From:                              Craig Phillips <> on behalf of Craig Phillips <>

Sent:                               Friday, June 17, 2016 10:13 AM


Subject:                          Cocktail Talk - Crash Test Dummies



Cocktail Talk

July 2016

Cocktail Talk

Dear Craig:   

Welcome to CN Consulting's "Cocktail Talk".


Cocktail Talk is a casual monthly newsletter intended to arm you with amusing bits and bytes of information on whats happening in the computer world. Topics sure to break the ice and capture an audience at many a social or business event.


Cocktail Talk is archived on


Currently, on Cocktail Talk - Crash Test Dummies


In grade school my Father would sometimes babysit me by taking me to the repair shop he owned with his brother.


I would scrape and sweep the floors, and walk to the auto parts store to pick things up. When I was 12 they taught me how to do brake jobs, rebuild starters and alternators, and even let me drive cars. 


I remember driving a 1969 Riviera Grand Sport (455 cid) down North Avenue in Chicago more than anything else about 7th grade.


The thing I remember most was the Penzoil sign on the wall that read, "It's cheaper to change your oil, than your engine.".


A case in point. 


While doing an initial evaluation of a dermatologist's office we found his server was in pieces. Two of the hard drives had been removed and were lying beside it. The doctor explained that the drives had crashed, but his previous consultant said everything was OK because the server had four drives and only needed two. It was my job to explain to the doctor that everything was not OK.


"Doc, your server had four drives. Three shared the work of storing all your business critical files and applications and the fourth was a spare. If one of the three crashes the remaining two make the spare into a new one.. If they have no spare they just keep plugging along until they get one, or one of them crashes. If you don't have at least two you lose the server. We need to replace the crashed drives right away." He said no.


That type of drive was very old which made it two things, likely to fail, and hard to find. It took days to find them, $200. I bought two to replace the crashed drives, and one to keep on his shelf. $600 and we would be safe.I asked again and the doc said no again. The three drives sat on a shelf in my office for a month before a vacation to Mexico.


Mexico, the sun, the sand, the sea. It was beautiful. Drinking sparkling water and eating cheeseburgers on the beach I was composing an email to doc that was sure to convince him to let me replace those drives. Then the phone rang. It was doc's Office Manager and she didn't sound good. 


She said they had just come in, their server was down and it wouldn't turn on. None of their employees could access any of their business critical files or applications either. They didn't know who was coming in, when, for what, how much they owed, or how much to bill. They were doomed. Oh no! 


I called Don (not his real name) and he went to their rescue. He had to drive over 100 miles that day to pick up the drives and get them to the good doctor. He started rebuilding their server from scratch using their backup.


Don had things in good shape by Friday and I took the weekend shift. The doctor's staff had recorded everything by hand for three days and really wanted to be up and running Monday morning. They were.


Unfortunately, and it happens a lot, the application they used to store all their signed client waivers didn't allow it's data to be backed up, it only lived on their server. Doc no longer had the signed waiver defense against lawsuits.


Three days of Don, and my 48 hour weekend spent living in doc's office cost him $12,000. It could have been avoided, along with the loss of those waivers. Doc still ended up paying $600 for those drives, and another $600 for my  phone bill from Mexico.


There are two major religions in my profession, Break-Fix and Managed Services. 


Break-Fix is where you passively wait for something to break and then hope it can be fixed. That's what doc did and he changed the engine.


Managed Services is where you proactively manage your computer resources. Kind of like changing the oil.





Change your oil, not your engine, or not, that's your call, and that's Cocktail Talk.



Thank you for reading,



Craig Phillips

CN Consulting, Inc.





CN Consulting, Inc -
Computer Consulting for Business!



CN Consulting Inc. (CNCI) is an independent consulting company formed in 1990 and located within easy reach of both Chicago and Milwaukee.


CNCI maintains a select client base providing consulting services concerning the use of information technology. We persistently look for advantage to our clients in added value and reduced cost made available by advancing technology.


CNCI does not have financial interest in any given product or product line. We evaluate current and emerging technologies solely based on their benefit to our clients. CNCI implements the solutions it recommends and readily partners with companies that offer products and services to the advantage of our clients. CNCI offers complete client support with singular accountability.


We maximize the benefit of our clients' existing technology, systems, and platforms while integrating the benefits provided by new technology.


Business Continuity and Business Development are our goals with Continuity being the foundation of Development.


CN Consulting, Inc., 23830 112th St, Salem, WI 53179



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