About screaching hard drives…

I got a feeling of horror yesterday when I noticed strange noise coming from out of my PC. I immediately knew it was one of the harddrives, and I also knew these sounds didn’t mean anything good…

The sounds sounded as if the airlock/headlock mechanism was being activated again and again, the drive made a terrible “clicking” noise.

From how my system reacted when I navigated around with the Windows Explorer I feared that the drive that holds my user data had died. This would have been a catastrophe since my last backup was more than a year old. Yeah, I know, as an IT professional I should’ve known better, but… <insert lame excuse here>

Anyway, it turned out that the drive that had died was just a storage “dump”, where I had my MP3, video, and shareware files lying around.

You ask me what I’ve learnt from this? I’ve started a backup to DAT of all of my user data immediately after I had removed the dead drive, and I plan to perform a regular backup from now on at least once or twice a month.

BTW, the dead drive is an IBM 80 GB drive, and if I remember correctly it’s just over two years old. Still, there’s no warranty anymore on the drive, so I will have to shell out some money tomorrow to buy a new drive. I doubt that it will be an IBM/Hitachi again, tho. :-)

BEA WebLogic Training

I’ve been to a training in Munich last week. To get there, I took an airplane, the airline was dba. My hotel was the NH München-Dornach. NH Hoteles seems to be a Spanish hotel company.

The training was about administering BEA’s WebLogic Server (WLS), a Java application server we use at work. Because I’m working with WLS since more than a year now, I thought it was a good idea to book the “advanced” course, rather than the entry-level course. And I was right — I could easily follow the training. We were five students, and in a group that small the trainer had a lot of time to answer questions and to go into more detail on selected topics.

Altho the training was very interesting, I’m glad that I’m back now, because one week of highly-concentrated learning can be quite tiring.

Schützenfest

I’ve been to a traditional “Schützenfest” in Rommerskirchen-Eckum, in the near of Neuss, last week, and altho it has been a great experience I’m glad that it is over now, because it also was very tiring.

“Schützenfest” is an old tradition present in most parts of Germany. I could not find a proper translation for the term, only things like “shooting match” which only describes a small fraction of what Schützenfest really is.

Let me try to explain you what this is all about:

Schützenfest is being held by Schützenvereins. A Schützenverein is roughly a shooting club where you learn to shoot with a rifle. But even more important than learning how to fire a rifle is probably the social activities associated with a Schützenverein. You meet to drink a beer, make trips, and once in a year there is a big feast called Schützenfest. This is where they target a wooden eagle, and he who is lucky (or unlucky?) enough to make the eagle fall down becomes the new Schützenkönig (king of the shooters.)

The Schützenkönig usually chooses his wife or girlfriend as his queen, and together they invite friends to their “royal household.” During Schützenfest, there are several magnificent parades headed by the royal couple. The shooters wear uniforms, often green, and the ladies wear evening dresses. The parades mostly end at the huge feast tent, where people spend the rest of the evening, singing, dancing to traditional folk music, drinking lots of beer, etc.

I hope this gives you a rough idea about what Schützenfest is.

We’ve spent some very nice days, the weather was beautiful (great for the parades), the feast was great (nice live music and entertainment,) the dinners were excellent, but it was also very tiring because we got little sleep, the parades were a real challenge to our feet, and also the heat and the bad (smoky) air in the feast tent were troublesome.

BTW, before I forget, here is a link to the Schützenverein that arranged the feast. You will find some pictures about the feast there.

The mercyless Sheikra…

By chance stumbled across an article in “Der Spiegel Online” about a rollercoaster in Florida that is supposed to be the steepest one in the world.

Well, this is where we will be going in September… A visit to Busch Gardens will be part of our vacation. As you know I’ve already ordered the tickets, and hope to receive them soon.

Mona, my girlfriend, is already very excited about Sheikra and hardly can wait any longer… :-)

Cinema ticket as a reward…

Friday I received a nice letter from one of our project leaders, thanking me for my great job (that his words!!! ;-) during the testing and verification phase of one of our projects. He also promised to send me some “surprise” as a reward for my performance.

Yesterday, I received an envelope from him, and inside the envelope was a gift voucher for a cinema ticket of my choice.

So I guess I have no excuses anymore for not going into the movies… Gotta ask what Mona would like to see… :-)

Just ordered my Disney tickets…

Me and my girlfriend, Mona, were to Florida last autumn for four weeks. Among others, we visited Disney World and SeaWorld. We had a lot of fun, especially riding those neat rollercoasters, and therefore decided to go there again at the end of September.

I’ve just ordered the tickets online via UnderCoverTourist. We ordered our tickets there already last time, and we were extremely happy with their prices and the speedy delivery.

The flights and our rental car I already booked some days ago. Again, we will be flying with Martinair, and our rental car company is holiday autos, who in Florida cooperate with Alamo.

Ok, this is it for now. We will be heading for our favorite ice-cream parlor now, the Del Negro. Later!

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