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…”

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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