Thursday, February 24, 2005


Remember when we blamed everything on sunspots?

The joke actually refers to a phenomena we ought to keep in mind, namely, statistical corellations don't necessarily "prove" anything. They're useful, but they, by themselves, can only point us in the direction of what is actually happening and they really don't tell us what is going on. Too often a statistical correlation is used as "proof" of a theory.

Anyway, what brought that on was -- my external 10GB hard drive failed while we were in Florida. The drive itself was free (to me) -- it came from a friend who said it was a questionable drive in the first place. At any rate, my neighbors have been having problems with spyware on their computer -- they've probably been rooted (taken over, owned), so I'm helping them with that. My mother-in-law had trouble installing the new MSN Messenger update, and I can't seem to connect with her computer anymore with VNC for some reason to help fix it myself. And on top of all of that, my 120GB storage drive at home fizzled out Monday morning.

It's gotta be sunspots.

Well, that drive held most of my digital photographs. And all the music I've ripped from CDs. Not that I couldn't rip it again, but it's a pain. The most important things wer the photographs. And I've been meaning to buy a DVD-R to back up my pictures and MP3's (they can store so much more than CD-R's) but you know I never quite got around to it.

So I bought a piece of software (R-Studio) that allows you to recover files off of damaged drives. I was getting lots of CRC (Cyclical Redundancy Check) errors on it -- which basically means when it tried to read certain spots on the disk and checked to make sure that it read the right thing, in couldn't get the same thing twice so it reported a problem. To make a long story short, the drive is going bad fast -- it's pretty much unusable.

I bought the $80 version of R-Studio, though the $50 NTFS-only version would've done the job (since that's what the format of the disk was). I sprang for the extra $30 because this version will read stuff from any disk format I use, including the old FAT system, SmartMedia, and Compact Flash...

At any rate, I got the pictures and the music off of it. I also ordered a replacement 40GB drive for the 10GB external drive, and I just ordered a new 120GB internal drive AS WELL AS a DVD-RW so I can BACK MY SHIZZIZLE up(!) efficiently.

I made a CD for Mom with the new MSN Messenger client with an AUTORUN file so that it should just start installing when she puts it in the computer. Mailed it to her.

On top of all that, my identity got stolen. Someone got my card number and my ssn and changed my password on a credit card site, changed my address to a New York address, and ordered over $2,000 worth of stuff on it.

Fortunately, the credit card company blocked the attempt. And I no longer have that card. Need to talk to them about their security. I would like someone to have to know at least three things about me on top of my credit card number before they could change my password. Make it a LITTLE more of a challenge.

Now lots of things could've caused that... a trojan sniffer program on my computer, some dishonest employee of a merchant that used my credit card AND then went and found out what my ssn is (it's not really very private these days).... Anyway, I'm fairly careful about these things, and if it can happen to me....

She packed up her bags and she took off down the road
She left me here stranded with the bills she owed
She used my address and my name
Man, that was sure unkind
Sunspot baby, sure had a real good time.

-- Bob Seger

Got a fakebook the other day that has "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" in it. I was struggling to figure the bridge out. Everything in that book was in C... I got the bridge, then transposed the whole song into "G", and dropped the diminished chords. Sounds pretty good. What a fun little ditty. I've always liked it. Love the quintessential June Christy/Stan Kenton version of it.


  1. SGI always told us it was a black-hole passing perpindicular to the plane of our galaxy.... they were certain it wasn't a sunspot.

  2. LOL -- I'll keep an eye out for those.