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This is an archive collection of entries from  my main personal blog, My Mundane Mid-Life.

This collection of entries is from the Category "Computing".

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I just got off a call from the hard drive recovery company that I talked about last week.


We walked through some of the directories to make sure that the information was indeed there... and it was!

The photos.. the documents.. the tax info...

The data is being copied-off to a MyBook external hard drive. I should have it Friday or Monday.

They hold onto the failed hard drive (or "troubled" hard drive, as it was called) for 10 days, after which it goes into a destruction program. I have about 48 hours for the copied data to still be spinning on their servers if there's an issue. After that, they have to go back after the original drive. They also are supplying a stack of DVDs that they're going to pull off selected data onto (just in case the drive has issues during shipping), so they're going to grab as much of the photos as they can.

You know how happy I am? I am dancing in my cubicle!!!! Thank God there is hardly anybody in the office today...

posted at 09:58 AM | Link | Computing | § |

Friday, November 17, 2006


I just got an email from the hard disk recovery company that opens:

"This message is to inform you that we have received your troubled hard disk..."

I guess that's one way of putting it for a crashed hard disk whose platters may just be dust...

posted at 02:50 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The slimmest of hope... at a price

I spent the morning searching the internet for hard drive recovery companies. None of these places has any online means of generating a price quote, but everything I'm seeing shows well over a thousand dollars to recover a drive.

My lack of backup has now officially begun to cost me. Real dollars.

I found a company in Madison, Wisconsin that wouldn't charge me for an attempt to recover, only if they recover data.

I called an talked to a tech... and found out that, because of the clicking noise, my 250Gb Maxtor MaxLine Plus II hard drive was 30%-40% likely to have had it's platters turned to dust and not have anything recoverable, based on the hundreds of that drive model that they have seen recently.

That left 60%-70% likely that SOMETHING could be recovered. It was worth a shot, so my hard drive is now on it's way to Madison Wisconsin, hoping beyond hope that SOMETHING can be pulled off...

... I feel like I lost part of my life when that drive went down... all of those photos, those memories...

posted at 01:08 PM | Link | Mundane | § |

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

It's gone... all gone...

I've been working on a project at home, to put up a series of picture frames in our family room that would hold selected images from the extensive digital photo images that I've shot over the years...

When my old computer died, and I got a new one, I transfered the old hard drives to external USB enclosures. this also upset the database I use to catalog the photos. So, I had to go in and tell the software that the image that used to be here on this disk, is now over on this disk and this directory structure. I had been tagging my images so that if I wanted to see something an image of a place or a person, I could just call it up.

I had been working on the database fixes all week. I got them all done.

I had just started to select the photos. I knew of a a few that I needed to include on the wall I was going to select more than the number of frames I was mounting, just so I can see what they look like printed.

I cam home tonight after work, went on my machine to do more photo selection. I thought I had smelled an odd odor in my den. It wasn't strong, but it smelled like ozone.

My machine was locked-up. Frozen. I cold-booted the machine, and logged back in.

And that's when I heard it... a clicking noise.

My one big, critical drive from the old machine is clicking, and not mounting.

It's dead. I lost it.

All 34,000 photos I've taken.


I've lost it. I've lost it all. All my photos, documents, spreadsheet, tax information...

Depression sets in...

posted at 08:53 PM | Link | Mundane | § |

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

OK.. better.. faster...

Got home early to wait for the Tech to show up to fix my cable connection. I start getting automated phone calls from Comcast: "Hello. This is Comcast... we are calling you to confirm your appoint..." *click*... I start to worry.. what happens if I was supposed to reply to something? And if I don't.. to let them know I'm home... will they cancel? After a few of these calls, I call them, and their automated menus tell me that I am scheduled for a service call between 4 and 6pm...

Another phone call comes, this time from a human... and it's the local dispatch telling me that my tech is running late.. and won't be available until 6:45.. I proceed to tell her Thank you... I will wait as long as it takes and then I tell her about the screw-up yesterday.. She apologizes profusely. I hang-up the phone ,only to see my voice mail light start to blink - another call from Comcast came in, this time it's a complete automated call, saying that I had to have somebody home over the age of 18.. OK.. not a problem...

5:45 and there's a Comcast tech at my door - a full hour before dispatch said they'd be there! But then I found out that this isn't the guy assigned to the call.. but he got free and came over to "start" the job. OK, I'm OK with this...

I show him were the modem is.. and the lights are all lit and flashng... crap... But.. after a discussion on IBM ThinkPads, I hook up to the modem... and it doesn't pull an IP address...

and then.. at the door, is a second tech... and we start using another laptop to try (the first tech's), and it fails... by now, a third tech is now in my family room... turns out he's the tech that's assigned.

So 15 minutes, three technicians, and a brand new cable modem later, I am back online.. and it's faster, too! (the old modem couldn't handle the faster delivery speed)

posted at 06:53 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Monday, October 16, 2006

Comcast Service Sucks

Got home.. waited for the tech from Comcast..


Called Comcast. Found out that local dispatch had the tech scheduled from 1-3pm. Sure enough - there's a tag on my door that says "Sorry we missed you..."

This is the SECOND TIME since being with Comcast that this EXACT thing has happened... and no phone call. There is some kind or process break between what Customer Service schedules and what the local dispatch schedules.

So.. new time 4-6pm tomorrow. Another day without internet...

posted at 06:20 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Off the net

Around 9:30 this morning I noticed my internet connection getting really sluggish. It would respond, but took forever. So, I power-cycled the cable modem... which never connected again.

I have a tech coming out between 5-7pm tomorrow.

Withdrawls?... no.. not too bad... so far...

posted at 11:21 AM | Link | Computing | § |

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Surprisingly painless

Wow.. my past experiences with Dell Hardware Technical Support have been brutal, painful, drawn-out phone calls, lasting hours, with re-calls because of incomplete tasks or dissatisfaction.

Called Dell when I got home from work... went right to the Bangalore call center (come on.. you KNOW where they are... and THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL you are going to tell me that the people I talked to are REALLY named Marvin and Jorge).

Marvin actually listened to my description of the problem and transfered me to a special team that just handled my type of hardware (I don't know if I should be pleased that they have a team devoted to this computer, or that perhaps they HAD to build a team because of all of the problems they have had).

One hour and I was all up and running. No explanation, but the USB ports in the box went kaflewie. Device Manager thought they were OK, so the OpSys didn't find any issues... but nothing plugged into the USB ports worked.

What was the fix?

1) Turn off the machine. Disconnect the power cord. Hold down the power-on button for at least 5 seconds.

2) Open-up the case, locate the small, disc lithium battery on the mother board and pull it, wait a few seconds and put it back.

Re-attach the power cord, power it up (you'll get boot errors about the clock not being set and the floppy diskette not working - that would be because the machine doesn't have one - easily fixable) wait for the machine to boot into Windows and ... Ta Da... Everything is back to normal.

Other than trying to get the lithium battery out of the holder on the motherboard... painless.

posted at 06:42 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Monday, October 09, 2006

Damn it.. .no keyboard.. no mouse...

Remmber that computer that I received back in August? What a great machine...

..until NOW.

I was in SecondLife when.. all of a sudden.. my keyboard and mouse stop working. Totally.

I've tried other keyboards/mice.


When I reboot, i get to the welcome screen, but I can't pick an ID... because the machine doesn't recognize the keyboard or mouse.. so I can't choose anything.

I can't press F8 during boot, either, to get into Safe Mode.


posted at 09:43 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Friday, August 18, 2006

Spoke too soon

When I got on my new machine this morning before work, I found out that I was missing one of the drives I had extricated from the carcass of my old machine and installed in an external enclosure. I have it attached through FireWire, and when it mounts, one volume is OK, the other throws some kind of a write error and the whole drive goes offline.

I don't want to lose any data... but I MAY be too late...

posted at 08:05 AM | Link | Computing | § |

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I feel better now...

Went out to CompUSA and got some external 3˝" USB/FireWire enclosures to put my old hard drives in... and plugged them into the new machine and... fully operational - no data loss!!!!


Now I've got a ton of reinstalls to do...

posted at 09:20 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Oh, yeah... the replacement finally arrives

So, after working from home for the day to be there to sign for the signature required UPS shipment, the 63 pound box from Dell showed up - at 4:38pm. I ALMOST could have worked from work and got home quick enough to accept the delivery.

So... the 19" LCD monitor is awsome. I am really amazed at the color and clarity... not to mention the "bigness" coming from a 15" panel to a 19" panel. Sweet.

The new machine looks nice, boot fast, but upon opening the case, it's really tight inside. I had forgotten that the old machine was an Optiplex and had the great quick release drive mounts, lots of room. Not so in this case - no quick releases, really tightly packed. I pulled the drives out of the old machine... but I don't have a place for both of them.

I'm thinking about external drive enclosures... I just hope the drives are intact.

posted at 07:03 PM | Link | Computing | § |

Friday, March 18, 2005


So much for the dead switch. I went out to CompUSA tonight and picked-up 2 5-Port Gigabit switches and go them hooked up in my den/office and in my "new" area in the second bedroom (I picked-up some shelving - you know, the "bread rack" stuff that seems pretty popular for quick computer "racking"), so I've got everything up and running again, and I can start using some faster speeds as I start replacing NICs and introducing new hardware. Of course, I'll only see that locally among the machines since I have a crappy cable modem broadband internet access.

posted at 09:49 PM | Link | Computing § |
Dead Hub

Woke up this morning to find that none of my machines had connectivity. Then I realized that down in the system tray, there was a help balloon saying "Network Cable Unplugged". (I always display the network connection icon).

Sure enough - I lost my switch. It just sat there and flashed every LED it had on its face plate.

Guess I'm I doing some shopping after work today.

posted at 08:24 AM | Link | Computing § |

Thursday, May 06, 2004


I've been at my sister's house since about quarter to 11 this morning.

Her machine got infected with a Sasser worm and I struggled all day trying to get rid of it.

Looks like I did it.

Problem is - she no longer has an active antivirus program running any more. I can't get it to install. Or uninstall.

Crap. Friggin' viruses...

posted at 03:39 PM | Link | Computing | 1 comment § |

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Still recovering data...

I'm still trying to recover data from my system crash a few weeks ago. The good news is that I can get at my old .pst file now, so I won't lose my contacts. Now I have to recreate all of my rules by hand... at least the data is coming back. I had been tripped-up by a security situation and I couldn't understand how to get the Security tab in properties in Windows Explorer. It wasn't there (I didn't know that it was coupled with the Simple File Sharing setting inside Windows Explorer).

The drive is definitely flaky. The response time really sucks. It's taking way too long to get this machine up and running...

posted at 09:35 PM | Link | Computing § |

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Time to start the rebuild...

The Optiplex is alive...
Well, the new computer has arrived.

It's a 3.2 GHz Dell Optiplex GX270 with a Gig of memory. (I got it as a referb from Dell at a website I never knew they had - The Dell Outlet)

Now it's time to try to install all of my software, transfer some hard disks and hope to God that I didn't lose any data...

posted at 03:15 PM | Link | Computing § |

Sunday, April 18, 2004

86°, windy, and having withdrawls

It's actually hot outside. Went out to get some hot dogs for lunch and almost got blown off the road - there's high wind advisories and it's just causing havoc with my DirecTV system (the dish is moving ever so slightly in the wind gusts).

What's bugging me more than the wonderful, though breezy, weather is my dead computer. I have no friggin' idea how much data I may have lost (like how many of the 17,000 digital photos that I had only just started backing-up a week ago). I'm sick about it. I'm not going to touch the box until I start building the new machine - whenever I get it.

posted at 03:35 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Thunderstorm and a crash

Had a great spring thunderstorm sweep over the house at 3am. Love the lightning, though there was very little thunder if at all. And the wind and heavy rain hitting the siding made it feel like we were sleeping inside a dishwasher.

When I woke up and sat down at my computer this morning, it looked like it was in the middle of a reboot - and there it was on the screen. Hard disk drive error. Oh, crap, there goes my life... I've been working on it for a couple of hours - I'm not sure what has happened... Trying to run a CHKDSK...
Update: Now getting Floppy drive not found. What the hell happened? I think I smell ozone...
Update: I get the XP logo and it sits there and works for a bit... then it almost looks like it blue screens and then reboots.
Update: Yep, the machine definitely has an odor when it powers up. That's it - the machine is toast. Hell, it's almost 4 years old... maybe only 3... anyway, time for a refurbed Dell Optiplex... I can only pray that I didn't lose too much data...

posted at 09:58 AM | Link | Mundane § |

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Windows 98 gets a reprieve

You know, there comes a tiume when you've just got to "cut the cord"... Microsoft was supposed to end support for Windows 98 this Friday, but has extended support through June 30, 2006. (Windows Millenium Edition expires December 31, but I think they rolled support into the Win98 timeframe. Windows 95 support ended in 2001.) Here's a stat for you: "About 20 percent of all Windows-based computers still run Windows 95 or 98."

I wonder what kind of resources Microsoft will have to retain just to support (and patch!) Win98 and WinME for 2˝ more years? And can we just please kill Windows ME? Talk about a worthless opertating system...

posted at 10:38 AM | Link | Computing § |

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Better and worse and better...

Well, I finally have a machine that's up and running. I'm now in the middle of software installs. It looks like XP is all up to date as well as Office XP, though I'm having issues with my legacy Outlook 2000 PST file. At least I'm happy that my software is actually installing and seeing data. Yea!

On another personal note, we are in money hell, wondering if a Debt Management Program is going to work or if bankruptcy is our only option. I'm fighting this tooth and nail and hopefully things will work out. Pray for us, people. Or at least send some good vibes, OK? Thanks. Carol & I appreciate it.

On a lighter note, I started seeing referrals from Gapers Block. Turns out Andrew Huff from the site stumbled onto my Gigglesnort Hotel memories and pictures from back in the late 70's when I was a television puppeteer in Chicago, and he wrote a small paragraph linking here. Thanks Andrew and welcome to everyone who stops by here from Gapers Block! Leave some comments with the pictures if you remember anything! Share your memories!

posted at 09:13 PM | Link | Computing § |
Nothing new...

... still no machine, still no money.

Life is hell.

posted at 12:52 PM | Link | Computing § |

Monday, December 29, 2003


Dad? What are you doing up there?
I've been working on my computer for so long that Indy decided to come upstairs to see what I was up to. I think she's looking for some attention...

posted at 07:49 PM | Link | Bunnies § |
Still in computing hell

Using PartitionMagic 8.02 to copy partitions from my old drive to the new drive. Still haven't applied maintenance on XP, though I am actually excited about how much of my hardware it found correctly.

This is going to take forever. I'm changing the partitions from FAT32 to NTFS (which I should have done a long time ago) and it just takes time to do all of this. I'm still trying to fugure out how I'm going to find all of my software that I had installed, not to mention the praying that I'm going to have to do to make sure that it'll all run in XP without required upgrades.

I hate Microsoft with every fiber of my being...

posted at 05:42 PM | Link | Computing § |
The hell with the reinstall...

I've got XP Professional installed... no service packs, yet. I want to make sure that the devices are all intact first...

posted at 12:14 PM | Link | Computing § |

Well, the reinstall has begun. I couldn't get the original environment to boot-up with a decent environment. I lost a lot of drivers and software. I didn't have any network drivers or display drivers, so I decided to bite the bullet and reinstall the OS... but on a new hard drive. That way, I can get at my old data and start to piece together my life.


posted at 09:39 AM | Link | Computing § |

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Still dead...

I'm nowhere closer to where I want to be...

... I'm going to bed...

posted at 10:03 PM | Link | Computing § |
Oh, oh...

My Win2K machine no longer boots.

Windows 2000 could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: \WINNT\SYSTEM32\CONFIG\SYSTEMced startup options for Windows 2000, press F8.

You can attempt to repair this file by starting Windows 2000
Setup using the original Setup floppy disk or CD-ROM.
Select 'r' at the first screen to start repair.

Oh, crap...

No backups. It's my world in there.

And no matter what I do, Repair dosen't work... Had a feeling this wasn't going to be good when I saw that the error message doesn't give me a file name...

Oh, crap...

posted at 04:01 PM | Link | Computing § |

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Second wave

What is going on out there? Am I seeing a second wave of the Sobig.F virus? My email is getting flooded with that crap again. I hate viruses that spoof email addresses...

posted at 10:11 AM | Link | Computing § |

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Cisco buys Linksys

Nuts. I'm not really sure this is a good thing: Cisco Systems Announces Agreement to Acquire The Linksys Group, Inc. I mean, they wouldn't hose-up such a great line of products, would they?

posted at 11:01 AM | Link | Computing § |

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

CNN on WiFi

CNN has an article on how WiFi is finally coming to the forefront, including a link to Wi-Fi ZONE™ to find access points.

posted at 02:47 PM | Link | Computing § |

Monday, October 28, 2002

Nigerian 419 Fraud

There's an interesting article at The Slate - The Nigerian Nightmare - on the subject of an EMail I received this morning: Fraud. In fact, this Nigerian Scam is, according to published reports, the Third to Fifth largest industry in Nigeria. There is info about this at the U.S. Secret Service Financial Crimes Division website, and at the 419 Coalition Website.

read more of this entry »

posted at 04:00 PM | Link | Nigerian 419 Fraud § |

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

LinkSys is good...

Well, that new LinkSys router is so much better than the old one. I had no idea how bad the old one was until I had gone through 24 hours of the new one. No drops, no DNS issues, and what feels like a speedier connection - which I know isn't true, but it feels faster.

posted at 03:41 PM | Link | Computing § |

Monday, August 26, 2002

No connection

Internet connectivity out all day. Turns out my LinkSys router actually was dying and I didn't know it. I was resetting it and resetting it and resetting it... and then it didn't reset ant more. Crap. A quick trip to CompUSA solved that. The new one seems faster - I have no idea why.

posted at 02:59 PM | Link | Computing § |

Monday, August 05, 2002


I don't know, but this sounds like something I'd do. Really. A mobile Wireless 802.11b network for a convoy of cars on a highway!

posted at 11:47 AM | Link | Geek § |

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

911 Virus

I knew this had to happen eventually - somebody wrote a virus specific to the WebTV platform that, when infected, calls 911.

posted at 11:24 AM | Link | Computing § |

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

No 802.11

The storm and subsequent power outage has taken out my wireless access point, so the wireless portion of my home network is ka-blewie.. At least the rest of the machines are all hard connected, so I still have access to them and the internet. I've been struggling to try to talk to the access point all day and it's just driving me nuts. I hate hardware. I don't do hardware. There's something nice about Cat 5 cable - it's tactile, you can touch it. It's real. A wireless access point may be connected to a Cat 5 cable, but it's that wireless part that's so - ethereal. It just works. Except, when it doesn't (I'm sounding like Yogi Bera).

posted at 04:23 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Friday, April 26, 2002

XP on the iMac?

Man, I love the look of the new iMac, but my world is just so Windows-centric. But I really want to look into digital video, maybe even burning my own DVD's. I wonder if runing XP on the iMac would work?

posted at 12:52 PM | Link | Geek § |

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Warm and webby

Two days of 88° weather. It got a little breezy today, though - but still, ain't this great for April? Of course it'll be down in the 50's for the weekend when we go back to Comiskey Park.

Spent most of the day working on my new website - (yes, this Blog will be moving within the next week or so to my own domain). Hey - anybody that knows PHP & MySQL got a few minutes to crank out a quick app for me for displaying images (my photo collection)?

posted at 08:22 PM | Link | Mundane § |

Monday, April 15, 2002

Googlematic and Segway

Wow, cool stuff... Googlematic searches Google via an Instant Messaging product (AOL or MSN). And someone actually rode one of those Segway things for a few hours and wrote about it.

posted at 10:28 PM | Link | Geek § |

Thursday, March 07, 2002


Hmmm... the marriage of Blogging and Knowledge Management (which I'm interested in, since I'm a Lotus Notes guy) - What is a k-log?

posted at 10:28 AM | Link | Blogging § |


That's it for the entries in this particular Archive of my blog. If you want, you can look through other entries by selecting the links in the right-hand column of this page under either Archives by Month or Archives by Category, or you can search the site for specific keywords by using the Search page.

This Blog was last updated Friday December 18, 2009 13:03:12 CDT (-06:00 GMT)
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