Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I've Got The Answers

Lately I've rediscovered Yahoo! Answers.  No kidding, I joined the Answers community a full 7 years ago.  I took a 2 year hiatus and now I'm back answering questions again.  When I initially joined it was mainly to answer questions about the Virgin Islands (seriously we have a category in there).  I get a weird sense of satisfaction from answering really difficult questions.  I estimate that I can spend around a half hour doing research for just one question if I was committed enough to finding an answer.

Now that I'm back though I'm mostly answering questions about movies.  You'd think I'd be answering more tech stuff.  I just kinda jumps on whatever grabs me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Got To Give It Up vs Blurred Lines

This one is for my music buffs out there.  Let's not forget that I'm also a karaoke geek so this is well within my jurisdiction.  Unless you've been living under a rock this Summer, you've heard Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell's hit single "Blurred Lines".  I don't see how you couldn't have heard it since as I'm writing this it's been on the Billboard Hot 100 for 17 weeks and is currently #1.  If you haven't you can just follow that first link I provided.

Well the big news now is that Robin Thicke and company has filed a preemptive lawsuit against the family of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music to protect "Blurred Lines".  I urge you to follow that link where both songs are embedded via YouTube.  Listen to them both and them come back here.

This post was inspired by a Facebook post a friend of mine posted.  He feels that they're exactly the same.  Me, I'm not too certain about that.  So as a source of perspective I went straight to the karaoke versions of the songs.  Now those I will embed here.

First here's Got To Give It Up:

Now here's "Blurred Lines":

Try them side by side if you like.  Ok, now that you've listened to them both I've attached below my first ever Renegade Geek poll!  Yay!  Feel the excitement!  Looking forward to your input.

Just noticed there's no link available if you just want to see the poll results. Click here to view.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Perils of Island Living

I dropped some bad news for my fellow geeks yesterday on Facebook, but I felt this deserved a blog post too.

If you guys didn't already know, I live in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  It has pros and cons.  One big con is that we only have one movie theater.  Yes...just ONE.  To their credit though it's got about 6 screens, can squeeze in about 9 movies if they really try, run at least one 3-D movie a week and still costs less than it does on the US mainland. 

At this point you're wondering why I'm complaining.  Well, you don't get all that without it costing something.  For one thing movies have an incredibly short shelf life.  Only if a movie is really raking it in does it stay here about 3 weeks.  Also, movies that have limited releases never get here.  Doesn't matter how popular they get, we're not getting it.  This is all digression though as what this post is really all about:  Even some big budget movies never get here.  One such movie that I have been waiting for all summer isn't coming.  It's Kick-Ass 2.

Le sigh
Thanks to Caribbean Cinemas very reliable Coming Soon section I was able to confirm this movie isn't coming to St. Thomas at all (St. Croix isn't getting it either).  This is indeed sucky news.  I don't know why it isn't coming here (probably something prudish), but it stinks.  What can you do right?  Hop over to Puerto Rico and watch it there? Hmmm....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Terabyte

I'm ready to tell you my story now.  The last few days have been....well, it's hard to explain them.  It's a mixture of fright, disappointment, excitement, sadness and happiness.  A real emotional roller coaster.  This story starts on Sunday so natural karaoke is involved.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I'm setting up for my show as usual.  I noticed my computer took a little longer to start than average but I know to just let it do its thing and it'll eventually come up.  However, after like just 10 minutes of use I get this:

At this point I'm saying things to myself like "this better be temporary", "this better be a glitch", "why do things like this happen when I'm in the middle of something", etc.  It was a pretty stressful night.  I fought the urge to just turn it off and on again and hope the error would disappear.  I played through the popups and made it through the whole night.  Before I shut the computer down I scheduled a chkdsk, hoping it would clear up whatever issue my computer was having.  I pack up, leave the club, unwind a bit at another one, went home and went to sleep.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I head straight home so I can work on my laptop.  When I start it up it starts trying to boot from network.  My heart sank.  I know what this means.  It means that somehow the computer can't see the hard drive.  Good thing I fought my turn-it-off-and-on-again instinct on Sunday night.  I start to panic a little.  You see, I've been kinda naughty.  As much as I preach of backing stuff up, it had actually been quite some time since I've backed up my music collection.  I used to keep my main laptop synced with my mini, but since it's all but mom's now making that backup kinda slipped my mind.  Oddly enough I did have media to back it up to...I just didn't do it.

Recomposing myself, I set upon to take the hard drive out of the computer and stick it in one of my external SATA cases.  I recommissioned the mini and plugged it in.  I could literally hear the Hallelujah chorus when it worked.  I grabbed one of my least used drives and immediately start backing up the My Music directory.  It was honestly the only thing on there I really cared about.  I've bought a lot of music on eMusic.  It took me a good two hours.  After all that drama I needed a beer so I packed everything up for the night and went out.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ok, time to work.  I traveled with my laptop so I could experiment and see what went wrong with the drive.  I spent the larger part of the day letting my work PC do a disk check on the external containing my pulled hard drive.  While doing that I asked some online colleagues for second opinions because the situation was pretty weird.  It's rare for a hard drive to work perfectly on an external but be invisible on the computer.  I always get the weird problems.  That online discussion proved to be pretty useful.  Anyway, 5 hours later the check is complete.  I pull the drive out of the case and stick it back into my laptop where...nothing.  Still busted.

It's at this point I resolve to put a new hard drive and I had to buy one TODAY.  Ordering was not an option.  No way I was going to get anything shipped to me by the weekend without costing me an arm and a leg.  I need my computer to be operational by next Sunday.  After work I head straight to OfficeMax.  Wouldn't you know they were out of stock on all their external drives.  I posted my dismay in the online thread I started earlier then went to K-mart on the off chance (REALLY off chance) that they sell hard drives.  It was there I saw the response to my thread that changed the game for me.

I'm a dumbass for not think of that.  Seriously.

I head back to OfficeMax where, fortunately for me, there were external drives on sale.  I picked up a 1 terabyte Touro Mobile for $80.  Yes, I overpaid for it even though it was on sale but this is the US Virgin Islands.  You gotta expect that markup.  When the cashier slapped that 14-day return sticker on it I had to stifle a chuckle.  They had no idea what I had planned for this bad boy.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Time for the nitty gritty. First thing was a Google search on cracking open the Touro Mobile.  This video I found was oddly useful:

Empowered by the knowledge that breaking that thing open was even possible I get to work downloading software to do what I wanted.

The plan at this point was to clone my old drive to the Touro, break it open and stick it in my laptop.  I'm not going to tell you exactly what software I used.  I'm just going to give you a link to some freeware for cloning your hard drive. Keep in mind why this isn't really an accepted solution: Because I'm pretty much pissing away my warranty by breaking open the Touro case.  So 4 hours of cloning and about 15-20 minutes of prying open the Touro case and here we are:

Just call me: The Breaker!
I pull the drive, stick it into my computer, press the power button and cross my fingers.  Yes!  YES!  The operation was a SUCCESS!  The only thing the computer had to do was install the drivers for the new hard drive.  Other than that, my computer operated like nothing bad had ever happened to it.

The Lesson:

Even I learn lessons in this journey.  The lesson I learned is to keep a backup.  What happened to me can happen to anyone.  And it does.  I've seen it time and again.  And I STILL didn't get it.  I guess I needed this wake up call to stop being lazy about my backups and do them at least once a month.  In the meantime I've got an extra 600 gigs to play with and yet another external hard drive that I'll probably keep specifically for the purpose of imaging the current configuration of my computer.

Another lesson I learned: weird problems come to me to die.  You know how they say for every problem that exists there's someone who's had it and solved it (they don't really say that, but work with me here).  Well I couldn't find one bleeding instance of this happening to anyone.  Maybe my search terms are rusty.  I don't know.  Still, couldn't find anything out there in the ether.  I'm not complaining though.  I actually caught a break on this one.