Two computers and a lesson in backing up

I had a good scare the other day: I went to turn on my netbook, which had shut down the previous night with no apparent problems, and it wouldn't boot up.

At all.

I barely restrained myself from having a complete and total meltdown: I hadn't backed up in months.  I was halfway through a big magazine article, and had some novel notes and research I didn't want to lose, plus (eek) all of our tax files for our 2011 returns.  (I do have hard copies of those, since I believe in redundancy on important things, but still!)  Then there were the months' worth of work emails, the spreadsheets with all my work income and expenses, tons of photos...

In retrospect, it's amazing I didn't lose my sanity once the full gravity of the situation hit me.

Of course, as these things tend to work, it was an evening, so I had to worry all night long about whether I'd be able to recover all my data.  The next day, we took the netbook to a repair place in town, and they took a look.

The verdict: hard drive failure.

That was what worried me the most, but it turned out they were able to recover all my data.  They even cut me a deal because I brought my own external hard drive to recover it to.  Turns out it was cheaper to install a new hard drive than to buy a new netbook (especially since I'd have to pay even more to upgrade all my software, as I still run Office 2000).  They even offered to let me buy a hard drive at Microcenter and install that one, since theirs were more expensive.  Not a bad deal at all.

So I went home and resurrected my old Averatec laptop in the meantime.  Long-time readers of my blog will remember how much I loved that thing.  It's the same size as the netbook, the same weight, but it has a full-size screen (1280 x 768 instead of the 1024 x 600 of the Asus Eee) and a CD/DVD drive.  It was starting to freeze and crash all the time, though, which was why I got the Asus three years ago.

It got me started thinking, though -- why not do the same thing with the Averatec, replace the hard drive and start using it again?  Even better, why not look into replacing the hard drive with a solid state drive and upgrading the memory?

So during one of my trips to the repair shop, I asked them about it.  They tested the Averatec's hard drive, and amazingly enough, it was fine -- so the issue is with the operating system, not the hardware.  If I can find the CDs that came with it, I can install a fresh copy of Windows, buy a new battery (this one is toast), and start using it again.

Two computers... Whatever will I do with myself?

Although this incident had a happy ending, it did remind me of how important it is to always back up.  From now on, I think I'll hang my flash drive from the bulletin board above my desk as a reminder to back up every day after I'm finished working!

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, May 31, 2012 At 5:35 PM 0 comments

A week off means a week to write!

This week is my calm before the storm.  I'm actually working almost double the hours at my nanny job over the summer, so I will have less time to maintain my writing than in previous months (not that I've done such a good job of it then, either).  But I'm hoping that I'll manage, since I'm planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo in August (I'm only loosely participating in June, as I'm using the next two months to finish some research and a first round of revisions on last year's novel before I start the second book).

But this week the family I nanny for is out of town, so I (blessedly) have the week off before the summer schedule starts.  I'm planning on doing more of both writing and riding, although Michael took the week off too, which will cut into my plans somewhat -- we have lots of stuff planned that we want to do this week, too.

In other news, my broken finger is healing well enough, although I still can't use it to type -- it's good for a few keystrokes before it starts feeling a little sensitive, so I've stuck with my nine-fingered approach, even though the doc said a couple of weeks ago that I could start typing on it in a week or two.  I don't think it'll be much longer, but I just don't feel quite ready for it yet; and in any case, I've gotten quite fast at typing without it -- almost as fast as I was with it before the accident.

My plans for this week are to finish an article that got delayed after my accident, do a little blogging and blog upkeep, and start working a little more on my novel research and revisions again.  With any luck, I'll be able to accomplish most of that without getting distracted!

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By Katharine Swan On Monday, May 28, 2012 At 9:28 PM 0 comments

Nine-fingered typing

Do you ever have those idiot moments that you would give anything to take back?  I had one last night.  I had my finger in the wrong place as I was setting my horse's hoof down, and before I had an opportunity to move it, he put his weight down.  OWWWWW.

You can read more about how it happened on my horse blog.  For the purposes of this blog, though, fast forward to this morning, when I started learning how to type with only 9 fingers.  It turns out the most common finger used in typing is your left-hand middle finger... the one I hurt, obviously.  (Not that I'm complaining -- I'm actually quite glad it was not my right hand, since I am right handed.)

Trying to blog on Percocet is also very interesting, by the way.  I wrote that post on my horse blog while feeling the lovely effects of that drug, and am doing so again now.

Of course, I have a due date looming, so my editor will have to be informed.  I wanted to wait, though, until I had an idea of how well I'd be able to type.  The verdict: I should be able to, just rather more slowly than usual.

I took today off from the nanny job, though I am going to try to go back to work tomorrow.  Next week, I have some plans for my blogs.  I've started slowly switching my blogs over to the new Blogger template designer, and I'm thinking of totally redoing this blog, as well.  I had planned to redo my website to expand on the services and portfolio sections a little, but since I've backed off that a little in order to focus on fiction a little more, that doesn't make sense anymore.  I think therefore that a new website might better reflect my new focuses in my freelancing.

I do plan on taking advantage of having a little extra time to work on my blogs, but I also want to make sure that I don't make any important decisions under the influence of Percocet, so I will probably wait until I'm not so dependent on it to make any major decisions!

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By Katharine Swan On Thursday, May 10, 2012 At 5:01 PM 0 comments

Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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