Saturday, July 3, 2010

Adventures in Home Networking

My computer has been on the fritz. While I had been trying to wirelessly back up files to network attached storage like I belonged to the 21st century, it hadn't yet worked.

After 9 hours of Microsoft Customer Support directed activity my options appeared to be to return to factory default settings which means losing all your files.  I did have one last chance to put all my files gently overboard on a new drive to safety.

Rather than bother with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) which can mirror (have 2 copies) of all your documents, I went straight for the tried and true.  I bought a single PnP (plug n play) that attached directly to my computer without any fancy backup management software and no network interface and proceeded to do a seamless copy paste, just like I used to back when an 80G drive was big.

All this is making me think that each household with more than 1 computer user probably needs the equivalent of a CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate family member or at least a CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician) regardless of company brand.

Network management activities in our household have usually gone to the person who had the time and patience to fix all the things that didn't work the first time. When we first set up our home network, I was our network manager. There was nothing PnP about it at that time. Later on, since the Google wireless signal, despite being right outside our yard, is pitifully weak, my husband took on the task of upgrading us to wireless. The next logical step, automated backup on NAS seems to be temporarily beyond both of our skill, time and patience levels for now.

When faced with the loss of all my documents and all my photos, I simultaneously wondered why I didn't have a backup system and felt a strong urge to never create another file again....because it could be lost. Ever a temptation to quit if I saw one and I'm still battling it by saying over and over, "I have a backup now. It will be there."

However, the Frye's salesman poked holes in my faith in backups when he said, "Would you like to buy a warranty? Did you know that almost 25% of all drives fail?" My inside voice said, "Then why am I buying one?" My outside voice said, "No, thank you." The real value lies in the files, not the drive and there's no warranty for that.

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