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Friday, 29 March 2013

Google filling up hard drives with Earth

I use a Lenovo G550 with Windows 7 Home edition, a laptop that is ideal for my writing skills. I do not do any gaming, but do make a lot of use of Skype, having family overseas, and of several web design aids. I was most disconcerted a couple of days ago when the laptop announced to me that its C drive was full, and that I should do something about it. Knowing that I had only used somewhat less than a quarter of the disc space led me to doing some investigation, where I found several other instances of the occurrence with other individuals. Liz advised me to check out a youtube video that listed the best ten system applications, which I did.

To isolate the problem I used an application called JdiskReport - you need Java to be running in order to run this program. The program analyzes your hard drive, giving a graphic description of what it contains. I found that almost 200 Gb was taken up by .sst files. Further analysis showed that there were more than a million .sst files in the Google Earth unified_cache_leveldb_leveldb2 directory, all created within a few minutes of each other. You can read about this problem on the GE forum here.

Uninstalling GE will not get rid of the unwanted files, which for me were found in C:\Users\xxxxxx\AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth\unified_cache_leveldb_leveldb2 . Substitute your user name for the x's. You'll have to manually delete all of the  .sst files. I found the quickest way was to mark them using Ctrl and dragging the pointer over them, hitting delete and then later emptying the Recycle Bin. If you have a program such a Total Commander you can mark all the .sst files and delete them.  I later re-installed the latest version of GE , and now have 200 Gb of free space to play with again.(by the way GE know about the problem and are doing their best to fix it, but they need feedback from anyone experiencing it)

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Cape Cobra Visitor

Yesterday Katie started barking just outside the doors of the Lighthouse Room - after the floods in October I moved my desk there to allow the carpet tiles in the office to dry out. Her barking was persistent, so I left my writing and went out to investigate. There, up against the fence, hood extended in defense, was a large Cape Cobra. I say large - it was larger than the one that visited a year or two back outside the scullery, probably a little over 4 feet long. KT has never, to the best of my knowledge, come face to face with a snake before, and was most inquisitive, but stayed her distance as if instinctively knowing that this strange creature could be dangerous.

I ordered Katie to back off, and the visitor went off down the driveway, past the Wild Plum by the gate, and vanished into the long grass alongside Liz's Dragon Garden. 

This specimen was not the yellow color most commonly associated with the species, but a dark brown with darker markings along its length. In fact had it not been for the extended hood I would have taken the markings as those of the night adder, a more frequent visitor. The Cape Cobra is known to be one of the most dangerous species of Cobra on the continent. Its venom is made up of neurotoxins and possibly cardiotoxins, and without an anti-venom a bite will result in death within one to ten hours. Its diet consists of small rodents, lizards, frogs, birds and other snakes. It will climb trees, and one of its favorite pastimes is to raid the nests of the Sociable Weaver.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New clients for old = never

I found myself in something of a quandary a couple of weeks back. It was just after I had done some self-marketing on LinkedIn, adding a score or more of contacts to my network. I have a couple of clients that I would describe as 'bread and butter' clients, one in South Carolina and the other here in South Africa. They have each supplied me with regular assignments on a month to month basis, and I have good and well established rapport with them.

After my bit of self-marketing I received a request for a quotation from a corporate body for whom I had never written before..The assignment was for rewriting an entire technical website, something that I have done before and am perfectly capable of. However in this particular case the request was accompanied by a 38-page brief. Pages had to be written tab by tab and each one approved before progressing to the next. The whole job had to be completed in what, to me, was an unacceptable deadline, which would have meant placing my regular clients on the back burner.

The situation was somewhat delicate to me, but in the end I determined that my regular clients could never be placed in such a situation, and so I wrote to the corporate contact turning down the work and in doing so the chance of a fat cheque. The question is, did I do right?