Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Off to SWF, TW and DW DVD, and backing up your files

Tomorrow I'll be at the Screenwriters' Festival, so if you're going along, I'll see you there. *However*, I won't be speaking about screenwriting anymore, and will now only speak about the magical properties of Jim Beam, due to the new cult I have started. Hope everyone is okay with that. I know what you're all thinking, but don't worry, of course I'll bring some forms so you can all join - in 2010 all cult members will be beamed up to a passing comet filled with magic marmalade that grants eternal life, so it's worth the billion pound joining fee. Oh, and as father of the cult, I am of course entitled to have my wicked way with any members I choose to. Arnopp - you're first.

I'm a bit dim sometimes, and seem to have completely missed the fact that the series 2 box set of Torchwood is out now. It's currently the number 6 DVD in the entire Amazon chart, which makes up for all the trauma of being outsold by exercise DVDs in the past. But wait! What's that, lurking at number 9? Davina's 30 Minute Workouts?? You keep away, Davina. This is my time now. You can get it from the Amazon link there, or from Play here, or anywhere else you like. I mean, get it from there if you like the show and want to buy it, obviously, I'm not forcing you. Well, I sort of *am* forcing you, a bit, but in a nice way.

Similarly, volume 1 of the Doctor Who series 4 set containing the first 3 episodes, including my one (God, this is complicated), has also been out for a while, and is also on Play. The full series set will be out later in the year.

I think that's everything, unless I've forgotten something else. But while I'm here flogging stuff, I may as well remind you that Severance is still on sale, from Play or Amazon, the link to Play is over on the right. It's slipped a tiny bit to 2,742nd in the chart - but now it's only a fiver! Five quid! For 95 minutes of top notch horror (with some funny bits)! You can even get it used from the Amazon marketplace for £1.30, which is a bargain in anybody's book. Unless it's the "Bargains for Less Than £1.30" book.

And can I point you in the direction of Robin Kelly's blog post here, reminding everyone to back up their files. It's something I like to bang on about myself, and can never be, er, banged on about enough. It is SO fucking easy to back up all your files, it takes hardly any time or effort at all, portable hard drives cost bugger all nowadays. So go and get one, sort it out now before you need to. You plug it in, connect the cable, copy the relevant folders or use the supplied backup software or whatever software you prefer, wait while it copies, then unplug and put it away again. Do this every month, on the same day. And every time you create a new file, email it to your webmail account - Google Mail is free, and has almost 7GB of free storage now. Every time you make significant changes to a file, email it to yourself again. It's so quick and easy, there is NO excuse for not doing it.

Back when I did tech support - and what a fun job that was, full of cheerful faces who always said please and thank you, he said sarcastically - this was always causing problems. We'd have backups scheduled, so all people had to do was leave their important files in a certain folder. But they wouldn't. They'd leave them on their desktop, or something. Then we would have the same conversation, every time:

--My machine exploded, can you get my files back?
--Did you put them in the folder for backup?
--Why not? We were quite clear about it.
--Yeah, I forgot.
--Then how am I supposed to get them back? By magic?
--Oh, I thought that there'd be something you could do.
--There was. It was called "putting your files into the folder that gets backed up".

It drove me absolutely insane. Sometimes, they'd create a huge document, 5, 10 pages or so, without saving it. They'd go to print it out or something, and inevitably something hilarious would go wrong thanks to Windows being a horrendous pile of shite. And they'd come and ask if we could get their file back. But they HADN'T EVEN FUCKING SAVED IT! I mean, if you're halfway through a long, important document, do you think "hmm, maybe I'd better hit Ctrl-S, or click Save from the File menu, oh no, that's FAR too much trouble, better to just keep working, this document is too important for me to waste time on nonsense like that"? If you answered yes, don't tell me, or I'll have to come round and stab your mind out with a brain laser.

I know, you can't be arsed searching through Amazon or wherever, finding a portable hard drive with good reviews, buying it, waiting for it to arrive, unpacking it, figuring it out, connecting it up, and deciding what folders to back up. But it's much, much less trouble than losing all your work. Not just your work, but your downloaded software, music, emails, everything. And if your machine explodes and you lose it all, when you replace the machine you'll definitely buy the portable hard drive then, to stop it happening again. So you may as well buy it now, save yourself the hassle. Or send your files to a webmail account, if you don't want to spend 50 quid. And good on Robin for reminding us every month to do this - it's so, so important for everyone who works on a computer. Seriously. Stop thinking about it. Get on with it.


Floor500 said...

Do you think god has a backup of creation somewhere, just in case something goes horribly wrong. I mean it has taken 5 billion years so far, you'd think he'd hit ctrl-S once in while. What about that unfortunate incident 60 million years ago with the dino's? Was there a backup copy then?

Good Dog said...

I think we all know that if there is some "greater power" the keys they would hit are:


Ctrl-S? Pah!

jim said...

Hey James - I've lost enough data to fill that warehouse at the end of "Raiders Of The Lost Ark." I finally laid out about $140 US for a Seagate FreeAgent USB external drive, and it is the best piece of computer gear I've ever owned.


You can use the bundled software to run regularly scheduled backups; I prefer to drag-and-drop selected files as needed. I keep all my MP3s on that thing, too, and as long as I don't pause my player for long, there's never any lag as it shuffles among some 15,000 files.

Your Jim Beam cult sounds pretty good. Hey, I had a really good beer when visiting a buddy in Yorkshire about a decade ago - Stones, I think it was, in a tall orange can? They still making that stuff?

James Moran said...

Floor500: I believe the dinosaur incident was caused by several bad sectors on the hard drive.

GoodDog: That was an entirely deliberate mistake, because of... er... oh bugger, okay, it was just my feeble brain farting while I typed. And years of being forced to use shitty PCs...

Jim: Good stuff, sounds like a great piece of kit. I've got a Lacie Little Disk, 250GB, which is tiny and brilliant. Oh, and Stones is alive and well - not for me, I can't stand ales or bitter or whatever (hence my Jim Beam cult).

Brendan O'Neill said...

Hi James

It was nice to finally meet you at the SWF.

Skydrive which is a part of windows live is a handy home for backups too

Brendan O'Neill