Tag Archives: backup

Comcast 250GB Cap? Avoid Dropbox or Online Backup!

Recently, I “downgraded” my Comcast service from Business to Residential – largely because I got more speed for less money, and I wasn’t anticipating coming anywhere near the 250GB cap. I hate artificial ceilings, but that’s the price I pay for paying less of a price?

I know I don’t knowingly download 250GB worth of data every month – I’m not THAT hardcore.

However, that 250GB cap is for all transfers (upload AND download) – and it’s not just for email and Web browsing, but everything. EVERYTHING. I was reminded of this when I read the article by another local boy about how Comcast is totally screwing him. Completely.

Since I record a TON of videos for YouTube, and most of my production is remote, I rely on Dropbox to better facilitate content for the channel. I connect to Dropbox from more than one machine (and, yes, LAN sync is always on). Either way, I push a lot of bits down the pike (before editing) – and a lot of bits get pushed back to me (after editing).

Tonight, as I was recording more videos for the YouTube, someone suggested that Dropbox was causing me to push my limit:

I’m guessing that user is 100% correct. I immediately disconnected Dropbox from one of my computers and cleared out certain folders (without realizing ramifications, causing further consternation). Video is bandwidth intensive – and not just when you’re wanting to watch it. I know I have likely pushed and pulled extraneous gigabytes of video data in these two weeks on Comcast’s Residential Class service.

Thank goodness my offsite “online backup” option stopped working a while back, or I’d have been in twice as much trouble by now. Could you imagine? I mean, how frequently do you see online backup services advertised everywhere? I wouldn’t recommend an online backup service if you’re dealing with a data cap, that’s for sure. No way in hell.

So, to put a finer point on my alarmist headline: be forewarned about using ANY KIND OF data-intensive service (like Dropbox or any online backup option).

Comcast – ease up there, dude. You’re screwing some of us out of very useful services.

I realize I’m probably more of a business user at this point, but your new Business Class prices are nowhere within the realm of reasonable – that’s why I “downgraded” (and got better speed in the process). Y’all need to set up some kind of in-between “Producer” or “Prosumer” level. We don’t want your Exchange or email crap – we just want no data caps for us to push legitimate traffic around.

I’m obviously willing to spend money – we all are. But you have to match our needs better (especially if we have “no choice” but to go through you as a broadband provider for home).

Now, I should also take this time to tell you that Comcast really isn’t horrible – at least, not the people I’ve dealt with. They accidentally turned off my service for 24 hours this week. A technician saw me flagged as a former Business subscriber and he accidentally killed all of my services (TV, Internet) – until I tracked someone down later that day to get to the bottom of the problem. By the following afternoon, they realized it was their issue (since my business connection existed at the same place as my residence). Comcast is now going to offer me a refund for some outstanding charges. It was their mistake, but they cleaned it up – with a good degree of speed and candor.

Seems like they’ve got another mistake on their hands, here, by ignoring power producers who aren’t pirating anything. I doubt anybody at corporate is going to pay attention to my plight – and they’ve obviously done their best to ignore Andre’s. If you’d like to read more about what happened to another Seattle-area Comcast subscriber, he’s detailed the literal post mortem in a complete ‘Day After’ blog entry.

There is no competition with Comcast – they’re pretty much the only game in town in certain areas of Seattle, and that sucks (for consumers and power users, at least). I don’t even want to get into the headaches my neighbors have had with the problematic Netgear routers Comcast keeps passing off for them to use. That’s another battle for another day.

*knock knock* Anybody there?

What is the Best Way to Clone a Hard Drive?

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One of our Lockergnome users recently asked the community what the best method of cloning a hard drive is. For a Mac, you can use Carbon Copy Cloner, which is free and simple. You already know that performing regular backups can save you from disaster. Using CCC gives you a peace of mind that is priceless. In addition to general backup, CCC can also clone one volume to another, copying every file to create an exact replica of your source volume.

Since I’m not familiar with Windows alternatives, I chose to check out one of the coolest sites I’ve found: AlternativeTo.net. There are seemingly thousands of programs there which will do the same type of thing within Windows that CCC can do within Mac OS X.

As with anything, do your research before choosing a cloning software. Do a simple Google search of the name plus the word reviews. Read what others have to say about the program’s performance and pick something that not only best fits your needs but also has fantastic reviews by people who have actually used it.

How do You Recover Data from a Bad Drive?

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Over on Lockergnome, someone was wondering if the data on a corrupted drive is recoverable. The last thing you want to do if a drive is failing is to continue to write data to it. If there’s a question of data being corrupt, do nothing until you can get a professional to look at it. I’d be more inclined to send it to a third party than I would be even taking it back to a store where it was purchased from.

There are businesses built to do nothing more than recover your precious data from hard drives gone bad. The people you find at a local store that your drive was purchased at may not be as well-trained in the methods used to SAFELY retrieve your data. Do you really want to trust those photos, videos and documents to someone who may or may not be able to properly recover it?

If you’re reading along and have had experience with this, please leave a follow-up comment here. The community could use GOOD recommendations of people and companies who can help them gain access to their lost files.

Mozy Getting Rid of Unlimited Backup Plans

For those of you who have long enjoyed having an unlimited amount of space within your Mozy account to back up your data are about to cry on your keyboard. As soon as your current subscription runs out, there will be no more “unlimited” plans to choose from. Instead, Mozy will start charging nearly six bucks each month for up to 50GB of data. If you need more space, you will have to pay another two dollars per month per 20GB. If you have more than one machine to back up, you can choose the new multi-machine option: $9.99 per month for up to 125GB and three computers.

“There has been a change in consumer behavior,” said Russ Stockdale, Mozy’s vice president of product management. “What we have seen since we launched an unlimited service five years ago is there has been an explosion in digital content, specifically digital photos and video.” Many customers store many MANY Gigabytes’ worth of videos and photos on their machines – and on Mozy’s servers.

If you’re a Mozy customer, what’s your reaction? Do you plan to stick with the company or start shopping around for something new?

Don’t forget to stop by our software center to check out today’s hot deals.

iSCSI RAID NAS – Three-in-One Hardware Heaven

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This is my first SCSI device – ever. In all my years of owning computer equipment, I’ve never had a single SCSI device. I’ve had plenty of scurvy devices over the years since none of it ever had enough Vitamin C. SCSI is fast. That’s one of the reasons why they’ve decided to add it as a feature to the TS-459 Pro – a NAS device that is capable of swapping up to four iSCSI devices. Thanks to the folks at QNAP for sending this to me as a review unit.

The QNAP Pro 4-Bay Desktop Network Attached Server TS-459 can be utilized as the networked shared storage of VMware virtualization environments and Windows cluster servers. The unique “virtual disk drive” adds flexibility to expand the capacity of your NAS to allow file sharing across any platform. This makes for the perfect file server in business – or home – environments.

The TS-459 Pro is the powerful 4-bay network attached storage (NAS ) server, which is designed to provide an affordable and easy-to-management solution with iSCSI service for virtualized and clustered environment. The TS-459 Pro also offers versatile business applications to maximize the efficiency of the data center in the business environment. Incorporating the next-generation Intel Atom D510 1.66GHz Dual-Core processor and 1GB DDRII RAM, the Turbo NAS delivers exceptional performance and maintains high reliability for multiple concurrent applications and intensive data transfer with guaranteed low power consumption.

I’m no stranger to NAS devices. Why would you want this one in particular? SCSI is fast. Raid allows you to have redundancy with the data you’re putting inside this system. There’s a lot more to this thing, though. It has a file server built in. There’s an FTP server built in. It has surveillance station inside, meaning you can hook up a security camera. There’s a print server built in. It even supports IPv6 and delivers instant SMS and email alerts.

This powerful device can literally do almost anything you might think to throw at it. The list goes on and on. Why wouldn’t you want it? You may think the external hard drives you already have are sufficient. This machine comes with four USB ports on the back and two e-SATA ports. There’s a single USB port on the front for convenience.

The drives are hot-swappable, but what if you don’t want anyone swapping your drives? Psh. No problem – just lock it down using the included key.

I am more than happy to have this on my home network now. There’s even a VGA port on the back of this sleek little number. I absolutely love this, and can’t recommend it highly enough.

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Media Backup Dilemma

Eli writes (unedited):

Hi Chris, OK, I consider myself a pretty tech-savvy guy. But I’ve recently come to this point where I feel like my faith in the digital age’s media revolution is verging on collapse. I’m hoping you may be the man to resolve my dilemma. I have around 250 gigs of data that I like to have access to at any given moment. Whether its a video clip, a song, or a picture I want to tag in Picasa, it’s all part of my data flow.

Now, the PCs I’ve been using for the past 10 years have never really kept up in terms of storage capacity. So I’ve relied on an external drive as sort of media hubs. I’ve kept all my programs, system settings, etc. on the internal drive, so as not to allow a system failure to affect the media content. I now realize that I had sort of fooled myself into thinking that this was a “backup”, when it really wasn’t. The data, while separate, was never being backed up at all.

About a month ago, my external drive died. Fortunately, the local PC shop was able to salvage it, and transfer it to a new drive. But then THAT drive died, and the data couldn’t be recovered. I’m not in the process of transferring the data from the original drive to a third drive! But going forward, the dilemma is thus: how do I have a large and real-time accessible drive running, that is also backed up so that priceless content (baby photos!) are never gone forever? Does one simply need a massive internal drive, with an external drive solely devoted to backup? Thank you so much for your time.

Why not use something like a Pogoplug? While the online backup option is currently not available, I do believe it’s coming at some point in the future.

Of course, you could also sign up for one of those online backup services. That won’t hurt.

Those two options, together, could be a win.

Then again, I hope all of the media you’re tracking is media you’ve either created or have acquired the proper licensing for. If not, I’d suggest dumping “illegal” audio and video in favor for services like Rhapsody or Netflix. Why you’d care about managing THAT locally to begin with is a bit beyond me.

Playing Tetris Eases Stress

It’s no secret that I am a Tetris fanatic. That is pretty much the only game I play and truly enjoy. Forget the fact that the game is addictive. Researchers at Oxford University have suggested that playing Tetris can assist in the treatment of post-traumatic stress.

According to the research, playing Tetris after a shocking event can help reduce the number of horrific flashbacks that a person may have. According to Dr. Emily Holmes, memories become permanent six hours after trauma. She feels that playing Tetris will interfere with the process of memories being kept by people’s brains. She further speculates that in the future, Tetris could be used to help people who are suffering after accidents or during wars.

I am grateful that I have never suffered a severely traumatic experience. However, I still maintain that playing Tetris is good for keeping my stress levels down.

Is your computer stressed out? Take a look at what’s new in the software center and calm your computer with something new.

Losing Everything on Your Computer Would be a Disaster

When purchasing a hard drive, most people look at the storage available, the speed, the price, and the warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty will be the last thing on your mind if there is a major hard drive failure. To put it in very simple terms, everything on your hard drive could be inaccessible. Everything on the hard drive could be gone.

Of course, there are recovery services that might be able to save some of the data. However, there are no guarantees and, whether successful or not, such services are expensive. And you will want your files, pictures, music, and all that data on your hard drive. You will be looking for all those registration numbers for those software programs that you use. You will not be thinking much about that warranty.

Avoid this disaster. It is possible to safeguard yourself from this catastrophe.

You have heard people say it repeatedly: “do a backup of your data.” Yes, do a backup of your hard drive. It is not difficult. That hard drive you are using will fail. It happens to everyone. Hard drives do not last indefinitely. Problems with the hard drive are a matter of “when,” not “if.”

If you are one of our readers who is doing academic work, you cannot afford a computer disaster at this time of the year. Do a backup copy of all your school stuff. We know some students who do two backup copies and keep one copy off the premises.

To make this as easy and as economical for you as possible, here is a bargain from Acronis. It is the Acronis True Image Home 2010 and the True Image Plus Pack add-on. This will give you continuous data protection and there is a forty dollar ($40.00) discount.

True Image Home 2010 supports Windows XP SP3, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Windows Vista SP2 (all editions) and Windows 7 (all editions).

This offer is valid until March 31, 2010.

There are really too many features to list. We are familiar with the excellent features of the Acronis programs and have no hesitation in recommending this software. Please take the time to see what these programs offer for your security. As readers know, we always prompt you to beware of malware and to take steps to protect your computer(s). Doing backups gives you protection. It gives you a copy of your hard drive in case the malware is impossible to remove and doing strange things to your machine. The precaution to remember is that, when you do make the backup copy, just make sure that the copy is free from any malware infections.

Take a few minutes to look at this offer from Acronis. It is exceptional. Thanks to Acronis for this generous price for our readers.

Small Business Security

Among our readers are those individuals who run small businesses and have the responsibility for many computers. A common complaint that is heard is that it is very time consuming to protect and restore data for all those machines. To make it easier to manage workstations, we are recommending Acronis Backup & Recovery.

“Built to protect the intellectual property in desktops and laptops in small enterprises, Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 Workstation provides optimized data protection and ease of operation. It creates an exact disk image of your office desktop and allows you to back up key data files and folders. Designed to simplify system restores, users can perform self-service recovery for files and folders in moments without administrator intervention. Even an entire Windows system can be restored in minutes using an Acronis one-click restore feature.”

This programs offers a multitude of features. One that bears mentioning is encryption which is included. Using this security procedure should be part of everyday policy. This Acronis program supports operating systems from Windows 2000 to Windows 7.

For a limited time, Acronis is offering our readers over a twelve percent discount (12%+). This offer is effective from February 2 to February 10, 2010.

Now it is possible to free the tech person from doing repetitive tasks. And just saving that tech person a few hours more than justifies the cost of this Acronis backup and restoration program.

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What Does the Tech Future Hold?

While writing about the astronauts tweeting from space earlier tonight, I couldn’t help but think about other technology breakthroughs that could be coming sooner than we think. Even five years ago, we wouldn’t have dreamed that we’d have people out in space sending real-time messages to us here on Earth via an instant-messaging type of communication such as Twitter.

Heck, five years ago we thought that “someday” we would have a black President. We figured maybe “one day” we would see cell phones that actually let us DO things. It seems to me as though “someday” is here much sooner than we figured.

What other things do you feel that we may see come to fruition sooner than we previously thought? What other ground-breaking news have you read today?!

Don’t forget to pop over to our software download site to see what new – and excellent – deals we have for you today!