Viewing Category: Computers
2012 Apr 25
My old desktop computer, Medusa (right), finally decided to call it quits. The new computer, Nemesis (left), is the replacement. I’m not sure when it started, but I give all our computers names from mythology. Besides Medusa and Nemesis, some others are/were Daphne, Echo, Phaedra, Gorgon, Chimera, and Persephone. I tend to give the laptops and portables the cuter names, and the desktops get the more sinister names. Kind of makes things a little bit more fun.
2012 Apr 13
For a while now I’ve been in the habit of not shutting down my laptop, but rather just putting it to sleep. I was at 29 days and 20 hours (I use Rainmeter to keep track of stats like that) of “up time” and thought I could break a month, but Windows forced me to restart to apply some updates… Well, we’ll have to just give it another go! 14 hours and 43 minutes so far.
2011 Oct 20
Last December, one of the hard disks on my computer went kaput. It was a 1 TB drive that I used exclusively for data. Thankfully, I’ve been in the habit of backing up the entirety of that drive to an external 1TB hard disk, which I keep locked up at my office and bring home for the monthly backup. After restoring my data from the backup, I found that the only thing I had lost was a few .mp3s which I retrieved from my laptop. I’m such a believer in backing up data, even if you are using a brand new computer! External hard drives are cheap these days, so there’s no reason not to. Plus there is some decent free backup software that is out there.
Backing up to the external drive can be as simple as dragging and dropping, then choosing “replace” when it comes across an existing file. This is the easiest backup to do. However, there are some disadvantages. First, since you are copying everything each time you backup, it can take a long time (depending on how much data you have). Also, if you delete data from your source location, it won’t automatically be deleted from the destination. This may or may not be what you want. If you want to keep them in sync, then you’d have to completely delete your backup data and do a full copy. There’s that small window between deleting the backup and making the copy when you will only have a single instance of the data.
Fortunately there are several free pieces of software out there that can help. I’m using Windows, so I have no experience with Mac backup software, but I also don’t have any experience with the built-in Windows backup software, but I generally want something that creates a backup folder that I can treat like a regular data drive. In other words, I don’t want the backed-up data to be encrypted or compressed or in some wacky format that I cannot do anything with unless I use the backup software. GFI Backup is pretty good in that you can specify what folders you want backed up and where you want them backed up to. It also has scheduling and options to overwrite files only if different, keep two files, delete files in the destination directory if it no longer exists in the source, etc. I used it when my hard drive failed and it restored all my files with ease. It also keeps track of what files change in the source and destination so that the backups are quick (doesn’t have to copy everything).
A few months ago, the GFI software was updated, and it started asking for Windows permissions. Even though I put in my password, this never worked and I soon gave up on GFI. I did a little research and found another program called SyncBack and it does much the same thing. It’s even simpler than GFI, and I love it. The explanations of what files will be copied and what will happen when it encounters a conflict are written in easily understood language. It seems pretty quick and is also lightweight.
I’ve also tried the online backup service Mozy, and while the idea was great, the execution was lacking. First of all, I have about 1TB of data to back up so the initial upload took a few weeks. Also, the Mozy system tray program was slowing down my system. It also cost about $6 per month. The price of my 2 TB drive was $69, so as long as it lasts more than a year, it will be cheaper than Mozy. Of course Mozy will keep the backup up-to-date whereas my system is once-per-month, but that’s a tradeoff I can live with.
2011 Mar 15
Hi all! You might have noticed that I have a new buddy icon/avatar graphic that I am using on twitter, foursquare, gowalla, IM, google, etc. I made it over at EightBit.me. I’ve been looking to replace my old one for a while now, and I really liked the EightBit.me avatars that I’ve seen. I had to edit it a little bit in photoshop to add a nice background and also edited the hair a little (had to recede the hairline a “pixel”!) By the way, you can click on the “about” link on the top left to see the buddy icons I’ve used in the past.
2010 Apr 29
Just a snapshot of my day
2009 Sep 03
I found this idea from Derek Powazek’s blog
via another blog I follow (sorry I can’t remember which one). You basically set up a smart playlist in iTunes and specify the dates. My “The High School Years” playlist is not very interesting (no really embarrasing songs), and I find that I actually listen to a lot of the songs up to this day. I guess I like the oldies! Lots of English Beat, Cocteau Twins, Everything But The Girl, The Police, Bowie, and Bauhaus. Maybe some of the new wave stuff is a little embarrassing, but whatever! And our iTunes library includes Mariko’s cd’s as well, so I see all the music she listened to during those same years. She really was nuts about Toshiki Kadomatsu! Anyways, try out a smart playlist like this and see if you can dig up some old songs that you might have forgotten about.
2009 Aug 23
For this week, the wallpaper on my phone for the daytime hours is an illustration of the anime “One Piece”.
2009 Apr 14
I came across the Yard Sale Treasure Map while browsing Lifehacker. It’s a mashup of Google Maps and Craigslist garage sale listings. Just put in your address (or town), select a radius and day, and the site will map out a route for you. Once you have the map, you can edit it however you please. The only thing missing is the ability to add the map to your saved My Maps, but it’s still really neat.
Yard Sale Treasure Map
2009 Mar 05
I’m a big fan of Leo Laporte’s podcasts and one of his sponsors that he mentions each week is Audible.com. After hearing the pitch for a while now, I decided to check it out. I figure I can spend $15 a month out of my monthly budget for some audio books. But when I was checking out the membership plans at Audible, I saw that for $14.95 per month, you get 1 credit. This credit is equal to one audio book. Am I crazy, or does $15 for a single audio book sound expensive? Is that the normal rate of a book in audio format? It would seem reasonable to pay about half that amount, or get two credits a month. On a happier note, I see my local library has a bunch of audio books in their catalog that I want to borrow. I’ll be getting some later next week!