My Nightmare Before Christmas

December 26, 2008

Warning: this is a tech-geek blog post. If you’re into that, read on.

So, I have previously written about how I sync my documents folder between my primary iMac and my laptop. Basically, the docs folder on each is always in sync automatically through Windows Live Sync (formerly Foldershare). That way, if I work on a document at home in the morning, the most current version is already on my laptop when I open it up away from home later in the day. It’s a sweet setup.

Here’s the problem. I sold my laptop on Christmas Eve. I’m upgrading to a new MacBook, and Christmas Eve seemed to give me the best chance of selling my near-perfect, five-year-old PowerBook. I posted the Craigslist ad on Tuesday night and had a buyer Wednesday morning. Rock on.

Before going to meet the buyer, I, of course, had to wipe my laptop of my private info, then do a format and reinstall of OS X. Here’s the problem. I stupidly forgot all about my sweet syncing setup. So, as I deleted  my entire documents folder, Live Sync dutifully started syncing my “most recent changes” with my main iMac. The result? All of my documents were deleted off all my machines. Let me repeat that: ALL OF MY DOCUMENTS WERE DELETED. Oh yeah, and we all remember that I’m a professional writer, right? So, my documents are kind of important. But they were gone.

I didn’t even realize it until hours later, after the sale was complete and my family was here for Christmas Eve festivities. I went to check something on my iMac, and then the freaking out began. No problem, I thought. I have Time Machine backing up my documents for just such an occasion. No luck. For some reason, Time Machine had no past backups of my docs, either. Fail.

Fortunately, I do complete system backups fairly regularly, but it’s been six weeks since the last one. So, I recovered everything except what I worked on the past six weeks. The good news is, I haven’t done any freelance since then, and it appears that my last full backup was done the day after I worked on my last freelance assignment. So, all that should be missing is a few odds and ends that I’ll probably never notice.

The moral to the story? Well, there’s a few. First, it’s a good reminder that everyone needs a solid, consistent, redundant backup strategy. I’m going to Costco today to get a new 1 terabyte drive to dedicate to Time Machine. I think it failed because I was limiting what Time Machine was allowed to back up. I’m just going to plug this new drive and let Time Machine backup the whole system for good. Second, it’s an encouragement to all casual computer users that even hard-core geeks can make stupid, bone-headed mistakes. It happens.

Fortuantely, I had a full system backup at home (and another copy at my office for extra safety), so it wasn’t a terrible, terrible situation. If I had been totally slack in backups, it would have been a disaster. In addition to the new Time Machine drive, I have set a weekly calendar reminder to do a full system backup to a different drive using the awesome Super Duper program for the Mac. I’ve been using that for two years, but not on a set schedule. If I had been doing this weekly to begin with, I wouldn’t have had to rely on a six-week-old backup for recovery.

So that was my Christmas Eve. Aside from that, my Christmas day was merry and bright. Hope your’s was, too.


Thundercats…. HOOOOOOO!

December 25, 2008

Wow, ths is tremendously geeky. Here’s a fan-made trailer for a live-action Thundercats movie starring Brad Pitt, Hugh Jackman, Vin Diesel, and that old knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Impressively, the creator rendered every frame of the trailer in Photoshop. Truly, this is geeks gone wild.

Meagan’s Mad Climbing Skillz

December 24, 2008

Just a quick, cute video of my niece climbing a column at my mom’s house…

Apparently, I Have Pokies

December 23, 2008

I got to spend a couple of days with my brother’s family this week. I see them maybe once a year, so seeing my now-three-year-old niece, Meagan, is a rare pleasure.

As they were leaving this morning for the drive back to Arkansas, Meagan ran over to give me a goodbye hug and kiss. I kissed her little cheek and she stepped back, gave me a concerned look as she touched her cheek, and said, “Ow. You have pokies!”

It’s true. I have pokies. She was referring to my stubbly chin, a malady she has recently cured her father of.

I imagine the day is quickly approaching when my own daughter will necessitate the removal of my pokies. I’ll miss them, but presumably, it’ll be worth it.

The Geeky Son

December 21, 2008

In an hour, I’m heading to my mom’s house in Birmingham. There, I’m not a geeky dad or a geeky husband; I’m a geeky son. And that, my friends, is the biggest challenge any geek faces in life. There is nothing quite like being the tech support technician for your folks.

This will be a big geek visit for me as there is much to do. My mother finally got internet at her house! No more relying on the whims of my iPhone’s Edge or 3G connection! No more borrowing neighbors’ wifi! No more stopping in Starbucks parking lots to load up on podcasts for the drive home! Real, genuine 3Mbps DSL goodness at exotic Casa de Mom. Sweet.

We just upgraded Maryalice’s laptop, so I gave mom the old one for Christmas. It’s set up and ready; I just have to add the wireless router this weekend and then the schooling begins. I get to train mom on her home email, Skype, video conferencing, spyware, antivirus, why to never open Internet Explorer… ahh, the joys of having a parent on a Windows box.

I carefully set everything up to run as smoothly as possible. Antivirus and Windows Update are updating nightly and running in the background. I made the computer part of my network, so I can get remote access at any time to fix a jam. I have her documents and photos automatically syncing and backing up to Windows Live Mesh without her having to think about it. I created her IMAP email and Skype accounts and already pre-loaded the contact lists with the buddies she’ll want. Everything should be pretty well automated, as long as she heeds my instruction to never turn the computer off!

Holiday family tech support is pretty common among the geeks I know. Do any of you have work to do for mom and dad this Christmas?

Best Craigslist Ad EVER

December 18, 2008

Okay, this is completely off-topic (and perhaps a bit off-color), but this is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. As a writer who often has to write marketing copy, I humbly tip my hat to this guy and would consider giving him a job.

Apparently, this actually was a real Craigslist post, but it was removed. That’s a tragic shame.

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-11-19, 10:04PM MST

OK, let me start off by saying this Xterra is only available for purchase by the manliest of men (or women). My friend, if it was possible for a vehicle to sprout chest hair and a five o’clock shadow, this Nissan would look like Tom Selleck. It is just that manly.

It was never intended to drive to the mall so you can pick up that adorable shirt at Abercrombie & Fitch that you had your eye on. It wasn’t meant to transport you to yoga class or Linens & Things. No, that’s what your Prius is for. If that’s the kind of car you’re looking for, then just do us all a favor and stop reading right now. I mean it. Just stop.

This car was engineered by 3rd degree ninja super-warriors in the highest mountains of Japan to serve the needs of the man that cheats death on a daily basis. They didn’t even consider superfluous nancy boy amenities like navigation systems (real men don’t get lost), heated leather seats (a real man doesn’t let anything warm his butt), or On Star (real men don’t even know what the hell On Star is).

No, this brute comes with the things us testosterone-fueled super action junkies need. It has a 265 HP engine to outrun the cops. It’s got special blood/gore resistant upholstery. It even has a first-aid kit in the back. You know what the first aid kit has in it? A pint of whiskey, a stitch-your-own-wound kit and a hunk of leather to bite down on when you’re operating on yourself. The Xterra also has an automatic transmission so if you’re being chased by Libyan terrorists, you’ll still be able to shoot your machine gun out the window and drive at the same time. It’s saved my bacon more than once.

It has room for you and the four hotties you picked up on the way to the gym to blast your pecs and hammer your glutes. There’s a tow hitch to pull your 50 caliber anti-Taliban, self cooling machine gun. I also just put in a new windshield to replace the one that got shot out by The Man.

My price on this bad boy is an incredibly low $12,900, but I’ll entertain reasonable offers. And by reasonable, I mean don’t walk up and tell me you’ll give me $5,000 for it. That’s liable to earn you a Burmese-roundhouse-sphincter-kick with a follow up three fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Hell yeah. Let’s just say you won’t be the prettiest guy at the Coldplay concert anymore.

There’s only 69,000 miles on this four-wheeled hellcat from Planet Kickass. Trust me, it will outlive you and the offspring that will carry your name. It will live on as a monument to your machismo.

Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what you see. If it’s a rugged, no holds barred, super brute he-man macho Chuck Norris stunt double, then contact me. I might be out hang-gliding or BASE jumping or just chilling with my ladies, but I’ll get back to you. And when I do, we’ll talk about a price over a nice glass of Schmidt while we listen to Johnny Cash.

To sweeten the deal a little, I’m throwing in this pair of MC Hammer pants for the man with rippling quads that can’t fit into regular pants. Yeah, you heard me. FREE MC Hammer pants.

Rock on.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Trailer!

December 15, 2008

The trailer for next summer’s Wolverine movie is finally online in glorious HD! It rocks my face off. Check it out by clicking young Logan below…