Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tech Sunday - System Maintenance

One of the things on my to do list is to clean up the Surface Pro tablet that came with my Quilt Path.  The less you store on your tablet the more resources the tablet has to use.  There are two kinds of memory that we talk about, RAM which is dedicated only to the system's use and storage, which you use to save things on your system.  The thing that most users do not understand is that the storage is also used by the system when all the RAM is being used.   Quilt Path does extremely complex mathematical calculations.   Huge calculations!   It is very important to maintain your system in such a way that you have the maximum amount of resources available for those calculations.  

Here are some things that I suggest...  
  • Keep your Surface Pro dedicated to Quilt Path only.  This is not the tablet to do things like surfing the internet, downloading games or anything else.  This is the system that runs your longarm and that is really all you want it to do.  The added benefit is that you will not have to worry about installing something that might cause your Quilt Path to stop working.  Software incompatibility is a huge headache for Tech Support Reps.  Let's try to keep the helpful reps at Grace headache free!
  • Don't store all your digital designs on the tablet.  First off you want them all saved somewhere that is backed up regularly.  I have mine in a folder on my laptop that is backed up to my server.  From there it is backed up to the cloud.  Yes, I really do back-up my back-up.  This is part of my contingency plan for "what if my studio/house is completely destroyed."  The real reason you don't want thousands of designs on your tablet is that the less you have on it the more storage memory Windows has available.  I store the top 20 or so designs that I use all the time on my surface.  I use Royal Plume often so it gets to stay on my tablet.  The Rocketship E2E, that was completely adorable on a little boy's quilt that I did, but is not one that I will use very often, is not stored on my tablet.  
  • Clean off your old designs and saved quilts.  I have a folder that I created where I save the quilt I am currently working on.  About once a month I go in and delete all the old files out of this folder.  I have learned that I am not going to go back and use them.  I prefer to start from scratch with each quilt.  Mostly because I dislike quilting a second quilt exactly like a previous one.  I have quilted over 30 Michael Miller Clubhouse quilts, it would have been very easy to save the design and do them all the same.  I love the fact that every one of those quilts is quilted differently and all match the design aesthetic of the specific customer.   To clean out this folder, I use Windows Explorer.    
  • Keep your Surface in Airplane Mode.  I don't have time for Windows to decide it is going to update halfway across a quilt.   I only take it out of Airplane Mode if I am on the phone with Grace and they want to remote in.  
  • Another good reason to not fill your tablet with designs is that when Grace updates you to a new version it allows them to install the new version to a new directory.  This means that you can go back and use the old version, if needed.  
A couple weeks ago, my husband picked up my iPad to watch a movie.   The iPad ended up meeting our tiled kitchen floor.  While we do use it to surf the internet and watch movies, the main use of the iPad is for my business.  Within an hour I had a brand new iPad that had been updated with all the apps that my old one had.    This got me thinking about my Surface, which goes to shows with me.   What if I dropped my Surface?  How would that impact my business?  The contingency planner in me took over and I started researching what my options are and how much it would cost.  The good news is all you would need to do is purchase another Window 8 tablet.  You would want to talk to Grace or APQS and make sure that the one you are purchasing would have the minimum system requirements for Quilt Path.  Once you got the tablet you would use the USB that came with Quilt Path to install the program to the new tablet.   They really have made this situation easy for us!  I am sure that Grace would help you get things installed if you needed them.  The mount that we are using is even adjustable so that we should still be able to use it with a different tablet!  They really did plan ahead when they designed the system.  

Now I just need to get over the case of the "I wants" that I got after reading about the new MS Surface Pro 3 that is about to be released.   And that my friends is the dark side of being a geek, there is always something new coming out and, at least for a moment, you convince yourself you really need it.  In this case, I know it is not a need, my Quilt Path quilts just fine! 

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