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April 11, 2008 - Dan Voigt
It's been that kind of couple of days. Along with writing sports, news and photography, I also handle the IT, or information technology for our newspaper and a sister publication in Esherville. Last Thursday, Estherville lost one of their storage drives on their internal network server, prompting the need to come up with some new storage drives for their server to replace a drive that wasn't really compatible, but was working in the pinch. The replacement drives came in on Tuesday, and because of scheduling, I prepped the drives here in Emmetsburg, figured I'd take them to Estherville on Wednesday, install them, get their network restored and all would be happy. I'm such an optimist - HAH! It didn't work out that way. After five hours, I had to retreat, drives uninstalled, all because for some reason, the server didn't like them (or me, apparently). Thursday morning, I re-initialized the drives in Emmetsburg, where they worked just like they were supposed to and took off north once again, only this time, I took the actual computer I'd been using to initialize the drives, with the thought that if I had to, I'd switch it out with the existing server. Not a bad plan, I thought. I get to Estherville, try hooking up the drives to the existing server, and of course, you guessed it - no workie. I switched out the computers, using the one I'd brought with me. Same result. Now I know the answer. Estherville's building is cursed. Actually, I think it's the black helicopters with their neutron ray, aimed at the server, that is responsible for all this. Anyhow, after five more hours, switching the servers back, changing out cards, cleaning out card slots, shining up contacts on the slots and cards, checking pins in the connecting cables, shining up connector ends on the cables, trying four different software drivers that weren't designed for the drives and doing a lot of hoping, wishing and patting of the drives, about 8:30 Thursday night, the server got tired of its game, recognized the drives and began accepting data. The episode re-emphasized a couple of things - first, that no matter how well you plan when working with computers, take nothing for granted. Murphy's law will strike whenever and however it can. Secondly, patience is still a virtue. Call it patience, call it stubborness, but plan on spending a lot of time to resolve a problem like this. There are still a couple of issues with that server that trouble me, but right now, it works, and if I've learned anything out of this episode, it would be not to push my luck. Thirdly, I still like Woody's Pizza for supper.


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