Tag Archives: data

T-Mobile Wants to Slow You Down with Caps and Throttling

Beginning October 16th, those of you with T-Mobile who use more than 5GB of data per month are going to be quite angry. As of that date, the company will begin reducing data speeds after you reach 5GB of usage in a single billing cycle. The previous cap was 10GB per month. The company claims the change will only affect about 1% of their subscriber base. I have a feeling that number is a slight exaggeration.

After you reach that cap, you’ll receive a free text from the company telling you that your speeds will be reduced. Once the new bill cycle begins, your speeds will return to normal. If you want to keep track of your data usage, you can easily do so by logging into your account.

The good news is that you still will not be charged for overages. Sure, you’ll crawl along the information highway and never find what you need… but at least you won’t pay extra for doing so!

Et Tu, Cloud? Caveat Clickor!

For the longest time, we knew where our data existed – it existed on our computers, typically on a hard drive or potentially a floppy disk. So now when we create files, let’s say on a Web service like Google Docs, for example, we may never actually know where that file sits. We know we can get to it from anywhere, of course, but it’s out there. In The Cloud. We don’t know the physical location of that file, but do we need to know, anymore? No, we don’t. That’s for someone else to worry about and track.

Our whole life is eventually going to be stored in The Cloud, no longer tied to a physical machine or hard drive. I’m not even really tracking any of my media, anymore. I have a Rhapsody account for my music; I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. I’m not really buying any physical media, anymore. I’m not storing them on my local network. This data exists in The Cloud on these Web services that I pay to access. I know that, somewhere, the file is sitting on a hard drive waiting for me to point and click my way to it, but the responsibility of holding on to it is no longer mine.

Think of a public library – you can check out books, read them, and then put them back on its shelves without cluttering up your own at home. The archives are there for your benefit without requiring you to be their ever-vigilant custodian. The Cloud doesn’t charge you overdue fees, either, so don’t go saying the 21st century’s never done you any favors!

Storing your life remotely has its benefits, but as with any service that offers to simplify your day-to-day doings, be sure to research these places in The Cloud and make sure they’re reliable. Let your vision look toward The Cloud, but keep your head on Earth when you’re making the decision about what chunks of your life to stow away there.

Simple Backups Can Save You Time and Money

It should be a simple rule that every computer user should follow: back up your data. It is not a matter of “if” your computer will give you problems. It is a matter of “when.” This applies to everyone. Students, for example, should back up regularly. Your whole academic year, with notes, papers, presentation, lecture material and other necessary things are on that laptop and/or desktop. And of course, there are the music, games and other personal stuff there too. If a hard drive fails, your academic year can be put in jeopardy. This is only one example. Everyone has important material on the computer.

Disasters happen to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives do fail – and will fail. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. And the manufacturer’s guarantee will be meaningless because you just want your data back. If you do not have a backup of your data, everything can be gone. This means all your data files, all your music, all your pictures, all your software… everything.

Imagine, for example, all the time, energy and frustration to find all the registration codes of that software that used to be working just fine. Recovering from a hard drive failure can be expensive. Salvaging data from a failed drive might cost hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of dollars. And even then, there are no guarantees that the hard drive recovery specialists can be successful.

All that aggravation can be prevented. Prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really, don’t wait. Do the backups now; do copies regularly. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Home 2010 meets home user needs with a simple, yet comprehensive, backup and disaster recovery solution. This is a unique consumer software, providing a full set of advanced features in an affordable and easy-to-use solution.

This is the latest version of the Acronis program. It was released just recently. We tried to secure a good discount and managed to have them knock off a few dollars. Since this is program is so new, even a few dollars off is a victory. From now until October 7, 2009, you can save a few dollars on this excellent program.

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware, spyware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Don’t risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and you want to make it a regular habit of using it.

And don’t think that doing backups is a waste of time. When you have a critical failure on your computer, you will pat yourself on the back for being smart and having a recent backup.

What’s the Most Secure USB Drive?

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No two flash drives are built the same. This new 2GB flash drive I have has software and hardware security built right into it. When you plug it in the first time, you set up a password which will automatically encrypt everything you put on it. If gets ahold of this USB drive and tries to enter an incorrect password ten times – the data will all be erased. They won’t ever access it, unless you set an easy-to-guess password. If this sounds like something you need to protect your data, check out the IronKey.

All user data is encrypted with AES hardware encryption that has been validated to meet government FIPS requirements. Unlike software-based encryption, this “always-on” protection cannot be disabled. And since the Cryptochip generates and stores the strong, random encryption keys, the encryption routines run faster and more securely than any software-based encryption system.

No one can access files stored on your IronKey unless they authenticate with the correct password. All encryption and password verification are performed in hardware, and cannot be disabled by malware or a careless user. This eliminates the risk of compromised confidential portable data.

The IronKey does not require any software or drivers to be installed and even works on Windows XP and Vista without administrator privileges. The IronKey offers drag-and-drop encryption, “plug and play” simplicity, and intuitive encrypted backup, which helps minimize the total cost of ownership. Onboard security software cannot be tampered with or removed. Each IronKey has a unique, easy-to-read serial number, making it simple to track and inventory.

If you are in the market for something that will protect you, this is what you need. For anywhere from $80 – $300, isn’t it worth the money to save your peace of mind?

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Computer Backup

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I have talked many times in the past about how critical it is to regularly back up your computer data. Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member, to help you decide what to back up, when to back up, and HOW to back up.

  • Do not backup to only one specific drive. Many people often backup their information to one specific drive and think they are safe. Chances are that drive that they have backed up their data on, will fail at some point. The best way to backup your information is to backup on multiple drives. Therefore, if one drive fails you can easily locate another one where the data is located. There are many websites that will allow you to use a certain amount of space to backup your information for a low fee. Using these types of websites are a great way to backup your data when your other drives may fail on you. Remember, the more places you have the data stored, the more likely you will be able to recover it.
  • Protect your backup drives. Sometimes, hard drives will fail and you will loose your data. There are some ways you can avoid this from happening to you. To prevent a hard drive from failure, check to make sure it is in a healthy condition. To do this, you need to check to see if it’s stable. Some software will tell you if the drive is in an good condition or if it may fail some time in the near future. A free method to make sure the hard drive is in good shape is to defrag the files on the hard drive. In some cases, your files will separate and become fragmented. In Windows, there is a free program called “Disk Defragmenter”. This program will let you select the drives you want to defrag. You can also you Disk Keeper, a software program which does the same thing as Disk Defragmenter, but does a better job.
  • Organize your data. You may have heard many times, that you should organize your data to make sure you never loose your important information. However, when a day comes and you decide to backup some data that you do not place in folders, you could cause a habit of doing it over and over again. Sooner or later, you will see that all of your data is unorganized and hard to find. Always make sure you backup your things in either folders or a method you prefer to find your data easier. I recommend using sub folders as well. This will let you find things more specific to what you are trying to search for. To do this, create a regular empty folder on the drive, and then open the folder. Create another folder inside that folder, and place the files inside of it. Then, create another folder inside the same folder you have just made and place files into that. This way, you can locate each folder and see which files are inside of them.
  • Know which drives to use. Drives such as, Flash Drives are great way to backup small things such as documents or even programs, depending on the size on the flash drive. Flash Drives can range from 16mb all the way up to 32Gigs. If you are thinking about backing up things such as movie files or music, I highly recommend to purchase a external hard drive. These can range from 120gigs to 500gigs. Remember though, the speed of the data transfer may be slow, because it is USB 2.0. This also holds true for fire wire (IEEE1394) ports. In order to transfer data across one drive to another at a fast speed, you must use Internal Hard Drives. These drives can easily transfer data no matter what kind of data it is. SATA cables are much more faster than the old ATA cables, so if you are planning to look for the best speed, try to buy hard drives that support SATA cables. Just make sure your motherboard can support SATA.
  • BONUS TIP!! Backup as many times as you can. When disaster strikes, and you have lost all your data, you will blame yourself for not backing up your things. I recommend backing up important data every once a week. This way, it ensures you of not loosing your data and you are well aware that you are safe if disaster did strike.

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Do You Have a Data Backup Crash Plan?

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I have reviewed online backup services before, but I never bit the bullet and signed up for any of them. I didn’t want to pay to access my data, and I didn’t like not knowing where exactly the “remote location” is that stores my data. Today I received an email about another service, which gave me a Review Account.

Crash Plan appears to have taken all the good elements of other online backup services, and rolled them into one. For a $20.00 one time fee, you get the software that will allow you to remotely backup 50Gb of data. Yes… I said 50. There are bigger plans, for more money… as well as a monthly subscription service.

The cool thing is that this is completely cross platform. You can backup the data from your Windows machine to your Mac. You can backup the Mac data to your Linux box. You can take the… you get the picture. To me, that alone is worth the $20.00. To be able to backup each of my systems onto each other is just amazing, and the way to go. Of course, you also go the route of remote backup, which can give you peace of mind if you have important data that would be devastating to lose in a catastrophic situation such as a fire, flood, tornado, or any act of nature.

Let’s look at a few of the features of Crash Plan:

  • No buttons to push or CDs to burn. Simply install CrashPlan and it quietly runs in the background protecting your files without slowing you down.
  • With CrashPlan and your own destination, there are no fees or extra charges like other off-site backup products and no limits on how much you can back up.
  • Your files are encrypted, off-site and at multiple destinations of your choosing. Only off-site backup protects your files from theft, fire, and other local disasters. CrashPlan insures your privacy by encrypting your files before they are sent, keeping personal files personal
  • CrashPlan gives you freedom in choosing your backup destinations. Back up your new Mac to your old PC, your laptop to a friend’s desktop, whichever you want. Worried about using too much space on a friend’s computer? No problem! CrashPlan will use an attached USB drive to hold your files.

Update to add a quote from Martin Perry:

Huge thank you for the recent backup video where you talked about Crash Plan, have been worrying about what to do with backing up my parents Mac Mini I got them for Christmas last year, after OS 10.5 came out was sure I was gonna use Time Machine. Until I saw your show!

Had tried out other online backup services before like Mozy but like you never felt totally comfortable storing mine and others data like that, so when I saw Crash Plan and saw I could just get their machine to backup to mine where I happen to be, awesome just awesome!

If you hadn’t seen what I think is the coolest feature, and one of my big gripes with other online backup services, that you can be backing up your friends/familys machines over the web to yours and/or you to them but when something happens and you need your data back pulling it from your standard online backup service will take forever. Crash Plan will let you just take your PC/Laptop over to their house/office, get LAN access to their machine where the data is and will pull the data
back over the LAN from their machine, getting your data back in minutes rather than potentially days from other online services!

What other backup programs or services do you know of or use? Are you happy with them? Have you come across any horrible ones? Leave me a comment to this video, or send an email to me at [email protected] and let me know about your backup experiences.

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