Cutting Through The Crap

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Thoughts


Being brief, here: my laptop hard-drive crashed, with the potential for ruining my marriage as it takes with it a couple of years' worth of photos. I'd been meaning to get the latest OS and set up automatic backup... So, as I fight for online time, I may have to yield gracefully.

Meanwhile, this: first, I really wish the Obama recovery plan included MORE infrastructure spending and LESS tax cuts. Why? Because tax cuts don't work and spending does. Or is it the other way around? Anyway, the amount going to individuals hardly seems enough to affect much change. What did you do with your previous "stimulus" check? If tax cuts were the panacea the Republicans keep claiming they are, why are we where we are? It needs to be said loudly. In this, bipartisan ship means the R's can join in and share the glory, or they can dig in and share the balcony.

Second: Lots of Republicans are suddenly likening Obama to Reagan. But wait a minute: did they hear the part of his inaugural where he said something about the question not being whether government is too big or small, but whether it works? So I'd like to hear an overt repudiation of the slow disaster Reagan began when he said government isn't the solution, it's the problem. Since then, Republicans have done their best to prove him correct, by screwing up every governmental action they took. Obama hinted at it. Now he should say it: government isn't the problem, BAD government is the problem. And we've had just about enough of it. Put Reagan and Bush where they belong, quoting the Republican diety one more time: in the dustbin of history. 

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Depending on how much you value you contents on the hard drive and assuming it wasn't smashed to bits, you might be able to bring the hard drive into a store and have them burn the contents on a DVD. This happened to me a month ago and Circuit City had the best price by far (despite them closing soon, I think they may still offer this service while they're open). Other big box stores could work too if the damage isn't too severe. Other small local businesses may be able to help if the damage might be a bit more severe, but it'll be more $$.

Frank Drackman said...

You don't back up your hard drive?? What are ya, an Idiot??
Just bustin balls, I only back up the one thats got my really important stuff, fantasy baseball stats, and those hard to find Jessica Alba pics... And excuse me, I'm a little slow, but why do they need ANY republicans to come along??, not like their needed for a Veto override...and its not like the Civil Rights Bill where 1/2 the Demos were against it...

My stimulus Check??, Mrs. D bought a pair of shoes...

Sid Schwab said...

Why do they need Repubs? My question, too. They made changes and still all the Rs said no. I'm assuming the economy will improve. In refusing to sign on, the Rs are giving up the chance to take any credit.

Timmyson said...

Regarding 1, I have two points
1.1 "the amount going to individuals hardly seems enough to affect much change.") Reduce the cost of labour by 1% and a company can hire 1% more people, allowing the company to be 1% more productive and make 1% more money (their motivation). Further, 1% more people have jobs, and thus money to spend. This model glosses over the consumer confidence issue (if the media said, "That's a big stimulus, we're all going back to work, people!", the effect of the package would be considerably increased with repsect to the status quo), the fact that businesses rely on publicly funded infrastructure to operate (and rough roads mean more truck maintainance). So both are required, but both can help considerably.

1.2 "If tax cuts were the panacea the Republicans keep claiming they are, why are we where we are?") Because they dramatically reduced regulation on commodities trading, allowing non-oil producers or processers to speculate in comodity prices, leading to the massive oil price-volatility we've seen. Similar short-sighted regulation in corporate accounting, sub-prime mortgages, and securities trading set up the "perfect storm" of economic ineptitude leading to economic harm. And the whole Keynesian model is muddied (and thus less predictable) because it relies on governments running surplusses to pay down debt when times are good instead of waging a war without the strength of character to pay for it. Kaynes may have also assumed a fixed dollar (with floating currency, deficit spending makes imports more expensive and exports more attractive), and the US dollar was fixed until ~25 years after Keynes' death, which may also muddy the theory, but I have no way of checking right now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps five times relatives and friends have brought me laptops with "crashed" hard drives. All were XP machines. None of them had catastrophic hardware failures. Most seemed actually to be XP problems.

What you want to do is get a USB hard drive enclosure (google "USB hard drive external enclosure"). You can get either a small one into which will fit your "crashed" laptop drive, or a standard sized (desktop) one along with a 3.5" to 2.5" adapter cable. Incidentally these enclosures are handy in their own right.

Next, remove the crashed hard drive and install it into the USB drive enclosure. Plug the USB drive into a working computer and most likely you will be able to copy off your data. Do so immediately and don't power cycle the drive more than absolutely necessary.

My drive history is long and bittersweet. I had a drive fail after a power surge and was able to retrieve the data by purchasing the same drive and swapping the electronic panels. I have had genuinely crashed drives: they make clicking noises. I clouted a drive by handling it live and setting it down where it shorted out.

Best,
Sam Spade

Sid Schwab said...

SS: I appreciate the time you took to write this. Mine is a Macbook, and the Apple folk already tried to transfer data after putting in a new drive. It failed. So I'm going to send it to a data recovery outfit who'll see if it's possible, and if so, how much it'll cost. No data, no charge. But the charge, I'm led to believe, will be steep. As an unrepentant Mac devotee, I'm a little disappointed, especially since I know two other people with the same laptop to whom the exact thing happened.

I've already installed the newest OS which has automatic backup, and I'm looking for a decent external hard drive. Technology is great, when it works.

Ellen Kimball said...

Hi Sid --

(Much of this response has been created by Audio_Al, my husband and frequent dictator....ummmm... on all things structural, mathematical and mechanical.) I felt very bad for you about losing your photos and who-knows-what-else.

Glad you are getting your lumps for not backing up (especially on a Mac :-) because even Apple computers need them. (OT: Is Steve Jobs struggling of pancreatic cancer? If so, that is quite sad.)

Backing up really is important although I would not know about it if I had not married a math- oriented electrical engineer who morphed into a software engineer. He also does taxes and financial stuff. We are reaching our 36th wedding anniversary on Feb. 4, and I would be lost without him.

We've had a couple of crashes -- one due to a lightning strike which came in on a telephone line (not the power line) and fried a computer. That was years ago when there were no USB ports. Insurance covered replacement of that unit.

Second time, we came back from a trip and tried to power up my computer. It had catistrophically failed. But since we had been doing "full image" backups between our two machines (his to mine; mine to his), he was able to go to CompUSA, bought a new hard drive, and within 24 hours, I was up and running with a larger hard disk with more storage than the one that had failed.

The current situation is our two computers are networked together, and one of them has a 500 GB USB port disk on it. That disk is the backup for both systems. Full images backups of both machines go to the same disk. We try to do that monthly.

Important UNIQUE files such as word processing documents and spreadsheets are backed up daily by way of a simple little backup program (EZ Backup) that automatically does an update scheduled for noon every day.

Now, on another subject which I hope will please you, I am re-reading your book, "Cutting Remarks" and find it fascinating the second time around. I'm going to give this copy to my doctor son-in-law who works for Oregon Health Sciences University. He has credentials in medicine as well as computers and works in the research field of "Translational Bioinformatics". He's a member of the American Medical Informatics Association.

I've gone back to general subjects at my blog because the political dialogue has been so wearing for the last eight years. We're leaving for Mexico in early March. I probably should have sent this via email, but I'm running 99 degrees fever with a nasty cough and was too lazy to open my mail...

Warm regards,

EK

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that. I mailed a drive in to data recovery once. The cost was outrageous, but alas my drive was unrecoverable anyway. The idea of swapping the electronics panels between two drives was from a data recovery guy who perceived that I was too young and poor (at the time) to pay much. He went on to tell me that the hard drive company Western Digital paid for his Rolls Royce. I've assiduously avoided Western Digital since.

Hard drives are a commodity item. There are basically only two types, big ones for desktops and servers and small ones for laptops. Apple chooses among the same vendors that the other computer companies choose among. Most drive crashes are from impact or heat, though some die of natural causes. It's possible that Apple chose a crap one for your particular MacBook. There's almost certainly nothing stopping you from switching hard drive models.

One friend has twice rushed me crashed hard drives, costing me the better part of two days. I sent him a thumb drive for the next Christmas.

That might work for you. Amazon has a 16gb one for $30. That's enough storage for almost anyone. Just make sure you get in the habit of backing up to it regularly.

Best,
Sam Spade

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you back up?