Canons to the left of me, Canons to the right …!

Screenshot of Adobe Acrobat 7 Professional
I don’t think I ever want to see this screenshot ever again!

I’ve now lost track of how many hours I’ve been bookmarking this flippin’ PDF of the Code of Canons (see yesterday’s blog for details), but it must be at least 24 hours.

I’m now losing the will to live!

UPDATE @ 22:55
I finished the Canons about 3 hours ago. Hoorah! I’ve sent the file to a couple of friends for testing, to make sure it looks and works ok. I just have the Digest to do now. So I’m only about 2/3 of the way there.

Bikes for asthmatics?

Sign spotted at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh

This afternoon Jane and I had an appointment at the Human Genetics Department at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh. Now that we’re on the IVF waiting list, and given that I have a kidney condition called Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), which has a 50% chance of being passed on to my children, we were keen to discuss the condition with a geneticist who would be able to explain the condition and any ways that they could help prevent the condition being passed on.

It was lovely meeting, with a lovely doctor, but the upshot is that there really is nothing they can do. There are procedures that can be done to screen IVF embryos for the presence of the genes that cause ADPCD, but the procedure is not available on the NHS, and isn’t usually used for this trifling condition! It was a very useful meeting to learn the facts and have a better understanding of the risks that we run of passing it on by having children.

On our walk back to the car we passed a bike shed (photo above) that had a sign that read:

Reserved for
emergency asthma
patients only

Hmm… emergency bikes for asthma patients?! How much did I laugh? It was only as I was taking the photograph that I noticed the writing on the ground in front of the bike shed:

Emergency Asthma Vehicle

Now, THAT makes a lot more sense than providing asthmatics with bikes to get to the Emergency Department in a hurry.

We need more user-friendly backup options

Don’t try this at home: the interior of a hard disk drive.

An interesting article on The Register a few days ago about Dell‘s plans in the US to offer customers “the option of adding an automatic back-up system to their new PC when they buy one of three models from its Dimension range.”

The article goes on to explain that

for an extra $99 it will install a second, 80GB hard drive in new Dimension E310, E510 and XPS 400 models. The drive will be configured to continuously back up the main drive, protecting personal data against the dreaded hard drive crash.

I presume that this is simply a RAID 1 setup, which is something that more and more modern PCs are capable of — mine is, for example and it’s a couple of years old — although Dell have called this “DataSafe”.

RAID 1 is an arrangement where two hard disks are set up to save exactly the same data on both drives; one is a mirror of the other. The obviousl advantage there is that should one drive fail or get corrupted then (hopefully) all your data will be safely stored on the mirrored drive.

I find it quite incredible that it has taken an OEM computer company up until now to realise that people’s data is so often so important to them that some kind of simple, user-friendly backup method should be an essential part of a new setup, particularly when more and more people are having to use PCs, many (most?) of whom don’t know too much about them.

A lot of new PCs come with ‘restore’ partitions, that is a separated area of the hard drive that contains data to completely restore the main hard drive (C:) to the state that it was in when it was delivered to your door. But the problem with this is that it will also wipe all your personal data.

A lot of new PCs come with this ‘restore’ partitions instead of a genuine Windows XP CD-ROM, which can also lead to other problems, like when you’re trying to install some piece of hardware that requires a few files from the XP installation CD. I was delighted when my current PC arrived from NetHighStreet with a Windows XP Professional CD.

There are more and more people using PCs nowadays. Many of whom haven’t the faintest clue about how their PC is setup (which is fair enough), what all the buttons do, and why certain features are arranged the way they are. All they want to do is switch it on, check their email, write their documents, watch a DVD or two, and maybe play some games. It can’t be that difficult to design a user-friendly backup system now … can it?!