Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Why this is not a more interesting article

by Larry Geller

If I don’t write something each day on the blog, it’s not because nothing has Disappeared that needs writing about. I might be checking out public records at some agency, or following up on leads or leaks that people send my way.

It could be because I have spent hours in court, or maybe my hard drive crashed… or on certain very special days such as today – both at once.

I can’t believe the many ways government can find to waste taxpayer money. I attended a trial in district court today that is very important to me—although it is limited to a charge of “creating a disturbance,” behind it is the city’s unlawful and I believe unconstitutional confiscation of private property without due process, and in this case, a citizen’s attempt at petitioning the government (the mayor) for assistance in finding and retrieving the property. It seems that if one tries that, one could face charges in Honolulu. One person tried, and now she does.

I think you’ll find more on the case here later. For now, let me explain why it’s a waste of money as well as apparent harassment of aforementioned citizen: the original trial was continued because the four arresting cops didn’t show up. Now, if the defendant doesn’t show up, a warrant is issued. But it’s ok for the cops not to show. So ok, one continuance.

Today a different judge objected to the `Olelo video camera. The previous judge approved the application for extended media coverage. This judge questioned whether the organization applying for the certificate is a qualified media or education institution. And get this – the approval was for a television camera, and the judge said “The court does not see that there is a television camera” in the courtroom. The camera was plainly marked with two `Olelo stickers. Sure, it is a little bitty thing compared to a giant studio camera, but this is 2012, not 1956.

The judge said that she is not in a position to reverse the decision of the previous judge but doubts whether the order was properly granted. So what did she do? Another contiuation. The judge allowed the prosecution to introduce their witnesses to the record but not the defense, and then continued the trial until October 17, before the previous judge. She then apologized to the prosecutor’s witnesses for the continuance, but not to the defense witnesses.

What’s with that? I won’t even speculate. Who knows, one day I might face a traffic violation before this judge. But what a waste of money, and what a huge trouble caused to the defendant and her witnesses.

I had to write this or else, as Woody Allen wrote, grow a tumor instead (Manhattan, 1979, Isaac to Mary).

Speaking of 1956, this brings me to my dead hard drive. It’s an external 2TB drive. I can still read the directories, but clicking on any file results in an I/O error. Weird.

Going back in time, our first hard drive was all of 5 Mb. That’s five megabytes. It had eight inch platters and was a remarkable engineering feat for its time. It never crashed, we just outgrew it. It might still be running someplace today.

2TB and 3TB drives present a problem. I back up my computer regularly onto one of these high-capacity drives. What was on the failed drive was relatively unimportant stuff, things collected from around the web that I hoped to read one day in my old age, perhaps relaxing in an easy chair with my iPad 12.0. (sigh)

So I didn’t have that drive backed up onto anything. The problem is that it would take another drive of the same size or larger to back it up. The costs mount up, not to mention the real estate required for all these drives. My plan was to copy the data to another drive in about two years, before it failed. Unfortunately, that was not a wise decision.

This is the third large-capacity drive that has failed on me. Now, another approach is a RAID array, of course. I tried that. I have a Western Digital drive with two redundant 1TB drives in it, so there is 1TB of storage that is supposedly protected. But that unit has failed twice. It’s very heavy, and it costs almost as much to return for warranty exchange as it cost originally. It’s dead now. One day I’ll figure out how to get the data off. But there is little sense in returning it once again.

Warranties on these drives mean little. They are low cost to begin with. The value of the data may well exceed the cost of the drive by a magnitude. And customer service seems to have deteriorated. The manufacturer is quite happy for me to return my drive for an exchange. The trouble is, of course, exchanging it means giving up all hope of salvaging the data from it. (Well, not exactly, there is supposed to be sector-by-sector mirroring software, assuming I can read it at all. So I could keep an image of my bad drive and send the clunker off to be exchanged.) What I wanted was a suggestion of what I might do to put it back in service. I hear that the larger drives don’t have an MBR I can try to restore (no I’m not going to explain all this). No help. I’m just supposed to return it. Or flail around on Google hoping to find someone else’s similar experience and solution. Or put it in the freezer, that is alleged to be helpful sometimes.

I can predict that the drive I use for backup will fail one day, just like its brethren. I hope it doesn’t fail on a day I need to restore my backup.

But of course, that’s exactly what it has in mind for me.

I’m also planning for Kokua Council’s Monday 9/24 meeting at which we’ll have both Honolulu mayoral candidates present and ready to answer questions (please come on over, Harris Church, 11:30). That means figuring out the sound system and how to handle all the media microphones, coordinate the video, wondering how to handle questions, do we have enough food planned…. etc.

So standby for a real article shortly, but not today, anyway.


More delay, so orders the Court,
not wanting a video report;
...they say Justice is blind, this case undermined,
if due process, the judge may distort.

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