Friday, June 13, 2008

You ought not to swear at your stepson

For the last week or so Bonusbarn and I have each been faced with a puzzle in our respective computing activities. I - the householder, the breadwinner, the one who pays for and regards our household broadband connection as a business expense - was wondering why the automatic backup wasn't backing up at 6pm each evening, as it's supposed to. It would start. I would go off to have dinner. I would come back to find it had given up.

He, freeloading parasite off the network by my grace and that alone, was wondering why around 6pm each day the available bandwidth for World of Warcraft shrunk down so low that WoW becomes unplayable.

Problem solved! Backup starts. Bandwidth shrinks. Unaware of the backup, he resets the router without thinking to tell me about it. Backup ends prematurely. WoW back to normal. At 6pm the next day, the cycle recommences.

We finally worked this out yesterday. He came in to reset the router and found me staring at the backup status on the monitor, trying to catch the moment it stopped. Um.

He was most put out to learn that I regard WoW as a frippery, not a basic human right that should be provided by the state. My 100% lack of interest in his ability to make pixels run around the screen and pretend to kill each other was a personal affront. This was not what Alan Turing did all that work for. Still, I tried to be reasonable, I really did. The backup (unlike WoW), I pointed out, is actually necessary. It's a duty of care to the people on whose behalf I do work. So what does he suggest I do? Ideas and solutions were batted about, but the sad fact is that any backing up be while I'm around in the evening (I don't leave the computer on all day) and thus would inevitably cut into the time that he might like to be playing WoW.

Or, of course, he could just do some revision or get a life while it happens.

"Well," he said, "it's a bit inconvenient ..."

And that, I'm afraid, is when it just blurted out. A paraphrase of God's command to Creation, but in a more vulgate version. It took him aback. Me too.

But isn't it nice that after (nearly) two years of familyness we can still learn new things about each other.


  1. Anonymous10:00 am

    Are you using mozy for your backups? I think there is an option to throttle the bandwidth it uses. If you reduced this backups will take longer but would use less of your bandwidth, leaving some for gaming. I'm not sure how much WoW needs and it may not be possible to throttle back mozy enough to accommodate it, but could be worth a try.

    I know it might have been me who recommended you try online back ups but there are other options. You can get really cheap external hard drives now which are much quicker and easier to back up on, and they don't use your internet. I recently picked up an 80Gb one for no more than £40 and haven't used internet back up since. The only problem is they are physically in the same building as your computer so if your house burns down it's not much use.

    Of course it is your broadband, these are just options I can think of if you wanted to compromise.

  2. I'm surprised. And not a little disappointed. In fact I may even shake my head sadly now.

  3. We will look back at it and laugh ...

    Saturareborn (what happened to Semicolon?), yes it was you who recommended it ... and given that I don't care one molecule of a flying fig for its effect on WoW, it works just fine! A portable hard disk has been considered - but as you say, this way data is stored offsite. And I'm loath to spend a penny more than needed. He'll thank me one day.

  4. Ben I didn't know you knew such words!

    Not able to play WoW - Character forming - that's what it is. Gosh I remember when the noises on the phone line made the single line graphics go all wiggly!

  5. Can't you get a backup program that'll shut down the computer when it's finished? Then you could just set it running when you left for work.
    Or is there no other suitable time when you're in the house and he isn't?

    I'm on the side of the principle of compromise here. It overwhelms my principle of WoW dislike.

  6. Automatic shutdown is indeed an option being considered.

  7. Anonymous3:22 pm

    hmm, why is my OpenID displaying that rather than my nickname, it's not supposed to be.


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