Sometimes having too much time on your hands can be good.

I did something computer-related! I must be smart!


Uh – this is my ‘pooter…


…and this is the assorted junk that’s always attached to my ‘pooter.


And most of the time I forget it’s even there because it’s poked into various cubbies and orifi in the Official TUAK Desk. Which is not currently present. Among the detritus currently scattered on my friends’ kitchen island is two 1TB Seagate external hard drives. One of them I purchased a couple of years ago, and one was a gift from a Generous Reader, and neither of them has worked properly since the first moment I plugged them into a MacBook. Their read/write status instantly went to Read Only, and that was apparently that. I didn’t give it much thought – truth is I was delighted they still worked at all. You didn’t used to be able to just swap hardware between a PC and a Mac.

I have a terrible personality flaw. Okay: I have several terrible personality flaws but the one we’re going to discuss at this moment is my mental laziness. If I’m faced with an impediment that intimidates me, that takes me out of my comfort zone, I’m inclined to back off and live with the restriction rather than figure out how to fix it. The thing I like about living in the desert is that most things aren’t in this class of impediment: When something breaks, I can fix it. When a structure or process or bit of infrastructure proves or becomes inadequate to my needs, I can improve it. Country boy can survive, but he may not be all that great at programming computers or doing math stuff. Things having to do with filling out forms, figuring out software patches, dealing with outside people and companies and whatever are basically why my life fell apart in the city very shortly after I lost access to a wife. I don’t do that, and what’s worse I won’t be bothered with it. I’ll just ignore the problem until everything comes to a whoa. Maybe even after that.

This is, as I said, why I like living in the desert but the problem does follow me there. When my external hard drives abruptly stopped letting me amend their contents, I just sort of ignored the problem. I could still use the contents but I couldn’t add to them or remove anything from them and that was only occasionally a problem. I figured at some point I’d … I dunno, get another hard drive or something. In the meantime I didn’t have to look at them.

Point is, I am not now and never have been a computer guy. I took up using computers because they contain these things called Word Processors, which are so intrinsically superior to typewriters you just can’t even believe. But computers themselves don’t interest me and their complexity kind of intimidates me. Truth is, even while having to learn DOS syntax I was more comfortable with them decades ago when you actually had to open them up and install or replace things from time to time. That was kind of like working on a car, and I can do that. But downloading apps and patches? I don’t know from that.

Still, here I am with the damned things scattered over my friends’ kitchen island and nothing useful to do. I can’t even go outside and work up a sweat today because I’m waiting for a UPS delivery I promised to sign for. Here I sit.


And I started rummaging through these probably thousands of files on these two drives, basically just looking for something to do…


…and upon coming upon an item I was never in life going to use, I absently tried to delete it and was reminded that such liberties were no longer permitted. And instead of just swearing under my breath and going off to do something else for a while, which is what I would normally do, I did something very uncharacteristic. This is an indication of how completely bored I am.

I asked the question. “Why did that happen, simultaneously with two separate drives, and how can I fix it?” Find a way to phrase that question in such a way as to type it into DuckDuckGo, and interesting things can happen. I’m sure you do things like that all the time, but I very seldom think about it.

No surprise, it’s a very common problem and there wasn’t always a very simple solution but now there is: Seagate got tired of people cursing their drives every time they unplugged one from a PC and plugged it into a Mac, so they cooked up a patch. And the patch is not without…personality*. But navigating through it was doable. Even for me.

And now my hard drives work! I feel very smart! And also my friend’s packages have arrived while I was typing this, so now I can go outside and work up a sweat without guilt.


* My other friend Ian McCollum likes peculiar old firearms because they have personality. The guns he keeps for practical purposes like ordinary people do, Glocks and Steyrs and AR-15s and such, he refers to as ‘boring.’ They’re boring because they just work without the quirks that give more interesting guns their ‘personality.’ Personality isn’t a sign of quality in a gadget – but it can be fun.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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2 Responses to Sometimes having too much time on your hands can be good.

  1. terrapod says:

    Ian does posses some sagacity. Same can be said about people Joel, personality is what makes them interesting.

    With very rare exceptions, most people have some facet that makes them interesting. With some it is ebulliently apparent and for others it is hidden and takes time to discover.

    Patience, observation and a willingness to try things has always provided support in my case and I am confident this is universal for those who are self sufficient.

    Keep at those ‘puters, you will have them licked into shape in no time.

  2. Norman says:

    Continuing, if I may, with your and terrapod’s thoughts, I have concluded that The Ideal Luxury, so rarely afforded, is to be in the position of choosing whether or not to encumber oneself with such relationships, be they with machines or people.

    AFAIK, you’ve come closest to the ideal, although I might elect somewhat more easily managed remoteness were it me (the downside, of course, being that Less Remoteness too often becomes None At All).

To the stake with the heretic!