Busy, busy, Busy Little Me

I know I promised to regularly update this blog. But you do realize that was a New Year Resolution. To be discarded the moment I (or you) sobered up. And if this off (mainly) and on (rarely) frequency annoys you, I’m sorry to see you go.

Truth time: I have just inherited a company from the owner. It’s not that the said owner’s gone away leaving the reins of power in my grubby paws. He still drops in and interferes 🙂 So I spend my time managing the company. And Managing him. With a few hours left over every day to eat and sleep.

Not much time for software reviews. Which saddens me. As I didn’t keep this blog going all this while. Just to drop its readers into a dark, smelly and very often slimy substance. I’m not using the word because Google frowns on such bad language. Even George Carlin’s 7 Dirty Words (that you can’t say on TV) are out 🙂

But hey! Let’s make an effort. Some interesting software and web site have come my way since the beginning of 2007. One of these, Smashing Magazine, is an invaluable resource of interesting website design and development techniques. Even if you aren’t in the sector but are interested in general trends, bookmark it now.

All the big operating system vendors offer you a way to restore deleted files. But only if you removed them to the Trash (folder). In my world, Trash is recoverable. Deleted is gone forever. Or at least for Windows users until they download and install the free Recuva utility. developed by Piriform, Now revealed as developers of the excellent CCleaner Windows freeware. This system optimization and privacy tool removes all traces of online activity such as browser history, cookies and cache contents. As well as Windows XP prefetch data, hot fixes, log files and uninstallers. And even includes a registry optimizer. But I digress.

Recuva is still in Beta. The reviewed version was 1.01.032 released Feb 17, 2007. And is a bit buggy on Windows Server SP1. Every time I attempted to scan the primary (boot) partition, Recuva crashed. However I experienced no such issues on Windows XP SP2.

Recuva, free file recovery tool, shows which files can be restoredBefore you use Recuva the first time, you need to scan the hard drives. Then rescan them if you frequently add/modify data on these drives. Recuva offers you a choice of tree or list views. The Tree View is good if you are attempting to locate files by folder. But its the List View that really shines. This displays, and lets you sort by, file name, path, size, last modified date. And most importantly by the (recovery) status.

Once you have selected files to be recovered, if their source folder is history, Recuva offers the option of restoring these files to a folder of your choosing. An excellent choice when retrieving files without disturbing deleted file information for a specific drive.

And remember that when you accidentally delete a file try not to add new files to the same folder or drive until you’ve at least tried to recover data.

And if it’s an entire drive that inaccessible, try putting you ear close to the drive (even when it’s inside a computer case). If you hear a repetitive clicking noise, there’s a very good chance that all your data is toast! Which is why you also need to backup frequently. Preferably to DVD (4.7 GB) or CD (700 MB). Use the RW variant as you can easily recycle disks. DVD DL (double layer) increases storage to 8 GB but unfortunately can’t be read by most DVD drives. Blu-Ray at 50 GB is still an expensive option.

Your backup methods should be defined by their application. It’s one rule for server backups, another for software, a third for email and so on. For my software backups I create one set of (master) disks for software and email. Then incrementally add new or changed files to it until the disk is full. Then I make a new master.

I also tend to compress my backups before transferring them to disk. Yes, this takes time and care. But allows me to put much more data on a single DVD. This approach works well for email and document files. But not so good for software installers since most of them have been considerably compressed.

And finally (this is turning out to be a long post), if you haven’t recently killed bots while gunning through Rasterwerks Phosphor, I suggest a rematch. The code has been updated making for a better playing experience. Although I notice you are sometimes blown through walls. Or find bots frantically running, their backs to you, perched on sheer cliffs! Makes for easy slaughter.

My most memorable Phosphor moment came when I had just managed to load up to the max on all weapons. And had full Shield too. When I was blasted backwards between two tunnels (the room under the steps and the shaft that end with the rocket launcher). I lost most of my shield, but that didn’t matter. Because I could disintegrate every bot that passed close by without them being able to shoot back! The poor things looked very confused when rockets blasted out of a wall to fell them. Unfortunately for me the game ended before my ammunition did.

That’s it for now. Stay Safe. And we’ll catch up soon.

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