Sunday, June 17, 2012

New Job, a Return to the Sketchbook and Harddrive Woes

I warn you now - this post contains nothing but rambling about my own life.

New Job
On June 4th, I did the impossible - I started a new job. And it wasn't even web development! I'm now one of a few game programmers at Rullingnet, a company that develops games for the Vinci Tablet. I can't thank Ben King enough, for helping me land this position, although hopefully I'll be able to by developing a portfolio website for him. That is, once he's settled on a design.

Basically I develop really simple games that are intended to be played by very young children. You'd think that this would be boring, but it's actually far more interesting than I expected. It's given me a new appreciation for Unity3D, and I feel like I'm actually picking up a lot of new information. For the time being, I'm definitely quite pleased with where I am. It also helps that most of the work force is fairly young - my own supervisor graduated from the same program as me only one year prior. Despite this, I find that they're all good at what they do, and that makes being part of this team fairly fulfilling.

A Return to the Sketchbook
Unfortunately, having just started this job, and being an individual who doesn't adapt too quickly to change, I've found myself coming home feeling extremely drained. It's hard to motivate myself to open Photoshop, or work on any of my own projects. That said, there is a silver lining. I'm sure I'll adapt to this and get back on the bandwagon, but for now, I see this as a great opportunity to return to just doodling in my sketchbook. This is something I haven't really been able to do since I was very young, largely because of this deeply rooted fear of creating shitty art. If I make a mistake, I feel this overwhelming urge to turn the page and start afresh. The fear also keeps me from drawing much at all, and if one does not draw, one does not improve.

I've bought myself a brand new sketchbook, and I've set myself out some guidelines. For each day, I will reserve only two pages of the sketchbook - that is, two facing pages. Unless I happen to be feeling extremely creative and fill up that set space, I will limit myself to this. No turning the page to avoid looking at mistakes. No treating individual doodles like masterpieces that cannot be marred. If I want to draw a figure completely, and have to draw over something else in order to do it, that's okay. It's pretty daunting for me, but I think that by doing this, I can only improve. Furthermore, I'm going to distance myself from drawing digitally for a while. We'll see how this works out.

Harddrive Woes
Finally, something bad happened to my computer yesterday. Well, not terrible, but pretty bad. Windows reported the imminent failure of one of my hard drives. My setup's fairly secure in this regard - Two 60GB SSDs set to RAID1 for my OS and some incidental applications, Two 1.5TB drives in RAID1 for larger applications, games and important data. Then one 2TB drive for videos - mostly TV shows and movies. (Note: RAID1 means that between two drives, one is a direct copy of the other, for backup purposes). It's this last one that's failed. Funny how it's also the only one that doesn't have a redundant backup. It's also the newest.

Initially I could access my files, so I was trying to use Windows 7's backup functionality to copy its contents to another drive. This... didn't work out so well. So I tried some 3rd party applications. Gradually the state of the drive was decreasing, until finally I couldn't access the drive and the computer saw it as an unformatted disk. Chances are that the drive itself is physically malfunctioning, but I really don't know. I'm trying one last ditch effort to salvage the data, but my hopes aren't particularly high.

The thing is, whenever something in my computer fails, out of sheer hubris, I don't just replace it with equal parts, but I tend to go a bit overboard in general. The first problem I'd encountered a couple years ago was my SSD (of which I had only one, for the operating system) failed. In retaliation, I bought two of the newer model (same capacity) and set them up in RAID1. A few weeks later I got a new SSD in the mail as a replacement from the manufacturer. This one I set aside for a rainy day. Back in November, my video card's fan started having issues. So, I replaced it with a newer model with twice as much memory.

Those last two upgrades are pretty reasonable - first one made the problem less likely to be less crippling. The second one was even more reasonable, since I had to replace the card anyway, why not get one that'll be a wee bit more future proof. But this time? I'm a bit ashamed of myself.

So I went to the store and picked up a 3TB drive to replace my failed 2TB HDD, and while I was there, I picked up two 128GB OCZ Vertex4 SSDs. Why? I don't really need them, but it was bothering me a bit that my C drive (the current RAID1 60GB SSDs) has only about five or six gigabytes free. So, while replacing my failed hard drive, I'm going to clone the C drive over to a new array of SSDs. Totally unrelated to the problem at hand, and kind of wasteful. Although they were on sale. $50 off on each one is nothing to scoff at. I'm also thinking of dropping in that rainy-day 60GB SSD as a dedicated scratchdisk for photoshop, and keeping the current RAID1 SSDs in case my drives fail in a truly catastrophic manner (despite the redundant backups) and I urgently need something with an OS on it.

For now, I'll wait for my final recovery attempt. It'll probably take another eight hours to run the scan, which is a painful wait, but worth it for my 400GB anime collection. I think I'll go doodle in my sketchbook for now!

Edit: The recovery attempt with Seagate File Recovery was successful! Unfortunately, copying my OS drive over didn't work as planned, and I ultimately ended up doing a fresh install of Windows. Probably for the better though, it's always good to do a clean format every once in a while.

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