Summer Cleaning?

We’ve decided to clean up our basement. Well, it’s not really a basement since it’s not really underground, but it’s the ground floor room. We’re getting this cleaned to accomplish several things. First, we have all this stuff that we’ve carried with us since before we were married and much of it, we haven’t used. So: Freecycle and Craig’s List are getting them. We’ve given away and sold a couple of trunk loads so far. Second, we need a more organized place to work on our computers. Third, we also need some space to set up our studio lights.

In cleaning out things we’ve been carrying around way too long, we’ve emptied some files out of our filing cabinet. Most need to be shredded. Here’s a picture of the pile:


Ant that’s after we’d been shredding a while. We started shredding but had to stop. Our shredded is not capable of high volumes of paper. It told us to stop:


I guess we have to give it a rest now.

Saved By The Elephant

I have a spreadsheet I keep on my laptop with which I keep track of my billable hours for work. The company has a tool, but I like to keep an independent check on it with my own records. Just in case, right? I click on the desktop shortcut I have setup for it and to my chagrin, it says “file not found”. This is not good. I search my laptop and sure enough, it’s gone.

All is not lost, however, since I have Windows Live Sync keeping copies of all my data from the laptop to a share on my server. Of course, the program works flawlessly by replicating the deletion and thereby removing the server copy of my file.

Not to worry, I think. I know that not too long ago, I set up Shadow Copies on the server, which keeps snapshots of changed files. The only problem with this is that it only goes back as far as when I turned it on, which was 2 weeks ago – AFTER the file in question had already been deleted.

My last hope: my online backup system – Elephant Drive. This, like Mozy and other online backup services, has a desktop client [or in my case a server client] that runs and copies files and changes up to the Internet for backup. This is exactly what happened shortly after July 2nd, which was the last time I changed this file.

A simple browse and right-click later, I was saving the file back into its old place on my laptop.

I like Elephant Drive for the main reason that all the other services wanted to charge me MUCH more money just to be able to install their client software on Windows Server. If I have a server, I must therefore be a business and be made of money or something. This is not the case – I’m just a geek with a server or 7 at home and want to keep all of my data and files in one place. So, for $4.95 per month, they let me run it.

It’s now proven its worth. While that particular file might not be worth the $35 I’ve spent so far, the experience I’ve just had certainly gives me a degree of comfort that my files are safe.

My recommendation to you is this: find a backup solution that works for you, but be sure to include automated off-site [or Internet] backup as part of it.

Email Is Back: With A Vengeance

After about 5 days without email, I was finally able to restore our email service – and even get us upgraded to Exchange Server 2010 Release Candidate. All it took was a complete destruction of the old Exchange environment (twice) and rebuilding from scratch. Good thing I was able to take a backup of the mailboxes!

So, if I hadn’t replied to you for a while, now you know why.

Additional Media Center Woes

Things were looking up with the media center now that I got the cable card tuner and a new video card. It was looking great, that is, until the technician left. It seems that Cox has implemented Switched Digital Video on their digital cable network. That totally broke my media center. I can get a few channels, but not a lot of the ones I regularly watch. So I’m stuck. Either I go for Fios which doesn’t do SDV, or I wait until someone (ATI) puts out a patch for my tuner that supports SDV and get a tuning resolver that it will work with on the Cox network.

I have decided to wait, really, since we’re doing a number of things and we still have the old DVR to fall back on until things get more settled around here and we can really think about what we want to do with the cable.

One day, this will work.

One day…