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May 23, 2012

Dual-wielding external hard drives

One for my 'how to change the world list': someone needs to do something about external hard drives.

I understand that all hard drives fail, and I'm careful with backups, I really am. But the average life expectancy of an external hard drive on my desk, being used for Time Machine and never moved, is no more than a year. What's with that?

Anyway, last week I noticed that my Time Machine drive was reporting a 'lost+found' folder, which tends to be bad news, and today it's refusing to backup saying that the backup drive is read only. Which is, to be fair, a lot better than saying the backup drive is a brick.

In this case it's particularly worrying, because I had a machine hard disk failure a few months ago, and restored not with a full system restore but piecemeal so as to delete a decade of cruft from the system. I believe I recovered all the important data but there's always the chance something that I care about is missing, and if it is, then the only place it will be after I replace the backup drive will be on the last-resort offsite backup.

In other news: Diablo is toast. Well, on 'Normal' difficulty at any rate. I'm not very competent at these games, but putting all my points into stun and zapping him with a taser (sorry, dual stunning crossbows) did the trick; he just wobbled around with little birds fluttering about his head for 20 minutes or so while I pathetically battered him with the spike of my high-heeled shoe. Having delayed the final battle for 20 hours so that Jonathan could watch, he got bored and wandered off.

Meanwhile, it looks like a single crossbow & quiver is much more efficient than dual one-hand crossbows, but the dual crossbows look fantastic. Especially as I had one fire, one ice for a while. I am not entirely sure how the demon hunter is supposed to reload them from her hip-mounted quivers one handed at battle speed. Perhaps I am over thinking this.

Posted by Alison Scott at May 23, 2012 09:41 AM


I have heard several people complain that they should have unlocked harder difficulty levels from the start, as the game is just too easy on Normal.

I hope your files are recoverable.

Posted by: Andrew Ducker [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 23, 2012 05:37 PM

That's not actually how the harder levels work though; they're designed to be accessed by a higher level character. Sort of like sequels with the identical plot. I'm not entirely persuaded. Torchlight has different difficulties, including one so easy that small children could play, and one that's a serious challenge. Blizzard keep saying that D3 is primarily a multiplayer co-op game and that they're expecting it to take a long time for people to work out the best strategies, but my single experience of co-op was a bit 'meh', and I can't imagine I'm going to play through the same plot 20 times to get all five classes through the game. Even the second difficulty level, Nightmare, has a sort of 'randomly hard' element, because what happens is that the harder monsters have special characteristics (fast, plagued, teleporting, and so on), and on higher difficulties these randomly combine. Plus the perils of always-on, server driven games: I understand from the Interwebs that Blizzard has nerfed the primary dodge power of the Demon Hunter. I find that sort of thing really, really, irritating. Surely if the skill was so unbalanced (they've downgraded it 66%) they should have spotted it in beta? Another skill for a different character apparently released with 10x the effect it should have had.

They spent ten years developing this; this sort of thing should have been ironed out.

Posted by: Alison Scott at May 23, 2012 11:15 PM

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