Monthly Archives: November 2013

Protecting your digital Data

This last week Tom, my oldest friend and co-conspirator in All Things DOS, suffered a hard drive failure on his main computer. Luckily for him he didn’t lose his data, we were able to swap out his drive and using a USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE adaptor copy his files from his old drive to his new one. All was not lost. However all too often that is not the case. As a computer tech I don’t know how many times I had to tell a customer that his valuable data was lost and there was nothing we could do to save it. Even when we could we charged $70 an hour with a two hour minimum to copy your files. The sad thing is that by taking a few simple steps you can insure that your data is protected.

I’ve talked before about backing up vital records.  After this week’s fun and games I felt it was time to bring it up again. Unlike just a few short years ago, the costs of storage devices have come down to the point that there is no excuse not to have a good backup plan in place. I use several tools to help me insure my data is safe.

I have a free account on DropBox. I have this linked to my iPad, desktop computer, laptop computer, and even my wife’s gamming computer. Every time I update or add a file to my DropBox directory It is updated not only on the cloud but to every device connected to my DropBox account. One update is saved to the cloud and three other devices without me having to do anything. Currently I have four gigabytes of free on-line storage. Not a ton but plenty for my needs. I store my books, photos from my iPad, website files, and other important files in my DropBox directory.

Speaking of website files All Things DOS maintains over 200 gigabytes of files much more than I can store on DropBox. I currently have a one terabyte external storage device I use to keep backups of that and other valuable “large” data collections.

Last week I ordered a 512 gigabyte thumb drive which I will start backing up my files too. This thumb drive will fit in my fire proof box where I keep all my valuable paper documents. I’m not rich I can’t afford an off-site storage facility not even a safety deposit box. Hopefully in the event of a fire or other disaster my box will protect my valuable files.

It is important to remember that for this to be useful it must be current. My most valuable files are constantly updated to my DropBox storage; however each time I add to my other large data collections it is important to update my back up files as well. The plan here is to keep both my external drive and my new thumb drive current incase my computer crashes. My hope is I never need it. My goal is to not tempt fate.

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A visit from the NSA

A strange idea hit me over the head the other day. This is in line with my posting a few weeks ago about NSA, Facebook, and Google. Could a sniper rifle be set up with an electronic trigger, a small high quality camera aligned with the scope, and placed on a stand set up with electronic servos that are connected to a smart phone app that would allow it to be remotely controlled via an app on a tablet or computer? This would allow the shooter to not even be near the rifles, hence they could be put in place days ahead of time, and the shooter could even be out of the state or country. Take it one step further by placing an explosive charge that could help destroy any evidence. I did some research and apparently the army has an electronic trigger surprisingly you can buy one on eBay for a paint gun, I am sure it can be modified. Simple robotics could give ultra fine controls for aiming, better than what a man could do. Then I got thinking could two or more guns be set up allowing one person to hit multiple targets?

Now let’s put it all together we have a man who wants to take over the government, he identifies an ex solder maybe an ex ranger who has sniper back ground. He is unbalanced and has talked to his shrink about how bad the government is and how someone needs to do something. He I hired “just to buy the guns” on days he is known to be out someone enters his home and does searches on modifying guns, robotics etc. everything is setup to make it look like this one person did everything. On the day of the shooting, he is killed in such a way it looks like he killed himself. If the government takes the bait then the true killer is in the clear. No one will ever be looking for him. The perfect crime.

Well, would it work?

My mind does strange things to me sometimes, most be all the meds the VA has me on or the lack of sleep. I am still waiting for the feds to show up at my door and drag me away because of my internet searches and my posts. If you never hear from me again you will know why.

Ok honestly I am not one of those people who think the government is out to get me. I just think some of the things we do and say just might ring bells in the wrong places.  Writing can be dangerous but fun. J

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Microsoft Office vs. OpenOffice

A couple weeks ago I wrote about OpenOffice a free office productivity program from Apache. After testing it out on my new computer I chose to go back to Microsoft Office. It’s not that it was a bad program in fact there were a few things I prefer about it over Microsoft Office. However, I know my way around Microsoft Office And there are a couple things I prefer about it and a few thins it offers that OpenOffice doesn’t offer One key point is Microsoft Word offers a cover page, I can chose from several preformatted cover pages. These pages are great in that they are preformatted with an image, title, and other text which I can easily customize with my own images, etc. They look nice without me having to do a lot of work. I am basically lazy anything that saves me work is a plus. As a Microsoft Partner I do get a discount on my software. Though free is nice I’ve chosen to go back to what I know. One thing I wish Microsoft would change is the way it handles custom dictionaries. With Microsoft I basically have to go in and add words manually to the extra custom dictionaries while with OpenOffice I can right click on the word and select which dictionary I want to add it to. As many of my names are made up i.e. not real names. I use a custom dictionary for each book or series of books. I also have a custom dictionary for my computer stuff there are a lot of computer terms that are not in the Microsoft Dictionary. Surprising what a computer company leaves out. One last point I wish to make is about the Auto Correct function. On my iPad it can be a pain in the rear. In word it can save me a lot of work. The iPad wants to turn “its” into “It’s” all the time. But with Office I can program in special short cuts for instance one of my activities it “All Things DOS” I have customized Auto Correct so that when I type “atdos” it will automatically change it to “All Things DOS” the thing to look out for her is it will always make the change so don’t use something that you might need to use latter.

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