Free online backup to the rescue

Recently I had to rebuild the c: drive of my main desktop com­puter. Yes it was a pain. I had many pro­grams installed there, and am still slowly rein­stalling all the ones I use as I use them.

One thing that made the pro­cess easi­er was my online backup. Mozy stored all my pro­gram set­tings and con­fig­ur­a­tion files (you know, the ones that live in c:Documents and Set­ting­suser­name
etc…) safely in their online backup struc­ture. It was an easy mat­ter for me to login to my Mozy account and retrieve them.
That saved me hours of rebuild­ing my set­tings for vari­ous applic­a­tions and games.

Now, the free ver­sion of Mozy isn’t inten­ded as a full sys­tem backup, you only get ~ 2GB of online stor­age. Mozy only backups loc­al drives, so a remov­able or net­work drive will be skipped, but the fact that backup is auto­mated, intel­li­gent, and con­fig­ur­able make it a win­ner.

I’ve also been look­ing at Xdrive (from AOL) recently. It’s 5GB of free online stor­age, but it doesn’t seem to have an auto­mated backup facil­ity. You just drag and drop whatever you want saved there, and gets saved there. It’s more of an online stor­age solu­tion than a backup. Kinda cool if you need to keep your 4GB iPod Nano music where you can get at it online (provided you’re not fire­walled at work or any­thing).

Xdrive allows you to store any file that your com­puter can see, so that does include net­work and remov­able media drives. And with Xdrive, you can share your files or folders, and man­age access to them if need be.

I’ve just star­ted play­ing with Xdrive, but if they just added the back­ground backup func­tion to Xdrive, I think it would chal­lenge Mozy.

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OpenDNS: Safer, smarter, speedier surfing

Use OpenDNSRecently, I’ve been read­ing a bit about Open DNS, an altern­at­ive to your ISP-provided Domain Name Sys­tem.

Now, you may ask “why not use my ISP-provided DNS  serv­ers?” and you’d be ask­ing a good ques­tion.

There are a few reas­ons that make sense to me, and are bet­ter explained by quot­ing OpenDNS:

OpenDNS makes your Inter­net con­nec­tion blaz­ing fast, blocks phish­ing sites, and cor­rects your typos on the fly. If you try to vis­it a web­site that’s broken or not resolv­ing, we don’t give up on you and send you to an error page. We show you OpenDNS Guide and keep work­ing to get you where you want to go.

OpenDNS requires no soft­ware to install. And best of all, it’s free.

Ok, Free, auto­cor­rect, blocks phish­ing, and fast. Those are enough real reas­ons for me to try it out…and I have.

Over the last month all my com­puters have used OpenDNS as primary and sec­ond­ary DNS. As far as I can tell, it’s worked well and not caused any prob­lems. It even works for wire­less devices on my net­work like my Nin­tendo DS sys­tems.

Oh, one more reas­on for con­sid­er­ing OpenDNS; do you man­age tech-sup­port for your less-tech-savvy friends or rel­at­ives? The anti-phish­ing tech­no­logy provided by OpenDNS part­ner PhishTank.

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Free advertising on Google, MSN, and Yahoo

Brad GrierThis is kinda neat. Sign up for the social net­work­ing site Ziki, and they’ll buy adverts for you on the top three search engines.

Why would you do this? Not ego­boo, that’s for sure. How about brand devel­op­ment. You’re a writer, or web mon­key, or pho­to­graph­er. You want to increase aware­ness of you and your name, then why not take a few moments, enter your pro­file inform­a­tion into Ziki, and have them pay for place­ment in the search engines?

True, you do have to have people search for you by name, and if your name is John Smith, this could prove prob­lem­at­ic.

But if you don’t carry that bur­den, then check it out. Make it easy for your mom to look up your web­site.

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Vista? Not on my desktop, thank you.

Hur­ray! Vista is released. Now we can all get back to doing whatever we were doing pre­vi­ously. Hype aside, I’m not excited about this release, for the fol­low­ing reas­ons;

  • My desktop, laptop and serv­er aren’t ‘Vista Ready’,
  • I’m not going to invest to upgrade (my com­puters do what I need them to cur­rently),
  • I run Ubuntu and XP, dual boot,
  • My media centres are first-gen­er­a­tion Xboxes,
  • I don’t feel like being an unpaid beta-test­er for Microsoft (I may be in a pos­i­tion to acquire a new com­puter with Vista when SP1 is released — as you know it will be),
  • Much of my exist­ing soft­ware is not cur­rently Vista com­pat­ible — I’ll have to upgrade to new­er ver­sions, yet anoth­er pain I don’t need.
  • Hard­ware drivers — I’ll have to upgrade to new­er ver­sions, if they exist (or wait until they’re made), or toast my hard­ware invest­ment (joy­stick, game pad, scan­ner, printer…etc), yet anoth­er pain I don’t need.

And here’s a few news art­icles about the vista release and launch, should you need more reas­on to wait:

…and finally:

***UPDATE*** Mar. 23, ’09 Well, Vista came pre­in­stalled on my new laptop. I’ve been using it for a few months, and am con­vinced it’s slower that the laptop could be. I’m con­sid­er­ing a dual boot XP/Vista…just to veri­fy it. Stay tuned, I’ll post about it if I go that way

Modding my Xbox…

[ This item ori­gin­ated at my pre­vi­ous (now defunct) blog — copy retrieved from the Inter­net Archive]

A while ago I man­aged to lay my hands on a refur­bished Xbox for a fairly reas­on­able price. Great, methinks. A game con­sole and a DVD play­er, all rolled into one. And hey, it’ll even play music from the built in hard drive too¦ but not stock from the fact­ory. No, my friend, you have to void the Microsoft war­ranty and mess with the happy tech­no­logy that lies bur­ied with­in your game con­sole. Once you do that, you then have unlocked the power of your Xbox, and cre­ated a Monster¦here’s how I did mine¦ Con­tin­ue read­ing “Mod­ding my Xbox…”

A test of Hello working with Blogger

This photo is a shot of Edmonton’s City Hall and the Court House, in the fore­ground. The shot was uploaded using Hello -> Posted by Hello

Inter­est­ing, it seemed to drop my foot­er info from the post tem­plate.

Dirty Pool..

It seems that Quick­en users are los­ing some online func­tion­al­ity. Boing­Bo­ing reports:

Quick­en dis­ables the soft­ware you paid for to force paid upgrades
Norvy sez, “I bought Quick­en 2002 when it was the cur­rent ver­sion. I received a let­ter in the mail this week telling me that Intu­it will be dis­abling the online bill pay fea­ture for my ver­sion because it’s too old!

Me is pissed. It seems that they’re also retir­ing the QIF file format with anoth­er one, which means that if my bank con­verts, I’ll have to buy the latest ver­sion of the soft­ware to remain com­pat­ible.
Source: Boing­Bo­ing
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