Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It Happens Every Spring (Training)

Today life begins once again. Pitchers and catchers report to The Mets spring training facilities in Port St. Lucie, Florida. This scenario is being repeated all over Florida and Arizona this week. The disappointments of the past season - and as a Mets fan there were many - have been put behind us, and optimism abounds. Today, no team is any games behind any other. Today, all teams have won the exact same number of 2011 games ... none.

Football may have become the post popular sport in the US thanks to the NFL's agressive marketing, but what better sport to bring families together than baseball? My father's uncle introduced him to the joys and frustrations of being a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, and prior to the deserting us for Los Angeles after the 1957 season, my dad did the same for me. We both continued to follow the Dodgers on TV until 1962 when the Mets were born. We didn't care that they lost 120 games that season, it was our team, and my dad and I could sit in the stands on a sunny summer day in July and August in the Polo Grounds - formerly home of the enemy NY Giants - and watch The Mets (attempt to) play baseball. Years later, when I was married and had my own kids, I would continue this piece of family bonding. Thanks to 14 years of a season plan in the 1980's and 1990's (the final season was 2000), my son and my daughter and I spent quality time together through the good seasons and bad. Those games were spent in more than watching baseball. Yes, my son and I talked strategy (he was a catcher like I was), and my daughter learned how keep a scorecard, but much more happened during those times together. We formed a bond which still exists today, as I did with my dad. What a special night that was when my grandfather, my great-uncle, my father and I were together at Shea Stadium that night in September, 1969 when the black cat walked in front of Ron Santo and the Chicago Cubs dugout.

Shea Goodbye - from our old seats
Now when I watch a Mets game, I know that my father will most likely call me from Florida during the game to talk about it ... and my son, who still lives here on Staten Island may call me as well. When The Mets played their final game at Shea Stadium, and I was able to get tickets, my daughter flew up from Florida (where she now lives) to go to the game with me. While we were there we visited our old seats where we sat for more than 30 games a year for so many years. We watched as The Mets finished a collapse which saw them miss the playoffs on that final day - that final game. We watched as the last game pitch was thrown, and as the final ceremonial pitch was thrown.

And when, the next season, The Mets moved into their new home at Citi Field, my son and I attended the first game played there - a college match. (I will admit that one parenting mistake of mine was to allow my son to root for a different NHL team than I do ... but that is a story for a whole other blog entry.)
A week later, when The Mets played their first game at Citi Field, once again Iris flew up to attend that game with me. Both were very special occasions, for more than simply the ballgame, but because it was something that we still could share. Happily that is but one of many things.
Now it is time to bring the next generation into the picture. This past summer, my grandtwins attended their first Mets game (and their first Brooklyn Cyclones game as well) for another of those 3 generation ballgames. And the tradition continues.
So here's to another baseball season - at the moment, full of hope! Let the traditions continue.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How could anyone need more?

I finally got around to adding some new hard drives to my home computer network. (Really sounds impressive? No?) I deal in large files such as high resolution photos, high definition videos and large graphics, so I find storage space at a premium on my system.

Amazing when you think that when I first started with computers - I built my first one, a Sinclair ZX-81, in 1982 - I was using cassette tapes for data and program storage. Not fast, and when you wanted to access something, the further from the beginning of the tape it was, the longer you had to wait ... and not the nanoseconds we think about with today's hard drives.

My first "PC Compatible" computer used a 5.25" floppy drive for storage. Better, but still only stored about 100 Kb. (I did have an 8 inch floppy drive for my ZX-81 at one point. It loaded CP/M - a predecessor of DOS - and I was able to run Wordstar on my Sinclair, but that was more something that I reviewed in Computer Shopper than used on a daily basis.)

I wanted something bigger, so I bought a 10 Mb hard drive on a card and installed it in the computer. Wow! A whole 10 Mb! I couldn't even imagine under what circumstances I could ever want more than that. Until that drive got filled up. Oh, I kept it clean, removed junk files, defragged the drive, but the day came that I had no more room on the drive. You see, I had started working with graphics since I had started a desktop publishing business of my own. By the time I was working full time as a graphic artist and electronic layout specialist in the publishing industry, I was creating files that themselves were many times larger than that 10 Mb hard drive.

Today, I installed a new 2 Tb drive on my Mac, just to act as a backup drive for all the other drives on my network. Yes, I said network ... at home. In our house we have an iMac, a PC laptop and a PC netbook, all of which not only have their internal hard drives, but store data on drives that are available to all of our computers via our home wifi setup. Today, we can access our music, documents, photos, graphics or movies from any of our computers. Many of these files are quite big. At the moment, I have a total of 3.5 Tb of storage on the network, having added a 2 Tb drive last week. Yesterday, I added another 2 Tb drive to my iMac to act as a back-up drive, bringing the total to 5.5 Tb. Oh, and I have a 320 Gb drive which I use with my laptop when I travel. I can, however, access my home network drives via the internet when I am not home, but that is usually overkill.

Yet, I have no illusions that at some point, that will seem as inadequate as the 10 Mb drive on a card ... or the cassette storage I used before that. <sigh>

How much/what type of storage/backup do you use?