Sunday, March 30, 2008

opening up space

The little volume control on the taskbar at the bottom of my screen disappeared. I asked Peter on google-chat how to get it back, he suggested restarting, so I did. Nope, still gone. I don’t want to be going to Start → All Programs → Accessories → Entertainment → Volume Control every time I want to mute my sound.

Because Don was busy at school Friday night as Master of Ceremonies for “Family Fun Night” I was home with lots of free time. As I was browsing the various unknown programs array when you click “Start” next to the Microsoft logo, I found the “Disk Defragmenter” tool (although I doubt I could find it again). I thought, hey, good idea to defragment. That was about two hours ago, and it’s now at 42%.

What’s cool about this Disk Defragmenter is that it is moving files around that can happily be contiguous and save space. You can see the top row there before defragmentation. The bottom row is in process. All that white unused space is to the right now, and the contiguous blue is clustered together, using space more efficiently. It just needs some time to regroup and open up that empty space.

Defragmenting is what Inge and I talked about at lunch earlier Friday. Not about computers, but rather daily life. And we didn’t use that word, but it seems right now.

She was telling me how she had gotten sort of crusty (my word) with built up stuff (I won’t tell you what kind of stuff, since that’s her business if she wants to blog about it) and that she had spent some time putting her consciousness on it and “stalking” it. Then she found insights and connections in her readings that reaffirmed her life calling, and she felt renewed.

You gotta understand. Inge and I are pretty introspective. We’re perfect friends for each other.

This is the most stressful time of year in my job. Papers, records, mail, journals and books pile up, waiting for less busy days to read, sort and file them. Students get annoying, colleagues get annoying, the University gets annoying. I can let resentments build up.

Friday morning my friend Alek in Greece posted this great black and white photo of an old Athens restaurant with a huge window and high ceiling. Something about that high-ceilinged room ~ head space ~ reminds me of defragmenting. You’re out on the busy streets of Athens, you stop shopping and bumping into people and step into this cool space and drink a café. All that chaos from the street hovers invisibly above your head. Your solitary self settles and regroups.

It’s fairly easy to see the need to declutter my house - throw laundry in the hamper, clear off the counters and put the dishes in the dishwasher, pick the newspapers up off the floor. It’s not as easy to see when my computer files need to be reorganized. It’s even less easy to see when I need to defragment and open up some space in my own head, free of crapola and annoyances that like to add up. And I guess my point is that it’s probably more important to do it when I am stressed and busy than when I’m not.

Hey! The Defragmenting is done. The report says:

0 files fragmented (I guess it didn’t need defragmenting after all.)
I have 8,236 folders (all those photos).
I have 36% free space.


Anonymous said...

I could use a good defrag session at this point! Did it fix the problem you had with your computer?

Ruth said...

No, Heath, still no volume control icon.

Hope you can defrag today.

Don said...

I felt like I was beginning to defrag as I read. I like the concept of stalking those things in your brain that need change or attention. It's hard to capture something when you're not looking for it.

Rauf said...

i think i found it Ruth
you have to go to
control panel
sound and Audio devices (its nearly on the last line)
double click on it
page opens
it has 5 buttons or what ever they call it
Volume - sounds - Audio - Hardware

in volume button you see high low,

under it its mute
under mute
it says 'place volume icon in the task bar
tik on it
hope it works Ruth

Loring Wirbel said...

Usually the Mars/Venus argument is between left-brain and right-brain, or linear vs. holistic thinking. The sad thing about modern society, affecting both sexes, is that few seem to grasp things either linearly or holistically, but only fragmented, like little sparkles of silver shrapnel representing dissociated facts. I'd like a defragger tool that could preserve both linear flow and holistic gestalt, while getting rid of all those neural spaces for old pop-tune lyrics and information on celebrities, but maybe that's too much to hope for.

Ruth said...

Yes, rauf. I had done that, and even though the box was clicked, it still wouldn't show up. I even clicked "apply." Today Don unclicked it clicked apply then reclicked it clicked apply, and it worked!

Thank you for the help.

Ruth said...

Don, I find that it's just a matter of attention. If I don't pay attention, I miss a lot.

Ruth said...

Loring, it would be incredible to be able to think both linearly and holistically in some kind of organic flow. You really do have a lot of information in that brain of yours, I never thought about it being like those red lines that "can't be moved" and get in the way of the flow. But that makes sense.

Ink said...

Really enjoyed your blog today, Ruth, after spending the day doing our taxes [HA! "spending the day"--perfect for our culture where everything is a commodity, even time]. Seriously, folks, is there anything more mind-numbing and time-wasting than reading the instructions and then filling in all the tax information?

I will put out the intention before I go to sleep tonight for my brain to go into defrag mode! Wouldn't it be grand to wake up mentally refreshed and with loads of head-space?

Ruth said...

Ing, poor thing. At least now it's done, eh?

Defrag away, my friend. Tell me if it works.

Anonymous said...

Defragging is good as it keeps drives in good shape and prevents them from crashing befor their time. In the long run, a few minutes spent defragging regularly helps avoid so many performance issues, increasing the PC productivity.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Anon., that's good to know. It's even more important than I realized.

Ginnie said...

This is so funny, Ruth because when L&C were with us in AMS, C did a couple things to my laptop, one of which was defragging! There's also a clean-up session that I need to start doing ever so often, both under Accessories. L/C can tell you where to find it again. But it's a point well taken on several levels. Computer language really makes a lot of sense, when you start understanding it! :)

Ruth said...

Boots, these things matter, apparently. I'm glad C was able to help you get your system running more smoothly.

Bob Johnson said...

Hey Ruth I defrag monthly, makes a big difference for me, and I love your Moon picture, beautiful to see the Moon during the day.

Ruth said...

Bob, I'm glad I finally found the defragger so I can do it now regularly too. Glad you like the pic. I wish I knew as much as you about photography to get the cows more clear, but maybe it's not possible to get the moon right AND the stuff on the ground.

mystic rose said...


I would only see it this way:
one more thing to add to your stress list: DEFRAGMENT right now.

Ruth said...

Mystic, haha, you have a point.

Bob Johnson said...

Ruth it is hard, sometimes if you focus on the Moon, depending on how far away the land objects are they will be in focus too, I have also used a setting called automatic depth of field or
"A-DEP" setting on my camera which adjusts your f stop and shutter speed to give you the max depth of field.

Ruth said...

Bob, A-DEP sounds handy.

lolly said...

36% free space -- oh boy; time to move some of those pix onto an external hard drive to free up moere space, otherwise your computer won't work too well, soon! There are many good and cheap ones available, can recommend the Maxtor range. Good luck! :O)

Ruth said...

Yes, thanks, Lolly! Note to self . . .