Holiday Technology Woes... at Home
By bobp on Jan 03, 2008
In anticipation of some Winter Holiday downtime and unplugging from the internet cloud-- I envisioned some history reading and some home projects that required tools from a Craftsman Toolbox. On Dec 24th my home computer hardware decided to get real sick. The system uses fast RDRAM memory but all 2GB became usless when a single memory address line failure corrupted my system disk. I was able to invoke extended memory tests then managed to isolate the faulty DIMM module and once again had good memory. My next step was to try and recover the system disk. I ran chkdsk (its just like fsck), mucked with the boot partion, etc. but could not recover the disk. Previously I was fortunate to recover the system disk two times prior on this machine but this time my luck ran out. Since all my data is on a separate data disk that is incrementally backed up daily to a network drive, I still had the most important items intact... The DATA. So I reformatted the system disk and reinstalled the OS, then all the numerous updates, patches and ALL the applications (including configuring them). It took about a day but all is normal on the home computer once again. My wife and I realized how dependent we are on this device for running our domestic endeavours (paying bills, kids activities, purchases, getting information, etc.) While we have other computers running various OSes in our house, this specific one was the nerve center. It really resonated with me that I had taken precautions to preserve the data and they payed off. It felt similar to the car accident question. "Are you all right?" We can replace the car but not you (the data). Personal digital data that an individual generates is just as important as the digital data of corporations. We live in a sea of digital data today. With free email, picture sharing and archives that store massive amounts of data that increases every second, protecting the data grows in importance as well.
My son received a new gaming console as a holiday present and the initial experience was amazing. The ability of the graphic processor (GPU) to generate and manipulate polygons is incredible. The effects generated to create waterfalls, reflection, smoke, 3D, etc. is excellent. The visual effect is most stunning when the game's HD visual output is displayed in 1080i mode on a HD display. It is safe to say the gaming console is a powerful personal computer. The ultimate gaming experience is when you plug into the network cloud and play online with others. Forget for a moment the complexities of configuring your network router, wireless LAN and the correct settings of open not restricted NAT and UPnP. To play online and communicate in real time via VoIP, while you visualize in HD, hear in surround sound and control the events of the game is an experience you could only previously get at Walt's Kingdom. The online response was great... for a few days when suddenly response started to get slow. I told my son that good old latency had arrived. He said "What?" I told him that if 10 kids in each city of the world just received a new game console for the holidays that would be a lot of new consoles. By the time most of them connected online would be about now... As a result there are servers somewhere that are hosting these online games that are probably getting strained/hot and can't keep up with all the requests. In other words the computer infrastructure (lots of servers, storage, etc.) that is keeping all game consoles in harmony can't do it as effortlessly as before because there are now too many of you playing while on school vacation. Then it happened... His online id on his console got corrupted. He could not recover his id. All his scores, points, you name it data and a lot of it was unreachable on his console. I told him I think his hard drive on his console is corrupted. So I reformatted his hard drive (deja vu) and went through a recovery procedure. Fortunately we recovered his online id and all his data since those busy servers with loads of storage kept a copy of his data too.
These technology woes are opportunities for those who provide the infrastructure of the internet... which is one large data cloud growing and growing and growing.