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Things I learned over the weekend

Mel Martin

It was one of those slow weekends. A good time, I thought, to clean up some odds and ends on my to-do list. Often, my list involves things relating to my computers, and this weekend was no exception.

Item #1. Install Windows 7 RC1 using VMWare. I didn't have a super urgent reason for doing so, but the time seemed right. I went to the Windows 7 download site, followed the instructions and the download never started. Just an animated thingy. I assumed the Microsoft Servers were busy, so just let it go. A few minutes passed. The thingy kept spinning. Finally, after an hour I said the hell with it. Oh, I wasn't just staring at the screen for an hour. I DID have other things to do.

I tried again later in the day. I thought, well, maybe this download is really popular, but it has been out for a few days, and certainly Microsoft has plenty of bandwidth. I tried a few tests downloads of other things, and everything was peachy.

Just for the heck of it, I tried downloading the RC with Firefox. Blam! It started right away. I'm sure other people know this, but a quick Google didn't give me any obvious joy. For whatever reason, Safari just won't connect. A subtle message from MS? Or just one of those things? Anyway, save yourself some frustration, and use Firefox. It just works. (Note: there were some comments about this in Steve's Windows 7 post)

Item #2. Back up one of my big hard drives. It's a LaCie 500 GB that has a lot of photos I've taken over the years. Strangely, I could not see the disk on my desktop. I have 3 firewire drives on my desktop Mac, and only 2 were there. The one that was missing was the first one in the chain. It was, of course, the one I wanted to back up. The power light was on, and all the downstream drives were functioning fine. The Apple profiler could not see the drive. Disk tools couldn't see it either. It was time for my trusty copy of Disk Warrior. It had saved me many times before. It scanned and saw nothing. Nada. Zilch. It did nicely offer to rebuild my other drives, but that wasn't too helpful in my situation.

I mentioned my problem to a friend, and he said it was surely my power supply. No way, I said, as the blue light was glowing on the missing drive, and everything attached to it was working. Well, I was pretty desperate and swapped power supplies with another LaCie. The drive came to life, and popped onto the desktop. I did some more Googling and found a lot of people with bum power supplies on LaCie drives. They may or may not be worse than other brands, but there was a lot of negative chatter about LaCie power supplies. I ordered a new one directly from LaCie, and the problem will be solved. (Hmmm. They have a whole page dedicated to replacement power supplies.)

OK, my to-do list is shorter, and my knowledge base is a bit larger. I also learned something I should have learned a long time ago. The best answers are not always the most direct or obvious.

Good luck with your projects, and by the way. Windows 7 works quite well under VMWare. Glad I didn't try to install it on that LaCie.

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