Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Dixie the Amazing Stinking Skunk says trick safely and get lots of treats!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pumpkin Crew

Last night's pumpkin carving party was an absolute blast! Good food, great friends, guys watching football, women chatting (and doing most of the carving, I might add), and even a few little cuties showing off their costumes. The winner (as voted on by their peers) was a black cat. Tied for second was a cute little twist on the traditional face and a cool one with holes all over. There are some really cool tools out there for carving these days!

Happy Halloween everyone! I might even have to post a picture of our Dixie dog in her costume...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

What a week!

I was without a computer for more than a week... Just got her back on Wednesday, so the rest of the week was spent in catch up. I know, I know; what about the rest of the time since my last post? Um, well, ah... Yeah, life happens. But I am now back in the land of twenty-first century living, technology drip hooked into an IV and all. We're having our annual pumpkin carving party this afternoon! Peanut Butter Pumpkin Soup (New Basics Cookbook) is on the stove, Gala Pecan dip is ready to be popped into the oven, and caramel apples are underway! I LOVE FALL!! Yes, I live in Southern California and "fall" here isn't quite the crisp, cool days of back home in the Pacific Northwest, but leaves have fallen! Apples are in abundance and squash is on the table! Yesterday I even threw a light sweater on over my tank top!

Back to my computer woes (cuz I know, that's what you all really want to hear anyway, isn't it?). WOW! Talk about realizing how dependent/addicted I am when it comes to technology. The hard drive started flickering and hiccuping a bit the week before all of this happened, so I made sure to back everything up just in case and wouldn't you know it? Two days later the hard drive completely crashed. No resuscitation, no pleading and definitely no getting anything off that puppy.

I learned my lesson the hard way a couple of years ago when my old PC died, along with all of my old files and anything that wasn't saved to a disk or CD. That was a painful experience. On the positive side, it definitely engraved into my brain the importance of backing up anything important. My handy little list of things to make sure to backup is tacked up on a corner of my bulletin board for cases just such as this:
  1. Files - anything that you ever might need to refer to again or projects you are in the middle of. (I also archive old projects every few months to CD for permanent backups and safe-keeping.) This includes work and personal files; everything from old invoices to recipes to Quicken data.
  2. Music - my "backup" hard drive is actually my iPod, which works for this stage of my business in that it can still hold all of the files I need it to and have plenty of room for new songs. If you are going to use your iPod like this, make sure you read through the directions on how to setup your iPod to enable disk use. You have to transfer the actual library files onto your iPod, not just sync it, otherwise you won't be able to get your songs onto your computer again. Maybe not a big deal if you only have 10 songs, but I'm in the neighborhood of 500. My music library has gotten me through many a mental design breakdown.
  3. Fonts - For all the designing I do and for my addiction to sites like MyFonts.com (SO need to buy stock in that company), making sure that I have all of my prized fonts is key. Copy your fonts folder to your backup drive or burn them to a CD and you'll not have to worry about re-starting the search through thousands of fonts for the absolutely perfect font for that job you are in the middle of.
  4. Address book - Unless you are aiming to make an absolutely clean slate by cutting off all contact with everyone currently in you address book and finding an entirely new set of peeps to call your own, back up all of your email addresses and any other phone, snail-mail address and other contact info. I use Mozilla Thunderbird and they make it pretty easy to just save the .ldif file and import it when needed. Most email applications have a tutorial to walk you through everything you need to know.
  5. Emails - I usually keep a hard copy of anything ultra important, but I also have a folder in my inbox of "emails to remember" - kind notes from my folks, praise from former clients, passwords, etc. Either copy all of those into a word processing doc or track down the file on your computer.
  6. Pictures - Again with the painful lesson story, but when my nephew was born I had all these great pictures saved to my computer. Then my computer died. Thankfully I wasn't the only one who had taken pictures of the little dude; there's his parents, his grandparents, his godmother, my godmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, people on the street...
  7. Various programs - I've purchased and downloaded a few programs and games from the internet, so I don't have the original installation disks. For those, grab all of the program components needed if you have to re-install. Some companies will keep the information from your purchase online for a couple of years, so you can just go back to the website, enter whatever info they ask for, and download it all again.
That's the list that got me through most of this process fairly pain-free. The headache came in just itching to check email or wanting to do a quick search for something online. Eight days without a computer for someone who needs it to do business is pure torture.