Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lessons I Learned About a Computer Crash

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Things I’ve Learned About A Computer Crash
1. It can happen at any time with no warning

2. It will be a lot better if you’ve prepared ahead of time

      a. Know where all your program CDs are stored
         i. Recovery disks that came with your computer
         ii. Programs that you use or have purchased

      b. Photo on CDs or other backups

      c. Store them all in one place

      d. Look thru your computer now while it is still running and list ALL the programs you use on a regular basis and wouldn’t want to have to do without including the ones that are downloads (free or paid)

      e. Here’s my list

          i. Operating system – Windows XT (have disks) and download service packs
          ii. MS Office Professional (have disks)
          iii. MS Publisher (have disks)
          iv. Adobe Photoshop CS3 (have disks)
          v. Adobe Reader (download) latest version
          vi. Mosy backup (download)
          vii. Seagate FreeAgent (external hard drive software & hardware)
          viii. Mozilla Firefox (download)
          ix. Internet Explorer (on OS disks, download latest version)
                 1. plus anything like Google toolbar (download)
                 2. 4shared toolbar (download)
          x. McAfee Virus protection (download w/password)
          xi. SnapZip (download)
          xii. Bamboo Drawing Pad (have disk & hardware)
          xiii. ScanSoft Paper Port (have disks)
          xiv. Printer driver (have disks & printer)
          xv. Forex, ThinkorSwim and other investment software (download)
          xvi. ftp software (download)

     f. List all the web sites you don’t want to lose the address for – the Favorites folder won’t be there when you have to restore your computer to factory condition

     g. If you’re using your computer to remember your passwords - all your passwords will be gone because the cookies on your computer will all be wiped clean
3. Backup, backup, backup

      a. Have a backup

       b. Know where it/they are

       c. Have a backup of your backup

             i. I have an external hard drive but it can crash, too
             ii. So I have it backed up on CDs and even another external hard drive
             iii. Use an Internet storage service – (reference me and I'll get credit of some sort)
4. Now having said all that you’re gonna think, “well, it’s never happened to me so what are the chances that it will now”…if your computer is out of warranty (and possibly even if not) it will happen sooner or later but it will eventually crash. My computer just fell out of warranty three months ago.
And even more than that it’s human nature to ignore or put off what doesn’t feel eminent but I can tell you this would have been a simple enough thing to get through if I’d done all the things I listed above to plan for and prepare for a crash. I did, fortunately have my external hard drive and only lost a few files. But instead of taking 1 day or so to re-load it took me 5 days plus another couple of days to recreate the files I lost and some cannot be recreated.
5. Now if you’re really paranoid the next step would be to get copies of all the CDs listed above and keep them in a safe deposit box. Barring that I would suggest a firebox.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The real meaning of Christmas

PLEASE feel free to leave me comments...I really want to know your thoughts on the things I've talked about in my blog...if it's a negative comment just be gentle!!

What are your plans for the holidays?

You do have plans, right?!  I mean, no matter how low key you're planning to keep the holidays this year (and many, many are doing the low key thing) but even if you are back-scaling you probably still have things you want to do like getting the house ready for guests, decorating for your family, a few gifts, cooking and baking.  So if you make a plan for each of the things you want to do it makes the whole much easier.

Try this...write 2-23 on a piece of paper and then mark the weekends so that would be 5 & 6, 12 & 13, 19 & 20.  Now you know you have 3 Saturdays before Christmas.  Write next to each day what you need to get done that day in order to get it all done before the BIG DAY!!  Sometimes it might be helpful to start from the last day.

Here's what it might look like:

2 - compile list of addresses for Christmas cards
3 - write letter for Christmas cards
4 - decide on modified Christmas dinner menu and grocery list (start looking for specials on these items)
5 - Saturday - finish making homemade gifts (this year cedar boxes for the girls)
6 - Finish letter, address envelopes, ready for mailing on Monday
7 - Clean oven
8 - Rent a movie and relax
9 - Clean and do any reorganizing needed in the kitchen
10 - Clean Family room and put up tree and a few decorations - make a little party of it
11 - Serve at Christmas Breakfast for nurses, Check out places who need volunteers (food kitchens, etc.)
12 - Finish any gift purchases needed KEEP IT SIMPLE
13 - Relax
14 - Clean bedrooms
15 - Clean living room
16 - Straighten office
17 - Clean bathrooms
18 - shop for items needed to make homemade candies
19 - make homemade goodies (fudge, pecan brittle, peppermint bark) and Christmas Party for work
20 - Hand out homemade candies to friends at church
21 - Hand out homemade candies to friends at work
22 - Bake pies and cornbread and biscuits for stuffing
23 - Finish any baking left undone, vacuum/mop floors throughout and plan to relax tomorrow - ALL DONE!!

See what I mean...I tried to only do a thing or two per day, remember a lot of this will be in the evenings because I'm at the office all day, and if the bathrooms are really deep clean a week ahead of time then on the day before it's hopefully just a matter of a few minutes to spot clean.  And, if I've missed something there's a good chance I'll remember in the next day or two and can add it where appropriate and I'm not scurrying around at the very last minute to do 15 things at once.

Well, what do you think?  Seem doable?  What does your plan look like?  Have you made one?  Should that be the first thing on your list - like for today - make a list!?

So, now with the tasks planned you have time to really think about what the holiday means to you, your family and now that you've got the planning under control so you don't lose the meaning amidst all the hustle and bustle.  What does Christmas mean to you?  Do you celebrate Christ's birth?  Or is it a time of sharing?  You might share your faith, your own resources, your love for mankind...what do you DO?  I've read some incredible stories from Delilah's newsletter ( about how people have been impacted from others.  One story was about a mother who knew she didn't have but enough formula for her baby but the bottle she was about to give her and when she got home that night there was a bag of groceries and formula on her doorstep.  To this day she doesn't know who did it...but God gets the glory and that is all that matters.