Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hey, I’m back!

Yes, I have returned to the blog!

Okay, so here’s the deal:  broken hard drive (Down with Hitachi! Long live Western Digital!). I am happy to say, I replaced it myself via, saving myself a nice chunk of change. Problem is, now I’m re-installing all the software and Vista and Toshiba updates since March 2007. Wow. There are a LOT of them.

So here’s what I’ve learned (it’s what I knew all along, but…oh, well….):

Rule #1:  Buy the extended warranty. Of course. The “Longest Warranty You Can Afford” Rule. This holds true for any electronics, from your PC to your HDTV. Unless the price is negligibly low, as in (for instance) your GPX mp3 player(Confession:  Toshiba actually gave me the chance to do this, one year after I bought this Satellite; I turned it down, though I’d planned on doing this when I’d first bought the laptop).

Rule #2:  Buy a back-up external drive. One dedicated simply to backing up. Then USE it. It doesn’t have to be pricey, or bigger than your system’s hard drive; you could probably find a 250-gb drive on eBay for, what, $50 or $60 now?

Rule #3:  Use a USB thumb drive and PortableApps. You can find them at When I bought my USB thumb drive for my birthday, on the spur of the moment I installed Portable OpenOffice, Portable Thunderbird and Portable Firefox. Along with Chrome Portable. And, for good measure, OperaUSB. But the smartest thing I did was to download Portable KeePass, the password manager, which means I still have access to all my account passwords—and that, through the portable browsers, I still had access to any site or account that required a password. Such as cNet and the ever-popular Pandora. Also, just for the fun of it, I copied all my documents and most of my mp3s to the thumb drive—with an 8gigabyte drive, I used only 4gb for all this portable goodness.

Rule #4:  Get the Windows Install disks with your PC, because they will make life so much easier if (when) you have to replace or re-format your hard drive. Pop ‘em in, choose your “Restore to Factory Default” option or your maker’s equivalent, and let the genius of the OEM take it from there (God bless you, Toshiba!). And, if you’ve conscientiously backed up all your stuff (Remember Rule #3? I didn’t….), restoring files and programs is pretty simple.

Here’s Optional Rule #5:  Wubi. Just for the fun of it. Wubi is the Windows Ubuntu Installer. It won’t save your hard drive; won’t prevent crashes; won’t do a thing except painlessly install the Ubuntu OS on your PC, creating a dual-boot system so that you can choose either Windows or Ubuntu at start-up. Wubi is beautiful. Wubi is God’s gift to Open Source. Install it, and mess around with Ubuntu for a few weeks. Give yourself time to learn the basics (yes, there’s a learning curve). If you don’t like it, uninstall the whole thing through the Windows Uninstaller (or better yet, through Revo Uninstaller; there’s both a Free and a  Pro version). The nice thing about any dual-boot system is that, should something go wrong with Windows, you’ve got an option.

So, anyway, I’m back. Looking forward to more blogging. Blessings. I love it!

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