The hard drive of insanity

14 12 2012

Dear reader, the advice I have for you tonight is simple, write notes.

I was about to go on a lovely holiday with a friend who had asked me if I’d like to take a few days off and stay at the farm with her, Katie was allowed to come too, She’s my Malamute.

We had a few days before the trip and I was preparing to leave, I packed my bags slowly and made sure I had everything, clothes, dog food, dog blankets, harness, electronic gizmos, cameras, chargers, keys…

And I also took care to hide special things I would be leaving behind, the kinds of things which may appeal to a thief, there is some security here, but still, a little extra care couldn’t hurt… and this is where it all turned sour.

To me, a hard drive is not so much an electronic device, but a place which houses perhaps the last ten years of your life… photos, videos, documents, artwork… and to have one of these stolen, well it would seriously upset my apple cart.

I have too many hard drives, you know how it goes, the original, the backup, the backup of the backup, the backup backup of the last backup (or something), not that all the drives are synced, there are more things on some drives than the others, it’s a headache, I want something a lot more stable, please science?

I have a super secret location where I put two, it’s a place I’ve used before, which works, and um… I think I put three there, or so I thought.

There is a vague memory involving me thinking about putting a note in my iphone about where I put the third drive, but I didn’t, I was sure I’d remember… however I’m more certain that I forgot where I put it almost instantly.

I do that a lot, I’m using something and just put it down, two minutes later I have no idea where the thing is and have to frantically search for it.

Holidays were had, things went well, and Katie and I came home.

I have had an illness years back and although I can mostly hold my own these days, my energy can drop like a stone… when I returned home, I was happy, but totally rooted and spent a few days lazing around the house, not being particularly concerned about anything.

Katie was just as happy to lay around the house as I was, she spent a lot of time catching up on sleep.

I think two weeks had gone by when my Macbook suggested that it might be time to run a backup, so I went to pull out these hard drives… and there were two.

Two?

Now the place is a bit dark, and hard drives are black, so I placed an arm down there and felt around, but felt nothing resembling a hard drive, just some sort of dust and a spiderweb.

Then I got the torch out, a friend gave it to me as a Birthday gift, and I love it, it could light up the Eiffel Tower from here, and I’m nowhere near Paris.

I searched around with that, and found nothing, I couldn’t quite believe it and repeated the routine a few times until the FACT sank in that the other drive was not there, and would not simply re-appear like Schrödinger’s cat might.

That’s when I began the hunt, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedrooms, I peered into every nook and cranny, I reached, I poked, I prodded… the more I looked, the more I found fragments of a past life which I had forgotten, old faded photos, and objects I hadn’t seen for a decade or more… but no hard drive.

For the next few days, I slowly tore my house apart looking for the stray item, I was ok at first, it had to be there somewhere, but then yesterday the worry hit its peak.

My mind began playing tricks on me.

Had I only thought I had three drives, did I only have two? I couldn’t remember!

This thought haunted me for a while, I recalled some star trek episode where someone goes missing, but nobody could remember them… but they still had a feeling of loss.

I tried to remember when I last saw it, I had taken it next door to save some things to it, using my neighbours computer, as I was having a technical difficulty with my iphone… oddly I couldn’t save my photos from my phone to my macbook, I knew I could do it on PC, but my PC was down.

Had I simply left it there? unlikely, but plausible.

Then I began wondering if it had been stolen, but by who? The house had not been broken into, and even if it had, then why would someone steal the most hard to find object when there are easier things to take?

The worst things played through my mind, who had been there? friends, a friend was a thief? but who? I contemplated this into the wee hours, it was a truly awful thought. I was still awake at dawn. it had been a hot night and I had been naked in bed with just a sheet over me.

There was another missing object which made the situation worse, a radio, about the size of an iphone, given to Dad as a gift from Mum in the 70s. I have no idea where that went either, but why would someone steal that? had someone just seen it laying there and pocketed it?

Not really, I was sure that I had just misplaced it, but It was about 5am, I was hot, stressed, worried, feeling vulnerable and the paranoia was growing.

I was not being as sensible as I should be.

A question popped into my mind “When was the last time you saw the watch your Mother gave you?”

I knew exactly where that was too.

I got out of bed and had a look, it wasn’t there… things began to get worse, I told myself I’d been robbed, I wondered how many other things, small things I didn’t see every day, were missing.

I tweeted that I’d been robbed, I e-mailed a friend and sent a few SMS messages to others, I was having my Daffy Duck moment.

The drawer which contained my missing watch had another watch in it, I wondered why the thief had taken one but not the other, I decided to examine the remaining watch, I’m not sure why… guess what?

The missing watch was at the back of that drawer.

Oh the relief!

I began to come back down from a possible crime, to simply misplacing something.

It was light, I hadn’t slept, there was stuff all over the loungeroom floor, I started getting messages and phone calls from people who were worried about me.

I left Katie out for a pee, and fed the cat, then went back to bed… where I finally went to sleep.

I slept lightly and woke up often, but finally got up about 3pm.

My neighbour had said that I should go into his house while he was at work and have a good look around, he’s not the technical type and had no idea what the drive looked like.

I thought that was a good idea, and got dressed and ready to do that.

But I remembered the thought that I may have only ever had two drives, and the solution I came up with during the night… while I had hidden the drives, I had not hidden the cables fro those drives, it was only a matter of counting the cables and I should have my answer… it should be easy because the cables were branded with a white sticker.

I walked into my Mums room, where I had left the cables… I put one foot in there and saw something black on the carpet.

It was the hard drive.

I must have stepped past it many times as I hauled stuff out of there and covered the lounge room floor in baskets and drawers and suitcases… it was over.

If I had only found it last night, it would have saved me so much stress, but if I had simply written a note to myself, none of this madness would have happened.

Write notes, folks, for your sanity… write notes.

Wolfie!





The Spam-o-Phone

5 09 2012

I’ve decided to do something radical this week, and not answer the phone.

It’s not like I need it anyway, there are three people who contact me by phone, and that’s a rare thing, everyone else reaches me via my Social Networks, rarely via e-mail.

When the phone goes, it’s always when I’m in bed, or the shower or I’ve just pressed my bottom against the toilet seat. I’m sick of having to run and answer, only to discover it’s those twats who have “detected” my windows computer is slow, I think they want tuning as I use a Mac.

Or it’s some sort of survey, or other type of spam.

I can remember days long gone when the phone could ring quite a few times during the day and it was most often for Mum, and if it was my Aunt (who had been vaccinated with a gramophone needle, or so it was commonly said) those chats could go for hours.

But now, with so many online, what is the point of the phone?

I only have it because I can’t have ADSL without it, and apparently we can’t have naked internet in this area because of the old exchange… that and it’s a bit pricey for me anyway.

I loathe paying a phone bill, it’s entirely too much for the use I get out of it.

So, a few days ago, the phone went, and I simply ignored it, and it went again, and I kept away.

I don’t really mind, and to be honest I also hate talking on the phone, I’d far rather write down my thoughts and edit them, so I can get across what I really want to say.

And if I do want to actually talk, there’s skype.

The only thing which bothers me is there is someone who phones, who cannot use a computer, he’s
what they used to call “Backwards” not too backwards mind you, I often thought that had he lived with a family, he would have been ok… but My Cousin had looked after him since he was a child, He’s now in a “home” (for similar people) in St. Kilda.

If it wasn’t for him, then it wouldn’t matter so much. He also can’t afford to call me on my Mobile, as he has a very limited budget.

(I don’t use my mobile for anything other than the odd photo and social networking)

This technology, for me, is teetering on the edge of a cliff, oh how I’d love to give it a foot and send it on it’s way.

Wolfie!





That NBN thing

17 05 2012

A lot of us in Australia are either talking up, or talking down the NBN, as you know.

I think those of you who are talking up the NBN need to get your message across to this person.

This person has only recently bought a computer,

They think Internet Explorer is the thing that turns on “The Internet”.

They have an ADSL connection but when asked about how they’re connected to the internet, They’ll say Bigpond or Google.

Speaking of Google, this person thinks it’s something ON their computers.

I think of the time before 2000 as the “black and white era” of the internet, anyone who has just got online may have no real sense that one file is larger than the other, To them a short text file is the same as a Movie, I have seen one person burn a single short text file, to a CD.

This person has never experienced the effort of downloading an mp3 file, on dialup, which took a whole hour to download.

I’ve seen a computer ruined because someone downloaded “a song” from a P2P program which was only a few hundred KB in size, a huge red-flag to me, (virus) but they thought it was the song they were after.

They have no understanding of why Apples insistence on a closed app store is a bad thing, and probably think that everything is on the app store anyway. I’ve met an apple owner who doesn’t know how to use the app store.

When I got my first computer, an Amstrad CPC 6128 for my 21st Birthday in 1986, I was very aware of the size of files, I had to be, as I could run out of disc space very fast. The same when I moved to my Amiga A500 and my Amiga A1200… and I learnt about the limits of my machines and it’s software.

Newbies never had that education.

And while I fully appreciate the idea of having an NBN, this person won’t understand any of it, and probably think they’re fine with what they have.

This person will accept any of the rubbish they hear from Tony Abbott, about how a wireless system would be better.

To the techie, you need to explain yourselves very clearly to this person, and fast, You need to sell the idea that an NBN is a very good thing, you need to make it sound as appealing as a new Apple gizmo… and realise that even if all the customer understands is that they can buy a white one, then sell them a white one.

To the person who is new to computers, who may be reading this, feeling a bit confused, would you like some things to think about? If so, here’s a few.

Speed.

There are three ways to send data.

1. Cable

2. Regular copper wires

3. Wireless

Now I know some of you confuse Wireless with Wi-Fi, I’ll get to that shortly.

Consider this, do you recall from school what the fastest thing of all was?

If you said light, you’re right, and deserve a gold star.

Light is the fastest thing of all, and that’s what will travel along the fiber cables of the NBN.

Now there is some talk about different cable systems being faster than others, so some people worry that perhaps all the old cable will have to be dug up again and replaced with the new technology, this is highly unlikely… instead when it’s time for an upgrade, it will be as simple as the NBN people replacing their computers with new ones, just like you would if you need a new machine.

Wireless.

Wireless is fine, and I’m not against it. But radio waves cannot ever go as fast as light can, and it doesn’t matter what politicians of either side say, the fact is that nothing in the known universe, is faster than light.

Have you ever had your mobile phone slow down when you tried to access facebook, or poor reception? or worse no reception? Well that’s what it will be like if we all had wireless internet, which would get worse in the evenings as kids tried to play games on it or do their homework, it could even stall completely.

Granted, Wireless internet can be great for accessing things on your computer while on the train, but at home it’s probably not the best.

What’s the difference between Wireless and Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is usually the signal which comes out of your router, that box with the blinking lights on it. It’s that box which allows you to connect to your internet via a laptop, a mobile phone or iPad.

Wi-Fi will only work within range of your router, and is usually password protected so that only you and your family can make use of it.

You can access the NBN via Wi-Fi if you want.

Wireless is different.

To access wireless internet on your laptop, you need a small plastic thing which plugs into the USB port.

While an iPhone or iPad would need something like a pre-paid plan with Optus, Telstra or someone like that.

Wireless internet allows you to take a computer or phone with you and use your internet on the go, it would be useful to someone who’s an interstate truck driver, for example, or someone who regularly flies interstate.

But the down side is that it’s generally quite expensive and rather slow to use, and while it’s perfect for E-mails or Facebook, it’s no good for downloading movies, skype or playing fast moving games with.

Old copper wires.

If you have a really good phone connection, then you can connect to the internet via dial up, which is the very old method which makes odd squealing sounds through the phone,

You cannot use the phone when you’re using the computer for  dialup  internet.

Dial up is terribly slow, so slow in fact that it could take an hour to just load a youtube video.

Or you can have ADSL which is a fairly standard method used in most homes in Australia.

ADSL is for the most part, pretty reliable, it will allow most people to do pretty much everything they need to do, however the problem here is that the further away from your phone exchange you are, the slower ADSL becomes, and if you’re in a rural area, it might not work much better than dialup.

So, if you’re on a farm in the bush, your internet may suck more than your milking machines do.

What an NBN would do, is basically give everyone the chance to drive a Ferrari,

And it should cost about the same as standard ADSL internet (Generally ADSL works out to be a lot cheaper than wireless as you get a lot more data for your money).

It may surprise you to know that the internet came out of the 1960s and has slowly been advancing, always getting better.

That Facebook, Youtube and Twitter are all fairly new, and have come about as the new technology became cheaper and easier to use.

And that although things are pretty good as they are, they could be a lot better and a lot fairer to the wider community if we decide on having an NBN.

Well Like what?

People in rural areas would have the same internet experience as those of us in the city would.

It would give doctors life saving information about patients extremely quickly, or possibly allow surgeons in Melbourne to operate on a patient in Alice Springs via a robot.

It would allow anyone to upload high definition videos they’ve made themselves in just a few minutes (It once took me eight hours to do this on ADSL)

Business people could have conferences online, rather than fly interstate or overseas, allowing more time for people to remain with their families, the experience should be a lot better than todays Skype calls.

I really love to dream of possibilities, I’m really not sure what the next step will be, and that excites me.

So far I have met the most amazing people online, people who I thought I’d never get to meet, but what tomorrow brings may be a complete knock out, for all of us.

I say push it hard and as far as it will go, choose the NBN, it’s the best technology we have at the moment.

Wolfie!

The current, cheapest option is $50 per month, which is 30GB per month, with a speed of 12mps down, and 1mps up

(on internode)

*There was an error in my research last night, this has now been corrected.





The most photographed.

31 01 2012

I was given my first camera by Mum, it was a polaroid which shot eight photos, in black and white.

“Now don’t go clicking on everything” she said with that snapping tone in her voice, like she was about to give me a clip around the ear “save it for something special”.

So much for creativity.

I’ve been here before in other blog posts.

But this is about my dogs, I have had five dogs to my name over the years, Beginning with Tina, a fox terrier, Tina had the knack of photo-bombing down petty well and appeared in about five photos that she wasn’t really supposed to be included in.

There was a gap, and then when I was a teenager, asked Mum why we didn’t have a dog.

Well, Mums boss found some puppies and had been caring for them, She asked us to come over to her place one night, and that’s how we got Bobby… Who seemed to be partially German shepherd and Greyhound.

I think He stayed with us for about four years, but he was a randy bugger and tore off one night, He’d do this fairly regularly, but one night he never returned… We were’nt as careful with our animals in those days.

The strange thing is there are no photos of Bobby, none!

Then Laddie turned up, part German Shepherd and part Collie, He grew up to be very clever, very loyal and gave as much love as we gave him.

We have some instamatic pictures of him, a couple of very nice ones, but you can’t expect much from 110 film.

Then Benny came along, our first Malamute, and the only dog our family had ever bought.

Benny was wonderful.

Because I was starting to get into cameras at that stage, there’s quite a few shots of him in various formats, Instamatic, Realist 3D and very low res digital from an early Canon camera.

I got my first Camcorder at the time too, so he’s one of the rare dogs to be captured on video.

But I should have had a lot more digital photos of him, and I didn’t realise why until I realised that I had been stuck in a mind frame where we simply didn’t take many photos because film was costly… the film was gone (except for the 3D camera, and video for the camcorder) but the idea of reserving shots for a particular day remained.

I think what killed that line of thought was meeting @Wolfcat on Twitter, who took thousands of photos on a weekend trip.

I began to realise that I had heaps of storage, why shouldn’t I take more photos now?

People who know me, know that I love my pets, I adore them… so it comes as a bit of a shock to look through old photos and not find anything of some of them.

This had to change.

Along came Katie, and I was determined to take as many photos of her as possible.

I have photos and video of her from Pentax *ist DSLR, Sony HDV Camcorder, iPhone 3gs and Canon 550D… and although the plan was to get deeper into photography, and perhaps get work from it, I think if I’m honest with myself, I just wanted clearer photos of Katie.

So perhaps when I’m 90 (oh please no), I can look back and see photos of my beautiful girl.

I’ll end with a sad thought, in all honesty, Katie is the last… I hope my heart gives out when hers does, I really couldn’t take being without her… someone else can have the photos.

Photos of Katie, Here.

Wolfie!





Stairway to Oprah

10 10 2011

The weird dream from last night, documented in all it’s weird glory for all to see.

There was a city square, kind of like Melbourne’s Federation Square, paved area, big building in the middle, you get the idea.

A Chinese lady was racing back and forth like a pong paddle, trying to block me, I had the idea that it was some crazy Chinese hidden camera show or some such.

I turned back, and found myself in a park, almost like a small forest at night.
and there was this car body, amongst the trees.

Inside the car was a light, and a guy offering connection to the internet.

I plugged my iPhone into my router, which had buttons on it to dial numbers… and I plugged that into a cable in the car.

Needless to say, it didn’t work… My mind didn’t seem to object, as it often doesn’t in dreams, when it should have been screaming something about wi-fi.

I unplugged and went to leave.

“Hey Buddy, You can’t leave without paying” Said He from the front seat.

I had the idea this guy was going to cause me some grief if I didn’t pay up, he seemed like a pot head, He was probably doing some worse drugs too.

I offered to pay, I had $50 in my wallet, that’d do.

But when he crawled into the back seat, I said.

“Man, you’re in the back seat, who’s driving the car?” Well nobody was driving the car, and nor was I running along side.

But He fell for it and panicked, as He went for the wheel, uttering a profanity, I made a run for it.

I was at the square again, running, and it was broad daylight again. the Chinese Woman saw me and made a run, but was too late.

There were Women everywhere in beautiful dresses which looked like curtains, the lower half, around their legs looked like flower petals, they were lovely.

Oprah was there, right next to me, She was really busy.

I was pleased to see Her, We were friends, so it was rather a relief to find Her.

She entered a building via some sliding glass doors and ascended a flight of stairs, I followed behind.

She went on and on about the things She was doing and the people who She had to meet. I had something to tell her, I felt that it was rather important, but couldn’t get a word in.

When She got to the top of the stairs, She reached a carpeted platform, there was nothing there, A few steps forward would have been death as there was nothing but a drop to the floor below, She was still talking.

I was about five steps below Her, and found that I was hot and completely exhausted.

I couldn’t make it up any higher.

At the top of the stairs was Tom Selleck, Wearing a kilt.

He noticed that I was having a hard time, and lowered a hand for me, which I took.
He just pulled me right up the stairs and onto the platform, which seemed narrower than before, I think it was only a meter across.

I felt like a weak little puppy, I needed a drink and a lay down.

Tom Laid in a sexy pose between Oprah and I.

He said “Do you like this hunky body? Do you wanna fuck it?”
Which surprised me.

I felt dizzy.

I woke up, it was about 4am, and I was very hot.

I got up and grabbed a drink from the fridge, had a pee and went back to bed.

Wolfie!





Bump in the night.

7 10 2011

My neighbour, Chrissy, is a night owl like myself, and is up till about 4am most mornings.

On a few occasions She has told me that She spent the night painting rooms or moving furniture, so it’s no surprise to hear a grinding sound sometimes, as though a bed or wardrobe is being dragged along the floor.

I’ve heard this sound, from my bedroom, which is just a few meters away from her house, and have just waived it off as nocturnal redecorating.

A few days ago, I was talking to Chrissy about this and that and said that I heard Her moving furniture around 2am, But then She told me that She hadn’t been… which surprised me.

I heard it again last night, a loud grinding sound, lasting just a second or two, at around 2am.

Chrissy just phoned me to say that She heard the sound and asked if I had heard it… Well Yes, I did.

She told me that there was a loud grinding sound, like I mentioned earlier, plus some bumping which carried on for another few seconds.

I told her that should I hear it again, I will write down when it happened and we can compare notes.

I also suggested installing “sleep talker” onto her iPad, An app which records what you say in your sleep, it only records when it detects noises. (it’s on iPhone too).

David, who lives with Chrissy, went into the roof space to repair the antenna cable,
and claims that he was hit on the head by something heavy.

If anyone would like to play Ghostbusters, I think Chrissy would appreciate a logical explanation.

Wolfie!

A friend on G+ asked about Water Pipes, that would work, it would certainly provide a loud sound. I have weird pipes too which can produce that kind of sound.

Maybe!





The TARDIS lamp and hardware box.

26 09 2011

I often get thoughts and don’t write them down or tell anyone, I suppose it’s the same for most of us.

But here’s one that won’t escape and perhaps some Doctor Who fans would like it.

I’m thinking about a mini TARDIS, you all should know what that looks like.

The idea is that it’s supposed to look like a decorative item, and nothing more, however.

One of the panels can be removed, via a trick. See it’s got items inside it which you’ve hidden from thieves, It’s kind of unlikely that someone is going to want to make off with a cumbersome TARDIS.

Once this panel is off, you find that you have access to an area which is only a few centimeters deep, for accessing the lighting, small neon or flouro lights like you might use in a computer case mod, and these shine through the frosted glass panels on the side of the TARDIS.

However, a second panel comes off, there’s a trick to that too, which has shelving for external hard drives.

These hard drives are wired in and are turned on with the lighting, there is also a hidden USB outlet under another hidden panel, so that you can plug your computer in.

There’s another shelf which is big enough to slide a laptop into, it may also contain a charger.

The TARDIS is probably no higher than most Peoples knee, so I’m not suggesting a huge box although I think a Life-Sized model would be extremely cool too.

So about enough room for six external drives (like the WD ones), better if they’re all
the one style, to fit in better… A super quiet fan, and hidden vents… You don’t want to give the game away that this is anything more than a mere lamp.

The doors should not look like doors, and would not open unless someone knew how it was done.

And perhaps the phone box on the outside of the TARDIS could function as a phone charger and would open easily, so that you could grab your phone in a hurry… and nobody would spot you opening secret doors.

And of course you could keep anything else in there too, photos, jewels etc.

Interesting?

Wolfie!