Recovery from Hard Drive Failure is a Slow Process

I have been trying to recreate the files I lost when my internal laptop drive got wiped the same week 2 external drives failed. I lost over 700 GBs of data. I was able to save a big chunk, but lost hundreds of movies files I have ripped from my DVDs to play on my iPod and Apple TV. Even though I was able to find about 80 of those files, I have a long way to go. I am up to 160 videos now.

It takes 2-3 hours per movie to rip. I have another 150 to go.

And now, tonight, my newest external Time Machine drive is not mounting. This is a brand new Seagate Free Agent drive with a 5 year warranty. I’ve had it just a couple of months. If the Disk Utility can’t repair it, I will be sending it off to be replaced. I need a reliable solution for back ups. Maybe Lacie?

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The Head Coach and His Staff

It’s nothing new for people to use the analogy of football to describe the activities of the church. You have probably been on meetings when you’ve been told that no matter how much we may pull back on some things, we are going to make sure we keep “blocking and tackling”. Or been told that Sunday is “Game day!” I was thinking about this analogy, and wanted to talk about the coaching staff of the local church body. Obviously, Christ is the “Head Coach” of the capital “C” Church. But for the local body, God’s man called to lead the local church can also be considered a head coach.

Depending on the size of the church, he may have other staff around him. These guys help the head coach. That’s their job. They have specific roles to play and they may have some autonomy within those roles, but only insomuch as it helps accomplish the overall goal of the team. A defensive coordinator can’t tell his line not to block without being in conflict with the goals of the head coach. On the other hand, the head coach shouldn’t have to spend his time coaching a punter if he has a special teams coach.

For me? Many times I feel like I’m the guy up in the box, on the headset.

The coaching staff needs someone up in the box to look at the big picture. They can see things from a different perspective. The head coach may know generally that something is happening on the field, but the guy in the box knows down to the detail of who blocked who, and where the plays may need to be tweaked. He analyzes the game, and lets the head coach know.

Then it is up to the head coach. He may take the advice, or he may go another way. When the game is over, it’s his name in the paper. He’s the one getting the blame for any failures. It’s his call.

The last thing any head coach needs is someone who just nods along and has no input for the game. If you are in a leadership position, lead. I’ve had calls about meetings where things were decided by a head coach that seemed really strange. It leaves you wondering how so many details could have been overlooked, and this play could have been called. The answer? The staff around the head coach did not provide him with the information needed to make the right call. I’ve heard the horror stories of the people trying to change the play that was called so catastrophe can be avoided. “No, it’s not 4th down, don’t send in the kicking team!”

Regardless of the role you play on the coaching staff, or how big the staff is, or how talented the team is, you have a job to do. Understand the direction of the head coach, support that vision, and execute the plays to accomplish the goal.

iPhone MMS is Here

Today AT&T released an update for the iPhone which allows users to text pictures and video. The process is simple.

Sync your iPhone, and check for updates. The update will download and install. Don’t forget to reboot your phone.

After the update, when you go to write a text there is a small camera icon by the text field. Hit that and select the options and media you want. Then send it.

Making the Hire

Hiring for a new position is one of the most critical things you can do.

Hire the wrong person and you will pay for it for a long time. Hire the right person and you will reap the benefits.

It’s really easy to hire the wrong person. You just hire someone for the job you wish you were hiring for. Or just hire a friend simply because they are your friend. You could hire someone that has all the right qualification but has no chemistry with your team. Hiring the wrong person is easy, especially in the time when you know so ay people out of work. You might be tempted to hire a friend who really needs a job. But if they are not the right person for the job, that is a recipe for heartache later.

Once hired, if you realize it’s not working out, the best thing you can do is cut them loose quicker rather than later. That is such a hard decision, especially if they have moved their family. If you don’t realize it isn’t working out until any trial period has passed, firing someone isn’t easy. Your organization probably has a process, and that process can take time.

It’s much better to make the right hire right out of the box.

I have heard the three “C’s” of hiring. You hire based on character, chemistry, and competence. Those three things must be present. Even if you have two of the three, you pass. I’ve seen people hire based on character and chemistry, only to find that the great guy they brought on cannot do the work. I once passed over hiring someone because of character.

On the other hand, if you can find a candidate that has character, great chemistry with the team, and the competence to do the job, most of the time it will be a great hire.

The “End Run” and Why It’s Bad for Ministry

end run
–noun
1. Football. Also called end sweep, sweep. a running play in which the ball-carrier attempts to outflank the defensive end.
2. Informal.
a. an evasive or diversionary maneuver.
b. an attempt to surmount a difficulty without confronting it directly.

I love football season. I always play two fantasy football teams, one with friends and one public. I rarely win, but I like to play.

In football you sometimes see the end run, where an offensive team member tries to run around the defensive line, and bypass the defenders waiting to bring him down. The path of least resistance is not ahead, but around the obstacles. While the offensive and defensive lines are tied up at the line of scrimmage, the running back skirts around the line and tries to break out into the open for a big gain.

There are times in ministry when you see this play out. Someone has the ball, something they want to move forward, something they want to do. They see that there is blockage ahead, and rather than try to go through that, they attempt to go around the line. Sometimes this is literally done by going to another person who has authority, or just going ahead and doing it without asking permission. You see the normal path to get it done, but rather than deal with any opposition, you find an alternate route.

Depending on the organization, this can be very successful. You can accomplish your immediate goal.

But even if it works, in the long run it is harmful to ministry organizations.

The problem is that the “end run” by definition assumes that you are pitted against the “opposition”. In fact, in ministry, we are on the same team. If there is opposition to an idea or move or event there may be something else involved you are not aware of. By doing an end run, you may get your way but it may have negative effects on the overall ministry goals of the organization. And you will likely cause harm to any relationship involved. You may push your agenda ahead 10 yards, but you will do it be knocking down the people you should be working with.

No one likes it when people go over their head, or go around them to get something done. I like to think I am a reasonable guy, and my job is to help ministries accomplish their goals. If I can do something, I will. If I can’t there is a really good reason for it. If there is a policy in place, it’s there for a reason. If I can do it, I will, as long as it doesn’t hurt the overall ministry goals of the organization.

If someone does an end run, it is very disrespectful of the person or team who were bypassed. It says that your immediate goals are more important to you than relationships in the organization or the overall ministry goals of the organization. While you may get your way now, there will be a cost later.

If you are a team player, the “end run” should never be something you run against your fellow team mates. Work together to accomplish your goals. One player may get a first down, but a first down doesn’t win the game. It takes touchdowns to win. And that takes a team of people.

Teamwork

Sometimes teamwork is what gets you through a crisis.
IMG_0905
Two Saturdays ago the main projector lamp blew when we powered it on. It’s a five year old Christie 12k Roadie. We didn’t notice until about 20 minutes before the service. We quickly determined that it was not an AMX issue, but in fact the projector was not powering on. At that point several things happened. I got on the com and alerted the house crew. They broke off a couple of stage guys to help us. We began to move toward using a spare (but less bright) projector.

Meanwhile, Bobby Falconnier went upstairs. A couple of minutes later he reported that it was the lamp that had blown. We had the old lamp, which we had replaced the year before. He removed and replaced the blown lamp with the old one. It powered up, and we were ready to go two minutes before the service was to begin.
IMG_0902
Whew!

The screen didn’t look great, but it worked. We actually had doubts about how long it would last. After the service we placed a 6500 lumen Eiki with a wide angle lens in the projector room and got it wired up. In case of lamp failure, all we would have had to do was go up and hit the power switch. The image only filled about 80% of the screen (see left image), but it looked as bright as the old 12k lamp.

There will be a moment of crisis. Working together is the best way to quickly get through the issue. There was no question, we were all working together to get a solution in place. if the old lap had failed, the substitute projector would have been ready a little while later. This week we had a new lamp installed, and are getting another new lamp for the next time this happens. They don’t make new lamps anymore, so we have to get the assemblies refurbished with 3rd party products. But they work.

Used Car Salesmen

Today I bought a used car for my wife. I started the process last Wednesday.

Why is it that some salesmen think they should try to argue you into buying a car? I was really doing a survey of automobiles and had no intention of buying one that day, and said so up front. I visited 8 dealerships. The tactics used ranged from no pressure to that thing where they bring their boss out to explain how financing a larger sum over a longer period means more security and doesn’t feel like more debt.

During one test drive a few days earlier I had decided that kind of car wasn’t for us. When I said I was not interested in this car, the salesman actual asked, “Why the h— did you drive my car then?” How else would I know if I I liked it or not? Isn’t it his job to try to put me with inventory he has that might fit my needs? We left without buying.

By the end of the day we had settled on one kind of car we wanted, and had seen a few of them.

We went to one of the places that had the model, features, and price we wanted. It was not a high pressure place. They post one price, and that’s it. When they came back with the total number package, and I wanted to haggle over my trade in value, they simply said, “We don’t negotiate.” When they say one price, they mean it.

It was a low pressure, pleasant experience.

What makes this different?

They didn’t try to talk me into anything. They let me decide for myself. They laid out what they offered, and simply left the decision up to me. It wasn’t adversarial. They had helpful sales people to answer questions. No hard feeling if I walked away.

The result of the search? We bought a car we liked, at a fair price, from a place that treated me like a guest, not the next sale.

How do we treat those who come into our lives?

Kodak Zi8 May be the Worst Product Launch I Have Ever Seen

Back a couple of weeks ago I blogged my anticipation of the new Kodak Zi8 pocket camcorder. It’s a 1080p, external mic jack technological wonder. I was ready to purchase.

Now, 11 days later the only place I can find it is on Amazon.com. But I want to hold it, and play with it before I purchase. All the brick and mortar stores that carry Kodak products do not yet stock the Zi8. I did see a local target that has put the Zi6 on clearance, which may mean they will soon have the Zi8 in stock. I can’t even pre-order it from the web stores of these large chains.

In contrast, I can already order the new iPods, just announced yesterday, from these places.

Kodak should take a lesson from Apple. Even the launch of the PS3 and Xbox 360 were better by comparison. At least they had some available at some locations. How can you release a major update to a product, a so-called “Flip” camera killer, and not actually make them available?

For now, I am waiting because I want the feature set. But I grow weary.

Zi8 Still MIA 10/10/09
Another about the Zi8 10/28/09
Another post about the Zi8 11/2/09
Another post about the Zi811/11/09
I have seen them in stock!

Joe Wilson’s Big Mistake

I posted on my political blog about the shout heard around the nation last night.

Here’s the issue from a media angle: The Democrats were starting to turn on each other after a pretty ugly recess. Many were starting to pull away from a Public Options and there as some signs of splintering.

With two disrespectful words Joe Wilson shifted the focus from the actual debate about the bill, and colored the entire opposition as disrespectful jerks. So instead of talking about a major piece of legislation, we are talking about whether Wilson has apologized enough, or whether Republicans can engage in civil debate.

From a public relations standpoint, this was huge. From a public opinion standpoint it was bigger. With two words Wilson may have engendered more sympathy for the healthcare bill than anything the President said.