Tuesday, September 28, 2004


When angry count to four; when very angry, swear

The Proprietor is in one seriously pissed mood today.

The reason for this is my former external hard drive, purveyed by a company called LaCie. It was quite reasonably priced for an external 160GB, and had a rock-solid case that apparently could stand up to the occasional impact of various toys and balls being thrown at it by the kids. There was one small caveat, one review suggested that the drive lacked durability. Pish tosh, I thought. I installed it around Christmastime, it ran fine and dandy, and eventually I moved it to 24/7 duty, figuring there would be worse wear with startups and shutdowns of the drive than just plain leaving it running. Yesterday, I shut the drive down (normally) for the first time since April, for some routine maintenance around the High Altar here. I fired up the main machine and hit the switch on the LaCie drive. Once the big box was up and running, I went to My Computer to reenable DLA for the DVD burner. I was mildly surprised to see that the external drive hadn't been recognized. Quickly moving into troubleshooting mode I moved it to other USB ports on the box, then moved it over to another computer to see if it would be recognized. No joy. At which point, I put my ear to the thing while it was powered up and heard silence. Ordinarily I relish quiet, but of course in this case it was the catalyst for the utterance of every four-, six-, seven-, ten- and twelve-letter Anglo-Saxon incantation and oath in my considerable profane vocabulary.

So what was lost? As I noted, it was primarily a backup drive, so I'm running naked for the moment (to be rectified later today). There was a collection of fully licensed software on there used for various projects, all of which is still available to me through Respected Employer, so I'll only need to invest some time getting those back. The big pain in the ass was the VMWare Virtual Machines I lost. I preferred to keep them on that drive as I use quite a few of them for various purposes. Ordinarily I would've backed them up to DVD media as a safety measure, however, all of the various patches that have come down the pike from Redmond and other vendors have made DVD burning a bit problematic (I suppose I should try an external burner just to eliminate the hardware from the equation, but having precious little time for experimentation I'll have to let that go for some time when finances and time permit). The biggest pain in the butt was the loss of my virtual machine that was a work laptop clone. The documents are saved in other places, so I'm not terribly worried about that, but back when I set it up in the first place it was a lot easier to bootstrap things because of the old VPN client. The new VPN client in theory can and should only be installed through the software distribution mechanism, but enough digging and pleading got me the installer and the correct parameters. So, I've got a lovely day ahead of me rebuilding and copying files.

Lessons learned here include not trusting consumer-grade stuff for mission-critical needs, and not to cheap out. As a friend of mine had a 20GB LaCie drive crap out on her last week (the drive being all of eight months old in her case), I won't consider another buying another one.

Cue the readership tsk tsking and something about shoemaker's children......

Update: New external drive in place. Critical VM recreated. Extra external for belt-and-suspenders coming this afternoon.

Courtesy of Blogcritics, we have this interesting absurd item:

Paul McCartney is involved in a campaign urging California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to ban foie gras. Last month, California's state legislature approved a bill to outlaw foie gras, and it now awaits Schwarzenegger's assent.

According to the BBC, McCartney wants California to be the first US state to ban foie gras pate, which is made, of course, by force feeding geese and ducks. Other stars, including Martin Sheen, Chrissie Hynde and Kim Basinger, are also calling for Schwarzenegger to approve the bill to outlaw the sale and production of the pate.

Paul, who was asked to write the letter by animal rights group Viva! USA, said: "There is clearly nothing humane about mechanically inducing disease in a bird by forcing a pipe down its throat and making it consume such an abnormal quantity of food that its liver expands many times its normal size. I feel sure that your natural feelings of compassion will encourage you to sign this basic humane bill into law."

Of course, when the company includes Martin Sheen, who spends most of his spare time getting arrested at various leftie be-ins, preferably at establishments for "special" weapons, and Kim Basinger, not especially known for her erudition and academic achievement, the impact of whatever the protest is for is seriously diluted and its credibility is nil IMSHO. I don't see their beloved French cutting down on their foie gras production and consumption (and I think that suggesting such to the petit bourgeoisie in the Perigord and Gascony who produce it would get a reaction similar to asking a real American to voluntarily give up his firearms). Personally I love foie gras. It's a once-a-year treat for me, but you know something? It's a product of family farmers, not big conglomerates. It's politically incorrect, which increases my enjoyment level immensely. I don't suppose that Macca et al have a clue how the producers and consumers would compensate for such a ban, typical of the idiots in the entertainment industry focusing on la causa without examining the impacts of it.


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