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rheck

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About rheck

  • Rank
    New Kid
  • Birthday 11/19/1933

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Profile Information

  • Location
    Naperville, IL
  • Interests
    Computer and Networking Hardware<br />Digital Photography<br />Travel<br />Home Projects

Previous Fields

  • Main System Specs:
    Windows XP (SP2), AMD Athlon 1800+, MS-6330 Mother Board, Memory 1 GB, ATI Radeon 9100 Graphics, Dell 1901FP 19" Display, DVD Drive, DVD+ RW Drive, 2 each 40 GB HDD, 30 GB external USB 2.0 Drive, Floppy Drive, 10/100 Wired Networking, HP Deskjet 970Cse Printer, Visioneer 8700 Scanner, Minolta Dimage Slide Scanner.
  • Secondary System Specs:
    Media Center - Windows XP (SP2), AMD Athlon 2000+, Memory 512 MB, ATI All-in-Wonder Radeon, Monitor via TV, DVD+ RW Drive, 80 GB and 120GB HDD, Floppy Drive, 100/100 Wired Networking.
  • Other System(s) Specs:
    Windows 98SE, Celeron 500 MHz, Memory 128 MB, 8.4GB and 40GB HDD, Generic Graphics, Mag 996PFb Monitor, Canon i9900 Photo Printer. Mandrake Linux 10.1, Pentium 2 400 MHz, Memory 192 MB, 1.6 GB and 20 GB HDD, Floppy, 10/100 Wired Networking.
  1. Before I retired, I worked for SBC (now AT&T) as a Data Center Manager. At our Data Center (one of many), we had mainframe computers, Mid-range Unix systems and a lot of Windows servers. Backups were mostly done over a Storage Area Network (SAN) to huge tape libraries. Some of the systems still had smaller DLT libraries. Hundreds of tapes were created every day and sent off site. The off site location was, you guessed it, Iron Mountain.
  2. Since I retired a couple of years ago, PCs and home network have become my main hobby. I like to experiment and try new things. In the course of said activity, the OS and/or data have become corrupted at times. Therefore I have become somewhat of a backup junkie.On my main PC, the primary Hdd (40 GB ) is partitioned with "C" for Windows XP Home and Programs, "D" for Data and "E" for Pictures from my Digital Camera and Jpgs from the Web. My secondary Hdd is 160 GB and is divided into 4 partitions ("I", "U", "V" and "X") and is used mostly for backups. I use a backup program named "Second Copy" to copy the Data and Pictures to partition "X". Only the files that have changed are copied and I have it scheduled to run on an hourly basis for Data and daily for Pictures. There are other programs that can perform this task. Karen's Replicatior would also work nicely.Regular backup programs work well for static files, but usually won't copy busy files which is often the case for the Windows XP OS. Sometimes the program files will be busy too. So for the "C" partition, I use "Norton Ghost" to make incremental Images every 3 hours to partition "I". Since the Image file is now static, I use "Second Copy" to copy on an automated daily basis to copy the latest "C" Image to network drive "S" which is on my Media Center PC (running XP Home). On a weekly basis, I manually move the oldest "C" Image to the Incremental Image Archive on an external USB drive "N". Periodically, I clean out the oldest Image files so as not to fill up the partition. About once a week I make a manual full Ghost Image to partition "V". I usually keep four full Ghost Images of partition "C". About once a month, I copy the latest full Ghost Image to DVD+R. Right now it only takes two disks. I have DVD+R Images of "C" for several years. Also, I make a full Ghost Image of partition "C" to a removable 30 GB USB drive that shares duty with my laptop. I only keep one copy of the "C" Image on the removable drive, deleting the previous copy before making the new one. After creating the Ghost Image, I remove the USB drive and store it in my laptop case. I have restored the "C" Image several times when I did something that I shouldn't have. Sure beats re-installing Windows and a bunch of programs.I make full Ghost Images of partition "D" and "E" on a random basis to partition "U". This may seem to be redundant, since I have backup copies on partition "X", but insn't redundancy the key to good backups. Some important files, such as Quicken Data, Webshots pictiures and other files that I deem important, are backed up to network disks. These files are also copied to CD-R on a semi-regular basis.The only file backups that I store off site are financial records and other important personal files. These are encrypted and placed on a CD-R and stored in my safe deposit box. If disaster struck and the house burned down, I would have more to be concerned about than my data. Maybe some of my disk drives would survive. If not, I would simply start over, adding new data and pictures (might need a new camera) using a new OS (Windows Vista might even be available).All of this may seem to be a lot of work, but I am retired, so I have the time. Used to work with DLT and they work great, but they are expensive. This backup scheme works for me and will probably evolve even further as time goes on.
  3. Have you tried the free Webshots Desktop available from www.webshots.com/samplers. Webshots allows your to download thousands of professional photos and millions of community photos uploaded by Webshots members. You can upload and share your own photos. Be aware that some of the community pictures are not very good, but if you have the time to browse, you can find many good high density pictures. The every day person is likely to have a very good digital camera now and only has to be concerned with lighting and framing. For some, it is going to be a slow learning curve.The Websshots Desktop can be set up as wallpaper and screen saver. A feature that I like is that you can load photos (vacations, family, hobby or anything else) from your digital camera that are stored on your computer into Webshots. Also photos on your computer that you may have downloaded from elsewhere on the Web may be added to Webshots. I have over 1.5 GB of pictures in the Webshots collections which I have set in the random display screensaver mode. When people stop by my computer, they sometimes hesitate to leave, waiting to see what comes up next on the screensaver. It sure beats flying toasters.The free version of Webshots limits you as to the number of downloads per day and the maximum density to 800 X 600 pixels. Webshots automatically sizes the screensaver or wallpaper to fill your screen and on larger screens, 800 X 600 originals can become grainy. A paid premium version of this software ($29.88 per year) gives you high density 1600 X 1200 pixel downloads of the professional photos and the downloads per day are unlimitted. Also some of professional photos are available only in the premium version. If you have a wide screen monitor, downloads in the 16:9 aspect ratio (1920X1080 pixels) are featured in the premium version. I chose the premium version after several years of using the free version. I collect high density digital images, from Webshots and elsewhere. Disk space today is no longer a limiting factor.
  4. Julia,My ISP does have a Spam filter called Spam Manager. The free one is pretty basic and I have not activated it. They also have an enhanced version for .99 per month and I have not subscribed to that either. I will continue to enjoy email as it should be for now and battle the Spam if and when it re-appears.Bob Heck"Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes."
  5. I noticed that this Forum covers Spam. I have a puzzeling but happy story to relate.A couple of years ago, my internet access was dial-up at 56 Kbs (Well not quite). I had one email address and I admit that I did everything that you were not supposed to do. I registered, signed up for contests and answered surveys using my email address. When I received Spam, I requested that they please take me off of their list. As you can guess, I was soon swamped with unwanted garbage, everything from insurance sales, to enhancing my body (didn't matter which gender, I got them both) and yes, a lot of porn adds. I even received Spam that was not addressed directly to me. It appeared that my ISP at the time, passed on some email to all subscribers. Sort of like the junk mail (USPS) addressed to Resident. Spam filters did not work. If I went away for a week, I would find hundreds of emails in my inbox, most of them Spam. DSL was not available in my area at the time, but my cable company offered high speed internet service, that when bundled with cable was not much more expensive than dial-up. I will give up some food before going back to dial-up. The new internet service also came with email if I wanted to activate it. I did.I set up two email addresses, which I named private and public. I only gave out the private address to family, friends and some trusted email newsletters (Scot's Newsletter is one). Everything else that required an email address, was given the public address. I figured that if I got swamped with Spam again, I would rename the public address.Here is the happy but puzzeled part. It has been over two years now, and I have no filters in place, but the public email address receives no Spam. I get some advertising, but only from vendors with whom I have done business or for information and newsletters that I have requested. If I want to opt out of a Vendor's email list, they honor my request. It appears that most vendors now value their customer's privacy and do not sell their email addresses (at least the ones that I deal with). I don't know exactly why, but for the time being, Spam is not a problem for me. It would be interesting to hear if others are having a problem with Spam and how they are fighting it.Bob Heck
  6. Later on this year or when Vista is available early in 2007 I am planning to upgrade my main worksstation. While I am busy tucking away the cash for this adventure, I am researching all the various options, including changes to my home network. The network works great as it is and consists mostly of wired 100 Mbs with a Netgear Range Max (108 Mbs)) wireless router ( for Internet access) and wired remote hub. Currently there are 4 wired PCs, one Linksys NSLU2 Network Storage unit and one wirless laptop connected to the network. There is just me, but I hate to throw out working computers and I like to experiment with networks. I do a lot of automated and manual moving of disk images and backup files around the network.With my current main workstation hardware (AMD 1800 +), the performance really slows down when I am moving 6 to 7 GB files across the network. I intend to improve that greatly with the upgraded workstation hardware. Since most new motherboards have 1 Gb networking available, I am considering adding a 1 Gb NIC to my secondary PC, which will be my old AMD 1800 +. I would also purchase a 1Gb switch and connect the new workstation and the secondary PC to the new switch. The 1 Gb switch would be connected to the router, so that all systems would still have Internet access.My question, to those of you who are more experienced than I, is this a workable solution? I like to experiment, but I prefer to do it as economically as possible. I have the time to educate myself and make a wise decision.Thanks in advance.Bob Heck
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