They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Strange Ramblings

The Thigh Bone is Connected to the Knee Bone...

A month ago or so my left knee decided to "go wonky" on me -- and was just being very annoying. I limped around for a couple of days, taking a bunch of Advil or Alieves as needed, and it soon stopped being really painful and was just tired occasionally. But I did worry about whether my old back injury, which was originally precipitated by a knee injury when I was 17 and in high school, would soon decide to get in the act.

I used to have these very painful bouts of back pain every so often. In high school, the best the doctors could do for it was high doses of Valium as a muscle relaxant -- later in graduate school there were better real muscle relaxants. But in the late 80s my doctor sent me to a physical therapist to learn to do a series of lower back stretching and compressing exercises. Since then my back has had twinges from time to time, or gets tired, but for the most part I've not been laid out by it.

So for the last few days my back has been "tired". The strain of limping, then walking carefully apparently annoyed it, or the back felt it wasn't getting suitable attention from me, I guess.

Mind Over Matter

If it don't mind, it don't matter... I was just coming back from a meeting, plowing along thinking about what things needed to be done when I realized that I have been operating in two modes. When I think about my back, I try to be careful. When I am thinking about something else, I walk fairly normally and it doesn't seem to be bothering me. Perhaps (he says sotto voce) we caught this one in time.

Bad Computer Vibes Everywhere

Everyone seems to have bad computer stories lately. One of the things you hear all the time is that you need to have backups. My backups are mainly in place by default, as my files are scattered over a number of machines, including laptops. Rebuilding any one machine from scratch for any but the most recent would be an utter pain, but I would probably survive. Trying to find all the installation disks would be horrible, tis true, so a true backup would be nice, but let's not ask for trouble. (grin) Suffice to say that I have copies of all the most critical and useful and less than critical, but interesting stuff from the mid-80s onward.

One of my bosses, who has from time to time complained about the way I spend time making sure that machines get updated, explained today that though he should've kept a backup, he hadn't -- and his hard drive crashed. A tech guy was in his office when I came by explaining that on the new machine, the folders will all have the same creation date -- today -- but the files will have their correct dates. Unfortunately, whatever lowlevel copy program they had to use only grabbed the old MS-DOS format 8.3 filenames and the long filenames have been lost. Yikes.

Friendly Reminders

Every now and then I end up creating a file which is just a directory listing of some folder/directory which now has hundreds or thousands of files. Useful to have such a snapshot to peruse, it would seem...

"Real" backups are a pain-in-the-grass at the consumer level. I've found that external USB hard drives have gotten cheap enough that I can just copy whole folders or drive letters to an external drive and call that "good enough" these days. I've never been happy with pulling things off tapes, disks, CD-ROMs, CD-RWs... and haven't tried writeable DVDs yet. Too many reasons why you can't read the damned things later when you need them.

But whatever you do, please PLEASE _P_L_E_A_S_E_ do something about making sure that you have a copy of your most important files -- on another media (external hard disk, CD, DVD, tape, floppy, cheap USB memory drive) in another location (bank vault***, office, on your person). Because it does you no good to have your data only on one machine. Because it does you no good to have your backup sitting right next to your one machine... in case there's a fire, or flood, or hurricane, or earthquake, or break-in, or killer flu scare embargo...

Dr. Phil

*** When I first started getting really serious about writing, I decided that putting a set of my working ZIP files on floppy disks in the safety deposit box at the bank would at least make sure that I had real backups off-site. We'd gotten the box when we bought a house -- if you don't get the most squinchiest of boxes, then not only will you not have to roll up your Important Documents, but CD-R jewel cases and the like will easily fit in there. I stopped by the bank about once or twice a week for a year or two like that. Hey, if you're an author and you don't think your writing is all that important, then save yourself some time -- go ahead and delete your files now. (grimace)

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