2015-02-01

Life gets in the Way

I don’t have much to blog about this week. I didn't get much writing done because of other obligations. I have a program that runs at my day job that is responsible for keeping my local databases updated and for generating automatic reports. Both Saturday and Sunday of last week I had to make a quick trip into work to restart the program. Once because of a security warning that popped up from Microsoft Outlook and once because of an unknown fault. Believe me, I was not a happy camper to find that I drove 10 miles in a snowstorm just to click “authorize”.

I also met an out of town vendor for lunch Sunday night. He flew in from Atlanta and was here to demonstrate some really slick software my department is looking to purchase. I worked late Monday and Tuesday (12 to 14 hours) so no writing was done. I took Wednesday off thinking I would get some writing done but, once again, I had to drive into work to restart the program. This time I found the fault and have since corrected it. It has been running fine since.

I did manage to get almost 1,000 words written on Saturday both in the morning and while at B&N. So far, the book is coming along very well. I’m hoping to make more time to write in the near future.

I’m also having to deal with a sick cat and a failing hard drive. One of our cats stopped eating Friday morning. Took him to the vet Saturday and found he had a cold. The vet told us to force feed him if necessary. We managed to get him to down a fair amount of broth from a stew we made the other day. Vet said he will be fine. This morning (Sunday) he ate about 1/3 of his normal meal and he's a bit more active.

The failing hard drive is another issue. I use Microsoft Media Center to run my televisions. The computer that drives the system has a quad tuner installed as well as a dedicated 1 TB hard drive to store the movies. A few days ago, we started getting network errors popping up on the kitchen TV. This television is driven wirelessly and so I assumed the router was getting old. Then the same issues began popping up on the living room TV which is hard-wired into the network. Thursday night, just before bedtime, my wife said several shows refused to play. I fired up the hard drive monitor and it identified the 1 TB drive as having sector read errors. My wife deleted a bunch of the old programs taking the count of recorded shows from 122 down to 88. I started moving the 88 shows that were on the drive to another drive Saturday morning before heading to B&N. I dropped my wife off at the bookstore and bought a new 2 TB hard drive.

I do not back up this hard drive. It is in nearly constant use and backing it up would be difficult. The only thing stored on it are the recorded Media Center television shows. I put this system in service in November of 2011 which means the hard drive lasted about 3 years. Believe it or not, this is pretty typical for Seagate drives in a server environment. The computer is on 24-7 and is almost constantly in use. There are times when the system is simultaneously recording 4 channels and playing back two more--all HD television programs. The new drive is a Western Digital which has a better track record in harsh environments. I would have preferred to buy a Hitachi drive but Office Max does not carry them. I will be buying a nice Hitachi 2 or 3 TB drive in the near future and putting it on standby in case the WD fails in a few years.

When I got home from the bookstore, I found the transfer had stopped. Instead of restarting it, I shut down the computer and replaced the drive. I had also purchased a box that converts an internal drive into an external drive. I popped the old drive in it and began moving files. This arrangement actually moved things along much faster than when I was transferring from the computer to my network drive--3 times faster! All but one show got moved. I also discovered that the failed drive is under warranty.

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