Comic 1746 - Identification

4th May 2022, 12:00 AM
Average Rating: 5 (12 votes)

Author Notes:

Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 7:20 AM edit delete
Marcus Ramesy
Computer update for Cent:

The Good: pc is up and runing, proc, board and ram are working as expected, system boots new video card is working

The Bad: the drive that has all the comic data and sets and new characters that Cent has been working on for the last year is dead. She was in the process of doing backs ups before the drive fried out, and when I say fried out I mean drive will not spin up wich is a good idicator that the control board fried out.

The Really Bad: Ill be checking with a local company to see how much it is going to cost, pricing for this type of process is between 200, to 1000 for data recovery. I will know more later today, but this also means that the state of Datachasers hangs pecarioulsy on if the data can be recovered, and if we can afford to get it recovered.

There are backups but, sadly those backups are older than some of the new characters that have been introduced and some of the new sets that have been worked on wich means that if we cant recover that data it will take a bit to rebuild the sets and in some cases rebuild/re create the lost characters.

In the future, I will be setting her computer up on an automated backup system so if something like this happens again in the future (goddes willing it doesnt) int wont be as catestrophic.

UPDATE: Contacted Desert Data Recovery and will be droping the drive off with them this weekend, (sooner if I can find gas money to drive to one of their drop off locations) they will take it in for diagnostics, and will report back with a price. its a 2 TB drive and worse case will be 1000 plus tax to put it in a clean room and do the recovery that way.... as always Ill keep you posted.

UPDATE2: Droped the drive off with Desert Data Recovery, they will get to it hopefully Monday, or Tuesday. Ill get a solidified answer to how much will be needed to recover the drive. The process has been started.
Centcomm 6th May 2022, 11:48 AM edit delete
sorry i haven't posted much.. im feeling rather sick at the loss of both internal hard drives now.. that's a lot of my data just gone. god willing Data recovery will get the most important drive.. im praying so
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Lurker314 4th May 2022, 12:04 AM edit delete reply
You SURE you wrote this dialog before my comments on the last few pages? :D :D :D

Oh, yes. Doc, I feel for you. Not nearly as much as someone who has failed at their job, but still. I _do_ feel for you.
Ryu Santos 4th May 2022, 12:17 AM edit delete reply
Well this is proving to be interesting.

BTW I'm having issues with logging into my Comic Fury account. So until I get the issue fixed I'll be using the guest postings.
Gilrandir 4th May 2022, 12:23 AM edit delete reply
Re: Authorial Hover Text

Even if you only get one such opportunity in a lifetime, it makes a big impression. ^_^
megados 4th May 2022, 5:04 AM edit delete reply

(But I had to look it up.)
Rocket Fueled 7th May 2022, 11:57 AM edit delete reply

HaHaHaHa. Good one, Gilrandir!
Demarquis 7th May 2022, 5:04 PM edit delete reply
I don't know what you guys are talking about. I refer to it every chance I get!
Gilrandir 7th May 2022, 6:42 PM edit delete reply
Ah, @Demarquis! But that is the question: How many chances do you get? ^_^
megados 4th May 2022, 5:10 AM edit delete reply

Luna will have to forgive them some of this, since without an amount of initial work, they wouldn't even have known to contact Luna.

I like Nisha. She fits in with a lot of forensic lab analysts.
Gilrandir 4th May 2022, 7:12 AM edit delete reply
Luna doesn’t have to do anything. Firstly, Galatea isn’t Luna’s concern, she is the Epiphyte’s concern. Secondly, it might be wise for whoever the concerned party is to be understanding of the fact that without the scans and analyses already performed, identification would not yet have been achieved; however dramas featuring exclusively the lives and stories of individuals making only good decisions continue to do surprisingly poorly in the ratings. Maybe this is how the webcomic gets to tell the story of the Second Terra-Epiphyte War? ^_^

Probably not, though.
megados 4th May 2022, 7:32 AM edit delete reply

Right; Luna doesn't have to do anything. I misspoke, having used the fact that she contacted Luna. The premise stands, though, and you seem to agree, that without the initial examinations, the Epiphytes will have to admit that they may never have known about Galatea's fate.
Haegan2005 4th May 2022, 8:26 AM edit delete reply

Interesting that you should mention that. I was speaking with Cent about what we the readers had seen so far and how I was reading the pages. These guys knew what they were doing. I don't think this was a random hit. The question remains though, how far up this goes. To be honest, most of what I got back was neutral hmmm. And the occasional comment of 'spoilers'. But I still think my comments from before are still valid. This page merely reinforced my opinions on this plotline.
Rocket Fueled 8th May 2022, 12:56 PM edit delete reply

One thing this *does* tell us is that neither Luna nor the Epiphytes comissioned that increasingly mysterious drone overhead...
megados 8th May 2022, 2:44 PM edit delete reply

Probably not; and since the scene wasn't immediately swarmed by CentComm's drones, or NTPD, (or both), it probably wasn't theirs either. That leaves open the possibility it was there for observation by whoever set this up. (Or it was a random happenstance, in which case there's information/witness(es) that can be had)

*edit: I wonder if the drone is from the paparazzi?
Gilrandir 9th May 2022, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
I am amused as the readers begin speculating about the power behind the drone. ^_^
Lurker314 10th May 2022, 7:06 PM edit delete reply
Well, what else are we supposed to do? Checkov's drone here is the one thing that the readers know that CSI does not. And CSI has more or less quoted verbatim what *ahem* various readers have said about the circumstance of the murder.

Since we are on the subject...

I would point out that if that drone were paparazzi, they would have contacted NTPD immediately. Even if there are severe laws against paparazzi, getting an immediate ID of a high-ranking murder victim + usable information on the perps is going to make all of that go away.

Much like a thief who reports child porn gets a pass today in the US.

What we KNOW is that the drone owner elected not to report the crime to NTPD.

Note that in 1740, the perps know who Galatea is. Their expressed surprise is that she is with someone, although their comments indicate some level of presumed knowledge of her personal life. Their insults suggest that they don't like androids generally.

Two possibilities come to mind, then. 1) this is a professional hit, and the team happens to agree strongly with this particular assignment, and 2) there is some sort of anti-android direct-action group that they are a part of.

Their handling of the situation is quite *un*professional, however. If these are professional hit men, they are bottom draggers, and if someone was going to the trouble & risk of putting a hit on such a target, surely, they would have gone with a higher grade team.

If they are part of an AADA group, however, the way that the assassination went down makes a lot of sense. The drone is to collect footage to use in recruitment, or perhaps a manifesto. The hit team itself has a certain amount of combat experience, but overestimates their capabilities. (ie: I'm thinking that their chance of success, given what they did, was < 80%)

I'm pretty certain that we have heard about such groups in the past. I suspect that Cent "the gardener" is about to do a *spectacular* amount of weeding...
Gilrandir 10th May 2022, 8:43 PM edit delete reply
There are other possibilities, @Lurker314. The significance of the drone footage might not yet have been recognized. It might not yet even have been processed. Like a bank’s security camera footage can be pulled if criminals are believed to have driven past the bank, but the police have to get around to requesting and reviewing the data. We are assuming, so far, that the drone was specifically focused on, and targeting Galatea, but I don’t believe we have definitive evidence of that. Maybe it’s just an autonomous patrol drone? Admittedly, that possibility — and many others — are less narratively interesting than others, but it is possible.

However, my original comment was much more simply a pun on the phrase “power behind the throne”. ^_^
megados 4th May 2022, 7:38 AM edit delete reply

Re: A/N, @Marcus, one thing I have done in the past, is to see if I can find an identical drive, and swap out the board. More than 90% chance the disk motor, and and head coils are fine. It might be cheaper than sending it out. The PS failure probably took out the coil drivers, and alternatively, you could obtain and swap out the motor coil drivers on the board, but that's a little more involved. If you have a DVM, you might be able to check the output lines from the driver chip.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 8:26 AM edit delete reply

if it was my personal drive, and the lively hood of a friend didnt depend on the drive, I woudl do such a thing, but if I screw up it becomes a lot more dificult for the professionals to fix wich ultimatly costs more money.
sigpig 4th May 2022, 8:23 AM edit delete reply

@Marcus - PM sent. Copying to Cent and Rose.
Bohica 4th May 2022, 9:03 AM edit delete reply

@Marcus. Just a thought, but you could always set up a GoFundMe to get the data recovered. I'd gladly chip in to save both the comic and Terri's and Krissy's work over the past 15+ years telling this story, and I'm pretty sure plenty of the readers would do the same.
Guest 4th May 2022, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
@Marcus Why are we still talking spinning rust here? SSD's are production stable and have been for some time. for the controller, there is a company that linus tech tips did a visit at who bypass the onboard contoller with custom hardware. Before you let anyone disassemble the drive that my be a good vendor to check for someone local with their equipment.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 9:20 AM edit delete reply

SSD are amazing and perfect, and for drives in the 3tb spec, prohibitivly expensive for the user. magetic media is great for bulk storage and cheap.. I just got off the phone with Desert recovery, they have the facilities to do a recovery, both clean room and logic board if needed. free consultation and diagnostics, (basicly a hand it to them and pray) they will let us know what the problem is and how much it will be to recover. worse case it will be 1000 plus tax.

as i mentioned before, for my own stuff I have no problems experimenting as I have backup solutions in place that minmize problems like this, but for something thats mission critical, I prefer to hedge my bets and let a facility that has the tools do it. .. if it was my HDD I woudl be out there searching a logic board and doing the swap and seeing what happens because I have the luxury of having the knowlege and the means to do it and if I fail nothing of value is lost. with this.. if I fail.. the comic could die. Im not about to risk the comic in favor of my pride :P
Just_IDD 4th May 2022, 9:53 AM edit delete reply
@marcus, I'm this guest. I put my email in the title of this message. I would suggest splitting the OS off onto a smaller SSD say 256g to save cost and then have a mirrored set of larger ssd for data. And get that rust out ofvthe system completely.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 10:38 AM edit delete reply

curent configuration is a ssd for the os, and 2 data drives, one 3tb and one 2tb, the 2 tb drive wich is the one that died was the drive that had all the daz libraries on it.. at the moment a total of 5tb of storage on the system. if money wasnt an option runing multiple SSD woudl be preferableb. but when you are working with multiple Terribytes its not cost effective ... I sadly have to build things with in a set budget :P the wonders and joys of IT, making something work with the least amount of money..
megados 4th May 2022, 10:46 AM edit delete reply

We were simul-posting. :D Long story short, you have a good chance to get stuff back.
megados 4th May 2022, 10:40 AM edit delete reply

SSD are great and all, but consider this: what happened here, is that there was a catastrophic power failure, and it blew out electronic circuitry in the drive. In a SSD, the data would have been stored in solid-state devices, which would likely have been destroyed in the incident. It's likely the data would be lost. The upside of mechanical drives here, is that the data are stored safely away from the catastrophe. It is most likely that the disks, heads, motor, and coils are fine. It should not be necessary to disassemble the mechanism. They should be able to replace the board, components on the board, or hook it to a test jig to read it. That should put it at the cheaper end of the cost spectrum. @Marcus, I understand your reason(s) for your reluctance. The point, though, is in this instance, it's lucky that it's a mechanical drive, because you have a very good chance of success.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 10:59 AM edit delete reply

@megados, that is true, the mechanical nature of the drive does provode some insulation against destruction... in reading on the website, they do have the ability to pull data off of SSD's in the event of faiure... but in all honesty, if I was ruing multipl SSD in a raid configuration it would be just a mater of pull the drive and put a new on ein and let the raid rebuild its self. .. as we all know a good raid is no substitute for a solid back up solution, but... it does make recovery a lot eeaiser if one drive fails ..

at this moment Im contemplating taking the old system she has sitting around and turning it in to a freenas box and have her use that for backups and then have a back up solution for that in the event of another catstroph... much like I have set up here in my own network, I run a qnap server with 12tb of storage, and I have 2 external drives that I have automatic backup s sent to... 1 so if something happens to the server again like the ransomware that I got hit with I have an eaiser time of recovery from offsystem backups... 2. makes recovery eaiser if something goes wrong.. so getting something similar set up that doesnt cost an arm and a leg is gooing to be the challenge... going with 4x4tb drives in a raid 5 configureation will give me 12tb total storage and the ability to rebuild the data in the event of one drive failing... its just getting the drives. but Ill get something set up for her later once we get the data recovered.

megados 4th May 2022, 12:58 PM edit delete reply

Yep, a backup that copies data out of the machine is the best insurance. That way, whatever might fail on the machine can't also cause backup loss. An aggregate approach can make things easier, faster, and/or more efficient too, but at least some of it should be external.

As far as retrieving stuff from a SSD that craps out on its own, I'm sure that something can be retrieved a lot of the time, but when the SSD is subjected to a catastrophic electrical event, my confidence decreases quite a bit.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 1:15 PM edit delete reply

I hear you on that, Im sure by now you have guessed my real world trade and practice. SSD is good for speed, and even good for a raid. magnetic media is still king for cheap bulk storage. but SSD being solidstate, doest have that small down side, its why I always do one ssd for the os, and magnetic medial for bulk storage... I could go for a striped array of ssd for speed with a weekely back up to the server for redundancy to take advantage of the speed of a striped arrary and ssd, but sadly money is a thing
megados 4th May 2022, 4:58 PM edit delete reply

I wasn't really trying to guess anything; you seem to have this in hand, and have ideas in mind. I like the ideas that don't cost a lot. All I'll say is that nothing lasts forever. A backup doesn't really have to be super fast. Cent's machine is "always on", so SSD for the OS is good with magnetic storage and applications is fine as it was. Something like a USB hub, and a couple of external drives as backup with some kind of task scheduler would be inexpensive, and doesn't need to be fast. Something I don't know offhand for sure though, is whether the portable drives spin up when they're addressed, or stay spun up. The point there is to keep them inert unless they're in use, to save on wear, and take advantage of the lower cost. I dunno. The simpler the better, should be my inclination. I'll shut up now. :D
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 7:34 PM edit delete reply

The hub and drives is not a terrible idea, if I can find space on her desk we can definatly get something like that set up again...
Thracecius 4th May 2022, 2:04 PM edit delete reply

I'm not sure who she is, I'm guessing Centcomm herself, but I'll keep my fingers crossed for our new friend detective. :)

@Marcus - I will pitch in funds to help with the costs when I get home tonight, assuming I don't space out again.
Ictuan 4th May 2022, 6:23 PM edit delete reply
Yes please keep us posted on data recovery costs so we can help out.
Marcus Ramesy 4th May 2022, 7:32 PM edit delete reply

of course, its why I end up taking point of such problems.. Ill make an update on sat after I drop off the drive, they wont get to look at it till monday so Ill hear somethint back shortly after that with a solid price and we can then go from there.
Old Fart 4th May 2022, 10:50 PM edit delete reply
Re: Ephipytes, only one comment. Told ya so. To which Cent replied "No Comment"
sigpig 5th May 2022, 7:48 AM edit delete reply

Everyone, I have been talking to Marcus about a backup solution through PM. I have already offered to help with cash, and I will soon have 4 2TB HDDS to ship to him. A 4-port SATA expansion card is about $33 on Newegg, and I'm sure Marcus could cobble together a "cheap and dirty" PC (hopefully Linux-based) to build a NAS.

I realize this "only" gives Cent 6TB of "real" storage, but the benefits of RAID5 on magnetic media outweigh the speed of SSDs, IMHO. Remember, they don't even have a shoestring budget, so a big SSD-based RAID is out of the question (unless someone donates the hardware).

These days, the OS should be on an SSD or M.2 drive, and data on discs. I would also recommend a good UPS (Uninterruptible Power Source and surge protector - APC makes decent ones for under $100) for her computers. One of those saved my workstation (NOT a gaming rig - a professional workstation for my cyber course).

I just want to say that the generosity of people on here is amazing. A LOT of very knowledgeable people too. Cent, Rose, and their families and friends are lucky to have you all.
Centcomm 5th May 2022, 10:10 AM edit delete reply

Im in full agreement on the readers.. they are the awesome.
Ictuan 5th May 2022, 4:52 PM edit delete reply
APC Back-Ups are a good UPS. I use them for everything. They clean up the electrical current and kick into battery mode anytime the electricity is slightly out of spec. These two things really help to protect electronic equipment.

Being I work from home, I use an APC Back-Ups 1500 with a 1500 expansion pack on my network gear and at my desk to power my laptop and monitors. Between the two I can go about 8hrs without power if I'm careful. Kind of important as I live where winter storms can knock out power for hours at a time.

If I could keep my USB-C port replicator powered and plugged in while the laptop relied on its own battery I could probably run all my monitors for the entire day on the UPS. The problem is I can't use the monitors without the laptop being docked and as soon as it's docked, the laptop wants to use AC power.
Marcus Ramesy 5th May 2022, 7:57 PM edit delete reply

I think she is using a cyberpower ups, it functions well, the failure wasnt the ups but supscted the new ps was fault and something shorted, (in all honesty we have no idea what realy happened only speculation) could have been that it was just time for the board to go and adding a 1kw ps was just too much for the old girl... what I can say is tha the old board blew for some reason, and took one of the drives with it, much like betty white when she took 2021 kicking and screaming in to hell with her.
Torin3 6th May 2022, 4:21 PM edit delete reply
@Marcus Ramsey, I'm very sorry if it was the PSU. I chose the one I did because EVGA is normally very good on their build quality, and they have pretty decent warranty service.
Marcus Ramesy 10th May 2022, 2:34 PM edit delete reply

@Torin3, dont worry about it, EVGA is generally good and sadly there are too many factors at play to determin cause... post mortem on the drive shows that the MCU was fried.... the seems to have happened with both the magnetic drives as they were both on the same rail... so it could have been ps, it could have been time for the board to do and it was just bad luck and concidence... and I dont have the bench tools to test that ps to make a determination on it so its eaiser for us to RMA it back as there is something rattling around in side it its better to be safe than sorry ... the thought and gesture were greatly apreciated, and we are back on the road to recovery... granted we shaved a few years off of Cent's mental wellness in the process... but we got this.
Rashala 5th May 2022, 11:07 PM edit delete reply

As one who has had a drive do this to me you have my sympathies and a ouch of shared pain
TheSkulker 6th May 2022, 8:50 AM edit delete reply

Just a suggestion but I would recommend that you look into the backup service (as opposed to a synch service), offered by Backblaze []. They offer unlimited backup service for only $7 pr month.It is a very stable company that has been around for decades and now has multiple data centers. This would allow you immediate backup protection without even a moderate cash outlay. Uploading 6TB could take a few days (depending on her internet connection), but recovery options include getting a USB drive.

They also publish a quarterly drive reliability report that is very interesting. (Storing 2 million tera bytes of data takes a LOT of drives!)
Marcus Ramesy 6th May 2022, 9:00 AM edit delete reply

Looking in to it now, Im not a fan of cloud backups because of price, but this one seems to have a very reasonable storage soution for a very reasonable price 130 for 2 years, not to bad. definatly something to consider. thank you! !
Rocket Fueled 7th May 2022, 12:17 PM edit delete reply

I've used Carbonite [] for several years and like their 'continuous backup to the cloud', as my computer is also always on. Their basic plan, which includes unlimited data, is normally $84/year but is currently on sale for $50/year.
Rocket Fueled 7th May 2022, 12:25 PM edit delete reply

With the cloud backup thing said, I very much like your 'defense in depth' approach to storage, Marcus Ramsey. I also have an APC UPS with RAID5 primary storage on my computer. The RAID itself has saved me more than once.
mjkj 6th May 2022, 9:04 AM edit delete reply

I really hope the Epiphytes will find the culprits - and I hope they will survive if this is a trap...

@a/n: hope the recovery will work... - thank you for taking care of this...
Gilrandir 6th May 2022, 12:13 PM edit delete reply
( Replying to Authorial Comment about worry over 'dead' hard drives. )

I am imagining 'Technician Mallard' speaking in a British accent to a hard drive laid out on the table before him, his gloved hands holding a tool with delicate confidence. "So, my dear, let's have a look and see what stories you have to tell ..."

Our hopes and best wishes go with you, @CentComm.
megados 6th May 2022, 2:59 PM edit delete reply

"Our hopes and best wishes go with you, @CentComm. "
Indeed they do!

In this case, "Technician Mallard" would be practicing technical necromancy to resurrect them, if only long enough to retrieve the necessary information.
robnot 7th May 2022, 6:27 AM edit delete reply
hehe,, in that case,, "Technician Anita Blake." for all your HD recovery..
Marcus Ramesy 7th May 2022, 4:56 PM edit delete reply

Sadly there is no Animators Inc. around, but glad to know im not the only one thats a fan of Ms Blake and her ontarage
Gilrandir 9th May 2022, 9:56 AM edit delete reply
Actually, we really don't want a 'Technician Anita Blake' getting involved. The way most of those stories go, if she does, the drive is f*cked. ^_^
Marcus Ramesy 9th May 2022, 9:21 PM edit delete reply

@gilrandir, and the drive woudl like it, and then put her in her place, and she woudl like it. and then in chapter 14, the rest of the drives will get involved and proboble F@#K each other, because a group affair is always a good story :P
Gilrandir 9th May 2022, 11:08 PM edit delete reply
In the early chapters, Anita discovers a hard drive with immense size, but it is unresponsive. She strips away its outer shell and fixes its corrupted power pathways, only to discover that this gives her control over the drive and she can force it to surrender its data. While she is agonizing over the moral dilemma this presents, other drives she has interfaced with try to persuade the problem drive to unlock its decryption and just share data with Anita — but the drive refuses until the situation grows desperate. Eventually all the drives connect up in a big RAID configuration, allowing Anita to accept downloads from all of them simultaneously and providing her with unprecedented levels of reliable storage that she uses to save the day.

… Afterwards, while the drives are all spinning down, Anita gets served with a Cease-And-Desist order from Microsoft for violating their storage algorithm patents, providing the hook for the Next Book.
Centcomm 10th May 2022, 6:58 AM edit delete reply

Marcus Ramesy 10th May 2022, 11:39 AM edit delete reply

@gilrandir, I see we have both read the same book and a beautiful synopisis that keeps both the spirti, and lore intact..... mostly :P well done.. very well done.
Ms Hamilton would be proud,
Rocket Fueled 7th May 2022, 12:21 PM edit delete reply

Well-said, megados and gilrandir. Best wishes indeed, Centcomm!
Deanatay 7th May 2022, 11:38 AM edit delete reply
Judging as how they are in New Troy, and the political excrement is about to hit the spinning blades of public opinion, I have a strong suspicion that "She" refers to Calliope - or possibly Angela! Not sure which would be worse to face, right now...
Rocket Fueled 7th May 2022, 12:19 PM edit delete reply

Huh, that's interesting. I was guessing while I read it that 'she' was Centcomm.
Demarquis 7th May 2022, 5:06 PM edit delete reply
It's weird, and a little meta, how real life mimics fiction. Here we are, awaiting the results of a forensic diagnosis of Cent's drive, meanwhile in the comic they were awaiting the results of a forensic diagnosis of the autopsy. In a sense, the results of the in-comic investigation will depend on the results of the real world one.
megados 10th May 2022, 4:23 PM edit delete reply

Has there been any word on the status of the drives/recovery?
Centcomm 10th May 2022, 4:34 PM edit delete reply

Marcus will be giving update tomorrow on the new page. :"D
megados 10th May 2022, 5:15 PM edit delete reply

Thanks! I will look forward to it. :D Hoping to hear good news!
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