First and foremost, when working with any electronic gear, make sure the equipment is completely unplugged from any power source, including USB.

Tools needed:

– a thin-bladed knife (a utility knife is best, as it will likely get covered with epoxy)
– a Phillips head screwdriver
– pliers (needle-nose are preferable)

1. Take the thin-bladed knife and, at one of the front speaker housing corners, wedge it between the black, plastic, speaker housing face and the silver trim piece.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 1

 

2. Gently and slowly rock the knife back and forth to cut through the adhesive that’s holding the face plate to the speaker housing. Take care to keep the knife lateral to the face plate… the back of the plate has a black coating on it, making scratches transparent and very visible from the front.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 2

 

3. Make 4-5 passes around the speaker housing with the knife, cutting a little further into the adhesive each time.

4. Once the face plate starts to come loose, with your hands, gently go around the housing a few times, prying the face plate up a little more each time. Since it’s plastic, be sure to not bend the plate too much, as it could break.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 3

 

5. Once the plate is off, grab the Phillips head screwdriver and loosen the eight screws holding the housing together.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 4

 

6. Once the screws are loosened, slowly pull the housing apart. Be careful because the speaker wires don’t have much extra slack.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 5

 

7. With the needle-nose pliers, clamp and remove the speaker cable leads and the tweeter leads.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 6

 

With that, you should have successfully disassembled the Logitech Z-1o speakers.

Logitech Z-10 - pic 7

 

In this case, it turns out the problem is a blown speaker, as you can see the tear in the cone. Boooooo!!!!

Logitech Z-10 - pic 8

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I work on one of the most-watched shows on TV. This is no small operation. Just like any other big, legitimately successful enterprise, we operate under a budget, but we also try to buy products that are going to be reliable. You know, as it’s said, “You get what you pay for.” But sometimes, what you pay for doesn’t turn out how you’d expect. Enter the Microboards G3 disc printer.

The G3 is the second disc printer of the same model that my employer has purchased for the office. The first one was acting funky, so a second one was purchased as a replacement. Taking a quick stroll across the internet, most distributors selling this printer have a price of just over $1,000 on them. That strikes me as pretty expensive for the luxury of printing labels on 50 CDs or DVDs in succession. That’s really the extent of what it does.

The printer does make life a little easier, when it works properly, but the problem is that it’s finicky on a daily basis. “The printer cartridge is unable to move” is the most frequent error message, which is only remedied by shutting down the printer, restarting it, then setting up the print job again. On occasion, even the restart doesn’t help because the printer cartridge is still apparently stuck. Stuck on what, I have no frickin’ clue. It sure doesn’t look stuck.

So, today, after being fed up with getting the “Hey, I’m stuck again” message, I thought I’d give the ink cartridge a little push/pull to see if it moved. The result was that something clicked… and not metaphorically. I’m talking about the “Uh oh, did I just do something bad?” kind of click. I printed a test disc, and the alignment was was off… what should have been printed in the middle of the DVD ended up being far enough to the right that the 10 characters in one line had almost printed off the disc. I could see that the cartridge physically wasn’t returning back to its usual spot after printing.

Since I am fairly savvy with electronics, and such equipment doesn’t belong in landfills, I had tucked the old, disc printer #1 away in a cabinet. I almost pulled the old unit out, until I discovered something on problematic printer #2… Underneath where the ink cartridge rests when not in use, there is a plastic, square outline. I pushed the cartridge holder straight back, and it moved without any resistance, like it’s spring-loaded. Then, sliding the ink cartridge to where it should have been situated, I pushed the plastic square back, and the ink carriage finally popped back in place. A test print was successful, as the text alignment was properly centered on the DVD again. Whew! A thousand more dollars potentially saved.

I am very confident that this debacle hasn’t totally fixed anything – the cartridge will continue to get stuck on itself, and printing will continue to be problematic. The bottom line is that this disc printer is expensive, yet unreliable. Microboards is now trying to phase out the G3 in favor of the G4. But considering how long the G3 was on the market, my expectation that reliability has improved is admittedly very low.

Have your own experience with the Microboards G3? Let me know about it in the comments section below!

In what felt like a one-two punch, I recently had a Seagate 3 TB internal drive fail, then the manufacturer’s “SeaTools” diagnostic software wouldn’t boot. I used the Windows XP version of SeaTools, and the software then recommended using the DOS version. Further complicating the diagnostics, to use the software you have to burn a “disk image” of the software on a CD or floppy disk. I opted for the CD, not so surprisingly, and used “Alex Feinman’s ISO Recorder.” That Freeware is recommended on the Seagate website, if you don’t have programs like Nero, EasyCD Creator, etc., but it didn’t work for me.

Upon reading carefully through the instructions and creating the ISO disk, I rebooted the computer and it froze on a message reading “Error reading from drive A: DOS area…. Ignore (I) Retry (R) Abort (A).” Hitting “I” did nothing, so I then moved on to try all kinds of fixes to get past that. Turning off the “A” drive in the BIOS settings didn’t solve the problem, and changing the boot sequence order, -making the CD/DVD drive the priority – didn’t help either.

What DID work was using a different program to burn the disk image. I fired up my Mac, downloaded the DOS ISO image, and burned it to a new CD using the Disk Utility program. To do that, you open up Disk Utility, click “File” at the top, select “Open Disk Image,” and navigate to and open the Seagate “SeaToolsDOS223ALL.ISO” file you have downloaded.

Then, still in Disk Utility, select the ISO filename that shows up in the bar on the left side of the utility. Go up and select the “Burn” icon, and the ISO disk should soon be ready.

From there, I put that disc in the Windows computer, and it booted straight to the “SeaTools for DOS” software. The Long Test is the way to go, as it discovered a whole page’s worth of bad sectors on the drive. Based on the test results, the problems are apparently fixed, though that still needs to be independently verified.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to let me know in the comment section below. Additionally, if you have benefited from this post, leave a little note or consider sharing this page. Thanks!

It’s rough sometimes dealing with an older computer, especially when it feels like all your electronics are starting to have issues at the same time. Although I have a couple of newer computers, I still sometimes tinker around with a Dell XPS 400, purchased new in 2005. It’s actually still a fairly reliable workhorse, though I have been cleaning it up, with the ultimate goal being to retire that old system on eBay.

I started backing up the XPS’s files last week, and of course when I have my sights set on getting rid of the thing, it crashes. During startup, the system kept stalling on a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) error. I really wish I would have taken a photo of the screen, though at the time I didn’t know I would be writing about it later. What is known, however, is that part of the “stop code” on the blue screen was 0x000000D1, and the error cited at the bottom was iastor.sys

Another cog in the wheel that slowed down finding a solution is that there was some sort of apparent voltage issue with the power supply at some point. That caused the plastic to melt on the SATA and power connectors that plug into the hard drive. Not cool (or good!) But what can ya do? Until now, it’s never had any hard drive issues beyond that one day, a few years ago, when I wondering “Where the heck is that burning smell coming from?” Due to the melted connectors, I can’t simply remove the hard drive and put it in a different computer to run diagnostics.

Upon researching the problem, it started to become more clear that the boot files on the hard drive must have become corrupt. I was at a loss for what could possibly be done. After giving it a few days (and considering the issue with the melted connectors), I decided to power up the Dell but connect the SATA (data) cable to the motherboard on a different Windows XP computer.

Can you guess what happened next?

The secondary Windows PC instantly recognized the Dell’s drive, and “Chkdsk” (the Check Disk program) began to run. After a few minutes of diagnostics, the secondary computer finally reached the Windows desktop screen, and the Dell drive popped up as a secondary hard drive! Hooray! It seemed to be fixed! … !!!

At that point, I shut down both computers and plugged the SATA cable back into the Dell. From there, I booted that computer up, and everything was almost back to normal. I say “almost” because the processor was doing this new thing, were it was constantly spiking at 100%. Even more strange was that the Task Manager didn’t show anything hogging more resources than usual. Finally, it occurred to me that I tweaked some BIOS setting when first trying to figure out what was going on with the Dell computer. It turned out I needed to set the computer up to share the dual core processors again, as it was then only using one of the cores.

To make a longer story even longer, if you’re getting a Blue Screen of Death and have an older computer, it might be worth a shot plugging the hard drive up to another computer to see if you can run some diagnostics. It worked for me, and I’ll finally be able to put this computer up on the auction block soon. “SOLD, for a thousand dollars!” – one can dream….


 

I just purchased a Mac Mini, and I’d like to share my initial thoughts. I’m pretty stoked about the purchase, as my other desktop computer has gotten too old to run the newest version of Pro Tools audio software. And that old (2005) Dell computer is just cramping my style in general. Comparatively, the Mac Mini is so small and sleek looking, but let’s really get into the review:

INITIAL START UP TIME:
I made a leap from OS X 10.6 on my laptop to 10.8 on the Mini. Starting up the computer for the very first time took a while. It wasn’t like that with the laptop at all. Maybe the operating system has grown, although one major goal Steve Jobs had was to significantly speed up the start up time. That happened, but now maybe things are starting to go the other way. But whatever, it’s all good. I was just getting antsy about wanting to play with the new computer and had to twiddle my thumbs while it started up.

PROCESSING SPEED:
My first thought is that is seems, well… a little slow. This version of Mac Mini has an I7, 2.7 GHz processor, but maybe some of its speed (or lack thereof) is my imagination. Right off the bat, the internet connection definitely was slow. It didn’t matter if it was a wired connection or a wifi one, pages loaded…….very…..slowly…… Then again, Time Warner’s internet service around here is reliably known for being unreliable.

DESKTOP:
This is a big-time complaint I have, though fixable… I was wondering where the heck the hard drive icon was, which, of course, is normally found on the desktop. Actually, there was NOTHING on the desktop when the computer was first booted up. Maybe it’s because Apple wants to keep things looking completely sleek, but I really need to get into the hard drive and keep all my sound samples and assorted audio files organized. So if you want any type of useful icon to show on the desktop, you have to simultaneously hit CMD + Comma to bring up the Finder Preferences window. From there, you can select to display “Hard disks,” “External disks,” “DVDs,” etc. on the desktop.

GRAPHICS:
The resolution looks sharp, realllll sharp. Seriously, I am blown away by how crisp video looks these days. I love high definition… and that makes me glad I’m not an actor! Taking a photo of a screen doesn’t truly do it justice, but this, at least, gives you an idea of how awesome it looks:


 

SCROLLING:
I hate to potentially turn this into a complaint fest, but there are some weird, quirky things about OS X 10.8 that I just don’t get. You know how you operate a scroll wheel – you scroll “down” (or towards you, rather) to make the page, ya know, scroll down? Well Apple decided to change this up. Now, you scroll up/forward to make a page scroll down. It’s suddenly like “no” meaning “yes” or figuring out which way to push the yoke to gain altitude while flying a plane upside-down.

To be fair, you can go into the “mouse” settings and turn off the “natural scrolling” direction, in favor of the direction you’ve always used.

TEMPERATURE:
Even after some simple operation, the computer case feels hot to the touch. It’s a little disconcerting because heat kills computers and hard drives. Without proper ventilation, the failure rate for electronics climbs right up. If this continues, I might have to keep a small fan pointed at it during processor-heavy operations.

DVD / CD SHARING:
I wish Apple wouldn’t have abandoned the optical drive so soon. DVD sharing is a pretty cool thing, I must say, but it takes some setup and figuring out to get DVD information to transfer from one computer to another. I use an audio program called Reason. During installation for that, I got the first disc to read on the Mac Mini but, unfortunately, the installer wouldn’t register discs #2 and #3 when prompted to put them in. So without having an actual DVD drive for just the Mac Mini, I can’t proceed with installation. I contacted Reason’s manufacturer, and the response was that they’ve seen that issue before and that I’m just going to have to buy a cheap USB optical drive.

THE BOTTOM LINE:
This new Mac is going to take some getting used to. Change is hard, and sometimes we grow complacent (see Nov. 6, 2012). So maybe all these new features and the different layout wouldn’t have seemed so drastic if I would have gone through OS X 10.7 first. I’m sure the computer will end up working out great, though there is still much to do. As for now, I am working on making the operating system as efficient as possible for professional audio use by eliminating the frou-frou things like animated windows and disabling modes like “sleep” and screensavers.

TO COME:
-additional hard drive (via upgrade kit)
-16 GB RAM (official specs put max. at 8 GB, but Other World Computing has determined 16 GB is capable)

CURRENT SPECS:
Apple Mac Mini
Model No.: A1347
Processor: 2.7 GHz i7
Hard Drive: 500 GB, 5400 RPM
RAM: 4 GB total (2x 2 GB sticks)
Ports: HDMI (x1), USB 2.0 (x4), Thunderbolt (x1), FireWire 800 (x1), SD card slot, audio in/out, Ethernet
 

Lots o’ Cables

Los Angeles, 2012. In this town, so many people have to be careful what they say. They have to be careful about what they do and where they go. Privacy is at an all-time low and sometimes, by association, you could end up on some shutterbug’s camera and in the tabloids. That happened to me. No one claimed I did anything, but rather, the story was about the person standing next to me. Below is a screen-grab from a scrolling graphic that appeared on the tabloid show “The Insider” a couple years ago. That’s me in the white shirt.

 

Image

 

Popping up in the media here and there is fun, but the appeal quickly vanishes when people become interested in everything you do. I know this because I work with famous people everyday. Some of them are withdrawn in their personal lives, and some of them will walk around The Grove, wearing a hat that advertises the show they star on. When they do that, it’s because they genuinely enjoy people. It’s like an invitation for people to say “Hey, I love your work….your character is so funny….you seem like a cool guy.” That’s a lot different than trying to find appreciation for paparazzi out on the sidewalk, trying to take a picture through your kitchen window at 3 AM.

With a little research, you can probably figure out who the star next to me in the photo above is/was. She was not happy at all about the photog staked out across the street. That hat she is holding in front of her face is mine, and we could hear the loud, quick snaps of the camera shutter from all the way across the street. This was just one isolated incident.

Right now, at this moment, the same scene is playing out in various parts of this city. With that in mind, I have to wonder: to what degree does the overexposure of celebrities, and the display of who they really are, cause them to lose their mystique and appeal? I’m not so sure that the answer is something that can be quantified. But now that technology has given celebrities a voice other than a scripted one on television, exposure, for some of them, has clearly been problematic. In 2009, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined by the NBA over a Twitter post, and Courtney Love has been sued over them. Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner was busted for linking to a picture of his namesake, and athletes were booted from this year’s Olympic teams over their tweets. These are all instances of public figures showing poor judgment in 140 characters or less.

Back in the day, most things were hearsay. There was no “citizen journalism.” There were no smartphones, and it was rare for people to even own a camera. Back then – 100 years ago – Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper provided Hollywood gossip to the masses via newspaper and then radio. In the years since, unauthorized biographies of people and music groups (like Led Zeppelin’s “Hammer of the Gods”) have made society collectively gasp and ask “Is that true? It can’t be!” But now we know with much greater certainty that many celebrities are just so clueless about reality. They prove it by their actions and their own careless words. Don’t get me wrong – some are extremely smart, as are the ones I know, fortunately. But others…. We’ve all seen and heard those folks from “The Jersey Shore,” and there’s also people like Jessica Simpson, Kanye West, Britney Spears, Spencer Pratt, and Sarah Palin. Some people are immensely talented at their craft, and they know how to sell themselves. But they seem to know little else.

Earlier this year, Spike Lee tweeted what he believed to be the address of George Zimmerman, prior to Zimmerman’s arrest for shooting an unarmed, black teen in Florida. Many people questioned the motive of Lee’s tweet (mob justice?), and the address ended up being incorrect and was that of an elderly couple.

Comedian Gilbert Gottfried also caused a stir when, after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, he began posting a flurry of jokes to his Twitter account. Among them: “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll (sic) be another one floating by any minute now.” Gottfried was promptly fired from his gig as the voice of the duck on the Aflac commercials.

Another outspoken celebrity, who is no stranger to controversy, is Ashton Kutcher. His “brownface” Popchips commercial caused a stir, as did the time he provided a PSA-type Twitter post about human trafficking, citing debatable statistics. What really caused an uproar, though, was his disagreement over Penn State football coach Joe Paterno’s firing for his knowledge of child sex abuse involving one of Paterno’s assistants. Kutcher claimed he didn’t know details as to why Paterno was fired and apologized. In what was probably a wise move, Kutcher then turned over control of his Twitter feed to his production/media company in 2011.

On the other side of things, the media’s interest is ratings-driven. Thus, they have a tendency to bring out the worst in those people we expect the worst from. Just pay a little attention to the magazine racks in the checkout line at the grocery, and you’ll see what I mean. So with celebrities constantly being under scrutiny, it makes sense to “think before you speak.” Sometimes you never know who it watching or recording a conversation. Technology has allowed us to have greater insight into the minds of people like Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, Alec Baldwin, and Christian Bale.

Maybe it’s just me, but I grew up thinking most celebrities had their acts together… that’s how they got famous, through talent and intelligence. Now it seems that it’s more a matter of drive and luck – no intelligence (and sometimes talent) necessarily needed. Thanks a lot, reality TV! So I’ve got to give props to the stars that seem to be less impulsive and generally steer clear of stirring up controversy that can jeopardize their careers: Steve Martin, Natalie Portman, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp…

Technology has ultimately bridged the gap between celebrities and Joe Schmos. You and I can send messages directly to our favorite actors and actresses directly on Twitter. Not that they will necessarily respond, but the medium has made such people more accessible. Twitter – it’s kind of a like a giant high school, with a quantifiable measure of popularity. But hey, we are all in this high school together. Never has it been more understandable to hear this being said: Celebrities are people, too.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @leavingcelestia šŸ˜‰

If you value your photos, videos, and documents – and I know you do – you may occasionally back up your digital files, without any real consideration for long-term storage. But we all know hard drives (even external ones you rarely use) will fail on occasion, and plastic storage media like DVDs and CDs degrade over time. So what’s one to do?

First and foremost, the best practice to battle the digital reaper is to copy/back up the same data to various types of media. I am currently in the process of backing up everything on my two computers to an external hard drive and to a pair of DVDs. When a project or a set of files is finished copying to the backup hard drive, I also burn that project to a primary DVD and then make a backup DVD.

In 2007, Google wrote a rather long-winded report on the typical failure rate for hard disk drives (linked at bottom). In summary, the biggest killers of hard drives are heat and shock. Time usage can also certainly be a contributing factor, though Google’s results came from hard drives that “remain powered on for most of their life time.” Such drives, on average, had the biggest jump in failure rate between years 1 and 2. Additionally, it’s been noted in the tech world that traditional, magnetic hard drives (aka Hard Disk Drives or HDD) lose their magnetism, and thus their ability to store information, over time.

On the other hand, solid state hard drives (SSD) are quickly gaining favor because they have no moving parts that might fail, and they can retrieve data much quicker than magnetic drives. Browsing through various forums and articles, however, it seems there is consensus that long-term storage on a SSD is inadvisable. Such drives can begin losing information within a matter of months without frequent use.

The positive, though, is that the previously mentioned Google study proclaims the SSD failure rate to be lower than that of those HDDs with all the moving parts.

 

Drobo storage:

To help solve that problem of disk failure and subsequent data loss, some companies have developed technologies that copy data to multiple locations. Here in the office, we use the Drobo S hard drive storage system, to back up video that continually costs millions of dollars to produce. The unit is an external box capable of holding a total of five hard drives, for maximum storage space of 15 TB. The drives in the Drobo all work in unison, essentially making the whole unit one big-azz external hard drive. When you use the “dual disk redundancy” setting, though, the 15 TB storage then drops down to around 7 TB total. In that mode, the information on the drives is duplicated and spread around on all the drives in the Drobo unit. Our tech consultant purports that all the data would be safe even if two of the five drives in the Drobo were to crash simultaneously. Woah!

 

G-RAID Storage:

A lot of tech types in the entertainment business gravitate towards G-Technology’s G-RAID drives. They look sleek and cool and seem super durable. I worked on a TV show a couple years ago, wrangling and backing up all the footage shot everyday. Prepping for the show, the Producers came to me to find out what we should be storing all the footage on. I suggested G-RAIDs. “Nooo, noo, nooooooo! We can’t afford that,” they responded. So they bought a bunch of regular G-DRIVES instead. If you aren’t familiar with the conventions, I will briefly describe them in the short paragraph below. Otherwise, feel free to skip ahead.

– G-RAID drives are actually comprised of two hard drives, connected together inside an nice, aluminum, external hard drive housing. In the standard operating mode, when you connect the drive to the computer and drag files onto it, it copies the information to both drives inside the unit. If one of the drives were to become corrupt, your data should be retrievable from the mirrored, non-corrupt drive contained in the housing. As opposed to G-RAID drives, regular ol’ G-Drives are made by the same company and only have one drive inside the similar-looking housing. –

Backing up all the data for the aforementioned show onto the regular G-Drives ended up working great. I replicated the “dual disk redundancy” of a G-RAID by connecting the two G-Drives together and copying all the files to the main drive I designated, and then copying the same information to the backup drive.

Fast forwarding to the show I work on now, the Drobo unit was purchased as a replacement for those G-RAID drives that I had always previously thought were so indestructible…. it turns out they aren’t quite so reliable after all. Remember, I said before that the footage we back up costs millions of dollars to produce? Well, that means we also have to be able to access that footage at any time for flashback sequences and such. Over the years, we amassed eight G-RAIDS, and two of them ended up failing. Two of eight – that’s 25%! Our computer guy had to send them in for data retrieval, which meant they were out of service for a couple months. That’s right, when we plugged in drives to get the data we needed off them, two of the G-RAIDS failed. Done. Kaput. Stemming from actual experience, my preference these days is to backup files to two separate drives, rather than using a single “raided” enclosure that shares one circuit board.

 

Summary so Far:

G-RAID drives aren’t as safe as they might seem. If possible, backup your data to multiple hard drives and then to other storage media, like DVDs. The up-and-coming solid state hard drives have a limited life span, just as magnetic drives do, and it’s also worth noting that those SSD drives don’t hold information so well without having frequent use.Ā  ( –> http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-failure-rate,2923-9.html).


Obsolescence:

Aside from the question of which storage media to use for long-term backup, another consideration for the future is file format compatibility. Codecs change and many programs eventually lose backward-compatibility with previous versions of the software. Unless you plan on keeping old computers around, consider archiving your most important documents as basic files.

For DOCUMENTS, consider saving in Real Text File (RTF) or basic Text (TXT). These formats lack in the ability to save things like flashy banners, text boxes, and other things that make your document look more like a fancy webpage or magazine cover, but they will continue to save your basic text for the long-term.

For PHOTOS, JPEG files will probably be the best bet for the future. The majority of cameras these days save in that standard format, and JPEG is the predominant format to display images on the internet.

For MUSIC backup, consider MP3 files. The proliferation of that file format really came about with online file sharing in the late ’90s and the subsequent development of MP3 players that so many people take to the gym, hook up in the car, and pack on vacations. The MP3 format will likely continue to be around for a long time. For audio enthusiasts, WAV is another great format to use. It’s the format encoded on standard music CDs and provides a higher fidelity sound than that of the MP3 format. For many people, the difference in sound in negligible.

 

Off-site Data Storage:

Off-site data storage is an important consideration if, God forbid, disaster strikes your area. Here in California, a sizable earthquake could break down this infrastructure for a long while, and such destruction could destroy those hard drives and other storage media. Aside from earthquakes, some parts of the world have to contend with floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, and tsunamis. Sometimes houses and apartment buildings burn down. These aren’t pleasant thoughts, but it’s true. For these reasons, it’s wise to keep a backup copy of your data off-site. When finished with my current project of backing up ALL my photos, music, and documents, I plan on keeping a small book of DVDs at a relative’s house, which is in a different town. You could also keep your backups with a friend, at the office, in a safe deposit box, etc. Also, when keeping such things in the possession of others, be sure to use your best judgment, based on what the content of your backups is. If some of the information is sensitive and potentially embarrassing, take the safe deposit approach or just leave it off your off-site backups.

 

Photo Prints:

For photos that are really important to you, print ’em out! My family has some tintype photos from the 1800s, portrait paintings from the early 1900s, and a collection of film negatives and slides. In other words, physical portraits can last an extremely long time, especially under proper care. For long-term storage, again, the best bet is to keep a copy at home and another off-site. Be sure your printer paper is acid-free, as well as any envelopes you may be storing them. If at all possible, keep the photos stored away so exposure to air is minimal, and don’t touch the photos if you don’t have to. That way you will keep oils from your skin off the photos.


Second (and Final) Summary

Ultimately, there is no single, bullet-proof data storage solution. Your best best to ward off data loss is to back up files to two or more storage mediums, which can include a combination of hard drives, DVDs, online/cloud storage, tape drive, and even CDs. Periodic backup is also crucial, since hard drives will inevitable fail and plastic storage media will degrade. Even online storage shouldn’t be used as a single source of data backup.

If possible, transfer your backup files to new media every 3-5 years to keep your storage devices fresh. Keep copies of your data off-site and, lastly, put your most important files in a physical medium (like photos) when applicable. Happy data preservation!

Before you begin, be sure to unplug all cables going to the hard drive and to discharge all potential static built up on you/your clothing by touching a grounded, metal object that is not the hard driveā€¦. seems like simple stuff, but itā€™s really important.

The drive – this set of instructions applies to any of the LaCie Rugged series drive:

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

Remove the rubber bumper.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

With care, pry the overlapping aluminum tabs on the side of the drive up to about a 45 degree angle. These tabs are fragile – four of them broke off in this disassembly process – so only pry them up far enough to clear the underlying tab. Warning! Warning! Warning! Breaking the sticker will void your warranty (if you still have one).

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

Again, the tabs need not be pried as far apart as shown.

 

At this point, the top and bottom of the case will come right off.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

The plastic around the drive is very flexible, so pull the sides far enough apart and the drive will swing out.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 

The small, black rubber bumpers that act as a shock mount for the drive may come off… if so, no big deal, as they slide right back on when you are ready to reassemble the drive in the case.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

 
This drive uses an IDE connection:

Lacie Rugged Hard Drive Teardown

 

Lacie Hard Drive Repair

 

The tabs broken off from prying them further than needed… If the same happens to you during disassembly, bend the rest of the tabs back into place when ready, and the outer bumper should hold everything in place just fine.

Disassembly of a LaCie Rugged External Hard Drive

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it below!

Also, see my LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive Disassembly post here.

Mac vs. PC

04/14/2012

The Mac vs. PC debate is much like beating a dead horse… a VERY dead horse. There will NEVER be any glimmering examples that prove either system tops the other, so it’s both funny and irritating to read the comments on the Yahoo.com article “How to know if your Mac is infected with the Flashback virus (and how to fix it),” which can be read here:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology-blog/know-mac-infected-flashback-virus-fix-181632690.html

Look, I grew up using Windows systems at home and, thinking back, I spent a lot of time in a lot of weird places. One such place was my buddy, Brady’s, grandma’s basement. I don’t remember how we ended up hanging out there, but what I do recall is starting up the record player and booting up her Windows NT computer. Oddly, at the time it really didn’t feel odd at all. Even before computers were the norm, they felt like the norm, and some of us just naturally gravitated toward them.

Anyway, I spent A LOT of time on Windows systems, growing up. But I started using Macs more and more as time progressed. In middle school, my friends and I obediently took turns playing “Oregon Trail” on “free days” in our Ohio History class. That was seventh grade. In eighth grade, we learned proper typing skills on old Macintosh Classic IIs, which had only black and white screens. Then, in high school, the “bondi blue,” “tangerine,” and “ruby” iMac G3s became all the rage, when our high school installed them.

Fast-forward a decade later, and I own both a Windows computer and an Apple computer. They both serve a purpose but, when it comes to processor-intense applications, I have no choice but to use the Apple system. The same logic is in place in the office. We have one Windows system that’s dedicated to data transfer. All of our video editing, though, takes place on Macs… most editors prefer them… so do audio engineers… and graphic designers… not all, but most, and there is a key reason: stability.

Windows enthusiasts sometimes rave about how they can build a system that is just as good, at a fraction of the cost. Well, “just as good” is a rather subjective observation, unless they are perform actual bench tests.

Although many people like Apple computers for their ease-of-use, I have found Windows operating systems to be super customizable. People can spec them out and, for those that have such an interest, games made for Windows are quite abundant. On the other hand, they historically start to become less and less reliable as they get bogged down with heavy processing. I can’t have that with some of the work I do.

I originally bought my Mac to transfer video footage for a TV show. It was flawless in that capacity and has served me well with audio editing. Freeware and expandability gives Windows an upper-hand in those categories, however. So basically, with all this said, each operating system has its uses… its pros and cons. So, if you haven’t done so already, check out and compare both. It could open up a whole new world…

Tools needed:
-thin flat-head screwdriver
-Phillips screwdriver

Before you begin, be sure to unplug the external power going to the hard drive and to discharge all potential static built up on you/your clothing by touching a grounded, metal object that is not the hard drive…. seems like simple stuff, but it’s really important.

Steps:
1) Turn the hard drive over. Gently wedge the flat-head screwdriver between the hard drive enclosure’s base plate and the main body of the enclosure. Begin to slowly pry so that the side of the enclosure begins to bow outward. Continue until the base plate pops out. Keep the popped out side close to seam (so the still-attached side of the base plate doesn’t get bent). Perform the same pry technique on the other side of the base to fully remove the plate. [click on any of the photos to enlarge]

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

2) Now that the hard drive is exposed, you will notice three, small aluminum brackets on both sides of the drive. Bend those upward – this can be done by hand.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

3) Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove the four screws binding the hard drive to the enclosure. Once removed, bend the aluminum screw brackets upward.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

4) With the exception of the power and data cables, the drive is free at this point. Carefully turn the enclosure over so that the drive slips out of the case. Gently pull the slack out the cables that are still plugged into the drive and begin wiggling the power cable out (the transparent connector with four wires).

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

5) Once the power connector is unplugged, do the same for the data cable. Do not be forceful with the ribbon cable. Through trial and error, I have broken these cables before, and they aren’t fun to try to fix. Additionally, you don’t want to end up with bent pins on the hard drive itself. If the ribbon connector doesn’t come off easily, unplug the other end from the board attached to the enclosure. Since the drive will then be free, you will have plenty of leverage to remove the cable from the drive.

Disassembly of a LaCie Porsche External Hard Drive

 

At this point, the drive is completely free from the enclosure. Congratulations!

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Also, see my LaCie Rugged Hard Drive Disassembly post here.