Physician, Heal Thyself

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Physician, Heal Thyself 

Web server. Head Crash. No Backup. Doh!

You’d think I’d learned my lesson about backing up critical data, but nope, not me. In an extreme case of overconfidence and hubris, I let a Mac mini that I had set up in my house as a web server for a genealogically oriented family association go without a full backup … for almost seven years! Yeah, yeah… I had planned on doing something when I had a little free time on my hands, but that time never came.

This server was running several specialized web applications, including the genealogy of the Grinnell family, configured in such a fashion that it is very difficult to start over from scratch. Oh, and did I mention the main membership database? Yup. Also gone. At least for that one, I think I’ve got a backup of that file somewhere, and because it’s membership renewal time, the membership chair had just made printouts of critical member information. Not that this should in anyway excuse what has happened. Read more

Why I Am Buying an iPhone

April 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on Why I Am Buying an iPhone 

One of the few things I walked away with (legally) from my last job of 27 years was my cellphone, manufactured by that same previous employer, which I had to move to a personal account at the time of my, ummm…err…retirement, of course. Read more

Securing Your Wireless Network

April 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on Securing Your Wireless Network 

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the use of wireless networks and how much security do you need to protect yourself and your computing equipment.

The emergence of wireless network standards has untethered computer users from fixed locations, permitting laptop users to use their devices pretty much anywhere in their home, office, or their favorite restaurant or bookstore. The addition of the various iDevices (iPhone, iPad, etc.) into the mix has further untethered users and provided the freedom to move around, yet stay in touch and remain engaged in their regular pursuits. Read more

Storage Options

April 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on Storage Options 

If you’re like me, you store a lot of stuff on your computer, and probably also like me, you need to create more and more space for your digital treasures, like music, photos, and the like. You also need to back them up, but I think I’ve probably bored you to tears (or horrified you into throwing all your computers away) with my recent tale of woe, having to do with losing the disk drive on my web server and not having a recent backup. Suffice it to say, there was no recovery from the original disk, but fortunately, I was able to recover about 80% of the content from other sources and am busily building a new website on a hosted service. ‘Nuff said about that! Read more

What Kind of Printer?

April 22, 2012 by · Comments Off on What Kind of Printer? 

One of the many things a technology buyer for a business, small or large, has to face is determining what kind and how many printers do you need to efficiently support your staff.

You might be lured by the cheap (under fifty dollars) desktop color inkjet printers, but before you commit to buying a slew of these little printers, consider that they may be cheap to buy, but cost a relative fortune to feed with ink cartridges. Cartridge prices range from $20 to $50 each. Further, if you don’t use the printer regularly, the tiny holes that spray the ink on your page will dry out and plug up, rendering your nearly full $35 inkjet cartridge useless. Read more

Broadband in the Hinterlands

March 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Broadband in the Hinterlands 

I work for a large corporation in the technical publications organization. Our staffers are spread literally all over the world. A fair number of them, due to the nature of their work, and because my company has an excellent virtual private network (VPN) that permits staffers to securely tunnel into the company’s intranet, can work from home with only limited face-to-face interaction required. Read more

Too Much Time on my Hands?

March 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Too Much Time on my Hands? 

Author’s Note: This piece was written in May, 2009.

As I approach month five of unemployment, I look more and more for simple and inexpensive projects to occupy the time I’m not spending looking for work. I was laid off in January from a job I held for almost 27 years. The first two months were taken up with almost daily classes and webinars held by the outstanding outplacement company, Right Management, who helped me build a competitive resume, and provided me with the tools I need for finding a new job in the 21st century with seminars on topics including how to best use LinkedIn (here’s my LinkedIn page), financial management, body language, interview skills, cover letters, and more. My former employer paid substantial bucks for two months of this program, and I remain in their alumniprogram, where I have access to all of their research and their online services. Read more

Network Attached Storage — What the Heck?

March 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Network Attached Storage — What the Heck? 

On the podcast #112, Tim (Robertson) and Guy (Serle) discussed NAS (Network-Attached Storage) devices, and having worked with them myself, I thought I’d share my experiences.

My department purchased a Quantum SnapServer 4000 back in the mid-late 1990s, when our existing AppleShare server began showing some weakness handling the ever-increasing amount of content we had to manage in a technical publications organization (we filled up our two 1 GB hard drives…). the SnapServer had four 30GB drives in a RAID5 configuration, meaning after overhead and such, we had about 84 GB of storage available. Read more

It’s Kinda Easy Bein’ Green

March 17, 2012 by · Comments Off on It’s Kinda Easy Bein’ Green 

With apologies to Kermit The Frog, there are a number of things you can do to make your computing environment a little “greener.”

Admittedly, I’m no paragon of greenness. My friends and family will probably tell you that my home is something akin to a toxic waste dump, barely able to keep off the list of EPA Superfund sites. Read more