You MacBook Pro is not old enough to drink

3 05 2013

“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men  / Gang aft a-gley.” – Robby Burns (Scottish Poet)

You can say that again!

And by “that” – I mean no one ever really plans to pour a drink into their computer while working under deadline. It lets the smoke out of the computer, and is technically “alcohol abuse.”

But, sometimes, that just happens.

So I thought I’d tell you, as a volunteer participant in Microsoft’s SkyDrive Insider’s program, how using a little pre-planning a long time ago paid off. We were able to recover my wife’s important documents, email, contacts, etc. in about 10 minutes. The best part was that she could continue her work staging of the World Premier of her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion at the San Jose Stage Company.

What follows may seem like a lot of prerequisites

True… however, here is how the situation played out in real life:

I was driving home from rehearsal – listening to a podcast. My phone reads a text message to me:

“@*&^%!  #&*^! I just spilled a beer on my computer!”

Which, was robotically funny… but started the gears turning. “What are we going to do? How much was this going to cost? Was the data all gone? I wonder if the documents were saved?”

Answer: The computer itself was mostly dead. The time was about 10 minutes to get working again.

The cost… well… that’s up to you.

Here’s how the preparation paid off:

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Going for 3TB in WHS v1

22 04 2011

So Windows Home Server 2011 is out, but it is missing a major component that I really liked about WHS (and what made WHS unique) – Drive Extender.

Basically, in WHS v1, you could add a drive to your machine, and WHS would add it automatically to its “storage pool”. From there, my files would get distributed and duplicated across the new drive. That means in case of failure, my files are fairly safe, and Drive Extender removed most of the concerns about sizing drives properly when you do a “hardware RAID” type solution on regular hardware storage options.

In Windows Home Server 2011, they removed Drive Extender. But I wrote about why I don’t like that already.

So, I bought an HP MediaSmart Home Server just after they decided to pull the plug on them. (Why? Because they’re nice boxes and 64 bit – so if I decide to jump on WHS 2011, I can do it manually.) But, I wanted to add a big big drive, and WHS v1 doesn’t like anything above 2TB.

Here’s how you can fix it…

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Moving to Windows 7 while keeping one foot in the past

17 11 2009

I finally made the commitment to Windows 7 as my main OS on my tablet PC.  I’d been running it in a dual boot configuration for a while, but a few weeks ago, it was time to move on.  My Vista installation was over 2 years old and was starting to act unpredictably.

As with every fresh operating system installation, the pain of starting from scratch makes you swear to never let your machine get to its inevitable ugly state again.

Keeping that promise might be a little easier this time around though.  By using some cool virtualization technology, you can have the best of both worlds.

Easy transfer wizard

There are many discussions about how to make life a little bit easier when moving to Windows 7 by using the Microsoft Windows Easy Transfer wizard.  I discovered a few things that I didn’t know while using it and thought I should pass it along.

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Windows Home Server and the Hamachi Surprise*

18 05 2009

Synchronizing your digital life is a necessity in today’s modern world.  When you work for a company with a good IT department, you can keep up with the mothership using a collection of software applications and Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s).

But, let’s say you’re at home.  Maybe you have a home office, or maybe you just need to access stuff from your computers at home once in a while.  There are many options that can help you get the job done (and everyone has their own preference).  I’m going to talk about the way(s) I do it.

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Home is where the server is

27 04 2009

It’s time to make good on my threat to post about home technology.  This post will be part of a series about stuff that makes my technical home life functional, yet very geeky.  It’s a mix of things that anyone with a small office / home office (SOHO) might enjoy using.  Some of it may save your bacon.  Even if it’s Canadian.

Just to get some affiliations out there – I don’t have particular allegiances, but typically I’m Microsoft-centric these days.  I do maintain a Mac (a post on that later), iPod, and used to have some Linux boxes around.  So I’m no stranger to any of that.

Why you need a Windows Home Server

This is a product that Microsoft got right.  There are others as well (Microsoft OneNote, and I’ll post about that later).  But I digress.

A stay at home server is right for you.  Be sure to check out the children’s books for those inevitable questions. Read the rest of this entry »