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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.



 


Backup to School

August 19, 2010

So you sent your child off to college at the Citadel, College-of-Charleston, Charleston Southern, etc., with a brand-new computer. You did send them with an external hard drive for backup, right? Probably not. I know because I'm the one who gets their panicked calls after it's too late.

Do yourself and your child favor and get them a backup drive right now. Here's a great Western Digital external hard drive that can backup any laptop, and it's not too expensive. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Now that you have taken care of that, make sure they use it.

For Windows users, that drive has built-in software that will automate their backup. They just need to read the directions and make sure they plug it in often.

For Mac users, of Macs within the past three years, they just need to plug-in the drive. The computer will automatically ask them if they wish to use the drive for backup. Confirm that, and they're good to go.

I recommend plugging-in the backup drive every time they have it at their desk in their room. I also recommend leaving it plugged in overnight all that music and video can take its time backing-up.

Lastly, I recommend that they set their system sleep settings to leave their computer on when it is plugged in to power. This is so the computer won't go to sleep while backing up. But they should set it to turn off the display after a period of disuse, say 15 minutes. Windows users will find this setting under Control Panel Items > Power Options; Mac users find this under System Preferences > Energy Saver.

And, if the worst should happen, and their computer won't boot up, or they lose data, please call me, Bill Read at (843)722-7607, ext. 2. I may not be able to fix the computer or recover the drive, but I can assess the severity of the problem, fix it if possible, or direct them to a suitable data recovery company. The last thing they should do at this point is trust their data recovery to someone who might do more harm than good.

Life with iPad

August 19, 2010

I have been living with an iPad (WiFi only, 32Gb) since April. My thoughts and feelings about it have gone through 3 stages:

  • Slight disappointment
  • I have a laptop?
  • Old friend

Disappointment
When the iPad first arrived, after the initial un-boxing and first-use rush was over, a twinge of disappointment set in. It took me a while to figure it out. This thing is just a big iPhone, right? So, I already knew how to use it. There was no sense of discovery of a new thing. (Non iPhone users would have a far more exciting first few days.)

With that realization, I was relieved. After all, if you have an iPhone, who doesn't want a bigger screen? The glory of the things I could do with a larger screen seeped back in. I actively re-compared it to the iPhone, and confirmed to myself that, yes, wow, this thing is great. I could see, and READ, all of a web page at once; I could use a full-screen remote access client and control client servers on it; I could type on a big keyboard; I could see screens FULL of info. Yes, it is wonderful.

I have a Laptop?
After a few weeks I realized that I was leaving my laptop on my upstairs desk for days at a time. What used to be a fixture on my downstairs desk over the weekends, was now leaving a dust-free print on my office desk. I began to have thoughts of leaving the laptop behind when I visited client's offices. Initially I didn't have quite enough confidence in the iPad to leave behind the laptop. But, after many client visits, where the laptop never got pulled out, I began leaving it behind for quick visits.

Wow, talk about traveling light! There is a huge difference between carrying a 1.5Lb iPad in one hand, and lugging a 7Lb laptop in a bag, plus power cord, and other misc. junk.

Old Friend

Four months out, the love affair is over, and I have settled into a comfortable and rewarding pattern with the iPad. My laptop gets to come downstairs for photos and other editing/creation efforts. Email is still better on the real keyboard, and ALL of my email and file organization is still on the laptop. The iPad (and iPhone) serves as a convenient at-hand tool for quickly clearing my email deck. I check mail on both the iPad and iPhone far more often than on the laptop. However, I allow things to build up for later processing on the laptop.

The iPad has become my de-facto tool for reading, browsing and consuming on-line content. It is perfect for Google Reader, FaceBook, YouTube and Twitter where I spend 90% of my non-working on-line time. Ok, 90% of my on-line time hey, I work for myself, so I can't get fired for using Facebook during working hours.

Around the house, especially the kitchen and den, the iPad has made Google an integral and helpful part of my family's routine. During a typical day I carry the iPad from room to room. The larger screen and keyboard make it the perfect tool for looking up anything. From TV schedules to recipes, wikipedia to YouTube, we have instant and useful access to information. It has become such a normal item to have around, I can hardly imagine what things were like before having it.

As for WiFi vs. WiFi+3G, I regretted not getting 3G for the first week. After that, I have not run into a situation where truly the iPhone on 3G (and now the iPhone 4) didn't easily fill the gap. This is much to the disappointment of my wife, who was to get my first iPad as soon as I upgraded. That's on hold until the next generation iPad is out. I can't imagine the joy of an iPad with a retina display!