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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1341
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Wednesday, 03 June, 2015 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Someone I know recently lost their paper maintenance log along with 4 years worth of records. It is, to put it mildly, disheartening when that happens.

A couple of years ago I found this MS-Access Maintenance Log database template and have been using it ever since.

You can track as many cars as you like in it, or create a separate copy for each car you want to keep a log on so that you can pass it along to the next custodian.

It's quite flexible in what it allows you to keep, down to scanned copies of your receipts for any given repair/maintenance.

I hope this might prove useful.

Brian
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Robert Noel Reddington
Frequent User
Username: bob_uk

Post Number: 54
Registered: 5-2015
Posted on Saturday, 06 June, 2015 - 05:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Keeping a record of work done to a vehicle is important not only does ot increase value but it also becomes an artifact.

Imagine a service history from a 1930s car. Even if the car is gone the documemts still give an insight into a 1930s daily driver and what motoring was like in the 1930s.
I worked in a very old garage which had paper work going back to 1928. It made interesting reading.
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Bob Reynolds
Prolific User
Username: bobreynolds

Post Number: 264
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Saturday, 06 June, 2015 - 06:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Nice idea, but bear in mind that you are MUCH more likely to lose computer data than you are to lose paper copies. Either through losing the data itself or losing the ability to read it.
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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1352
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 12:45 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob R,

As often as I've heard the statement you've made made, I don't see it happening often in actual practice if:

1. A person actually does keep backups on a separate backup drive. [I've seen tons of catastrophic loss when they don't.]

2. The data is "active," by which I mean it keeps being ported to the latest computer a person owns and to a program that can read it. MS-Access has been around for a very long time, and probably will remain so.

Both of the above being said, I guess it depends on the individual. I'm a good record keeper, whether on physical paper or electronically, but for most people I know that's just not the case, particularly for long term storage of paper.

I disposed of my paper receipts as soon as I'd scanned them and imported those scans into the maintenance log. I did, however, keep the PDF scans as their own separate thing as well. Right now simplifying and decluttering have become priorities in my own life.

One could certainly keep a paper archive, too, and many probably would. I can say that the computer archive does make locating specific information much easier as time progresses and the amount of papers increases.

The nice thing is this particular setup lets you print out very nice maintenance reports, too, which can be placed in your paper archive if you keep one. Those are excellent as indices.

Bob UK,

Those old records are very interesting reading when you can find them. As you said, they allow you to see what actually was, rather than vague "misty watercolor memories, of the way we were."

Brian
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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 744
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 01:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I guess this is really down to personal preference but for my part I am totally useless at keeping a paper copy. I tend to lose the bits of paper or, when searching through a draw full of documentation, find the piece I am looking for missing. Putting it all in one place on a computer disk is so much easier (for me).

For people who have no interest in computers and just use them as a tool for their other work, the one thing I would urge is, as Brian said, TAKE BACKUPS. USB disks are really cheap. Just plug one in and copy all your files to it. I have two.

Geoff
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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1354
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 01:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Geoff,

I'll contradict your advice, sort of, and say that given the now unbelievably low price of USB backup drives in the 500GB to 2TB range, that if you're a computer user that values all your data you should definitely acquire one of those and:

1. Do full backups of all data on your system.

2. Do system image backup as part of your backup routine as well.

These days, particularly if one has a digital camera and uses it frequently, it is entirely possible for digital photographs alone to exceed the capacity of most USB/Jump/Thumb drives. In addition, being that I'm in the "helping people in computer crises" business, it's amazing how many people know how to open a given file that they use in the context of the program what manipulates it, but may have no idea of where that thing is actually located on their drive(s). The "Recent Files" feature is both a blessing and a curse.

I've often had to do searches after system restorations or simple ports because the person I'm doing those for "can't find" a file they know "was there." I also try to teach them how to use either the Windows (or OS-X, on less frequent occasions) search feature, or the Everything Search Engine to find the various things they think lost, but that are actually not where they thought they were.

Brian
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Bob Reynolds
Prolific User
Username: bobreynolds

Post Number: 266
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 02:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

"As often as I've heard the statement you've made made, I don't see it happening often in actual practice if:
1. A person actually does keep backups on a separate backup drive. [I've seen tons of catastrophic loss when they don't.]"


Well that's the point - They don't! But even when they do, the single backup they took 2 years ago can't be found or can't be read and is completely out of date anyway.

None of the present storage devices are guaranteed to last for more than a few years.

If stored properly, paper will easily last for hundreds of years, and you don't need any special equipment to read it!
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Robert Noel Reddington
Frequent User
Username: bob_uk

Post Number: 60
Registered: 5-2015
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 02:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

I keep all the receipts for parts. These tell a story in themselves. It not ad good as a Full RR service history but show that someone cared about my car. Me

If I ever needed to sell the car I will then use the receipts to write the story of my ownership.
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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1355
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 03:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob R,

Believe it or not, I see your point entirely.

That being said, you cannot (with a straight face, anyway) call taking a backup at intervals that defy reason as functional. This also falls back to a lack of discipline that's likely to carry over to any sort of record keeping, too.

I will disagree with you about the, "They don't!," assertion, at least in many cases. MS-Windows in the 7 and beyond era has made backup taking a "set and forget" proposition. If people acquire a backup drive and set things up when they're setting up their system (or having someone else set it up) they will have sequential reverse chronological backups with multiple file versions available without having to touch a thing.

Given the current cost of backup drives, which falls by the month, if you have to replace one every few years this is a minimal expense for the peace of mind it creates.

God willing, you won't ever need those backups.

Brian, who's proselytizing for the Church of Regularly Scheduled Backups
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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 745
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 03:06 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Actually, for people who have no idea of what is going on behind the scenes on their computer it is probably better for them to keep paper copies.

When you think about it, the advice "take backups" actually assumes quite a lot of system knowledge.

For my part, I keep my operating system and software on the C drive and use Acronis to make an image copy of the entire drive. That way in the event of a disk crash or viral attack I can restore my system within 15 mins. My data is held on the D drive and I use a directory called "main" as the top of the hierarchy that contains all the files and directories that must be backed up. It is very simple to make an entire copy to the USB drive, which I run overnight. I keep duplicate copies on two separate 2Tbyte disks.

I consider myself to be an unsophisticated computer user, but this is the bare minimum of knowledge you would need to keep your system safe.

From what Bob R has written, he obviously is computer savvy and has the knowledge to keep his system safe, however I can see his point about keeping paper copy if the user does not know enough about their system.

Brian - It must be a tough job trying to advise people on how to maintain their desktops/laptops if they haven't a clue as to something as simple as the location of their files.

Geoff
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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1356
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 03:25 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Geoff,

You would not believe, truly you wouldn't, how many users, and often very sophisticated users if you're talking about knowing how to use application software, have no idea at all about file systems or directories/folders.

Their systems generally have everything in a "big messy ball" in their My Documents folder.

Even then, there's almost always a case where they did something like a "Save As" and tucked something somewhere else by accident.

It has taken a very long time for me to finally get my partner to grasp the idea that he has to think about where he wants to save a file and knowing what he did (or at least how to use a search) later. He's not stupid, but the difference between the artist's mindset and the technician's is vast.

Computers are very much like automobiles in this respect. A vast majority of adults know what they are and how to use them very, very well (no, we won't get into driving style). However, when something goes wrong they are utterly clueless. What's funny is that there appears to be a clear age-related cluster of users who get what's going on "under the hood" on computers, and it's the group where computers didn't exist during the early part of their lives and they were required to grow up with the technology doing the same.

My observation is that individuals ranging from young children to late-20s, perhaps 30, are currently the most clueless regarding how to fix anything if something doesn't go according to plan on their computer. Their facility with using these tools is incredible, almost as natural as walking, but because it is just so easy you don't really need to know much of anything about "how it all works." And when it works as it should, there's not much curiosity on the part of that age group about the how part.

You see this same sort of lack of understanding, but without the effortless facility, with older computer users. You often have to convince them that there's really nothing they can do that will "break the computer." That fear is a residual from the early days, when the horror stories about individuals doing something like a "format c:" command and wiping out their hard drive were common (and, of course, command prompts didn't ever second guess you or ask, "Are you sure?," way back when).

Brian
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Geoff Wootton
Grand Master
Username: dounraey

Post Number: 746
Registered: 5-2012
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 04:25 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Brian

An excellent and interesting analysis. I fear I am beginning to show my age, having being brought up on command lines, Unix and fortran. My desktop is still clunking along on Windows XP. I will have to, in the near future get myself up-to-date with windows 10, auto backup etc. I may check out the latest versions of linux, just to see if it bridges the gap better.

Geoff
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Robert Noel Reddington
Frequent User
Username: bob_uk

Post Number: 63
Registered: 5-2015
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 05:27 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Simple solution 2 identical memory sticks.

One with the documents in the home.
The other in the glove box.

The home pc has the same data. Up date the record on the pc and then down load to both sticks.

I am of an age where we used slide rules and wore flat caps and smoked woodbines and drew explanations of mechanical stuff on the packet. Eh by gum. You think you had it bad.😆

I am a qualified autoCAD technician. So despite my age I do understand computors. I used to do 3D modelling. A lot of us older peolpe do understand.

I have noticed that being unknowing about physics maths and other high disciplines seem to be cool.

I once explained something to an apprentice that was quite complex he got it quick. I gave him a well done and the other apprentices mocked him for his effort.

I hate it when poeple dumb down or are so lazy their brains can't understand basic stuff.

I had a neighbour like this. Somehow he could work out the racing odds but couldn't work out the area of his front room for new carpet. Lazy brain. I explained multiple times and he still didn't get it. I think I figured this out on my own probably before I was 8.

I am sure areas was part of the 11 plus exams at school.

Another sort of lazy brain is they can read and pronounce the words and know the meaning but can't understand the complete sentence.

Also craft skills. Taken as a whole it quiet daunting. But if taken in small steps much easier. I have been sawing materials since school and remember cutting fence palings for my dad and he how to get it square and straight after about 5 I got it right. Now its automatic. Bit like riding a bike.



They say necessity is the mother on invention I will add knowledge as well.

For me to do 3D autoCAD I had to learn MS stuff and data bases etc. Because behind the 3D drawing is an enormous amount of other stuff such as BOMs. I have manage so the guys on the shop floor can actually make the part. Any thing missing and the job stops and I have to explain to the workshop foreman and waste time. I worked on one project that got delay into penalty payments due to a guy who used cyptic codes and then lost his note book. None of his drawings were in the drawing data base because he didn't see the point. In his efforts to frantically recover the drawings he deleted them. Our computer software tech guy told him to copy the whole file to archive and to a new file as is before sorting out the file. He didn't. Do he got sacked. The tech guy recovered the files. I got the job of making sense of the files. Tedious brain numbing work. 3 weeks. Data clerking. After that the boss only numbered and named files. We interlocked with the drawing data base. So as soon as the file is issued its ready on the data base for entries.

Also the names described the component such as battery tray bracket L/H.

One my memory stick is a pdf of workshop manual. Plus MS paint drawings of hydraulic circuits in colour. Only RR stuff on this key. My lap top has an identical file.
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Brian Vogel
Grand Master
Username: guyslp

Post Number: 1357
Registered: 6-2009
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 05:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

Bob UK,

I do hope you didn't take my generational generalizations as carved in stone or meant to insult, as that was surely not their intent. There are exceptions to every generalization. It sounds like, though you are older than I, you were involved in a business where you did "grow up as the technology did." One of my favorite quotations is by Robert Heppe and was contained in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post back in the 1980s:

A sensible person realizes that all principles that can be expressed in a statement of finite length are oversimplified.

Many of us, including myself, are inclined to forget this particular axiom at times.

I remember only too well when file names were limited to 8 characters, the dot/period, plus the 3-character-max-length extension. When you had thousands of drawings (or whatever) this made it well-nigh impossible to come up with a naming convention that made sense on sight. I also remember when this restriction was finally lifted and how long it took many to actually practice meaningful file naming conventions. The cryptic-8 hung around long after it wasn't enforced by the operating system.

Geoff,

The latest build of the Win10 Insider Preview has taken the next step closer to "everything old is new again" as far as the behavior of the Start button goes. I've been using it on an old non-touchscreen laptop and it's very easy to use with only good old "point and click." There were aspects of both Win8 and 8.1 where that was not nearly so true.

Brian, who still hasn't quite adjusted to the space character being allowed in file names, even though that's been possible for years now
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Robert Noel Reddington
Frequent User
Username: bob_uk

Post Number: 67
Registered: 5-2015
Posted on Sunday, 07 June, 2015 - 07:01 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IP

No offence taken. As I said I have met people who are real dumb some were older.

Colin Chapman of Lotus Cars said that if an idea is to complicated to understand then is %ollocks.

I have noticed that even the most complicated thing when taken in small logical steps makes sense. A progressive look is needed. Like maths. Start with 2 + 2 equals 4 and progress to something harder.

A good example is Shadow and Spirit hydraulics. Or electrics. Or music.

The important thing to do is to name files sensibly and down load to memory sticks as back up.

I have a file on desktop called bobs stuff. This opens up and has all my stuff is in there. The memory sticks are back up for these files. One memory stick is nothing but song lyrics and music. I use obvious names. Nothing secret.

I never edit a memory stick I edit the pc file first when correct I then update the memory stick. That way if something crashes I still have the original.

I have had a pc shut down never to work again. Plus hard ware gets out of date.

Absolutely no offence taken.

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