My appendage.

It occurred to me not long ago that unless I croak before my time there’ll be a new laptop in my future. This is a thought simultaneously thrilling and terrifying — of course I want a new MacBook Pro, but what will I do with all my old stuff? My laptop, like no other computer I’ve owned, has insinuated itself into my life in all the ways we were told the machines would, back in 1984. It has my music, my pictures, my finances, my work. I take 95 percent of my notes on it. There are folders upon folders labeled “Knight Ridder rants” and “secret project,” and a brand-new one called “ringtones.” (I’m going into the business; I hear it’s growing.)

If it died tomorrow — knocking wood furiously — I’d be bereft. I’d be out of business. On the other hand, I could buy a new MacBook Pro with a clear conscience. So there’s that.

Sorry for the day off yesterday; we had houseguests. We actually had guests twice in the last few days — for dinner on Saturday and dinner/overnight Monday. I took the recycling to the curb yesterday and noted eight wine bottles. (The beer bottles are returnable, and go in a separate bin.) I guess we had a good time. Actually, I remember all of it, and we did, except for the sailing. On Saturday it was blistering hot and there was too little wind; we got killed by blackflies. On Monday it was blistering hot and there was too much wind, necessitating reefing and scrambling and waves crashing across the bow. But no blackflies! That was good. John and Sam were our guests Monday, and brought their GPS, aka “the crumber,” a device that drops breadcrumbs as you perambulate around the forest. When we got back he synced it to Google Earth and displayed our route, and revealed that he also has a utility that will sync with his digital camera, so that we could download all the pictures we took and show, precisely, at which latitude and longitude they were taken.

If I’m attached to my computer, John is really, really attached. He and Sam were returning from a month in the U.P. “It’s so nice to transition back into wireless broadband,” he said. I could absolutely identify.

I have no bloggage, except to note that the president said a boo-boo word, and once again, the nation’s editors are wringing their hands over what to report about it. I swear, it’s like watching Scarlett and Mammy argue over whether it’s proper to show one’s bosom before 3 o’clock — in 2006.

Off to Ann Arbor for sunstroke the art fair! Pictures and a report, perhaps, later.

Posted at 9:29 am in Media, Same ol' same ol' |

21 responses to “My appendage.”

  1. Connie said on July 19, 2006 at 9:39 am

    We have a Mac Book on its way, though it will be heading off to Butler U in a few. Ordered another Ipod as well, with rebate for full cost. Thing cost a lot more than I was expecting to spend on a college bound laptop.

    I would envy you the trip to the AA art fair, but as I am about to head off for my annual week at Sleeping Bear I will let you all envy me. The most peaceful place in my world.

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  2. Bob said on July 19, 2006 at 9:44 am

    I can relate to your fears about a computer crash. A week ago, I returned from a visit to Pittsburgh and prepared to download 300-odd photos to the external USB drive that I use for such things, only to find that the drive had developed a problem and many of my existing files couldn’t be accessed.

    I’ve been in a rather frenzied production mode, lately, and backing up camera RAW files to CD has slid to the back burner. Consequently, it appears that I’ve lost the RAW files from most of this summer’s work, including photo sets from Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland and ongoing tracking of construction projects around town. All that survives of those efforts are the low-res JPG files that I’ve uploaded to my web site.

    I’m still searching for data recovery software that will give me some chance of salvaging some of my stuff.

    Be warned. It could happen to you.

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  3. Jessica said on July 19, 2006 at 10:07 am

    Your hard drive WILL die sometime. They all do, and most of them do it while you still own the computer.

    Back up every day. If you’ve got a mac, use the built-in .Mac backup to your iDisk.


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  4. nancy said on July 19, 2006 at 10:12 am

    I did a massive, no-comma-left-unduplicated backup a month ago, to be sure. I’m still waiting for a script that will allow me to plug in the LaCie 200Gb hard drive and JUST copy stuff that’s new since the last time. But yes, you’re right, it’ll die sometime.

    You know what’s a good backup for text? Mail it to yourself via Gmail. I do that a lot.

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  5. Dorothy said on July 19, 2006 at 10:19 am

    I’ve done that, too, Nancy. E-mail myself stuff at my Hotmail account. Couple weeks ago we had a situation with deciphering a Word document that we had password protected. Once we got it straightened out, I updated the document, and then mailed it straight off to Hotmail. It was too vital to lose again.

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  6. mary said on July 19, 2006 at 10:53 am

    MSN’s home page has a story called, “Jobs That Allow You to Have Weird Hair.” One of the jobs is copy editor. I thought you needed to know this. Feel free to do that lime green mohawk. It won’t change your employability

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  7. Danny said on July 19, 2006 at 11:02 am

    I’m a PC guy (not that I don’t lust for a Mac), but the principle is the same. Currently, I have about 55 gigs of data in My Documents. This gets synced to an external drive every day and on the weekends to another one at home. I also image my system every few weeks so that a reinstall is relatively painless.

    The only problem I have is with an old Win98 box at home that I use for email and seeding torrents 7/24. Though I back up my data (including email) regularly, I can’t image the sytem with the external drive (FAT versus NTFS thing for you PCers). Well I lost the system last week and had to reinstall. Bummer. At least no data was lost.

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  8. ashley said on July 19, 2006 at 11:24 am

    Hang on ’til August. My Tibook is on death’s door, but I’m waiting until Mid-late August when the Merom processor comes out in the new MacBookPros.

    That will carry me for 4 more years. Right now, I use my 15″ 1Ghz 1GB TiBook for everything, but the case is cracked, one of the hinges is broken (on the screen side, so I can’t replace it) and the battery is toast. In Europe, I had to use my wife’s 1.33Ghz 12″ iBook, because it actually had a battery.

    The one I buy in August will be a top of the line, completely RAM loaded one. The only question is 15″ or 17″.

    And my 500GB LaCie drive (purchased during Hurricane relo) makes me sleep better at night. Especially with automated backup, and weekly .Mac document backups.

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  9. Mindy said on July 19, 2006 at 12:23 pm

    A friend had her laptop stolen when her shop was burglarized nearly three years ago. It was the only time she forgot to take it home. Her life was a wreck for months but at least her business didn’t fold.

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  10. Kirk said on July 19, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    danny, off-topic but thanks for the additional syd barrett link yesterday.

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  11. MarkH said on July 19, 2006 at 12:51 pm

    Click on Bob’s link in the second post, then click on the Trolley museum in Washington, PA link and tell me some of those photos don’t bring back Pgh. memories. Also, click on the Pittsburgh link at the bottom for more photos.
    Thanks, Bob!

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  12. Danny said on July 19, 2006 at 1:13 pm

    Kirk, you are quite welcome. I thought that that was the best article I had read since his death.

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  13. Dorothy said on July 19, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    Rats Danny, I don’t see a link in Bob’s post! Did I miss something?

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  14. Danny said on July 19, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    Dorothy, it was an interesting interview with Syd Barrett’s sister about what he was really like. She helped watch out for him after his mental breakdown, reclusion, and re-integration into a quiet, semi-normal life.,,2092-2271741,00.html

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  15. Kevin Knuth said on July 19, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    Shameful product plug here-

    I sell Internet backup services-

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  16. Dorothy said on July 19, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    I found it Danny! Bob’s name itself is a hyperlink and it took me about a half hour to look through all of his lovely pictures of Pittsburgh. Man, it was amazing to see how nice the city looked for All Star week. On page two, how about the juxtaposition of the sign at Weiner World that said “Jared Doesn’t Eat Here” and then that guy below it, a customer, who looked like his belly was carrying around the entire stock of weiners to sell there!! And the sculpture on the same page that reminded me of wind chimes that had come apart, and were scattered like pick-up sticks in that display! Thanks for telling me about that. Great pictures, Bob!

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  17. Bob said on July 19, 2006 at 3:55 pm

    Glad you folks enjoyed the Pittsburgh pics. It’s one of my favorite cities, and much underestimated by folks who haven’t seen it.

    I couldn’t tell if the guy at Wiener World was having a conversation with the young woman, or sizing her up for his next meal. I need a longer lens for safer distance for photos like that, but I figured even if he did spot me and take offense, I could probably outrun him. I may not be as fast as I was 40 years ago, but I’ll bet I’m still faster than him!

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  18. Dorothy said on July 19, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    Bob were you chased away from taking any bridge or building pictures? I’ve heard from other folks that certain buildings are not permitted to be photographed, in this sad post-911 era of terrorist worries.

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  19. MarkH said on July 19, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    I think a few of us are talking at cross-purposes here in the last few posts.

    Dorothy- That we ME that pointed out Bob’s site. Danny was pointing out his Syd Barrett link.

    Speaking of streetcars, I was perusing the RFD channel the other night (yes, I said the RFD channel, #379 on DirecTV; sometimes an interesting variety of programming) and they do a series on railroads, old and new. One show was devoted to the streetcar days in Indiana, showing old movies of this transportation back in the ’30s, ’40s & ’50s. There was a great segment about the line that ran from Indianpolis to Fort Wayne and they showed these streetcars positively hauling ASS across the rural rail lines between the two cities. No trains, just single cars and I couldn’t believe how fast they were going. A lot of incredible pictures and a lot of history of the time.

    Dorothy, they also did one on the streetcars of Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, including Cincy’s aborted subway system, which ran by the neighborhood I where lived.

    Obscure, I know, but fascinating.

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  20. Bob said on July 19, 2006 at 5:14 pm

    Dorothy, I had heard of people being stopped from photographing the PPG building. Fortunately, I have the gift of invisibility; people crash into me with their carts in supermarket aisles, and would run headon into me in shopping malls if I didn’t take evasive action.

    At the PPG building, I just stayed close to pillars and other visual distractions, and kept one eye on the viewfinder and the other on the rent-a-cop roaming the plaza.

    Before attempting to take any photos on the transit system, I read all the rules and regulations on the web site and in printed publications, and stopped at the downtown customer service office to ask if there were any restrictions on photography. No one in the office had heard of any, and there were no signs on any vehicles or transit property to that effect, although there were plenty of do-not signs regarding eating, drinking, smoking, strollers, playing radios, etc.

    No sooner had I snapped a couple of photos in the Steel Plaza subway station (hand-held, no tripod, no flash, no lights) than a burly transit cop showed up out of nowhere. I was photographing from out-of-the-way locations, so they must have picked me up on a surveillance camera. He told me I couldn’t take photos anywhere on PAT property. He took my ID and radioed my operators’ license number to someone and asked them to run it. After asking me my destination, etc., he returned my ID and let me go.

    Many transit systems have lifted their post-9/11 photography restrictions and non-productive and unenforceable, but I often encounter overzealous security guards who try to impose their own version of the regulations. I’ve emailed PAT offices about the incident and have received an acknowledgement but no other response, so far.

    Incidentally, seniors ride free on all PAT trains, buses and even the inclines, except for weekday peaks. All it takes is a Medicare card.

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  21. joodyb said on July 19, 2006 at 6:15 pm

    in re President Potty Mouth: as Scarlett said (in the book), “God’s nightgown!”

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