Monday, August 20, 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn

So, the Airport on the Femputer has been acting up the last couple of months.

Er, that is to say, the wireless ethernet connection on the MacMini has been giving trouble.

You know, no matter how you phase it, it would be just as confusing to anyone who came out of a coma from 1998, so let's move on.

And, no matter how you phrase it, it's still just a huge drag. After a couple of lengthy phone session with the Mac techs, we've established that, well, I need to take it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store after all. Well, hey! At least I have a fucking case number now, for all of my troubles.

Maybe I'm being too harsh - after all, they do have to cover the bases on those tech calls, and sometimes it is something as simple as just resetting the P-RAM (and for the coma arrival from 1987, that doesn't mean we're moving the baby's stroller back to the starting position). But this is not one one of those times, so we're going into the shop to take a look under the hood.

To prep for this, I'm backing everything off the hard drive that I want to save. Now, a normal human being would simply buy an inexpensive external hard drive for this, but I've always been really, really conservative with my computer purchases. And I was almost normal for a little while the other day - I'd gotten to the second-to-last screen to get MacMall to ship me a nice, fat LaCie 500GB Firewire Drive, but then a big lightning storm swept in and I shut down the computer before I could finalize.

So, the method I've chosen instead is to clear room on my dinky LaCie 40GB, 30GB of which are the Multitracks and Masters from Selling the Downtown Dream. This also wouldn't be much of a big deal, but the Femputer is packed to the gills with crap, so it's been a bit like playing one of those puzzle games where you have to slide the tiles around just so and get the one blank in the corner before you get the picture solved. So, it goes something like: backup something from the Femputer on DVD. Trash. Copy files over from "The Barn" (the oh-so-huge-when-I-bought-it-in-2002 40GB hard drive) to the Femputer. Burn to DVD. Trash from Femputer.

Thing is, I'd really like to clear space on the Femputer anyhow, because it's so full that it's been affecting performance. You doubt? It comes with a 75GB internal drive, and at one point, it was down to about 300MB available. Photoshop acted like it was drunk on private stock. No good. Clear out.

So what's the hold up with all of this? Well, the fucking DVD burner - which is supposed to burn up to 8x, only burns at a maximum of 2x. Whee! One more of those weird Mac things that Apple say is fine, fine, fine, but really is just not. Of course, since I'm taking this opportunity to clear a lot of unnecessary-in-the-now but needed-at-some-point stuff off the Femputer - unretouched scans, music files, etc. - I'm burning two of each, so the seemingly simple process of backing up about 40GB worth of stuff is really taking a long, long, long time. Like, two hours for each DVD kind of long. So, I probably won't be getting to the Apple Store until Thursday.

There's also the small effort of organizing the shit before burning, rather than just throwing it on to a DVD willy-nilly. My roughly ten years of experience with the ad agency - much of that time spent trying to find files that were backed up several years before by my self-obsessed ex-boss - has taught me the value of a simple, easily understood system, and of naming files with as much clarity and detail as possible. Printing out disc catalogs is also useful.

See, many of the agency files before 1997 are either on SyQuest or Bernoulli. Or perhaps one of the 85 unnamed Zip Discs that comprise the pre-CD agency archives. And even the CD-Roms from my ex-boss just have the client and 'File #3" written on the disc. Which is a real problem when you have a client with a 20+ CD-ROm archive. And finding a particular file? Fuck you. Roy (the ex-boss) would only name things "Ad 7" x 5"... annnnnnnnd that was it. The real teeth-grinding irony of all this is that he would give me a hard time about my filing, which was the right thing to do in my first few months of working at the agency, but when he did it towards the end of his own tenure, he was just being an insane dick.

My files are tight, man.

Anyway, the result of all that is that my computer files are the one area in my life that I really put in the extra effort to have as much order as can be maintained, and where I recognize the danger in letting things pile up unsorted, unfiled and unburned. I'd been neglectful with the Femputer over the last few months, simply because of all the hours I was working. Now, it's one of those things that I'd put off that has become a thing that must be done.

I suppose I could just start throwing shit into the gaping maw of the G5, which has about 40GB clear anyhow, but that's only a temporary solution, and in general, I'd like to start implementing a more rigorous storage routine, if only to save me the trouble of all this happening again.

Ding! Would you like to verify?



Chris said...

or.... you could have what I have.... 6 computers with an average of 3 hard drives in each one, that are anywhere between 120-300gigs each. All of them networked and communicating(including the mac)... you want me to set up a virtual ftp server, I can loan you some space......

Anonymous said...

Ah, Roy Freemantle. I remember the man well.

What a strange and funny man, in a "absent-minded professor" sort of way. You're sure right about the self-obsessed part. I remember him bitching about paying for necessary supplies while polishing his Jaguar.

He did did teach me some pretty valuable design lessons early on but I am still suprised that he was so successful, considering his lack of mental capacity (always thought he was a little senile) and his only slightly above average design skills. Probabaly great for the 70s. Not so good now.

I also remember using his CD buner drive after hours to burn my first music CDs... and having him yell at me for not asking him.

Thanks for the memeories ROY (and Dave too)!

Dave Kopperman said...


Thanks for the offer, but space isn't the issue. What's really slowing things up is my need to get things organized and backed up onto DVD. And I am going to break down and order the 500GB drive. I was wavering between the Firewire drive and the Ethernet one, but Karl says the FW is the better choice, so I'm going with that.

Although I'd be interested to know how were going to go about making that FTP server...



Sigh. Yeah, Roy was an ideal boss for a year or so, then he just became a huge drag. I'd agree that his design sense was kinda lame, particularly in terms of copy flow. I'd say 'I guess that's because he was a Creative Director, and not Art Director, but his headlines were equally lame. Not that mine are any better, of course.

His real skill was in schmoozing people, and it's true that he was waaaaaaaaaay good at that.