Here’s a riddle for you


Retrospect backup server (that is being retired) runs two simultaneous backups. 1 set is for desktops & servers, the other for portables. We probably had about 100 machines backing up to the server at one point.

Weekly, the desktops and servers used 6 400GB tapes, and the portables used 2-3 400GB tapes.

I’ve been migrating everyone (except servers) off of Retrospect, to the point where we have maybe a handful of portables AND desktops left. Mere fractions of previous backing-up-ness.

The portables are down to 1 400GB tape (there’s only really a few people and they’re all off traveling, so I can’t convert them, nor are they actually backing anything up while traveling).

HOWEVER, the servers & desktops are now using EIGHT 400GB tapes. Ocho. Huit. Thamaniya.

Fewer computers, yet backing up more. My mind, she is puzzled.

Apple genius 0, Robyn 1


One of my users brought in his daughter’s Powerbook this morning. It turned on and then the screen was just white. I listened to the hard drive, and it sounded fine, no popping or clicking. I got out one of our random floating laptops and used firewire to connect the Powerbook. The drive showed up right away. I was able to copy all the data to an external drive that my user brought in.

They had already taken it to the Apple store and the geniuses had told them it was a lost cause. After I got the data off, I ran it through Disk Utility a couple times. It repaired a few things. I then tried to boot it off a CD. It sounded like it was running off the disc, but it was still showing a white screen. On a hunch, I plugged it into my external display, and lo, there was everything.

I’ve seen it a couple times before. The video connector between the logic board and the internal laptop display can get frayed or disconnected. However, the video port for a monitor or projector still displays. Perfectly good computer still, just not much of a laptop anymore!

Bad Apple geniuses. Did you even try?



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Fur is high, fur is lough


My fur is high, aka, a day off
Today is my first furlough day, thanks to the UC system. At my pay bracket, I get 16 days “off”. 6 of them are required to be taken off during the winter holidays because the university is shutting down Dec 19-Jan 3. Woo hoo, Christmas break! But boo, less money. They worked it out so you’re getting the same paycut each month, regardless of how many days you took off. However, you can’t use days until you accrue them, so I can’t take all of them off for the wedding. Lame. Since I’m taking 6 furlough in December, and taking two weeks off for wedding stuff in January, that leaves me with ten other months in the year, and magically, ten furlough days! My group can’t really all take off at once, so we’re all taking off random days. Karin took off last Monday, and Terri was off the Friday before.

It’s funny that having a day when you feel like you “should” be working is more productive than a weekend day. I went running, finished Edgar Sawtelle, did the rest of the laundry, deposited checks, and felt very productive in general. I feel such a need to decompress on the weekends that I don’t often “do” anything, like cleaning (except for the great Antsplosion of 2009).

I’m thinking about pancakes for dinner. I’d need to walk over to Market and get some buttermilk though. Oooh, or Hawaiian restaurant. Although we ate out plenty over the weekend, including $7 in some candy store to get a boatload of gummies before we went to go see “It Might Get Loud” at the Hillcrest theater. Which was pretty neat, if not particularly plotted. I really enjoyed seeing the musicians geek out watching each other play. As Charles noted, we’re all geeks, it just depends on what you’re geeky about. The only other productivity this weekend was a Target/Costco trip and I made zuchinni pancakes from, which were nom.

So I went to the ortho on Thursday, which is my usual ortho day of the week. They presented my refinement trays, and I was dismayed that they had not made any new trays for the top teeth (tray is six months old!!) and NINE trays for the bottom. Which, if you may recall, is more than half as many as the first run. I didn’t really think they needed that much more work. My lil point n shoot Sony camera’s batteries are dying quite quickly these days. I haven’t charged them up to take new pictures yet. The new tray (1R-refinement) was incredibly tight and painful for several days. Still tight, but not so bad. Good news is that there are no new attachments. WOOHOO! The ortho is making a retainer for the top teeth (and by ortho, I mean one of his very young assistants. The office is kind of weird)

Not too much going on in the wedding front. My parents came down on Saturday and we chose linens and chairs and cake designs and stuff. Then the FG treated us to lunch, which was yum!

Protected: Woohoo!


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  • Date May 5, 2009
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For my sharecase panel


I’m on a panel at the campus “Sharecase” conference later this month. One of our tasks was to create a “Top Ten” list of things our users should do before calling us for help.

Here’s what we came up with:

1. Restart the application
2. Restart the computer
3. Check all cables
4. Check caps lock key
5. Ensure you are using the correct login name/password
6. Make sure you are online (check browser)
7. Write down your error messages
8. Ask neighbors to see if they also have issues
9. Call when the problem occurs (not three days later)
10. Provide relevant details (eg. Do not say, “The server is not working” Which server?)
11. Plan ahead (wireless request, vacation messages, loaners, etc)
12. Call ACT Help Desk (this is more a “ha ha” suggestion)

Can anyone think of anything else?



(Background: I changed a setting on a user’s remote desktop connection to enable her to access the internet again, after software updates changed things).

Her: That thing you did last week, does it affect my pdfs?

Me: Umm, no…

Her: I can’t submit the packages. It says, “Error, try again later.” *waits for my magic*

Me: Umm, I don’t run, I don’t know why they’re having errors. (Silently) Do you expect me to magically know how to fix something that only you use regularly that just says “Error”? REALLY?

In an ongoing effort to learn things, I tried joining my computer to the UCSD AD domain. It worked, and was slightly spooky (remembering that we use Macs, not Windows).

Then I joined one of our servers to it, and now I’m confused. The OS X Workgroup manager shows a weird list of users I don’t know, and I can’t figure out how to make it more granular..or..useful?

Jess lent me the first two books of the Twilight series, Twilight and New Moon on Friday morning at work. I zoomed through Twilight by Saturday morning and thoroughly enjoyed vampire boyfriend lols. I started reading the second, and the vampire boyfriend WENT AWAY O NOZ. I spend 400 pages going “When’s Edward coming back?” I finished it on Sunday morning, then promptly went to cleolinda‘s hilarious recaps of Twilight, and read up what happens in the third and fourth book. Wendy lent me 3 and 4 this morning, and I’m already on page 264. 9AM. BY 1PM. I need help. There’s just so much sparkle and lolness and even though it’s supposed to be tense and omgz, I’m having trouble finding the actual plot, which makes it all the more entertaining. It’s just vampire boyfriend dazzle. (Not to mention that in the trailer for the Twilight movie, Edward makes me swoon, lol.)

On a totally different track, I am le sad that our Rock Band drums are dead (x3).

I babysat for Fiona and Vivi last night, and took over my oldest and most cherished American Girl dolls, Kirsten and Addy. Vivi was excited that they got to play with her new Samantha doll, and Fiona promptly undressed them. It must be the 4 y.o. in her. I remember changing their clothes a lot, but I was older, and they had *outfits*. I promised to bring more clothing next time, as Vivi only had Samantha’s flower girl dress and a night gown. I even have a nightgown that I SEWED for my dolls.