1. If you care at all about keeping the fruits of your photography labours safe, I cannot recommend highly enough Peter Krogh's "Digital Asset Management for Photographers, 2e". The bucket concept is from there. See http://www.thedambook.com/
I've been spending a bit of time writing the memory tester for my Sinclair Spectrum Diagnostics board. The board itself, to recap, contains a flash ROM, a little bit of glue logic, a couple of flip flops and eight LEDs - the idea being that the code running in ROM can display the results on the LEDs, so as to use as little of the (possibly suspect) Spectrum's hardware.
A computer without COBOL and Fortran is like a piece of chocolate cake without ketchup and mustard.