Category Archives: geekiness

Backups FTW!

I could say it’s because I’m a DBA and SysAdmin and it’s an occupational hazard, and frequently do.  I could also say it’s because I’m neurotic.  😉  But it’s probably the most honest to say, “Because I once experienced a catastrophic data loss…”

For whatever reason–pick one or more above–I’m compulsive about backups of my home equipment.  I actually use two different backup programs for different use cases:

  1. “My house burned down.”
  2. “I accidentally deleted a file.”
  3. “My computer is so dead that I can’t boot it to get the data off it, so I bought a new one.”
  4. “My hard drive died.”

For the first three, just about any cloud-based solution will work.  The first product I started using I picked for a highly dorky reason:  Neil Gaiman, my author crush, tweeted about it.  Crashplan protects me against data loss caused by stolen equipment and burning houses, restores accidental deletions, and when my old laptop died it painlessly put my data on the new laptop.  (Okay, yes, I could have cracked the case, put the old drive in an external enclosure, etc.  The point is that I didn’t have to.)

However, it’s not really intended for use #4.  Well.  You could use it for use #4, after reinstalling the OS and all your apps, or putting the vendor image back on and reinstalling your apps, or whatever.  However, what I really want for use #4 is something that pulls an image.  For that, I use Acronis, which I picked because my office uses it.

Acronis has a cloud service, but my main desktop has iTunes, and multiple season passes of NCIS and Doctor Who and the like, so I’m using 390 GB.  I’m a little… iffy… about uploading 390 GB worth of data a second time.  I also haven’t compared the cloud storage prices.  However, I <3 Acronis as of last week, because my hard drive failed.  In my main desktop.  The one with all that data on it.

I replaced the hard drive with a similarly-sized non-dead drive, booted it off the previously-burned recovery media, set it to restoring, and went to bed.  The next morning, it was like nothing ever happened.  Well.  I had to reapply a Windows update and recover a file.

So, my point is… Neil Gaiman is hot enough that I buy backup programs because he tells me to?  😉

Seriously, that could have been painful and traumatic, and instead it just ran overnight and all was love and goodness.  Because I do backups.  Backups FTW!

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I am a winner!

I went to the Atlanta PowerShell Users Group tonight.  The topic was tips and tricks.  My trick was this script, which task scheduler reads to me in the morning. Assuming you use Hiveminder–and you should, because it’s awesome–you only have to edit the RSS locations for your location and for your to do list.

$weatherurl = "[yahoo weather RSS and city code]"
$hiveminderurl = "[hiveminder rss url here]"

You’ll need your yahoo weather city code–for example, this is Alpharetta, GA–and the RSS feed of your hiveminder to-do list for today.

I won a copy of PowerShell in Depth:  An Administrator’s Guide, by Don Jones, Richard Siddaway, and Jeffery Hicks.  Awesome!


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SQL Saturday #111

As always, I had an awesome time at SQL Saturday.  I heard at least two people say that the SQL community is full of genuinely nice people, and it certainly seems to be true.  I followed a bunch of new people on Twitter and won a Kindle Fire!

(By the way, if you’re a SQL person and are not on Twitter, you really should be.  I’ve specifically heard that you want to know about #sqlhelp.)

The amusement started when my friend iffer pointed out that they were using a Lord of the Rings theme.  The panel tracks were named things like Merry, Pippin, Arwen, Aragorn, and Gandalf.  Hee!

As a DBA stolen originally from the System Administration side of the house, I spent most of my time in panels with words like “internals” in their titles.  I’ve always believed that the more you know about how things really work, the more able you’ll be to fix them.  Brian Kelley and Denny Cherry in particular fed the geek within with the FREAKING AWESOME “Windows Operating System Internals for DB Pros” and “Index Internals.”  I also enjoyed Brian’s professional development panel (“Being the Swiss Army Knife of DB Pros“).  (The other panels I went to were also really good.)

I also want to put in a plug for the PASSWIT informal lunch.  (Photo by Jennifer Levy.)  We talked about outreach to girls about STEM careers, and asking for better Barbies.  Tell your daughters/nieces/young cousins that they can go into computers today!  Encourage a girl in math or science!  (By the way, the man in the photo is a college computer science professor.  W00t!!!)

Biggest SQL Saturday regret?  I didn’t make it to any PowerShell panels this time. 🙁  I’ll have to download some and check ’em out.  (I’m particularly interested in “PowerShell Modules You Should Know About.”  I’m also interested in “Manage SQL Server 2012 on Server Core w/PowerShell,” but my interest in that is pretty academic, as I think my employer is unlikely to be using either SQL Server 2012 or Server Core in the near future.)

In short?  If you work with SQL Server and have never been to SQL Saturday, you probably want to.  It’s free!  What’s not to love?

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This Saturday is SQL Saturday!

This Saturday, I’ll be joining all the SQL geeks (including someone who’s been my friend since 1996) to listen to talks on SQL at the GSU campus in Alpharetta.  I’d say “Be there or be square!” but it’s sold out, so, alas, if you’re not already registered you’re doomed to be one of the uncool kids.  😉

I have a shiny new job to go with the shiny SQL goodness, too.  Let’s see what kind of new shiny I learn that will help me with the new shiny!

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Patch Tuesday

If you’re like me, you have Patch Tuesday on your calendar.  In fact, if you’re like me, you’re running something like this at home! with your linux desktop checking itself and your Windows desktop for available patches via Nagios!

No?  It’s just me?

(It’s not just me.  I’m sadly trumped by the man monitoring his cat’s water dish with Nagios.)

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Cat Geekery

So, I have the Withings wifi scale.  It gives me pretty graphs and posts my weight as an accountability thing, to keep me from gaining it all back.

My cats are using my Withings scale.

Admittedly, I do tend to ask them, “What are you doing? Are you crazy?” but sometimes they even surprise me.

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