Friday, December 29, 2006

Geek Rules!!

One learns from adversity. Like Rocky Balboa says, No pain, No gain.

In the recent digital troubles that I have had, I managed to turn a PC computer into a print server. Previously, my D-Link router had a print server, but only two of the pcs could access it. The new netgear router I bought does not have a print server. But using one pc to be the print serve has allowed all the computers in the office to print through it, Macs and PCs. So I learnt something new. Amongst all this learning, I found that firewalls, although important for keeping your computers safe from outside intruders, are the number one cause of communications not working.

When buying my new modem router from South Asia Computing, the salesman told me that the modems and routers do not last long if switched on 24/7. I should switch them off when not in use. I have been changing my router and modem like once a year. Now it gets switched off when the office is not in use, maybe it will last me a couple of years.

I have a PC that was used by the office manager. It was a made to order box from Sim Lim. It has been unstable for years. I got the power supply and graphics card changed but the computer still mysteriously rebooted once in a while. So I got the office manager a Dell which works well as is not the office print server. But the old computer is not a complete waste. I installed it with an extra drive that has been suspect as well. I put in the newest version of itunes and made a copy of all my music from my mac. I now have a music server in my room in my parent's home. :)
I am typing this entry on this relatively unreliable machine while listening to world music. It does not hurt me if the computer dies in the middle of unessential work. But it has behaved quite well so far.

As a photographer I have a huge amount of digital data. I bought enclosures that house 4 drives and connect by firewire to workstations I have. To be safe, I keep 2 copies of each set of information. My poor assistants spent a lot of time copying files from the workstation to one drive and then the second. I just found out that the Macs have can do Raid 1. This is where two drives are made to have the same information automatically. If one drive dies, that drive is replaced and the information is once again copied to 2 drives. By using the built in Raid 1 of the Mac OS X, I have made the assistant's job easier, and my digital files safer. The cost of this, free. And soon, I will have one copy of the information that will be kept off site.

As cool as these firewire boxes are, I will be switching soon to these Network Attached storage boxes by Infrant, the ReadyNAS NV+. These boxes have hardware Raid 5 and by being networked attached are accessible by all the computers in the office network. With this pronouncement, I officially admit that I am a geek. Eek! Well, if you understand what I just wrote, you are a geek too!

Here is another a couple of freebies I find useful. I shoot tethered to a computer. It used to be a Sony Vaio and now I have a Mac book Pro. It is nice to have the captured files on the shoot computer copied to an attached USB drive. (Yes, I am giasu, but I rather think of it as being professional.) But managing the copying of files from the shoot computer to a folder is tedious. There are free, yes free programs, that can sync the contents of 2 folders. On the PC, the program is called sync toy, made by Microsoft no less. On the Mac, there is a program called Filesync that does it. Whenever there is a break in the shoot, we get the sync programs to makesure that new files are copied to the external drive.

Ok. Enough. Geek Rules!!

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