all the strongly worded warnings and disclaimers about making sure you ship your damaged drive to them well padded so they won’t be liable for any additional damage or data loss, they don’t return the drive with anything like that same consideration.  I suppose they don’t feel like they need to since they won’t be making money off the drive, but, damn, that kind of disrespect for potential customers really says something bad about them as a company, at least in my mind.  I mean, there wasn’t *any* padding whatsoever!  It was just wrapped in two plastic shipping bags and shoved into the box!
Thankfully, the drive doesn’t seem to be damaged at all, or any more than it was when it crashed, so I’m probably no worse off than I was before I sent it to them.  Still, it’s the idea that they’d show so little care with my data that makes me question their entire service.  I know that I, personally, won’t ever trust them to attempt a data retrieval again, that’s for sure!

Also, based on what I’ve read, the problem is most likely a bad board on the drive.  A board which I can get off eBay for about $40, replace myself, and quite likely retrieve all my old photos.  I haven’t actually decided if I’m going to try and run down the board that matches the BIOS on my particular drive, but I may.  Kind of a huge difference, though, between $1800 and $40, plus a little of my time, isn’t it?

In any case, if I decide to get the board and fix the drive myself, now that I finally have it in my possession again, I’ll post another follow up with how that went.  And, possibly, even a tutorial on changing out that board.


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams."
   --John Barrymore

5/17/2013

Draft – Version Control For Writers

Filed under: Fun Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a First Quarter Moon

I am a geek.

This may be self-evident based on the fact that I work in IT and maintain several websites including two blogs, but the implications of that may not be clear.
In software development, of which I have done very, very little, there’s a concept called “version control”.  In brief, it’s about keeping track of the latest revision of your written source code, so that you can revert, if necessary, to an older version for part of the code, when…
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5/10/2013

Coffee Shop Sounds

Filed under: Art,Fun,Fun Work,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a New Moon

A relatively recent study says that the background noise of a coffee shop can boost your creativity.

I tend to subscribe to the attitude of one of my favorite authors, John Scalzi, espoused in his book You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop To A Coffee Shop.  And, actually, the title of that book is pretty much how he feels.  I have to agree.  When someone takes their laptop to a coffee shop to “write”, let’s face it, their…
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5/3/2013

Write More Quickly

Filed under: Fun Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

with the DASH method!

I hate to admit it, but when I write on this blog, or any of my blogs, really, I often find myself floundering about.
Sometimes, I just keep typing until something mildly coherent comes out.  But, the better posts are the result of me stopping for a few minutes and contemplating what message I’m trying to get across to my readers.  And, although I haven’t written fiction in many years, it used to work the same way there,…
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