Q: I just purchased a new computer based DAW. How often should I back up my hard drives?

A: Every single chance you get. Murphy's Law will always come into play sooner rather than later. If you go for long periods of time working on a file without saving it, the potential for a total crash and the loss of all your information increases exponentially. Backups are your friend! You might find that constantly saving and backing up is time consuming, but ask yourself this: How many hours of work on a project can you afford to lose? Fortunately, we've moved way past the point where backups were done onto 3.5" disks. So get in there and back up now!

Q: I recently installed a SCSI-3 Ultrawide host adaptor into my PC and I'm experiencing communication problems while configuring it to work with my SCSI-2 CD burners. What are the possible issues when combining SCSI-3 and -2 devices in a chain? My understanding is that SCSI is backwards compatible, and I wasn't anticipating any configuration issues.

A: When using an Ultrawide host adaptor and connecting to a SCSI-2 device, you'll need to use a special pass thru adaptor / terminator between the host adaptor and the SCSI-2 devices. While there are other cables available that tie the extra pins to ground at the SCSI-2 end, using one of these will not allow you to selectively assign which devices in the chain are SCSI-2 or SCSI-3, and at this point everything on the buss will be running at SCSI-2 speeds - not what you want!

Once you've inserted the adaptor / terminator, you need to go into the SCSI Bios for your host adaptor (on bootup) and disable Ultrawide support for all SCSI-2 devices in the chain. While in the Bios, you also need to disable the SCAMS. At this point there should be no communication issues. Another viable option is to add a second host adaptor, and in some instances this may be desirable.

Q: I just bought a new Zip drive from Sam's Club and it's not working with my Kurzweil. Help! What's the problem here?

A: Zip and Jaz drives are available in SCSI and Parallel port models. As it turns out, Sam's sells the parallel port model. Unfortunately, your Kurzweil requires a SCSI model. Hope you saved that receipt.

Q: Do I need a CADI if I want SMPTE, MIDI, or Video sync signals for my Alesis M20 digital multitrack?

A: No. Unlike the BRC, a CADI is actually a duplicate of the front panel controls of the M20 and does not have the sync functions inside it. The M20 itself generates all these sync signals and can be used alone if you want to be very frugal. However, the CADI is very handy when using more than one M20 (you do have more than one, don't you?) and it also has a few more locate tricks up its sleeve.