Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Radio silence

The disruption of seamlessly streaming babble is unwittingly sponsored by Microsoft.

Our main workstation is toast; it seems to be a result of XP updates. As our IT guy tells me, an OS should really be freshly installed each year anyway, and I've been pushing my luck by doubling that time frame. I'm not of the IT Tribe, but from what I overhear, Windows gets dirty over time and has a pretty short lifespan for the active file transferer. Every uninstall leaves artifacts that mess things up, deletes shared files, etc. I really do miss my old Macs on days like today, but I've heavily invested in Microsoft, so until the life cycle of this machine is kaput, I'm in it for the haul. In the OS 9x days of Apple, there was no installation process. I'd just copy a file here, a preference file there and a control panel there. Something like that. Anyway, it was awesome.

Silence is golden.
Annoying problems with my XP Pro made ghosting the system impossible, so the last few days has been rife with creating a new data architecture for the future. I may regret this after the new OS goes in, but this Spring Cleaning thing is kind of nice. For years I've been too busy to really sort my archive data thoroughly, and due to software problems with automatic backup apps, I've had to duplicate data in numerous files. The anxiety of knowing that someday I'll have to face the music and deal with this has been affecting me subconsciously for a long time. So while it's a major pain, it's also a Zen moment. Once I finish my Quickbooks entries for '08 I'll be levitating like a Buddha.

Right now I'm watching my WinRar chew on my archives files, giving me a brief window to catch up on Disruptive Report and reflect on loftier stuff.

I do have a nifty app called Delete Duplicate Files, which I will review someday in the future if I have a few moments. Time is short and user guides are long, so I haven't gotten the grasp of how to use DDF without deleting important files. Now is not the time to play around with it, since there's too much at stake.

Zen of disorganization
I'm looking forward to implementing GTD on our workstation. After relying heavily on management software for years, and my curious proclivity towards endless organizational taxonomy, I'm making a clean break and going native. The less technology, the fewer categories, the better. KISS. It's the "unfettered mind" approach to productivity. I have all sorts of ideas since I've been planning for this coup. First I need to beta the implementation and optimize it before going public to my single registered follower.

Butterfly effect
One little problem with my operating system caused me years of anguish. It starts as a small annoyance and over time compounds to become a monster.

Something got corrupted with my DotNet somewhere in update history, which prevented me from successfully installing the auto-backup app for our external backup drive. This meant that I had been backing up data by hand, which is incredibly inefficient. Version tracking was torched by the affect on Version Cue, and I was having problems with Adobe Bridge as well. If only I had spent the day or two it would take to have an IT guy come in and address the problem immediately, I wouldn't have built a skyscraper on landfill. Well, now it's time to rebuild.

Here are some lessons learned:

1) The bug on your operating system dwells in a parallel universe of your brain. As you worry more about your data, your Brain OS starts to get cluttered to the point where it too needs a clean install. I was getting so overwhelmed and bogged down that fewer things were getting done. Deal with it now. Life is one big long day with no tomorrow.

2) Find a capable IT vendor. The last IT guy I hired torched my workstation and network. The good news was that I caved in and upgraded to avoid a money pit.

3) You can learn anything online, but at a cost. Time is finite, and it's just not reasonable to think you can be an expert of everything and still be successful in your career. If you toil long enough you're going to solve the problems, but I've found that it's just not a smart use of time unless you plan on going into IT. Let the surgeons do the operating.

Anway, my files are compressed, so back to radio silence. Until next time...

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