A Rest Area on the Information Superhighway

By: Bogon , 2:27 PM GMT on February 10, 2011

Every so often, approximately every two weeks, time begins to add up. There are no obvious outward signs. With an uneaten loaf of bread you'd notice little spots of mold after a while. Milk goes sour, and there's usually an expired freshness date on the carton. Eggs... well, we probably don't want to think too much about what happens to eggs. On a blog there's just not much to go by. It's a subjective thing. Here on this blog I am the honcho, the primary instigator, so it comes down to me to decide. I don't have a set schedule. I'm not a Type A personality who is driven to achieve. Nevertheless, in some indirect and invisible way, I know when it's time. My blog goes stale. There's a niggling little alarm, a Sonalert, going off in the back of my head. Sometimes it keeps me awake at night.

When that happens, there's no help for it. I have to write a new entry. Somehow I have to come up with a new idea and commit it to paper. Well, not actual physical paper, but you know what I mean. Gotta type it and upload it, and only then can I rest easy.

Coming up with an idea is not usually the hard part. The hard part is the typing. I'm a fair typist, I suppose. I've even had lessons — for six weeks one summer at the Burlington Business College. (Come to think of it, I could probably patch up a passable post based on that singular episode alone.) The folks at BBC made sure I became a full-fledged two-fisted typist, none of this hunt and peck business. Nonetheless, as a facile interface between my mind and the digital domain, typing falls woefully short of the mark. I can think 'way faster than I can type. Therein lies the problem.

There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.

...Or in this case, twixt mind and keyboard. Perhaps the worst offender is the CAPS LOCK key. Mine is above the left Shift key. I hit it by mistake all the time. In fact it would be fair to say that I only ever hit it by mistake, because I seldom have any legitimate use for the danged thing at all. Why don't they put it up in the corner with Scroll Lock and Num Lock, where it belongs? That's a rhetorical question. I already know the answer. I learned to type on old style mechanical typewriters. The CAPS LOCK key inherits its position from those clunky historical relics. Goodness knows we wouldn't want to flout such a well-established, ancient and honorable convention.

See, the thing is, on the old mechanical machines there was not a usability problem. The unmarked round keys on the BBC's sturdy black Royal typewriter had a completely different feel. You had to depress the shift lock about an inch for it to engage. There was a clunk and a vibration that traveled right up your arm. It was absolutely not something that was likely to happen by accident without your realizing it. But now, on my cool white ergonomic Microsoft Natural keyboard, all the keys have the same soft touch. CAPS LOCK triggers a green LED when it engages, but I'm not looking at the diode when I type. My first clue arrives WHEN THE TEXT STARTS SHOUTING AT ME, AND i HAVE TO BACKTRACK AND DO IT ALL OVER.

Another similar problem occurs if the fingers of either hand stray off the home keys. Eventually I look up and notice that I've suddenly started typing gibberish. The effect is the same: back up and try again.

One group of recurring interruptions cannot be avoided. I am an animal. I must eat, drink and sleep. I must adjourn periodically to the restroom. I get tired. Sometimes, when I'm working late, I fall asleep at the console. Most nights I retain the presence of mind to rouse, arise and take myself to bed.

I get distracted easily. I generally keep two or three other programs running on my computer besides the editor. Outlook announces arriving e-mail with the eerie cry of a loon. Reading and replying take a few minutes. Then I may wander off into the wide web world. Sometimes I have a good reason, such as when I need to research something. Google, Wikipedia and Dictionary.com are my friends. Basically it comes down to self-discipline. Sometimes I have it; sometimes it goes AWOL. The computer is a portal to endless distractions, which dwell only a few mouse clicks away. Perhaps I have time for one quick game of FreeCell...

There are external sources of interruption. The phone may ring, or the doorbell. Either one effectively breaks my chain of thought (or snaps me out of FreeCell... Huh?).

My spouse may announce that it's dinnertime. That is one exemplar of a whole class of interruptions of the form, "Stop now because it is time for X". A television show. A dental appointment. A social engagement. Whatever. I must hit the Save button, hoist my butt out of the swivel chair and walk away. The creative flow is staunched. The ideas that were bubbling in ferment slowly cool and coagulate.

When one door closes, another door opens.

So what happens when I revisit the saved file an hour, a day or a week later?

Aye, there's the rub. This is not the productive, creative scene that I left behind me. This is the aftermath of that scene. The bluebird of inspiration has flown the coop.

The good news is that I have a new block of time. I can spend part of it trying to reconstruct my thought process. The bad news is that I have time for second guessing. Do I still want to say this? Will the fine folks at Weather Underground even care what I have to say about this? Do I want to say it this way? Maybe I should change it around, try coming at it from a different angle. Maybe I should introduce additional supporting material or tie this subject in with another topic that has been incubating in my mind.

You can see where this leads. It's a miracle this blog ever gets updated at all.

Best if consumed by: 25 Feb 2011

Previous Entry

A Souvenir from Jack Frost (Bogon)
A dusting of snow to brighten an otherwise gray morning. Our forecast calls for sunshine, 43°. This snow is doomed.
A Souvenir from Jack Frost

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58. Bogon
2:57 PM GMT on February 25, 2011
Hey, thanks for all the participation!

DAM, you nailed it. Thanks for carolinabirds.org, too. If Google or Wikipedia had led me there, I might have figured this out on my own.

WU photographer Nita beat you by about six hours. She identified the photo from the gallery side.

It doesn't help that many of the pictures I saw were taken of birds in breeding plumage. I also learned that there are two species which appear in my area, the American and the Lesser Goldfinch. I'm happy for the birds, that they can exhibit so much diversity. On the other hand, it's way more than I wanted to know about ornithology. :o]

I apologize for the quality of the photograph. It was taken through a window on a cloudy day at maximum zoom. The 480x640 photo I submitted was cut down from the original 1280x960. I used a simple filter routine to enhance the contrast.

We got some decent rain this morning. Looks like the sun is about to come out now.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
57. shoreacres
6:56 AM GMT on February 25, 2011
DAM - It is a cardinal! Very observant ;)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
56. DontAnnoyMe
6:54 AM GMT on February 25, 2011
And is that a cardinal peeping around the bottom lower right?
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
55. DontAnnoyMe
6:52 AM GMT on February 25, 2011
Quoting shoreacres:
Goldfinch! No question! Male and female, winter colors.

Yep, not juvies - too big and too much color.
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54. shoreacres
2:52 AM GMT on February 25, 2011
Goldfinch! No question! Male and female, winter colors.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
53. DontAnnoyMe
2:31 AM GMT on February 25, 2011
Quoting Bogon:
Okay, here we go.

What sort of birds are these?

My money's on goldfinch. Juvenile, not sure if M or F.

Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
52. Bogon
7:38 PM GMT on February 24, 2011
Okay, here we go.

What sort of birds are these?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
51. Bogon
6:58 PM GMT on February 23, 2011
Ahoy, shore!

I can recognize a goldfinch dressed in his showy summer garb. They come to pick daintily at our thistle seed feeder.

These birds, the olive drab ones, were chowing on black oil sunflower seeds. So I don't know. The vireos were described as 'solitary', but I suppose they might flock to migrate. If they're just passing through, I might not see them again this spring.

Perhaps I can take a picture and post it. Don't hold your breath. Birds don't pose on command. Besides, I really need a better camera to get good bird pictures. They usually fly away before I can get close enough. Or, if I somehow manage to sneak up on them, they bolt just about the time I get the danged thing zoomed and focused.

Thanks for the link, Skye. I never realized that I might be looking up at standing waves with a geological origin. Next time we get strong cold air advection from the northwest, I'll be watching the sky. If the waves have a visible component, I'll snap a picture. I'm pretty sure the clouds will sit still long enough.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
50. Skyepony
4:28 AM GMT on February 23, 2011
Thought you'd enjoy the mountain waves the other day. Some fire stuff in there too.

I was left wundering from the slight change in hue of the landscape on the webcam where I can see other farm up there, if the trees weren't coming awake.

The robins are here in droves. It's nice to see them & the little brown birds we drilled holes in gourds for today.
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 365 Comments: 42550
49. shoreacres
4:20 AM GMT on February 23, 2011
The description sounds like goldfinches in their winter clothes, but the behavior doesn't sound like goldfinches. They flock, but they don't ground feed - at least I've never seen it. They perch and cling and hang upside down on feeders.

Quick! Set up a webcam and audio at your feeder and we'll all hang around and watch and ID your birds for you!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
48. Bogon
4:08 AM GMT on February 23, 2011
Yesterday I was lying on the bed reading, when I saw two birds land on a porch railing outside the window. They were small songbirds, sort of olive colored with a white chevron across their back. Normally I don't pay a lot of attention to birds, but these stumped me. I walked across the room to retrieve my bird book.

I found a vireo that looked the part, but the map said it was a west coast resident. Another vireo was similar. It lives up north somewhere, but this time of year it could have been migrating through.

The longer I looked, the more birds I found that looked a lot like the ones I had seen. Warblers. Goldfinches. It must be a popular design. Sometimes it was just one color phase that matched, plumage during a certain time of year, perhaps only the female or a recently fledged chick. The pair I saw had long since flown away, so I no longer had the luxury of comparing markings. I never did hear them sing. After a while I closed the book and forgot about it.

This morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw about six or eight of 'em milling around under the bird feeder. It looked like they were having a good time out there. I made a snap decision: they're goldfinches, out of season. Problem solved. If anybody asks, that's what I'll call 'em.

I'll never be a birder. Who knows, maybe they really are goldfinches. :oD
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
47. Bogon
11:52 PM GMT on February 21, 2011
Hi, SP. I'm thinking an external hard drive would be easier to keep up with than a handful of flash drives. Flash drives are easy to misplace. Hard drives are more expensive, but they're worth it. These days you can put two or three terabytes on a hard drive.

The advantage of the docking station is that the functions of data storage and connectivity are separated. If you were as serious about regular backups as Barefoot, you could keep two or three drives in rotation. The most recent backup goes to the vault. The one from the vault returns to service as a portable file server. The third would be available as a (ahem) backup backup.

You can replace or upgrade one part or the other as necessary. The hard drives are generic, so you can always put them to work as internal drives if you wish. For instance, if your hard drive crashed, you would be able to replace not only your data but the hard drive itself with no shipping delay.

It doesn't look as if we'll have long to wait for green here. The last time I went walking around the neighborhood, I noticed several trees with buds bursting. The first things to hatch out are little red and yellow hay fever inducing pollen dispensers, but leaves won't be far behind.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
46. sp34n119w
9:12 PM GMT on February 21, 2011
Well, it took me awhile to get back here, because I went off exploring techreport.com after following the link to the docking station. The dock is overkill for me but I do think I need to get an external hard drive, so thanks for having the discussion here. Been relying on flash drives but have a lot on cd and all the old old stuff on floppies, of course.
So, what you say, bogon -
If you have a stack of tapes (or discs or drives or [storage medium of your choice]) you have to keep them sorted out. Month after month, year after year, you have to remember what each one has on it.
is definitely a problem, LOL

shore's description of the cloud is great and your point about security there is also true. I don't trust it and see no need, anyway. I don't have enough "stuff" to worry about.

btw, we have lots of green here, if you need a fix :)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 4408
45. Bogon
6:45 PM GMT on February 21, 2011
At 73° we stand poised on the verge of a new daily high temperature record. According to the forecast we stand a good chance of establishing a record high minimum tonight as well.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
44. Bogon
4:56 AM GMT on February 21, 2011
Hi, Barefoot. Sounds like good advice for anyone with much to lose on a computer.

As for the Houston shoebill, you really ought to tell Disney, not me. :o) For what it's worth, I think there's a good chance that I would watch such a movie.

The birds are so watchable.

Except I found one video where the bird just stands there for, like, eight minutes. I thought that scene ran a little long. I blame the director.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
43. Barefootontherocks
1:36 AM GMT on February 21, 2011
OMGosh, people. Put your back up lights on!

Always keep a backup somewhere other than where your computer is, like in your car glove box. Or, if you're like me and take your computer ever where you go, keep a backup at home. Safe deposit's a good idea. Flash drives are great. Make two. One for safe deposit. (CDs work too) One in daily use. Yes, backup daily. And save a copy in an easy to decipher format like rich text. Then at least you've got it even if you have to re-format.

And always keep a paper copy of stuff, especially looooong work you cannot easily reproduce---even if you think you've got a gazillion electronic backups. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Then, the way I look at things, that 120,000-word trash first novel was never meant for human consumption. And the good parts are still in my head.

Hi Bogon,
The bird in that vid deserves a starring role in the next Disney film.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 21265
42. Bogon
6:59 PM GMT on February 20, 2011
Good afternoon, Linda.

Believe it or not, I had you in mind when I picked the Houston Zoo video. I remembered your reaction to the shoebill chick.

I have been calling this bird the shoebill stork. Some call it whalehead, and some omit the 'stork'. If you ask the experts, you're apt to find a difference of opinion. Some lump it with cranes, herons or pelicans. The taxonomic designation Balaeniceps rex is effectively a cop-out. One guy, who compared the mix of chemicals secreted in bile from various birds' livers, discovered that the shoebill was most similar to the great blue heron. That could explain the size and color.

I suspect such questions will ultimately be resolved by looking at each creature's DNA with a view towards reconstructing paths of evolution. Biochemists are just now getting around to that.

"Marvelous and funny," I couldn't have said it better myself. The world is not for people only.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
41. shoreacres
3:52 PM GMT on February 20, 2011
Good morning, and now back to the important stuff...

I still have a copy of that photo of the shoebill in my files. I love those birds. There's something just so - earnest - about their expressions. Love it all - the video, links and especially the reminder that such marvelous creatures are out there. Marvelous and funny, as a matter of fact.

And here's the best part. That video's from the Houston Zoo! It's relatively near my eye doctor - maybe when I go back in June I'll plan to make a day of it and stop by. (On the other hand, maybe I should go before school gets out for the summer...)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
40. DontAnnoyMe
7:00 AM GMT on February 20, 2011
Interesting, about that box - and the problem quoting it. Didn't mean for it to be a box, but the preview showed the last 2 paragraphs misaligned so I put the blockquote tag way at the end. Fixed it, looks OK now despite the bad preview.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
39. Bogon
8:44 PM GMT on February 19, 2011
More nearly seasonal February conditions prevail in North Carolina this afternoon following two days of balmy weather evocative of April. A foretaste of March wind tosses the bare limbs of trees and shrubs. Bulbs and buds are being tempted forth from hibernation. My yard, which has been oppressed and chastised by snow and cold, is starting to look like it might still have some life left in it. That is not to say that it is green and growing. So far it's merely a kind of zombie/Frankenstein half-life. I fancy I can hear its inarticulate moaning, "Oooargh!", as if in fear of massed villagers bearing torches.

Perhaps this would be a good time to start spiffing up the old lawn mower.

Shore - Your thoughts about data precipitation are altogether apropos for a weather site such as this one. One of these days somebody may win a Nobel prize for formalizing your conjecture as information theory. You probably won't get any of the credit (or money).

Putting your backups in a vault is about the best you can do. Most events that could destroy your data at home would not be capable of simultaneously destroying a backup inside a well constructed vault some distance away.

Digital data transcribed to dead trees — now that's another story. Paper is not a good backup medium. I'm thinking that when the big EMP comes, those pages are going up in smoke.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
38. shoreacres
4:17 PM GMT on February 19, 2011
Morning, Bogon,

I see you got to cloud computing before I did. I do feel a good bit cautious about it - and not merely for privacy reasons.

There have been three significant wordpress outages since I've begun using the service. I think the longest was about 8 hours, although it felt like forever. Even today, I haven't done what I MUST do - create text or word files of my blog posts and drafts on my hard drive, and back them up. Anyone who depends on cloud computing alone for backup of critical information is being foolish, IMHO.

You know I'm not tech savvy at all, really, and I'm certainly not well versed in the sciences. Still, you may get a chuckle out of my real thoughts about cloud computing.

The way I see it, the "cloud" is just floating around out there, and like real clouds, it's in the process of getting increasingly saturated. One of these days, the conditions are going to be just right, and data is going to start precipitating out of that cloud. It will collect in little puddles and just flow away, and then the cloud will evaporate and the sun with shine on ... a...dataless world...

Happy Saturday! I gotta go do backups! LOL

I also plan to put the most important stuff on flash drives and stick them in my safe deposit box. No sense backing things up and then having the backups go in a house fire or whatever.

Of course, one of the best bloggers I know goes the final step and makes (gasp!) hard copies of everything. Like, on paper. For when the great EMP comes along, I suppose.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
37. Bogon
3:13 PM GMT on February 19, 2011
Whoa, DAM, I just hit the Quote link and got a comment box full of nothing but HTML tags. I wonder if the WU programmers are working on box behavior? It did the same thing on both NuWu and Classic.

secured with TrueCrypt

I read Wikipedia's article on TrueCrypt. Sounds like a good candidate. I'm not using encryption on my box, though the idea has always intrigued me. When NIST was running the AES contest I followed the proceedings with interest. Somewhere around here I still have source code for Twofish and Rijndael.

I guess, when it comes down to it, I don't feel that I have that much to hide. Using encryption requires some computing overhead and a certain paranoid outlook. I'm willing to forgo both. If I did deploy an encryption scheme on my computer, it would not be to protect my credit card information etc. It would be a political statement about my right to privacy.

A lock on the door provides physical security. I rely on a firewall (and obscurity :o) for network security. If someone is determined enough to overcome those barriers, there's a good chance he could defeat my encryption (or render it irrelevant) as well.

I would want to use encryption in conjunction with any on-line backup service. Otherwise you're broadcasting your private business to the world. That's the way I look at it. I wonder about "cloud computing". If you put data on somebody else's server, you have just ceded control of those data, no matter what it says in the contract. A contract may grant legal protection, but it does not provide security.

You really can't have enough backups.

Well, you really just need one, as long as you can remember where you put it. ~:o}

I understand what you're saying, though. If you have a stack of tapes (or discs or drives or [storage medium of your choice]) you have to keep them sorted out. Month after month, year after year, you have to remember what each one has on it. You can't lose 'em or swap 'em around. I'm thinking that the higher the stack and the longer you keep them around, the greater the chances that something will go amiss.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
36. DontAnnoyMe
8:34 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting Bogon:

- USB 3.0 docking station

Looks interesting, never seen 'em.

- copy files or drive image

I do both: data to a USB flash drive and image to the Transcend (both secured with TrueCrypt). You really can't have enough backups. I found that out about 30 years ago, when I accidentally overwrote someone else's tape and its only backup ;-)

- catastrophic event

One of those fireproof document boxes may save it. The bigger worry in my mind is theft, and it's easy enough to hide a flash/external drive, or take it/them with you.

There are a bunch of online backup solutions, but I think that they're too expensive and unnecessary. And unless you have cable internet access, forget it, esp. if files are transmitted right when they're changed.

Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
35. Bogon
5:39 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
From the "that was then, this is now" department:

Some of you may remember that a year ago I posted a brief item about the shoebill stork, one of three birds mentioned in the blog. For those of you who missed it, here's a refresher.

Later I learned that a pair of birds in a zoo in Florida had hatched a baby shoebill. The most recent report I could find of Binti's condition is here.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
34. Bogon
4:51 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Cool, rainy famous Santa Paula - think I'll pass on the typing test for now. It won't make me any faster, and if I get a bad score it might cause me to dwell on how I type rather than what I type. Right now I want to focus on the output, not the process.

I have a few unfinished posts sitting around my hard drive as well, including one that I started about ten days ago, then abandoned in favor of the current header. Sort of gives new meaning to "second effort".

You're right about typewriter sounds. There was an industrial quality to the percussive smacking of typebars on platen, the intermittent ringing of the margin bell, and the ratcheting slide when you grabbed the lever and slammed the carriage home. It made you feel that there was work getting done.

That feeling was partly illusory, though. I don't even want to think about all the fiddling, correction, carbon paper etc. that happily disappeared with the typewriter. Come to think of it, word processing may be the killer app that, more than anything, sold me on the computer.

As for backups, I need a better plan myself. DAM, thanks for your input. I think I'm going to buy myself an external drive of some kind. Today I saw a description of a USB 3.0 docking station on Tech Report. Something like that might come in handy.

On the software side I'll have to decide whether copying files will be enough, or whether I want to go the drive image route. If my hard drive crashes the latter would certainly get me back up and running faster. Data are just the start. There is a huge cumulative investment of time in installation, configuration, customization and updates.

Of course, an external drive won't save my data from a catastrophic event like a house fire. You need off-site backup for that. This week I got junk mail touting an encrypted on-line backup solution. That comes with a monthly bill, though. How many months will I want to maintain my backup? How much does 'forever' cost?
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
33. DontAnnoyMe
3:00 AM GMT on February 18, 2011
Quoting sp34n119w:
options in backing up hard drives.

I think backing up on an external/portable hard drive is essential for disaster recovery. I use a Transcend StoreJet USB drive and DriveImage XML software (free).

Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTEnKA7tOXM

DriveImage won't do incremental backups though, only full. You can restore any file one by one, or the whole drive.
Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
32. sp34n119w
10:20 PM GMT on February 17, 2011
If you're curious - typing test ;)
I got to 48 wpm on that one. I think I do better when typing my own thoughts - need a test for that!

Your description of distractions is very familiar. I have several half-written blog posts that seemed irrelevant by the time I returned to finish them. More words of wisdom lost to time and curiosity!
I think wu will survive that loss, lol

I learned to type on a typewriter, too, and think I still have one stuck away somewhere. Doubt I could find a ribbon for it. I miss the sounds it made.

Now I'm not thinking about your original post but about backups - which I'm not good at doing and have been meaning to do. Having already spent too much time taking typing tests I'll now be off to consider options in backing up hard drives. Gee, thanks, all! ;)
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 83 Comments: 4408
31. Bogon
9:09 PM GMT on February 17, 2011
Well, Shore, I'm gratified that you consider me trustworthy. :o) I wonder what would happen if I put a sigma symbol on my emoticon? Σ:o)

I've heard different theories about why you should create one partition for your system files and another for your data. Obviously the folks who propound these theories don't mind making assumptions about how other people will use their machines and whether the divided house will suit everybody's habits and expectations.

Ylee - Just as with the partitioning, I doubt there is one solution that will suit everyone. I added a drive to my old XP machine when the original one began to fill up. You can copy data files easily enough — e. g. documents, photos, music — but, if you want to move programs to another drive, you generally have to uninstall and reinstall.

There are other considerations when hooking up additional storage space. You have to worry about the specification, i. e. IDE, SCSI, SATA etc. Will the drive physically fit into the case? Some are much more capacious than others. You need jacks and cables for power and data. Most computers come with spares, but you can't take that for granted. Will the power supply handle the increased load?

How will you use the additional space? If you want it for making backups, you might be happier with a portable external drive. If you want to create a RAID array, it's a lot easier if you do it on a new machine before you install software and data. Solid state drives are an option for enhancing performance.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
30. shoreacres
1:40 PM GMT on February 17, 2011

Figured out the basics for my friend, who's running Vista. Yes, he can unpartition using the system utility, Though he'll still have two drives (say, C and D) both will be accessible. To turn everything into a single C drive he'll apparently have to use a third-party utility.

Apparently my transformation isn't complete. I never thought of googling this stuff. Goodness - there are instructional videos & everything!
Of course, you have to have the knowledge to judge their quality, too. That's why making inquiries of someone trustworthy is important. ;-)
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
29. Ylee
6:23 AM GMT on February 17, 2011
The thing I did for my computer(at home) was to buy a second internal hard drive. They are fairly inexpensive, and not too difficult to install. All I had to do was drag all my important files from old HD to new HD, and they are copied automatically.
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 119 Comments: 20738
28. Bogon
6:16 PM GMT on February 16, 2011
Once upon a time I bought a program named Partition Magic (for Windows) that was easy to use and did a great job.

I say "once upon a time" because that was a long time ago in computer years. I haven't needed such a utility lately and haven't kept up with developments in that area. The link above is for shareware. I don't know if this software comes from the same people. I had to pay for mine, IIRC version 5.

It may simply be that some enterprising open sourcerors released a similar program for free. If the open source version was good enough, it would end the market opportunity for the commercial software company.

Addendum (1:35 EST): Powerquest was acquired by Symantec in '03. That explains that.

The version 8 utility I linked above works for Windows versions through XP. If you drive something newer, you should consider another solution. Vista (and, I assume, Windows 7) has a built-in partition management capability. A little googling disclosed this free utility as well. There are probably others. Swim at your own risk. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
27. shoreacres
3:39 PM GMT on February 16, 2011

I just discovered this question on the blog of a nice gentleman from Wales whose blog I read.

My laptop’s 150 GB hard drive appears to be divided into two, “Vista (C:)”, in which there are 23.1 GB of free space out of a total of 74.5 GB, and “Data (E:)” with 67.9 GB free space out of 73 GB total. My questions are, can some of that free space from drive “E” be transferred to drive “C”? What effect would this have on the computer’s performance and, if desirable, how to do it?

My assumption is that the hard drive's been partitioned to allow for one of those restore programs. Don't need any instructions on the how, but generally speaking, can he put some of that empty space from E back into C?

I went looking at my own computer and discovered that the partition was lost during my hard drive crash. I don't have my automatic backup program any longer, and no division on the hard drive. Makes those external backups even more important!
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
26. shoreacres
3:14 PM GMT on February 16, 2011
Morning, Bogon,

So. I said I'd be back, but six days? I can't believe that. I know it's so, but still... It makes me want to re-read your time entries. There's something funny going on here!

I'm so envious of all the robin talk. EarlB was writing about robins, too. We see them only as transients, and then only rarely. Coastal prairie isn't their idea of a good time. They'll stop in residential areas with lots of cover, or vacant, brushy lots, but otherwise they just do a fly-by. I've only seen flocks in Houston a very few times - usually you'll hear one, or see a couple browsing a lawn, but that's it. I resort to youtubes for a bit of their song. ;-)

I laughed at your gentle grumps above re: the typing and such. I prefer typing to writing by hand because I can keep up with my thoughts better. Paper and pen is too slow. I keep a notebook with me for jotting thoughts, sentences and such, but when I sit down to do what passes for "real" writing in my life, I use the computer.

I have no idea what my typing speed is. I was pretty good when I was doing secretarial work, back in the day when secretaries were secretaries and administrative assistants hadn't been invented yet. Whatever it is, it works for me.

What gave me the most trouble was learning to use the keyboard on my laptop. Why they can't standardize these things I don't know. I feel the same about the placement of horns on cars and elevator buttons.

In any event, I kept losing things on my laptop, until I discovered the Ctrl button was in a different place, and when I thought I was copying I was doing something else. I still don't know what the "new" button is for, but I've learned to avoid it like the plague to keep from deleting posts.

If these warm days keep up, it will be time for me to look for daffodils. I'll keep an eye out on the way to work - there's a post-Ike vacant lot that used to have a lot of them.
Member Since: October 4, 2004 Posts: 205 Comments: 15288
25. DontAnnoyMe
8:14 AM GMT on February 16, 2011
Indeed, it is getting close to spring - my favorite season in the south (in the north, it was summer). Our witch hazels are blooming, and the brown ornamental grass stalks are begging to be cut down. But I haven't seen our crocus or robins in the yard. Guess I'll have to look a bit harder.

Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
24. Bogon
6:21 AM GMT on February 16, 2011
Minutes after posting the Moody Blues video I went for a walk. There was a pale gibbous moon ascending the northeastern sky. In the west gleaming vapor trails crisscrossed over the setting sun.

It was cool this evening. Our forecast calls for 30° tonight followed by three mornings in a row above freezing. Friday afternoon it will be warmer outside than inside.

It may not be official spring yet, but there is definitely something going on here. Today I saw robins and heard them twittering in the trees. In a favored corner of somebody's yard stood a handful of golden daffodils.

These are unambiguous signs that winter is on the wane. I estimate that I walked just under a mile and a half today. Somewhere along the way I passed a frontier. My world and my outlook have changed.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
23. Bogon
10:09 PM GMT on February 15, 2011
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
22. Barefootontherocks
9:40 PM GMT on February 15, 2011
Hi Bogon,
Just dropped by to say thanks for the post in my blog. Liked reading your blog, so glad I got here before the expiration date. lol

Hope you and your spouse had a great dinner and day yesterday.

Keep on typing.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 173 Comments: 21265
21. Bogon
8:35 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Ylee - Yes, I tried different things. The WU comment box limits picture sizes. I'm not sure what they were worried about in this case, because the comic was being served using bandwidth I pay for. Perhaps the wunderground servers automatically resize linked images in order to preserve the page format. With photos it's not usually a big deal.

I don't know what happens behind the scenes. The New Comment boxes accept only a subset of HTML. That's why they have the Preview button, so you can test what you type. If you try anything fancy, you're never quite sure whether it will work. Testing it on your browser at home is not enough.

Mass - I haven't commented on your blog lately, but I check most every day to make sure the roof didn't cave in. :o)

Haven't had time today to check the latest forecasts. The weather guys have been saying that you could look forward to gradual thawing with minimal chance of flooding.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
20. Bogon
8:06 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Thanks for all the swell Valentine vibes.

Spouse and I have reservations for Valentine dinner tonight. If we don't have a good day, it won't be for lack of trying.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
19. masshysteria
7:18 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Good Afternoon and Happy Valentine's Day Bogon!

Sorry I haven't kept up with posting lately. The ravages of winter have taken its toll on me and my hubby with all the snow. We're hoping that all the melting will continue to be gradual, as the last thing we want or need right now, on top of everything else, is another big flood like last year.

Hope the weather picks up for all of us and that you have a most wonderful day and week ahead!
Member Since: June 21, 2006 Posts: 82 Comments: 9399
18. Ylee
5:45 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Have you tried the width and height html tags on that comic strip? I use them on my cam blog page, and they work pretty good.
30 wpm? Sometimes I can't even think 30 wpm! :)
Have a good day!
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 119 Comments: 20738
17. juslivn
5:38 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Member Since: August 20, 2009 Posts: 94 Comments: 10651
16. Skyepony
4:35 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
That was funny..

Have a great Valentines Day!
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 365 Comments: 42550
15. Bogon
4:21 PM GMT on February 14, 2011
Well, shucks. I was going to post a comic strip here, but WU had a better idea. The original is a 600x1200 image. Here in this comment it got squashed down so small that it became unreadable. The best I can do is to offer a link you can use to click through to the source site, Help Desk.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
14. Proserpina
8:08 PM GMT on February 13, 2011
Valentine Cat images
Valentine Animals Graphics
Member Since: May 6, 2008 Posts: 191 Comments: 19425
13. Bogon
1:10 PM GMT on February 13, 2011
Sunday morning, and dawn light is just beginning to creep around the curtains.

This time of day local temperatures have been running in the twenties. The NAM model predicts that by midday we should return to the warm side of the 5400 thickness line. This week as a whole will be warmer than any we've experienced yet in 2011.

DontAnnoyMe - It would suit me if your prediction concerning an end to snow turned out to be right. We have a way to go yet before we're out of the woods. Some of our most epic winter storms occurred in March.

I admit it, my wife and I have been to Trader Joe's in Chapel Hill. We were just passin' through and decided to pick up some coffee. It doesn't mean we shop there all the time. XP

Thanks for suggesting the keyboard mapping utilities. Maybe I can fix Caps Lock so all it does is beep.

BangorWalker - Hope you don't mind that I lower cased most of your name. I'm trying to avoid the Caps Lock key.

Ha! You remind me that we used to do a typing speed test and error count just about every day at Burlington Business College. That was about forty-five years ago. I don't know how fast I type now. My fingers don't seem to be in any particular hurry at the moment. Neither does my mind, for that matter.

juslivn - Your name is all lower case already. Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for being so typing-friendly. :o)
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574
12. juslivn
3:31 AM GMT on February 13, 2011
Just read THIS...oops... :) smiles. Great!
Member Since: August 20, 2009 Posts: 94 Comments: 10651
3:27 AM GMT on February 13, 2011
Addendum: I learned on Smith-Coronas back in the late 70's...

Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3412
3:11 AM GMT on February 13, 2011
90WPM at my best, back in the day...matter of fact, I used t0o be able to go 120WPM with a few errors! I hear "ya. I have resorted back to the bare bones hunt and peck because of all the errors that I used to make when I started typing on a keyboard. YUP hitting all caps by mistake or moving the hands off the ASDF-JKLsemi-colon position, been there, done that. So now I do the old fashioned hunt and peck, but I find that I can still go about 30WPM, which is slower than my racing thoughts, so it all works out for me. Maybe you ought to give it a try?

Hope you have a Great Weekend!
Member Since: January 17, 2006 Posts: 18 Comments: 3412
9. DontAnnoyMe
11:56 PM GMT on February 11, 2011
LOL, hey Bog.

Only got a dusting of snow over here, which I totally missed, having slept past noon. That may be it for snow this year.

Glad to see HH Mall will be refurbished. Last time I was there, I was wondering why it was still open. They must have some fancy plans, given the new Tanger outlet in Mebane.

Coop - great news for you and Burlington. Looks like they're modeling after Weaver Street Market here. Also saw that Whole Foods has a store planned for Greensboro. Trader Joe's still desperately needed in the Triad; ours is pilfered to emptiness by Triadites every weekend ;-)

Remap Keyboard Keys with These 3 Free Apps

Member Since: September 21, 2010 Posts: 1 Comments: 3690
8. Bogon
7:36 PM GMT on February 11, 2011
Skye - Presto! Now you see it; now you don't!

I grabbed the camera and went outside in my bathrobe first thing in the morning to capture that picture. Alas, the batteries died on the spot. I had to go back inside, swap batteries and try again, grumbling all the way. Perhaps, like BriarCraft says, my feet had stumbled off the Home Keys. I don't doubt it, because I was still squinting and tousled from recent sleep. Hadn't had my coffee yet.

That snow was history by lunchtime.

BriarCraft - Well, if it inspired a fun analogy, I reckon my goal for this entry has been achieved, even if it happened two thousand miles away. Thanks for sharing.

Ylee - That'll work. :o)

Actually there are a few brighter spots in the picture.

A group of local businessmen acquired a nice old indoor mall after some of the anchor stores fled to new locations. They want to buy it out of hock, refurbish it, and restore its original name and glory. I wish them well.

There's a market coop which my wife and I joined. This organization proposes to renovate an old grocery building downtown, where they will distribute locally grown produce, meat and dairy products. They have the money. It's going to happen.
Member Since: June 26, 2008 Posts: 86 Comments: 4574

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Retired software engineer. "What is that?", you may ask. It's someone who has time to blog about the weather...

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