Let me ask you a question. "How old is your hard drive?"



Why you ask? It is my feeling that the design engineers are looking at a 5 year design lifetime when drive is on the drawing board. Many drives last quite a bit longer and as some of us know from experience, quite a few drives don't last that long.


If your hard drive is 4 years old or greater then it might be time to think about backing up your data and moving it to a new hard drive.


It is usually a fairly simple job to transfer everything (usually by a process known as imaging) from one drive to another as long as the original drive is working properly. When this procedure works it is a thing of beauty. When you reboot your computer after the hard drive swap you should find that everything looks and works the same except that you have a new hard drive holding your precious data.


Your motherboard can fail, the power supply can fail, the sound card, the network card, the DVD can fail and you can still get your data back. If your hard drive fails then you are in trouble, your data is gone. Then it's time for the old techie joke, "you will just have to restore from your backups". The joke here is that the old techie knows there are probably no backups. Very dark humor for sure.


It is worth noting that there are services that go to extreme lengths to retrieve valuable data on dead or failed hard drives. It is also worth noting that these services are extremely expensive.


The really important thing on a computer is the data you have saved on to it. The next two important things on it are the configurations that we do for programs, passwords, codes etc. The issue here is that these configurations were possibly done years ago, who remembers. The other important type of info on our computer is the installed programs and various theirs codes and activations. I have seen many people have to re-purchase applications because of lost disks, codes or install files. All three of these types of data are stored on your hard drive.


There are certainly some types of hard drive failures where the drive does not completely stop working and it is possible to pull some or all the data off but since the drive is not working 100% the ability to transfer the entire drives contents to a new drive often won't work. What you are left with is a much larger job of re-building your computers.  Fresh OS install, install and configure programs ( find the disks and codes too), install printers, restore data etc. It's a lot more work than imaging from one drive to another.


From experience I can tell you that recovering from a hard drive failure can be huge pain in the rear  and lots of work. Why bother when a little preemptive maintenance can save you all that bother. We all take for granted the wisdom of replacing the tires on our car before they blow out while we are driving.


It is an odd phenomenon of the computer age that people who are totally tied to their computers rarely give them a mechanical thought until they stop working.


Failure over a long enough timeline is a absolute certainty. To make it interesting we do not get to know how long the time line is. Best be prepared sooner than later.

Recipes by Gina - Recipe of the Moment

Home Made Turkey Stock

  • Place the whole turkey carcass in a large stockpot.
  • Add large chunks of vegetables and a few whole spices and sprigs of herbs.
  • Fill the stock pot with cold water to cover the ingredients by about two inches.
  • Simmer for several hours, adding a bit of water as necessary to maintain the volume.
  • You do not want the stock to boil, as this will lead to too much evaporation.
  • Also, the proteins and fats being released from the bones can emulsify and make the stock cloudy.
  • This will not affect the final flavour of the dish, but if you want a pretty and clear stock, make sure the stock does not boil.
  • The stock is ready when you can snap a small turkey bone in half with very little effort.
  • Strain the stock through a fine strainer, pressing down on the solids.
  • Discard the solids, and strain the stock again.
  • If you are going to use the stock immediately, carefully skim off the fat that rises to the top.
  • If not, you can leave the fat on as it can be more easily removed when solidified.

Standard Turkey Stock:
  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1-2 yellow onions (skin on), cleaned and cut in half
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 2 ribs celery (leaves included), cut in half
  • Parsley stems
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 10-12 whole peppercorns
  • Cold water, to cover by 1”

Other additions or substitutions
  • Use leeks, well washed, instead of onions
  • Add 1 head of garlic, cut in half (or just a couple of whole cloves)

Chinese-Style Turkey Stock
  • In addition to the standard ingredients, add:
  • a ½” piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise pods

Italian-Style Turkey Stock
  • In addition to the standard ingredients, add:
  • white wine (about 1/8 of the amount of water)
  • 2 tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 2-3 tarragon sprigs or stems

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