Sunday May 26, 2002

910 AM. I punched it up as I was heading down 101. Back to Palo Alto. Burnin it back down the strip. Saturday night on AM radio. David Lawrence in a verbal hurricane. He wraps every listener in his wide firm sysadmin arms. What's a sysadmin you ask? Well, that's short for System Administrator. The sys stands for system, and the min stands for administrator. That's System Administrator. A system administrator is someone who administrates a system. Any user of a PC is also a system administrator. Because a PC is a Personal Computer. The relationship of the person to the computer is a personal one. A computer is a system and a person is an administrator. And the person is an administrator because he has a personal relationship with that system.

I have had many personal relationships with many systems. I have had many personal relationships with persons as well and I believe that David is the king of all administrators. What is astounding about David Lawrence is that he is radio entertainment. That people, who are off from work by the time he comes on, are still interested in listening to the system administrator go on and on about how they should back up their computers or how much RAM they really need for their system. Now, I used a couple of 'tech terms' there but I'm gonna let them go for a bit because I want to explain what it's like listening to David Lawrence on the radio as you steer down 101 in the night.

This man really cares. This man has the tenacity and directness of delivery that I have not witnessed since my last visit to radio preach-a-thons a little further up the AM band. You listen thinking that this is really just a commercial and he's doing one of those Howard Stern-like personal testimonial promo bits where he tells a big long story. "I use Eberhards Extra-Dicklength Cream and, godamnit, it works." But this station has 10 minutes of solid commercials and then David Comes On to do 15 minutes of straight hard DJ talkin. If you have data, like I know YOOOU do. You got millions and millions of bytes on that computer. You need to stop just one second, just one second this long MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND and backup up that computer. Yes, you must backup that computer and when you backup that computer I want you to mirror.....the.....hard drive. You'll say to yourself that you only need those bits from your checkbook or those megs from you work documents. But I'm telling you that you must make an exact byte-for-byte copy of your hard drive. That means you're gonna need a tape drive and to drive that tape drive you're gonna need some software. And there are a lot of drives out there and I'm not gonna tell you which one to get because that varies depending on what size of hard drive you got and you gotta count all the hard drives that you got and add them up to determine what kind of tape drive you need but I have used every piece of backup software that there is and then some others that aint, and I am sure that you should be using Retrospect backup software. Retrospect will back up all the computers on your network and if you've got Macs and PCs there is a version of Retrospect for each of those operating systems. But before I go any further I just want to say that you can call me at 1800-93-ONLINE with any question you have, and I say that knowing that some you will think that your question is just too ignorant and amateurish but I want to assure you that if you have the question that everyone, and I mean everyone, has that question or has had that question at one time. You should ask it. You ask it by calling me. I prefer phone calls but you can also instant messenger me at Lawrence at aol do com. I don't have time to answer at length your queries over instant messaging because I do it during the breaks. I'll respond with a yes or a no or thanks but as I said, you should use the telephone. That is the preferred method. If you must use some other method, such as email, I'm david at online-today dot com, remember that I prefer you call. We are open for your calls any time and I do answer them. If you have any question, no matter how small relating to the internet or internet based services, your personal computer or your privacy while using it. From the latest happenings in the word of MP3, new sueings by the RIAA this week, to the proliferation of handheld PDAs, I am here to give you the very best information you can get.

BACKUP. You gotta do it. And if you do it you will be able to get back everything. Your entire hard drive at that moment in time, all the settings, the fonts, the utilities you downloaded off the internet that you didn't think were that vital but it turns out they've become incredibly important. All of that. And you will get backup software that you can schedule and you will run that backup software every day. And you will take the tape or that removable hard dive or the media that results and you will take it away from you computer. Take it to work or home or to your sister's. You back up Every Day and you worry no longer. If you have a problem, a corruption or a virus or a crippling bug, you are never farther away from a working system than the time that it takes you to run a restore. Just think of that the next time you spend hours fiddling with device drivers and un-unistallation.

At this point a commercial came on and I popped over to the Aphex Twin CD in the Alpine. I was feeling particularly grandiose after listening to a system administrator on the radio. A direct delivery of a fire-and-brimstone system administration lecture, and the Aphex hit hard to my stoney brain. I realized that if I was having my Close Encounter of the Third Kind I would just point some speakers playing Aphex Twin at the hovering spacecraft and pray for the best. That is the music I would choose to portray all the promise and accomplishment of man and a good idea of the beauty that man can produce. Or I'd play some Vic Chesnutt. Either would work.