Monday, March 20, 2006

Back That Disc Up

My new mission is to come up with some kind of backup process to protect my files. I can't believe I haven't worried about this before, but I've never had a direct brush with a failed hard drive, so even though I know it could happen at any time, I have this devil-may-care attitude about my system. Recently, though, I've been thinking about doing it because all of my son's pictures reside in digital format, and if I lose those, we'll have almost no documentation of his first year.

Since that sounds like a bad plan, I've decided to be proactive. I think what I'll do is purchase a 200GB internal hard drive, since I've got room in my desktop tower for another internal drive. That way, I don't have another device to cram onto my desk, and the cost will be less. Then I need to get a backup utility, and a DVD-burner for periodic writing to a disc for very important files. Also, I need to bolster the RAM on my machine up to 1 GB (that's unrelated this project, though). Sheesh. All told, this project is going to cost about $400.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good backup utility that will support burning to DVD and CD?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

When Typing is Better Than Speaking

I realized recently that we've come to a point in modern society where sometimes it's easier to type something than say it face-to-face. I'm not just referring to people's comfort level (I'm definitely a writer versus a speaker, myself). I'm talking about phrases that have become common in email or messaging that just don't translate to human speech.

The specific example of a typed (not spoken) phrase I'm citing is WTF. You know what it means. The interesting thing, though, is that it's not one of those phrases that works if you say it out loud. "A.S.A.P." works (although some people say "aysap"). Saying "W.T.F." just sounds stupid, though. The other day someone said it to me: "I mean, I was like, double-u tee eff?" Whoa. That just takes all the fun out of it. WTF is more than a combination of three letters, and works best in print, where your mind is free to say it - nay, scream it - out loud.

(Average Jane oughta love this)

The Art of Being Careful

So semi-regular readers might notice my blog looks different today. I was trying to add a slick new feature from, called a Traffic Magnet (see the right column toward the bottom), and I inadvertently replaced (and saved!) my entire template with a tiny bit of code. Then, when I attempted to get the template back, it's not available anymore. D'oh!

So now I have a new look! I haven't gotten beyond the point where I'm using Blogger to do all the work on my site, so I'm being kind of lazy about this. Soon, though, I'll know enough about ASP.NET to host my own site and then I'll have complete control.

Mwuh hah hah hah hah (evil laugh).

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Caffeine Update

So far, so good. I've really reined in my caffeine problems, and since I posted last week, I haven't had more than 16 ounces in a day. And no, you nay-sayers, I haven't been guzzling anything else containing the wonder-drug.

I can say that I've been tired. Very tired. I've been forced to make up for this shortcoming by sleeping more, which has of course shortened my evenings even more. I'm satisfied, however, because I have felt better overall. I'm going to keep riding this train for the next few weeks, and hopefully I'll break through the "habit wall."

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My 12 Step Process

I'm addicted to caffeine. I've recently discovered just how powerful the attraction is, both physically and mentally. I sit at work in the mornings and guzzle free coffee (the free part may have something do with my propensity to drink it, by the way).

Every few months I realize that the caffeine is messing me up, and I cut it out. Invariably, however, I will have a long night and feel the need to get a little pick-me-up the following morning. Then I'll have a second, a third, a fourth pick-me-up. Pretty soon I'm plastered to the ceiling, shaking and jittering all over the place. Gruesome.

Seriously, though, after I get into a rut of drinking too much caffeine and getting too little sleep, I can tell the effect that it's having on my body. I feel lousy all of the time, either groggy or jittery, depending on whether I've had the caffeine yet that day. On the weekends, if I forget to make myself a pot, I get a killer headache in the afternoon. My temper shortens, and I find myself snapping at my wife more easily.

I find it's a constant struggle to keep my caffeine intake to a minimum. I drive approximately 130 miles a day, so sitting in the car in the afternoon is difficult if I haven't had enough sleep the night before (which is pretty much every night). The one benefit to my overload of caffeine is that I don't feel sleepy on my homeward commute, but that's also the case if I get about 8 hours of shut-eye.

I'm making a mid-year resolution to curb my over-indulgence. I will still drink a little bit, but I'm limiting myself to 16 oz., the capacity of my Stanley thermos. I brew coffee in my cold-brew system, The Toddy, and that's all I drink for the day. Yesterday was my first day following my new, more Kevin-friendly regulations, and it was rough. I was tired on my commute home, had to take a nap before dinner, and woke up this morning with a killer headache. I took some Advil, headed for work, and am doing my best to stick to the 16 oz. limit. I feel marginally better, but I know the rest of the week will be tough. It won't be as bad as quitting cold turkey, which I've done, but bad enough.

I'm hoping if I make the 2-cup limit a habit, it will be hard to deviate from it, and drink too much. I'm also using this as an excuse to restrict my intake of Mountain Dew to zero, since I don't want the extra caffeine. I don't drink that much of it these days, but I'd like to cut soda out of my menu entirely. Are these goals too lofty? Only time will tell...