Do not go gentle into that red flashing light…

In the IT world, there is only one thing to do when you see a flashing red light. It is pretended that the light wasn’t flashing. Or, if it was a red light, consider it an invitation to open a saloon. There are many saloons in the red light district of Amsterdam.

It is not now or will it ever be the Harbinger of a problem. That is a fact, jack. There is no way that flashing red light is a problem. In fact, as long as you do not (I mean it, do NOT) look at the LCD panel there isn’t an issue, there isn’t a problem.

Well except that no matter what happens there is a natural human response to that flashing light. Danger, warning, come closer, come closer and now LOOK. It happened to me yesterday. I don’t know why I let the blinking red light take over. I don’t normally you know. But, well actually let’s be honest, I don’t like red lights flashing. So I looked. First, at the red light plaintively flashing at me. Then sadly yes I looked at the LCD. It said Fan not operational. It, I call it now, even though it wasn’t always it. It was once my friend, my backup device my NAS for network storage. But now it is not that, it is a device with a dying fan. Oh no, not a dying fan a dead non-operational fan.

So how do you say goodbye to a friend like that? Someone that has faithfully stored backups and copies of pictures for most of the past 3 years? How do you say goodbye to a backup of a backup? Do you, I mean properly say goodbye? Do you, order a 21 gun salute and wrapping your NAS in a flag inter it in the ground in your backyard. Full technology honors in the burial?

IMGP0048I wish I knew.

What is the proper protocol to say goodbye to old technology? Well, first I reached out to the vendor but was told I was out of warranty. We cannot replace the system because it is out of warranty. That seems harsh. But it has all my pictures I wanted to shout. Well, it doesn’t have all my pictures and the drives are fine, just a dead NAS. The pictures on it are copies of copies. So I can recover from this. Still, I would have liked a warranty replacement. That seems so much cleaner.

How do you move on from that? How do you bury your old friend and move on? Well, for one thing, the new box is a lot faster than the old box. That bodes well, faster transfers mean easier for me to get data in and out of the NAS (NAS is Network Attached Storage).

How many copies do you need of the digital pictures of your children? The easy answer is three. Two inside your house and one that is thousands of miles away in a lonely data center with an Engineer named Jim who slays dragons by night (Ok he plays Dungeons and Dragons) but he is ever vigilant watching the drives that spin with your data.

He walks up and down the rows of the remote data center. Calling out names to co-workers. Do you have Scott’s data on one of your drives? Do you? Good. Take him off the naughty list. Does anyone have Jim’s data or Sue’ pictures?

IMGP0049I know I am poking fun at something that isn’t, in the end, funny. But that nagging red light reminded me of the fragility of things you depend on. Yes, it was a copy of a copy but now I am limping along on only four copies. It feels risky to me. It feels like I need another copy of my digital copies. It took us 11 months to scan roughly 34,000 slides and pictures. I would hate to have to tell my kids that we have to start over. That all is lost.

Plus I think I have a minor case of data OCD. OR as my daughter says correct CDO. If you truly have the disorder you want things in their proper order.

Trapped, just because I looked at a light. Blinking in my office, forlornly reminding me once again of the failure of systems. Again into the breech.

Oh well.

Images today from the digital collection of Dr. Hans O Andersen.


Flashing light avoider