A long time ago, I read that new science/technology brings with it a set of problems which can only be solved by new advances.  You may need a while to digest it — But, I’ve found  it to be valid.

As a wheelchair user for more than 50yrs, I have been dependent on technology for some rather basic functions most of my life.  And, as I’ve aged  my strength/health have changed — I now need more and more equipment to get through each day.  But, who among us isn’t relying on the many modern devices which most citizens of an industrialized nation take for granted?

Whether still in your teens or you are considered a ‘Senior Citizen’, what would you do without a computer or cellphone for several days?  Can you imagine how being without electricity for a week would reek havoc on you and those around you?

Even though I considered myself pretty prepared, I found out just how much I had overlooked during my recent computer crash.

I don’t often purchase extended warranties — I think the cost is generally a lot more than they are worth.  However, when I purchased a new $1100 desktop computer in September 2008 I decided to pay the fee to add 2 years to the manufacturer’s warranty.  It was a good thing that I did — the warranty extension probably saved me from spending at least $500!

It took more than 6 hours of in-my-home troubleshooting and parts swapping to get my machine to an operational state again — partly because the hard-drive replacement shipped to the technician before he started my job was a defective re-manufactured drive and not a new one as he expected!

Now begins the tedious reinstallation of software and data

The technician installed the hard-drive and operating system, but it’s up to me to attempt to recover whatever additional programs and data I had before the crash.  This is where I learned that I had several weak-links in my chain — and, one of those was me!

I had my current data on an outboard drive (a Clickfree automatic backup device) that seems pretty much intact — all 250 gigabytes of it.  The manufacture’s website says that no system or program files are stored on the backup.  However, as I review my files, there does appear to be a lot of program files, and maybe some system files, included with the data.  So, I’m cautiously working to understand what is the quickest and safest way to get back to were I had been on June 30th without messing-up what the tech has installed —  it is not looking easy…  or quick!  8-(

Many of the programs I had installed were downloads with no disc involved — some paid, some free.   So, I can eventually get most of the free programs back by searching the web and downloading again — the paid ones may require me to pay the fee again depending on what records I have or whether the company can find info regarding my original purchase.

Another area of weakness I discovered was in my use of web-browsers.  I use Firefox heavily and bookmark a lot of sites and use the TAG feature constantly.   But, I had never exported anything from Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer — YUCK!  All that is GONE now….

Live and Learn

It has been my goal to always learn something from the difficulties or disasters I experience.  By doing so, I hope to avoid making the same, or a similar, mistake more than once.  Which should save a lot of time and perhaps some money!

I’d like to hear about your personal experiences with computer crashes or whatever you’d like to share — any helpful hints would be appreciated (a comment-button is located at the top of each posting).  Your comments are always welcome and I read each one.

This morning, a 10 foot-wide steel water pipe ruptured in the metropolitan Boston area which caused the loss of an estimated 8 million gallons of water. 

In order to maintain the flow of water for fire fighting and other critical uses, it was necessary to add untreated water to the pipes in the area.  As a result, people are being warned to bring any water that will be used for drinking or food preparation to a boil and maintain it at a rolling-boil for at least 1 full minute.  Failure to take appropriate precautions could result in serious illness.  However, the untreated water may be used for bathing, flushing and fire protection.

The rupture occurred in a custom made steel pipe which is less than 8 years old.  Cause of the break is unknown at this time.  Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency.  He has requested that people avoid all unnecessary water usage until repairs are completed.  A total of 30 communities are reportedly effected.

This significant non-weather-related event, and its impact, should be a warning that you need to store drinking water in your home/apartment  — emergencies often happen without warning!

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) says the following:

You should have at least a three-day supply of water and you should store at least one gallon of water per person per day. A normally active person needs at least one-half gallon of water daily just for drinking.

Additionally, in determining adequate quantities, take the following into account:

  • Individual needs vary, depending on age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate.
  • Children, nursing mothers, and ill people need more water.
  • Very hot temperatures can double the amount of water needed.
  • A medical emergency might require additional water.

How Should You Store Water?

To prepare safest and most reliable emergency supply of water, it is recommended you purchase commercially bottled water. Keep bottled water in its original container and do not open it until you need to use it.

Observe the expiration or “use by” date.

There are six basic categories of things you should stock in your home:

  • Water.
  • Food.
  • First Aid Supplies.
  • Clothing, Bedding and Sanitation Supplies.
  • Tools.
  • Special Items.

  Follow this link to the FEMA site to read their preparation guidelines.