Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Exerting great power at work.

I had a difficult time deciding if this entry should go here, or in my photo blog. Technically, the majority of what I'm going to write about relates directly to my photography job here in Ireland. However, I've done absolutely zero photography at the studio; I've been doing all computer/IT work. With that in mind, I figured that the information would be more relevant here in geek central.

The photographer took me on as a studio assistant with power over digital asset management (hereafter referred to as DAM) and anything else to do with organization and internal structuring. I'm not sure my photography skills were really important after he learned that I spent my senior year at Evergreen learning DAM. I'm not an expert by any means, a year is not a long time, but I do pretty well and it's more knowledge than a lot of other people have.

It's good to have a system. Most people don't.

Initially I was set to work designing wedding albums on the oh-so-fabulous-to-use tablet PC. It quickly became apparent that I wasn't going to get any internal restructuring done during business hours. With the help and encouragement of Andrew, (I was nervous to demand certain work hours) I told my boss that I needed to change my schedule so I could work after hours on the computers.

This proved to be quite successful, and next thing I knew I was working 2-8! It's nice to have those two hours of quiet after the studio close at six, just the computers and me.

There are three machines and they are all old and bogged down. Years of pictures that didn't need to be on the hard drives, old programs, downloads, just cobwebs strung through the data. So, I started with the tablet PC and set to comparing the photos on the C drive to the photos on the backup drives to make sure everything was stored properly.

I'm going to use this moment to talk about how I don't really care for Picasa. There's no option to store photos in their original location without duplicating them. This infuriates me. What a waste of space! And yes, the files can be manually deleted, but then that's just a waste of time. Aperture isn't the perfect program but at least it gives me the option to store the photos in their original location AND not duplicate them so I'm not getting doubles all over my freaking hard drive! GAH!

I spend a lot of time in there like that.

OK, so with that aside, the computer was full of weddings and family shoots because the boss likes Picasa and no one (until now) deletes the projects once they're finished. So yeah, lots of old photos just chillin' and taking up space on the C drives. Annoying.

Right as I was ready to reinstall Windows and wipe that sucker clean, the computer started to give me a peculiar error on startup. Right after the BIOS screen it shows a 'floppy diskette seek error' error. F1 to continue or F2 to enter setup. I got all up in that BIOS and looked up so many FAQs and tutorials and nothing that I tried fixed the problem. All of the final signs point to hard drive failure. I let everyone in the studio know, so it's in their hands now since I'm leaving in less than two weeks.

The Windows install went smoothly, and after installing the relevant drivers we were good to go. I sealed it up with an anti-virus and ad-aware program and reconnected all of the hard drives. Even though I expected to be doing a little bit of photography, I'm not disappointed with my experience. I love working with computers and I've learned a great deal about networking and troubleshooting. Now that I know how to do it it is very simple, but before I got to the studio I didn't know how to share a drive or map a drive on a computer network. Easy peasy at this point! :D

My adventures have brought me through to completion on the second of three computers in the studio. That one took a lot longer to compare and copy pictures; the hard drive was super full. It's running better now, but it still likes to restart randomly. No error, no warning, no 'wtf I encountered an error lol wanna go to safe mode?' upon turning back on. I wondered if it was a bad file or something, but after wiping it and it still does it I'm going to go ahead and say it's a hardware problem. Again, I let everyone in the studio know. Hopefully they can get someone in to pinpoint the issue so the whole computer doesn't come crashing down.

Not to mention the additional 45 minutes required to 'setup' Windows.

On Friday I finished clearing off the third and final computer. It is schedule for reinstall on Monday, mwahaha. After that's done I'm going to write up instructions as concisely as possible so other people can do the reinstalls when necessary. I didn't write anything down while I wiped the tablet pc, but I wrote step by step instructions as I was wiping the second computer. At this point they just need to be refined and carefully worded so even people that know nothing can do this. I'm doing all I can to make sure the systems function well after I leave because they were in a sore state when I arrived.

I think it was Wednesday that we experienced a special problem. The computers are all outfitted with multi-size card readers, seeing as it's a photography studio. The cameras all take CF cards, just for reference. We discovered that someone (fingers point to the previous student work experience that we had in) had jammed a CF card in past the receiving pins and the card had fallen down into the card reader casing.

See that bottom left opening? Yup, just... fell right down in there. Not supposed to do that.

We call that a problem.

Fortunately I am a skilled and brilliant person (and oh so modest too), so I was able to remove the card reader from the tower and retrieve the CF card. My boss was mighty impressed with me, but then again he was ready to start poking at the tower with a knife while it was still on and plugged in. We were good though: I turned it off, removed the side, disconnected the card reader unit, located a tiny screwdriver from the construction workers outside (it is so wacky at the studio), took off the top and grabbed the card. I wish I had taken a photo of my handiwork! It felt good knowing what I was doing, and it was all the better when the computer turned back on and the card reader still worked. Ha!

Well I think that's it for now. Just know that I'm ass deep in computer problems at work and next week I'll be talking about video games again. Yay!



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