Things I will never do

So I’m back at Google after about six weeks off. That probably sounds like a lot to Silicon Valley folks; it’s hard to believe that in high school we would get a break that was twice that long every summer.

I managed to knock out a lot of things I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I got the car in good shape. Saw an eye doctor and a regular doctor. Got my cholesterol checked. Turns out I’ve got more than enough of it. πŸ™‚ I organized my computer cables, although not as tidy as Danny likes his. I read a ton of books.

What’s more interesting to me is what I didn’t do. My current theory is that even if I were given a near-infinite amount of free time, I probably still wouldn’t:

– Read a book about financial planning or change my checking account to collect interest.
– Decorate my office.
– Learn to play the guitar.
– Or play the piano.
– Or sing.
– Play golf. Or garden.
– Learn to fly a plane.
– Learn to type on a Dvorak keyboard.

One thing I did finish, and which surprised me, is I finally pulled data off all the hard drives that have been collecting dust:

Fleet of hard drives! Attack of hard drive aliens!

Just in case you weren’t sure if I’m a geek: yes, I am. I highly recommend this AMS Venus hard drive enclosure. It’s got Firewire and USB ports. And if you pop the case off, you get a nice little tray with data and power cables:

Hard drive enclosure

It’s practically a mini-assembly line if you need to swap out different hard drive quickly. Then combine the AMS hard drive enclosure with Ubuntu Linux and it will read everything: vfat (Win95), NTFS (Windows NT), ext2/3 (Linux partitions). It will slurp through it all with a minimum of effort.

66 Responses to Things I will never do (Leave a comment)

  1. So many Maxtor drives. So many evil Maxtor drives.

    Matt, dude, buddy, you need more Western Digital! I only see one…two…possibly 3 but the label’s too hard to read.

    I’ve never been around a Maxtor drive that has lasted the lifespan of its warranty (including seeing 3 SCSI drives go in the space of 6 months in a low-use server with no other mechanical defect, as verified by a Maxtor rep after the third one.) On the other hand, I’ve only ever seen one WD drive go during the warranty period (thanks to a storm/power outage.)

  2. I’m a little disappointed Mr Cutts. I know self-appointed geeks aren’t supposed to enjoy bright lights (especially daylight) – but to not garden?

    I think if you took a few initial steps; like running your hands through some freshly composted manure, watching a propagated leaf cutting finally give birth to a new plant, or to thrash a cliche to death – take time to smell the roses, I think you might find that you would enjoy yourself.

    Totally agree with the golf though – unless of course you’re out to appreciate the beautifully manicured lawns.

  3. Pythod

    Maxtors have been kick ass. Never had even a single one go bad. It was called Quantum before Maxtor bought them. I still have a 2.1GB Quantum Fireball running on my 10 yr old P-166 PC that works like a charm.

    I don’t understand why Matt needs so many drives…? That’s a lot of data right there if each one is atleast 100GB. It’s a different story if these drives are like 20GB each. =)

    Looks like, Matt had a “mini” remote Google datacenter center in his house in those early days… jk

  4. JLH

    Have you ever erased anything? wow.

  5. In my previous life as a UK bank clerk it was a well known statistic that people were more likely to get divorced than change their bank account – but then again, unless you’re an uber millionaire, the amount of extra interest gained aint gonna make an awful amount of difference.

    Also it feels a bit voyeuristic seeing Danny Sullivan’s cable set up – a bit like I’ve been going through his underwear drawer :0)

  6. cornwall

    Re cholesterol , I suggest you do some online research as to why the “guideline” is set at 200. It was done to get enough guinea pigs inside the “at risk” limit around 30 years ago. The actual average in the US is around 225.

    I was told to lower a 240 level, got it to 225 with dieting! But could never get to 200.

    Research it yourself and get your own feel. Good luck with the dieting!

  7. Hello from your own neck of the woods. I’m attending the “Mashup U” over at Computer History Museum.

    Now THAT’s a hard drive collection!

    Sure like the concept of infinite time. If you don’t stop taking vacations maybe Google can join and accelerate the downloadable brain project – this would effectively give us a much longer mental life expectancy.

    C’mon Matt – everybody sings…

  8. Hello Matt,
    Glad to hear you’re back to work finally πŸ˜‰ And now I got one question for you that is being discussed at Webmaster World as well (, so please answer.
    I am wondering if google has some kind of 40 rankings down penalty? I ask that because my site that was ranked 8th for its main keyword now has the SERP of 48, looks like some kind of penalty to me. Although I didn’t do anything wrong other than adding few links to blog directories (site is a blog, btw).

    Do you have some clues to enlighten us all about this issue?

    Thank you!

  9. I still have a Maxtor drive that’s stood the test of time – 8 years of daily use and still going strong! Not that it proves anything…

  10. Hey Matt! I hope you enjoyed your vacation. You have a lot of hard drives.

    Also, I have a quick question: whatever happened to the remove result UI test? I liked that one:


  11. Oh blimey! I totally have forgotten about the box of hard drives in my garage. Thanks for the reminder. I bought a ton of old (between 4 and 12gb) SCSI server drives off Verio when I worked for them 5 years ago. I then loaded them up with goodies from the last days of the true Napster (and Wrapster) and put them in storage. I wonder how much my music tastes have changed.

    Find anything cool you’d forgotten about from your drives (that you can share)?

    Nice enclosures you found there. Checking to see if they have SCSI flavors. I’ll probably just get some sleds anyway.

  12. PanMan

    So, how much data was on those drives? Did you have to buy new drives, to store it all? And how much was actually usefull (or needed?). Did you sort it, or just dump it in new “to sort” folders (Like I have so many off)?.

  13. No FP Books not even for your Google shares – theirs some wierd stuff that can cripple you for CGT in the states.

    Try reading the motly fool book or the zulu principal by jim slater.

    Of course hard core googlers probaly read Graham (Warren Buffets mentor) in the first edition πŸ˜‰

  14. Mark Thomson

    Thats one impressive porn collection Matt. Congrats!

  15. lee

    Thanks Matt, currently I’m looking for the detachable hard dish and the AMS VENUS DS-2512CBK seems to be solution for me.

  16. Goodness me! Now I really know the definition of a computer geek! :0

    “Play golf. Or garden”

    Or garden? Does that mean do some gardening or is that an American game or something? :s *off to google it*

  17. What do those nice purple sticky notes say Matt? Drive Formatted, Fragmented?

    Anyone even tried Spinrite to recover and manitain old dusty drives? I also got a pile of them.

  18. Matt, please tell me those are work hard drives, because I can only think of a couple things that would take up that much space and be considered “personal”… and none of them good things.

  19. Matt, one question. Are all thos HDDs really yours ? Did you used them all ?

    How many tens of terra of information do you have there ?

  20. How do is that to get the data off 1 hard drive say 20GB, 8 GB need off of drive.

    I need to get me one of those. It looks cool.

  21. Joe

    Hey Matt,

    I that you DO take up learning guitar or piano. If you are spending this much time on hard drives, you’re going to need it to help meet women because divorce is imminent πŸ˜‰

  22. I bet those are 2 gig drives, try talking omega 3 for the sludge in your blood and stop eating so much at the Google cafe. Does the chef ever make anything using Spam? Food is a great perk util it kills you. Must be hard to get a bad meal out there.

  23. Brandi could you please not link your website with your usename for the next comments you will make in this blog ? WTF ?

    Aaron: I tried Spinrite.. It didn’t fixed nothing. Unrecoverable.

  24. Do you really think your geek credentials could have ever been called into question Matt? I am a proud card carrying member though so maybe I have geekdar or something πŸ™‚

    I know what your saying about the guitar. I took some time off and bought a guitar the first day, only picked it up once the whole time. I always feel like it is glaring at me now whenever I walk by the case. Some time maybe I will hire someone for lessons instead of just DIY. If I’m paying that might get me off my rump.

  25. Matt,

    It is remarkably easy to open a high interest savings account 100% online. For a self proclaimed geek it’s surprising you haven’t. Just think of the interest that your missing out on, it’s like a new hard drive each month.

  26. By the way, for you cable-organizer-types who want a way-cool shortcut to organizing/tidying/burying wires in open areas:

    You can string about 6-7 of these together and make yourself a nice little loop for tying cables to the underside of a desk or table (wrap it around the legs or find a nice gap in the assembly to use). Most of you probably know this one, but some of you probably don’t so that’s why it’s here. These things are fun.

    (And no, that’s not an affiliate hyperlink either. pcode is the Factory Direct product code.)

  27. [Brandi could you please not link your website with your usename for the next comments you will make in this blog ? WTF ?]

    Christian, she’s linking to a legit site, so what’s with the “don’t link to adult sites” paranoia? Besides, those links are nofollowed.

  28. I don’t think the poster’s name was really Brandi… what are the chances of a porn actress being into SEO?

    anyway.. last I checked halfdeck, only MSN, Google, and Yahoo used nofollow.

    That leaves a lot of search engines out there who are not paying attention to the nofollow here. (A9? Ask? 7search? I can’t find confirmation that any of these people are using nofollow)

    plus, without knowing better I clicked it at work. (as during lunch I often visit this blog and sometimes click random links…. we have computers in our lunch room) The lady sitting next to me wasn’t too impressed.

  29. Ambuger

    oh and brandi, that link you posted is worthless. whos going to pay $90 to read a message.

  30. Geeze! I clicked on Brandi’s link as well, and I work in academia — albeit a progressive, liberal oriented University, but still don’t think they’d approve … thank God no one was walking by my cube!

    Plus Brandi’s got the same theme as my SEO Copywriting/Consulting blog! Great!

    At least she’s on top (ahem) of her SEO updates…

  31. No wonder why you hate media!
    Have you maxed out the 30 Gigs of space on your new camcorder yet?
    Have you posted any movies of your kitten online?


  32. Gee, is there a way to pull any data off the old IBM 8088 I’ve got sitting under my bed?

  33. My guess is the data on those hard drives are actualy digital sound board recordings of the Grateful Dead, Phish, Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band and other concerts from other Bands That Allow Taping (BTAT).

    If this is the case… It looks like you’re off to a good start. :^)

  34. Brandi, you seem real talented keep up the good work! LOL

  35. Dave (Original)

    Brandi, RE: “I am wondering if google has some kind of 40 rankings down penalty? I ask that because my site that was ranked 8th for its main keyword now has the SERP of 48, looks like some kind of penalty to me”

    ONLY you know if you gone outside the Google guidelines? If think you are penalized that clean up your site. I’m guessing you are linking to a bad neighborhood and/or your page (not site) is being ranked according to Google’s algo.

  36. Haha

    You guys are noobs.The brandibelle poster is as much Brandi Belle as I am Matt Cutts.
    He is even using a affiliate code on the site.Sheesh.
    Matt, need a clue on how to find expired domains before they game you?

  37. Ian

    Wow that’s a scary amount of hard drives 😐 When is your first computer from? I’ve been thinking about building something like a NAS to handle all my data for some time now. Would save this thing from happening to me as I get older… πŸ™‚

    How did you let your data get so split up anyhow?

    Other guys – Yes, it’s probably not Brandi Belle herself. Thing about the internet, you never really know do you? Haha – you _could_ be Matt Cutts being mischievous – probably not, of course, but how can we be sure? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

  38. Ian

    Matt – gardening can be quite enjoyable. We grow some strawberries, and they taste nicer than the ones in the shops πŸ™‚

  39. Martin the Sheep

    No wonder one of my sites can’t be found in google – all the googy data showing it should be no. 1 are on those harddrives!

  40. Hey guys,
    I see a lot of discussion going on here about me πŸ˜‰ So let me introduce myself a little bit to the world πŸ™‚ LOL

    You were right, I am not Brandi Belle herself. I just use name Brandi Belle, because I’m linking to Brandi Belle blog, so I want that to be clear.

    My name is Manca, and I’ve been in SEO stuff since 99’s. I decided to try out my skills in adult biz, and I built blog dedicated to this teen Brandi Belle. She is hot, eh πŸ˜‰ ? Yeah I promote her site through this blog. I think now it’s clear why I use name Brandi Belle and not Manca.

    As for my question, Matt Cutts would be the right person to provide an acurrate answer. As I said the site’s been following Google guidelines since its start. Everything is legit, legal and pure white hat…I think you could notice that, btw.

    That’s it from me guys…

    Manca [aka] Brandi Belle Live webmaster πŸ˜‰

  41. >>You guys are noobs.The brandibelle poster is as much Brandi Belle as I am Matt Cutts.
    He is even using a affiliate code on the site.Sheesh.

    LOL…Man, I read Aaron Prat’s porn star post and assumed the link was legit. I never bothered clicking through. I’ll refer to Brandi as Manca from now on. I’d say who cares about, but the worksafe issue is a legit concern…except why are you reading Matt’s blog at work? You should be working πŸ˜€

  42. thanks for tip on the AMS Venus – i’ve got some old hard drives laying around i need to consolidate, hopefully that does the trick

  43. wow, thats a lot of hard drives.

  44. I say go for the Dvorak keyboard next time you’re on vacation. It took me about 3 weeks to get really used to it and up to around 45 WPM. Now, it’s around 110, compared to 70 or so on QWERTY. Well worth the small amount of time it takes.

    Good way to practice is to switch your keyboard layout over to Dvorak when you’re chatting on IM–makes you have to type fast, but not accurate.

  45. Inboulder

    Wow! That’s the exact same list of things I mean to do but never get around to! (except the dvorak keyboard and golf)

  46. Come on Halfdeck, you should know by now that I am full of sh*t. You must have not read the funny thread here:


  47. Beth

    Hi Matt,

    Thought I pass along something that I found this morning it’s a new website and not sure it’s a good idea to list the URL in your comment. This site is giving away the 2005 Google Annual Report.

    The site is about search engines and spam and how search engines are deceiving the users and webmasters. If you are not aware of this site and would like the URL send me an email.


  48. steve

    lol – I heard big “G” was was running short of space but this is ridiculous πŸ˜‰

  49. Beth, do you mean the annual report sent to shareholders? That’s public info, I don’t think Google minds about that.

    It’s an interesting read though, the sections about the potential risks Google can face is insightful.

  50. Matt Crouch

    Take care of that cholesterol dude.

  51. Dave (Original)

    RE: “Take care of that cholesterol dude.”

    No, don’t take care of it, lose it before it kills ya πŸ™‚

  52. Whoa nice array of disks, i myself have arrays, but those are of cell phones πŸ˜‰

  53. It’s funny, I was just now reading a book about financial planning and looking how to change my checking account to collect interest. πŸ˜‰

    But I’ll probably skip the rest in that list πŸ˜€

  54. Jack Hughes

    I am a little bit shocked after all of the lectures Americans give Europeans about not working enough. I thought you guys took a day off work every five years or so? πŸ˜‰

  55. why does a man need so many hard disks ? πŸ™‚

  56. Wow, I think you may be giving me a run for my money for number of hard drives sitting around. But those Maxtors look newer and higher capacity than most of mine, so I may have more old drives but I think you might have me beat as far as sheer gigabytes go. How sad is it that I can estimate the vintage and capacity of a hard drive from the style of label it has?

    I use just a plan USB-to-IDE cable to swap them around. Cases are a little too fancy for me.

  57. a man needs a lot of hard disks bcoz one disk is not enough for him lol..!!

  58. RalphP

    Wow, that’s a lot of hard drives for one guy to have. You do seem pretty technical, however If you’ve ever in need of data recovery for any of those drives let me know.. I work for a company that does some pretty amazing stuff at recovering data.

  59. T.E.E.Q. sent me! I want to know more about blogspot!

  60. I’ve learnt dvorak in 2 weeks, i was able to write in qwertz, qwerty and dvorak. I need just 5 to get used to it every time.
    I you try your wrist and fingers will thank you when you are 70 yo.

  61. I see you prefer MAXTON hard disks over SEGATE.

    Would you like you share the reason why you like MAXTON.

  62. Nick


    I don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to tech stuff, but you sound like a pretty good guy.

    Good luck with the hobbies, I know playing the guitar is one I never seem to get around to.


  63. Why did u ever need so many hard drives?

  64. Thats just the way it is, at times you never have time for something whilst at other times you see yourself doing certain things quite often. Great to see so many hard drives, looks like you love to save everything you liked forever.