Physician heal thyself

On February 12, 2011, in Apple, Apps, Features, Hard Drive, Mac mini, NAS, Network, Opinion, Video, Wireless, by Larry Grinnell
My hard drive crashed!

Web server. Head Crash. No Backup. Doh!

You’d think I’d learned my lesson about backing up critical data, but nope, not me. In an extreme case of overconfidence and hubris, I let a Mac mini that I had set up in my house as a web server for a genealogically oriented family association go without a full backup … for almost seven years! Yeah, yeah… I had planned on doing something when I had a little free time on my hands, but that time never came.

This server was running several specialized web applications, including the genealogy of the Grinnell family, configured in such a fashion that it is very difficult to start over from scratch. Oh, and did I mention the main membership database? Yup. Also gone. At least for that one, I think I’ve got a backup of that file somewhere, and because it’s membership renewal time, the membership chair had just made printouts of critical member information. Not that this should in anyway excuse what has happened.

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About Larry Grinnell

Larry Grinnell has been a Mac user since before there were Macs, first being exposed to his brother-in-law's Apple Lisa 7/7 office system, in 1982 or 1983. After a nine year stint in the US Air Force, he took an electronics technician job at Motorola, Inc., where he stayed for almost 27 years. In that time, he held additional diverse positions from manufacturing engineering technician to technical writing to print production consultant to department webmaster. Currently, he's the sole technical writer for a small communications/electronics firm in Davie, FL. He is a member of the writing staff, and recently completed a two-year stint writing a weekly Macintosh and Apple-oriented column for the Palm Beach Business website ( In his copious free time, he does layout and prepress work for the Grinnell Family Association's quarterly newsletter, and runs their website at In 2013, one of his photographs was published in the New York Times. He just finished editing, layout, and prepress work for an all new Grinnell family genealogy, which promises to be roughly 2,800 pages in size. Publication date is tentatively scheduled for late 2015 or early 2016. Larry collects jazz guitar recordings, and is currently trying, for the fifth time, to learn to play the guitar. He lives in Greenacres, FL.

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As an Apple baby and a hopeless demi-techie, when I need help setting up a new piece of equipment, I NEED HELP. Most of the time I can read through instructions a couple of hundred times, and with the luminance of a 25 watt bulb I finally get the idea and I can successfully have my stuff working. But every once in a while instructions are either written by illegal aliens from Planet X, or folks who don’t seem to understand that most of us out there who want to take advantage of the new technologies are cluelessly wired in analog. Yeah, yeah, I know. Learn the language and maybe you won’t have so much trouble, buddy. I’m trying, folks. I really am. But I’ve only got so much time and talent to devote to technology. With help from my friends, I’ll get better. 

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I’ve Been to Graceland

On September 4, 2002, in Opinion, by Bob McCormick

“I’m going to Graceland, Graceland
Memphis Tennessee, I’m going to Graceland.”
Paul Simon.

“The curse of human nature is imagination.
When a long-anticipated moment comes,
we always find it pitched a note too low.”
Gertrude Atherton

I’ve been to Graceland ladies and gentlemen. I’ve finally been to an actual Apple Retail store. For those of you who’ve not made it to Apple’s equivalent of Graceland, this story is for you.

Ever since the first Apple Retail stores originally opened like all Mac users who’ve been to Best Buy or CompUSA (prior to Apple installing their own sales people) I’ve been waiting to visit one myself. With the recent openings of the Apple Super stores in New York and LA along with my recent story on why I want to work at an Apple Retail store had definitely reawakened my desire to walk in to a bona fide Apple Retail store.

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Where Wintel Fails…

On July 1, 1998, in A Few Words, by Tim Robertson

Where I work, we must use computer terminals to record the times we work, what job we worked on, and the like. I work for one of the major railroad companies in North America. At the moment, I am a “Switchman”. Come July, I will be going to my Conductor promotion class, and within two years, I should be a Locomotive Engineer. So what does that have to do with My Mac?

As I said, we use these terminals to run proprietary software to record our time tickets (that’s how we get paid). We also use these terminals for vacation inquiries, seniority information, how far we are “out” from working again, and so forth. A few months ago, a friend at work told me he had the software that would allow him to dial in from home and access the system. This really interested me because I also wanted to have access to the system while home. Unfortunately, it is a Wintel program only, meaning if you own a Mac, you’re out of luck. The program also required you to have a 56k Flex modem, and I only had my 33.6 Global Village.

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