Sunday, February 13, 2011

HP SimpleSave - Revisited

Last year I added an HP SimpleSave 1TB External Hard Drive to my ever expanding desktop disk farm, and I did a post shortly thereafter extolling its virtues. Not only did it increase my storage capacity, it also automatically backs up my systems on a regular basis, and it’s large enough to be useful for both purposes.

After having it in service for a few months, I’m still pleased with the device, but… I have a little user tip that I’m way overdue in sharing.

This drive kicks off an auto backup after 5 minutes of system inactivity, which is a great way to insure that you’re always backed up, but the timer settings can’t be tweaked, and if you have a document open the SimpleSave program write locks it in preparation for backup after about 4 minutes of idle time. That’s just too short. It’s so short that even a quick bio break can trigger it.

Usually my first hint of trouble is an error message that pops up to the effect of: “Saving the Auto Recovery file is postponed for (your file name here)”, which means that Word has tried to do an auto-save on the document, and failed.

The consequence is that any changes you’ve made since the last time you’ve saved it, or the last time Word has done an auto-save, are going to be lost when you close the document. Word still prompts you to save the document when you try to close it, but that fails also.

When it catches me, I’ve usually just started creating a document and I’m cooking along, so when I see that error message I know the whole thing will be lost if I don’t engage in evasive maneuvers.

If it catches you, the fix is simple, although it’s a pain. Click Edit, Select All, and then Copy. Now close the document without saving changes, and then open it again, click on Edit and Select All again, and then paste.

Note: Be sure to go down to the system tray, right click on SimpleSave and selct Exit before you go any further, otherwise you’ll be painting yourself into the same corner.

The real fix is to either remove SimpleSave from your startup, or right click on the system tray icon and select exit before you start anything. I prefer to leave it in the startup and then kill it when I’m going to be working. It’s a pain, but that way I don’t have to sweat whether or not I’ve done a backup in times of crises.

Of course, the ultimate would be if HP made the idle time setting selectable, but I’m not holding my breath. I will, however, be holding my water.

That is all.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It’s Just Snow Fun Anymore

Growing up here in New England, winter doesn’t usually bother me that much. I’ve learned to roll with it, taking the good times with the bad, balancing the drudgery of the cold and snow with the small joys of the season, like skating, skiing, or just sitting snug by the fire.

This year has been different, though. We’ve been stuck in this pattern where every 2nd or 3rd day it snows. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot; 2” on a Sunday, followed by 16” on Tuesday, followed by another 6” on Friday, has taken all the fun out of the season.

Actually, there’s just no time for fun. Shoveling, snow blowing, and then shoveling some more, followed by a healthy dose of roof raking, followed by the disposal of the freshly displaced roof snow. Over and over and over again. And when it’s not snowing, I seem to be spending all of my time moving snow around, cuz there’s just no place left to put it, or chipping ice, cuz when the snow melts, there’s no run off.

I don’t think I can take much more of this; I’m beat and beat up. My right hand has been alternating between numbness and throbbing pain (Carpal Shovel Syndrome?), my back is killing me, and being wet and cold has become a way of life.

I’m tore down, baby; I’m almost level with the ground. I need to go someplace warm. Of course, the way this winter is going, my roof would probably collapse while I was away…

Speaking of rooves, what I’d value as much as a getaway, is back to back sunny days. We got all rain on Saturday night, as well as some intense thunder and lightning, instead of the predicted snow, and then a warm up to the mid 40’s today with bright sunshine. Between all of the roof raking and the warm up, I made some decent headway on the ice dam front. I even got most of my gutters reopened and the ice flows around the doors greatly reduced. One more day of sun would be huge.

Funny how your priorities can be so situational; with two more storms predicted for this coming week, one more decent day could make all the difference.

So for now I’ll just bide my time, wrap my claw, and hope for sun.

That, and the knowledge that the boys of summer have started arriving at City of Palms should be enough to get me through. I’ve got my place booked for almost all of Spring Training this year, and I’ll need to bop down between tenants for some quick landlord duties. Maybe I’ll even manage a trip or two to the park. That’ll get my sap flowing again.

Oh yeah.