Tag Archives: broken

Failed Flash & Missing Backups CodeUnit 03 MAY 2010

Sigh. After years of solid and faithful service, despite the lack of care, my Transcend JetFlash 4 GB USB flash drive finally borked and said it’s last goodbyes. But it didn’t go quietly into the night.

No, it kicked and screamed, corrupted and declared itself write-protected. I spent hours combing the Internet, trying out various solutions, tricks and suggestions, none of which worked and none of which could get the drive back into working, usable condition.

From low-level formats to registry hacks and just plain begging and pleading, all was for naught as I finally came to the conclusion that it was dead and dusted, leaving me only with one recourse – to open it up and operate on it in the hopes of a miracle happening.

Unfortunately that was not to be as my clumsy hands sliced the top of a connector clean off its housing and brought with it the finality of the waste bin.

But losing a faithful flash drive was not the worst part of this ordeal. No, the worst part was that I, a software technician of all people, had failed myself in that I didn’t keep any backups of the important data on the drive. Not a single backup whatsoever. Important personal documents, desktop application projects in mid development, databases built up over years, all gone because I was too lazy to keep up a decent backup programme.

But the loss now behind me, I have vowed to change my ways and send out this warning to those of you out there like me – backup your data, synchronize your drives, don’t fall in complacency.

Even if it is just by using the simplicity of rsync or its’ graphical counterpart, grsync, schedule your backups and stick to it – or as I have now done, place a perpetual reminder in your calendar and stick to it.

For you never know when the blight that is drive failure will strike again…

Afrihost Internet Connectivity: A “Still not Quite Up” Update CodeUnit 28 APR 2010

If you are in the position of having switched to Afrihost thanks to their particularly cheap ADSL prices or any of the other smaller ISPs that offer some quite attractive rates, you’ll no doubt be quite frustrated over these last couple of days I’m sure.

International connectivity has pretty much been non-existent or moving at a completely unusable crawl since Monday, all thanks to a disruption in the all important Seacom undersea fiber cable that connects Africa to the rest of the world and acts as the cheap carrier line that allows all these small ISPs to offer the deals that they do.

After noticing a fault in the line, Seacom originally pencilled in the maintenance period to commence on Saturday 24th April, but unfortunately rough seas and stormy conditions prevented the repair ship from launching the submarine operation in order to bring up the affected faulty segment and run repairs on it. As it is, it would now seem that the problem is much larger than initially thought and there are currently reports from Seacom that the cable may very well be down all the way through until Friday the 30th of April!

Some of the other ISPs like MWEB purchased redundancy on the SAT3 cable that Telkom uses and that certainly helped their customers a bit, but as of the 28th that access has since been withdrawn by Telkom, meaning that if you opted to go with any other ISP outside of Telkom and the few others that make use of the SAT3 or 3G system, you’re pretty much screwed at the moment.

A good example of single point of failure then I’m afraid.

That said, Afrihost is at least offering some sort of limited, extremely shaped and throttled Internet access through a special proxy server it has since set up (http://www.afrihost.com/proxy.pac), but as you can well imagine, the amount of traffic trying to get through there is already clogging that alternative route up.

So in other words, unless your needs are entirely local, you’re pretty much dead in the water at this point in time.

Else, if you have a setup like me back home where I make use of both an Afrihost and Telkom ADSL account, you can sit back, give a wry smile and continue to work, thanks to the surprisingly reliable (for a change) Telkom alternative!

Now who would ever have thought the use of the words “Telkom” and “alternative” in a single, positive sentence? ;)