Epiphany!

Oct. 21st, 2007 03:25 pm
llcoolvad: (Default)

OK, it's probably not important enough to really call it an epiphany. Nothing life-changing. But it never occurred to me until the other day, and now it seems so damned obvious a solution that I can't believe I didn't think of it before. 

One of my many organizing nightmares is that I have seven computers floating around in my life:
1. My parents' very first computer, bought in 1995
2. My first Windows computer, bought in 1995
3. My parents'  second computer, bought in probably 1999
4. My parents'  third computer, bought in 2002ish
5. My second Windows computer, bought in 2002ish and upgraded in 2005ish
6. Mom's new computer, bought this year
7. My work laptop, which, while it's not mine, has a lot of my stuff on it

That doesn't even count the three external hard drives I have. Arg!

My first computer is in storage and is a goner anyway; but all the others are kicking around this very apartment. It's not a big apartment. And there are files that have been backed up in a million places (mostly on floppies and CDs) but that are still on all the old hard drives. I kept getting wiped out just thinking of dealing with it all — getting all the files off all the old drives, wiping them clean, then dealing with getting rid of all the old computers.  The earliest computers are Win95, so I can't use USB anything (it didn't exist then, and isn't compatible). I don't want to rely on some kind of software that will compare files and keep the most recent version, etc., because I am a little too control-freaky for that. Plus just having the desk/table room (and an extra monitor) to deal with it all is not happening.

And then I had the idea! Simple, cheap, quick, effective...

Get a hard drive enclosure! If you don't know what I mean, it's a box with a ribbon cable and power plug inside, and a USB and/or Firewire connection outside. You take a hard drive out of a computer (very simple job, just unplug the computer before you start messing around in there) and then put it into this box, plugging everything in. Plug the USB into any other computer and now you can use your old hard drive like an external hard drive, moving files, backing up files, etc. And you don't need extra space, or an extra monitor, or have compatibility issues. 

Across the six computers I probably have eight hard drives (several had master/slave configurations as we ran out of space) so I could get one enclosure for each, but honestly I could get by with just one -- use it to transfer the files off, wipe the drive, then move another hard drive into it.

Beyond all the hard drive sizes (you can get ones for laptop hard drives, too) and types (EIDE vs. SATA, etc.), there are two basic styles of enclosures: ones with a fan, and ones without. The fan is for heat dissipation, but if you aren't planning on running the hard drive constantly as a backup drive or as an external storage solution that you leave on all the time, there's no real reason to have the fan type -- the design of the enclosure should take dissipation into account already. Which means you can find them for $15 or less. I bought one yesterday at Microcenter for $20, and it's pretty awesome. 

I'm thinking I'll get at least one more, so I can keep the two 120GB drives as backup (one for Mom's stuff, one for mine). But hey, this is a reasonable solution that means I can work on stuff sitting on my couch, rather than spending hours at a table with wires trailing everywhere, so it's all good. I look forward to a time in the very near future that I will have no extra computers littering my landscape, and all my files tucked away tidily.

llcoolvad: (Default)
I use IE at work sometimes. Sometimes Firefox, sometimes IE, depends on my level of irritability and the built-in media stuff I'm trying to run.

Today, using IE, got very frustrated (surprise!). All new links were opening in a teeny tiny window; I tried all tricks I could think of to get IE to reset itself, no luck. Went to google, found answer:
Ever notice sometimes you right-click on a link and open a new window and it's not full screen? This usually occurs because IE remembers the last window size when closed. Many times a background pop-up will do this too, if it is the last window closed. To resize the window and regain control:

Close all instances of Internet Explorer except for one.
Right-click on a link in the page and select: "Open in New Window"
Close the first browser window using the [ X ] (upper right corner)
Resize the window manually by dragging the sides to the desired size.
Note: Do NOT click the Maximize button, you must do it manually.
Hold down the Ctrl key and click the Close button (upper right)
Two things I wouldn't have thought of, ever, were the "Do NOT click the Maximize button," and "CTRL Close"...Yay, web! Now browser is back under control. I think I'll go back to Firefox, tho. Why do I stray?
llcoolvad: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] cicadabug recently posted a PSA to remind us all to backup our important computer files. She's a sysadmin, so she has a lot of exposure to people who never backup and are then violently surprised when they lose a chunk of stuff. At my workplace they have a passive backup system, where when you connect to the network, the backup automatically starts. When you disconnect, it stops. You have no choice in the matter. So that's good. And I am currently using my work computer for everything in my life, so I feel pretty confident that I'm covered. Warning, sorta dull with no big payoff like I lost all my files boo-hoo because I didn't )

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