Four years of email wiped out in a moment of forgetfullness.

It’s amazing how even a computer veteran such as myself can sometimes absentmindedly wipe out data he’s had forever. I thought I had made a backup when I restaged my system to Vista as I had managed to backup everything else, but when I went to access something from the archived files I found it wasn’t there. I’ve only got the mail I’ve received since I made the move to Vista and enough days have passed that any hope of recovering the files is long past. Dammit.

Oh well, the archives were getting pretty huge anyway and I wasn’t looking forward to sorting through it. I’m sure I’ve lost a couple of important things, but nothing I can’t live without. At least I still have everything sent to me through Gmail.

14 thoughts on “Four years of email wiped out in a moment of forgetfullness.

  1. Much like cleaning up the archives, that was another project I had on my list of things-to-get-around-to-doing-before-I-die.

    At least this way I don’t have to worry about a Congressional subpoena for my email archives now.

  2. I myself have been lucky.  I am just now getting everything important to safer places.  But currently I don’t have any real solutions.  What I plan to do, in the next year is implement FreeNAS.  I highly recommend it.  Very easy to use and can turn any extra hard drives into a NAS.

    But this is one reason why I use Google Notebook all the time.  If I get anything important, second hand, email, Internet, wherever, I throw it in Google Notebook.  Easy to use and it has a plugin for FF.

  3. Ugh.

    I still have a lot of old e-mail in T’bird waiting export, though I pushed the most important bits to Gmail when I converted over to that platform.  Still … even if it’s “old stuff I don’t want to sift through,” there’s still that archivist part of my nature that’s offended.

  4. I have to know. Is Vista better than XP? Everything I have seen on the net says it’s not, but what do I know I use Fedora.

  5. Timmeh, in some ways it’s much better and in other ways not so much. 

    I learned one example of how it’s better just the other night when I downloaded some pictures from my digital camera. When it finished it opened up the new Windows Photo Album which is a lot like Google’s Picasa in how it works. There I could tag photos much the same way I tag blog posts as well as rate them on a five star scale. Along the left hand side of the photo album were links for sorting pictures based on tags, rating, date taken, date imported, date range, etc. Clicking on any one would list off pictures with those tags/dates. The date listings could be drilled down to individual days if you were so inclined. The music folder works much the same way just with different data and provides extra links for artist, label, and so on.

    This makes finding what you want incredibly easy. Just click a link or shift-click a couple of them to easily and immediately sort through what is for me upwards of 20GB of stuff.

    One way that it’s not better is actually an improvement that has had unintended consequences. Vista has a new way of handling memory management that XP does not and it’s resulting in some applications (games mostly) hitting the 2GB addressing space limitation of Win32. This is a natural limitation of a 32bit operating system and the only true solution is to make the switch to 64bit so it’s going to be a problem you’ll hear more about as time goes on.

    The details of the issue are too lengthy to go into here, but the folks at AnandTech have three articles on it here, here, and here that detail the issue in greater depth. Here’s a snippet that sums up the problem:

    As it turns out, our initial guess about the issue being related to memory allocations being limited to the 2GB of user space for security reasons was wrong, the issue is simpler than that. One of the features of the Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) is that video memory is no longer a limited-sharing resource that applications will often take complete sovereign control of; instead the WDDM offers virtualization of video memory so that all applications can use what they think is video memory without needing to actually care about what else is using it – in effect removing much of the work of video memory management from the application. From both a developer’s and user’s perspective this is great as it makes game/application development easier and multiple 3D accelerated applications get along better, but it came with a cost.

    All of that virtualization requires address space to work with; Vista uses an application’s 2GB user allocation of virtual address space for this purpose, scaling the amount of address space consumed by the WDDM with the amount of video memory actually used. This feature is ahead of its time however as games and applications written to the DirectX 9 and earlier standards didn’t have the WDDM to take care of their memory management, so applications did it themselves. This required the application to also allocate some virtual address space to its management tasks, which is fine under XP.

    However under Vista this results in the application and the WDDM effectively playing a game of chicken: both are consuming virtual address space out of the same 2GB pool and neither is aware of the other doing the exact same thing. Amusingly, given a big enough card (such as a 1GB Radeon X2900XT), it’s theoretically possible to consume all 2GB of virtual address space under Vista with just the WDDM and the application each trying to manage the video memory, which would leave no further virtual address space for anything else the application needs to do. In practice, both the virtual address space allocations for the WDDM and the application video memory manager attempt to grow as needed, and ultimately crash the application as each starts passing 500MB+ of allocated virtual address space.

    Microsoft has developed a potential fix for the problem and discusses it in knowledge base article 940105, but hasn’t actually made the fix available yet though they will soon.

    The short version of it is that games running under Vista, especially big ones like Supreme Commander, tend to use up a lot more memory than they should need to because of the differences between Vista and XP on memory management. For that matter as a general rule Vista is more memory hungry than XP is. The bare minimum amount of RAM I’d put in a Vista system is 1GB and that just happens to be what my current PC has in it.

    This means that the performance of games like World of Warcraft are back to what they were like when I was running 512MB on my old PC. For the most part the game runs fine, but when you head into a busy city like Iron Forge or Shattrath with lots of people (and thusly lots of graphical textures eating up memory) the game suffers from graphical lag dropping frames until the frame rate hits a low of 3 to 4 frames per second. This is an issue that may push me back to XP in the next few days if I can’t manage to scrounge up enough cash to pump my machine up to 2GB of RAM. Seeing as I’m at 1GB with two 512MB sticks that means I should probably buy a full 2GB (2x1GB sticks) to do it which is why I’ve not been able to afford it yet. This is a big birthday month in our family so what little extra cash there is is already allocated.

    This new memory management system is a good thing, but it is causing unintended consequences and as a result makes Vista “worse” for gaming than XP at the moment. As the installed base of Vista PCs expands and more publishers start writing for it over XP this problem will diminish. So too as more people make the switch to 64bit — and this may finally be an impetus to do so — the problem will go away.

  6. Some other cool features in Vista for those that have a system to try them out:

    – When you hit the “Start” button on your keyboard you can immediately begin typing in the name of the program you want to run.  For instance, try typing in “calculator”.  As soon as you start typing Vista auto-populates the list and then you can arrow or mouse over which one you want and hit enter to run it.  MS put a search function right at the bottom of the start bar, which makes opening apps very easy.

    – Document Preview: open a folder with multiple kinds of documents and files.  Then go to “Organize”, then “Layout”, and then select “Preview Pane”.  You will likely need to resize it, but this is just what you would imagine it is.  A preview pane for documents.  Try it out with an office file.

    Cool thing about this feature is MS opened up the code for it, so any company that wants to can write a preview function for their files.  Foxit Reader has done this with their PDF program (but you have to pay for it), and I think a couple others have.

    I still have a lot of un-answered questions about Vista as our organization ponders moving to it.  I think we may skip Vista and wait for the next one, since the problems with it are plenty.  Not only would we need a lot of new systems, but many of the printers we have and other extra hardware and software would not be compatible.  And telling this to touchy, whinny professors is not easy.

  7. Timmeh, in some ways it’s much better and in other ways not so much.

    So in other words it’s just different than XP, not worse just different.

    When you hit the “Start” button on your keyboard you can immediately begin typing in the name of the program you want to run.

    Gnome has had that for a couple years now. I don’t see the point myself when a quick type in the term brings the program up just as well.

  8. I wouldn’t know first hand as I haven’t used windows since 2000 came out. I was trying to get a first hand account of what vista is like and not just what I read on blogs and reviews.

  9. After looking back on the posts it seems like a major problem is making power users use a noobe window manager. If MS could make something like blackbox I bet gamers and hackers would eat it up.
    I have to add this. I use FVWM on a fedora 7 system.

  10. I am so sick of Microsoft.  I’d switch to Linux in a heartbeat if it wasn’t for some crucial applications I need that Linux doesn’t have satisfactory substitutes for.  My family runs Linux on all their machines.  It took a few minutes to connect Vista to the internet through our home wireless network.  Yet after several hours I still can’t get my computer to connect to the other computers and printers on our home network. angry

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