Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Right Tool For The Right Job... On The Wrong Workbench

This week, my ancient and venerable WD external HD, a cute lil' thing intended for my pocket when traveling with my laptop back in my working days, gave up the ghost. Though I am no longer a road warrior and don't even own a working laptop, I've been using the pocket HD for backup, so something had to be done about its demise.

Stella headed for Best Buy today to pick out a TV (one of those also almost quit this week; it will show some channels but not others... its been a bad week for electronics in Our House), so I rode with her, thinking to buy a similar pocket-sized HD. Given that I work (if you can call it "work")  exclusively at home now, I used that fact to liberate me from tiny and likely fragile devices, getting a much more ordinary external HD, again a WD because I've had good luck with them. I thought $99 for a 2TB drive wasn't bad. Hey, 2TB holds a lotta snapshots!

Instructions and setup s/w that comes with such things is inevitably of only two flavors: Windows and Mac. Use them with a Linux box? Suuuure; just be sure you know all the right config files to tweak manually. Linux these days handles NTFS filesystems with no sweat... again, if you know the right tweaks.

But I didn't. What should have been a 15-minute install took more like 3 hours because I had to learn how Linux thinks about filesystems to get all the permissions set right manually first, then change several boot files that do the same thing during a system start. I got it mostly right the second time I tried.

But as the venerable Troxel once said, the first 90% of the job takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% of the job takes the other 90% of the time, and so it did. (Troxel is an old colleague of mine who looks almost exactly like Charlie Pierce, and has politics almost exactly the inverse of Charlie Pierce. 'Nuff said.)

I rendered my system unbootable only twice, and only one of those times... the second... did I not understand the improvised fix with which I made it work. Everything is hunky-dory now. All I have to do is mess with all my backup scripts to reflect the change in drive name and folders...

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