Friday (30-August-2013) — New Jersey

Technology: Computers and Cars

After staying the at the Princeton Marriott Residence Inn, I went home and found the power had been restored. Checked the refrigerator, and everything seemed to be OK. Did take some time to reboot the computers and storage disk arrays. While waiting, I dropped off my car for regular service before a trip out west. I also wanted them to check out why my radio and GPS were only working intermittently. When I got home the computers were all running – but did need to run several hours of checking to make sure that the last backups were good. Later in the afternoon I got a call from the Land Rover service department. The problem with the radio and GPS center console was the Bluetooth transmitter (needed for hands free phone). It will only cost $1K to replace. A Bluetooth transmitter that costs $1K??? And if I don’t get it fixed the center console (radio, CD, GPS) don’t work. ARRG!!!

So back to the networking issue with my W700ds computer. I waited until one of the backups was repeated (took overnight). I loaded the PC recovery CD that came with the HP MediaServer (MS Home Server) into the computer, and rebooted. During the reboot, needed to hit the ThinkVantage (blue) button so I could configure the BIOS to boot from the CD/DVD drive. The computer then booted to the CD recovery disk. Unfortunately, it did not recognize the network to the HP MediaServer, and asked for a driver for the network to be loaded via a USB port. I went online with another computer and downloaded the network driver for the computer (both the 64 bit and 32 bit versions) from the Lenovo site and put them onto a USB drive. Moved the USB drive to the computer, but it still didn’t work. If all else fails, read the help. It told me that when the HP MediaServer makes a computer backup that it also copies the drivers that will be needed to restore the computer. All I needed to do was copy that folder onto a USB drive. Since the only computer that I currently have configured to work with the HP MediaServer is the one in question – I needed to reboot and remotely connect to the HP MediaServer. This time when I rebooted, my wireless network started working again. I still want to go through the recover/restore process just to confirm to myself that it does work (and that I have everything I need including the drivers on a USB drive).

The Land Rover folks called back and said that there were still problems with the new Bluetooth transmitter. Possibly a loose connection or shorted wire that they need to track down. So I keep the loaner vehicle over the Labor Day weekend. Too bad that I am not a bit further north as there may be some good aurora displays this weekend.

Wednesday (28-August-2013) — New Jersey

Weather, Technology, and Power Out.

It was raining this morning. Before I could run the recovery/restore from the HomeServer the power went off. The UPS systems all started beeping, and my Garmin which includes a National Weather Service radio woke up and announced a sever thunderstorm warning. Before the computers shut down I sent a note to PSE&G that the power was down. It wasn’t just my house that lost power since I heard the neighbors generator go on. The e-mail response back from PSE&G was that the power would be restored by 10 PM on 22-August (six days ago????). I shut down all of the computers, and decided to spend the night at a local Marriott Residence Inn. I had credit for one free night at a Marriott facility that coincidently would have expired today. It gave me a chance to do some laundry at the Residence Inn while I wait for my new washer dryer to be installed.

Electricity to my house has been off for more than 24 days during the last 3 years — due to hurricanes, Nor’easters, and snow storms. For all the years that I lived in Florida, I don’t remember the power being off for more than a day. I’ve thought about solar cells and a storage battery system, a generator (natural gas), or just moving somewhere else.

Tuesday (27-August-2013) — New Jersey

Sometimes Technology Keeps Me From Doing What I Really Want To Do.

I know that I said that I would try to be posting something daily again, but ran into some technology issues. This weekend, I got an e-mail/text message from ATT that I had exceeded 26 GB of wireless data, and that that each 1 GB above my 5 GB/month would be charged at $10/GB. This was really surprising in that it indicated that I had used over 19 GB in one day. I only uploaded a few images (jpg’s not raw) and hadn’t downloaded any big programs or movies. My 4G connection to the Internet via ATT through my phone is good, but not good enough to upload/download 19 GB in one day. I had been moving some of my backup hard drive data from a Synology disk array to an old Drobo Disk Array, but via a hard-wired Ethernet connection. I did some checking to make sure that my internal data transfer wasn’t being broadcast either WiFi or onto the ATT network. During the process I made some changes to the networking configuration on my main image processing computer. The downside – I could no longer connect to the internet with this computer,. ARRG!! This is the computer that I do all of my image uploading to PhotoShelter, Google+, and my Blog. Well, I tried a number of fixes to the networking, but still couldn’t get my main computer to connect to my phone and bridge to the internet.

OK – what to do? As I mentioned the other day, I just set up a HP MediaServer (Windows HomeServer). One of the things that the HomeServer does is backs up each computer connected to it every night (first time full backup, and then incremental backup of any changes thereafter). This will be a good test to see if I can reset my main image processing computer back to where it was before I made any changes. Because I am paranoid about these type of major changes, before I did anything I ordered a new Crucial M500 SSD (solid state drive). I this regard Amazon is great in that I could order the drive, and have it delivered in less than 24 hours. (I was even more surprised when the new SSD drive arrived and found it to be 960 GB, rather than 500 GB). I used the Apricorn EZ-GIG-IV hardware and software to make an exact copy of the boot drive before I try to use the HomeServer software to recover/restore the original SSD drive to a state before I made any of the networking changes. I’m posting this from a different computer and will let you know if it works.

The next day I got an e-mail/text message from ATT that I really only used 1 GB of excess wireless data. I still plan to do the recovery/restore to confirm that the process works. This post is from my backup computer, and I really need to get my main image processing computer back on to the Internet so I can post some new images.

Four-Years Ago (27-August-2009) — Washington

Gone to See North America Road Trip. Day 06: Lake Chelan, Washington.

Darwin Award Candidate: Losing It. Jet Skier on Lake Chelan trying to jump the wake of “The Lady of the Lake II” ferry. Image taken with a Nikon D3x camera and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/10, 1/1000 sec).

Losing It. Jet Skier on Lake Chelan from the rear of "The Lady of the Lake II. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/10, 1/1000 sec). (David J. Mathre)
Losing It. Jet Skier on Lake Chelan from the rear of “The Lady of the Lake II. Image taken with a Nikon D3x camera and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 400, 300 mm, f/10, 1/1000 sec). (David J. Mathre)

Six-Years Ago (26-August-2007) — Colorado

Summertime in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mother Duck and Eight Ducklings Resting in the Middle of Lily Lake. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec)

Mother Duck and Eight Ducklings Resting in the Middle of Lilly Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec) (David J. Mathre)
Mother Duck and Eight Ducklings Resting in the Middle of Lily Lake. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 80-400 mm VR lens (ISO 100, 400 mm, f/5.6, 1/60 sec) (David J. Mathre)