Nerding out — ten lessons learned


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Having emerged from my two-and-a-half day nerding out, I have a few things to report. Firstly, by and large, it went smoothly and according to plan. I followed my own instructions meticulously, and let me tell you, it was time consuming. So much so that I had to leave stuff running (copying or backing up) overnight on both nights. Fortunately anything running overnight was fine in the morning, and I jumped right back into things the next day.

Secondly, the experience did take its toll on my mind and possibly my motor skills. Having not been working full-time at the computer for a while now, I’ve somewhat lost the ability to sit and stare at a monitor for 12 hours straight. My eyes are fine, but my typing is screwed. Also, after the first day I looked a bit haggard. Ask Kelly. After the second day my typing began to fail, where in chats and emails I couldn’t spell. Ask Kirk.

I actually felt haggard after the second day. Don’t want to think about how I must’ve looked :(

But not all is lost, because thirdly, I have some wisdom to impart. Some lessons learned from anyone else about to overhaul a computer system. And for the hell of it, I’m imparting in the style of a Letterman top ten countdown. Let’s get started!

The top ten wisdom nuggets Bart imparts on the blorld[1. Blorld™. Blog-world. You read it here first] about overhauling your primary workstation:

  1. Double check the destination of any two-hour backups you’re doing. There are few things worse than waiting a couple hours for something to backup to somewhere, and realising after it’s done that you must spend another two hours doing the same thing but to the correct destination.
  2. If you order parts from overseas, like say macsales.com[2. Macsales.com is the best place to get drives and memory for your Mac. The best!] in the US, remember that you will get US power plugs and cables.
  3. Make a backup or disc image of your system right after you’ve installed everything and checked it’s all running ok. Keep this image handy but separated incase you need to start from scratch for some reason.
  4. Don’t go into details about your overhaul with your spouse when she gets home from work. Give her the overview of what you achieved, briefly mention any tribulations, and for heaven’s sake don’t show her where you’re up to in your detailed plan. Trust me.
  5. Stay hydrated.
  6. Get out of the house, even just briefly.
  7. If you’re a design nerd (as opposed to a developer nerd), do yourself a favour and get some nice icons[3. The icons at the top of the page show you how my data drive is set up. The icons I used are the “Flurry” icons designed by David Lanham, available at The IconFactory. They’re free!]. You spend hours at the computer at a time, make it the best looking place you can.
  8. Don’t spend too much time making your computer look pretty. You can never get that time back.
  9. Make sure you have all the install discs you need to finish the job. For example, your iLife ’09 disc. Forgetting to bring your iLife ’09 install disc to Malaysia means if you decide to overhaul your workstation, and you use iPhoto as part of your workflow, you’re screwed until you either a) buy a new copy, b) get your cuz to send it over from Oz, or c) torrent it. None of these help you when you want to get it the job done now

And the number one wisdom nugget Bart imparts on the blorld about overhauling your primary workstation is…?

  1. Triple check your fucking backup destinations >:/

So, yeah. Check thrice, backup once, that’s my new motto.

This post is part two of a trilogy. Here are parts one and three.