Goodbye Mozy

As any good IT professional will tell you, it’s extremely important to perform backups on a regular basis.  Until this point, I’ve used a combination of network backup to Charlene’s computer and online backup with Mozy.  Until this point.

On Monday, Mozy announced the discontinuation of their $4.95/month unlimited backup plan. It’s being replaced with a new set of backup plans that will make it significantly more expensive for me to do business with them.  I’m talking a price increase of nearly 900%.  This is simply unacceptable to me.

Needless to say, I’m on the hunt for a new backup provider. At this point, I’m seriously considering either Backblaze or CrashPlan.

I don’t know either company personally, but I do know the persona Backblaze portrays on their blog, and I like what I see.  They seem like a very genuine and sincere company. I like the fact that they’re very open about a lot of things, including their infrastructure and a bit about their encryption strategy for keeping data safe. They were even community-oriented enough to ask their users/readers for input on their new offices. I like it!

CrashPlan is a bit more of an enigma to me.  They do have a blog, but it’s nothing special.  They do seem to be getting rave reviews on Twitter, so that’s a good sign.

PC Magazine points out that neither company is very old, though CrashPlan is more established than BackBlaze.

I guess we’ll see what happens. I’ve gotta do some more digging before I make a decision.  I really hope this is the last time I have to re-backup my files.  Backing up 400+GB over the internet isn’t very fun.

10 of the Dumbest Tech Predictions of All Time

I got this list from a Blog on Marketwatch, but the post is mostly an advertisement for investment advice, so I grabbed the good stuff and wrote it up here.  Visit the blog here if you want to read the advertisement.

These are 10 of the dumbest predictions in technology.  Clearly, these people were not clairvoyant.

  1. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  2. “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5,000 at most,” IBM executives to the eventual founders of Xerox, 1959.
  3. “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18 000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers of the future may have only 1 000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh 1½ tons.” — Popular Mechanics, March 1949
  4. “I say to you that the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.” — Jack Valenti, MPAA president, testimony to the House of Representatives, 1982
  5. “Do not bother to sell your gas shares. The electric light has no future.” —Professor John Henry Pepper, Victorian-era celebrity scientist, sometime in the 1870s
  6. “Television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night,” Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
  7. “The problem of TV was that people had to glue their eyes to a screen, and that the average American wouldn’t have time for it.”
    – The New York Times, 1939
  8. “The subscription model of buying music is bankrupt. I think you could make available the Second Coming in a subscription model and it might not be successful.” Steve Jobs — Rolling Stone, Dec. 3, 2003
  9. “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre
  10. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” — Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in the radio in 1921

I think my favorite is #3.  Imagine if computers were still over 2000 lbs!  I doubt there would be one sitting under my desk, much less in the palm of my hand.

Kik Notifications

Charlene and I don’t have free text messaging, so instead we’ve tried a few of the various free texting apps out there.  The key for us is that they have to be cross-platform because I have an Android phone, and she has an iPhone.  To date, we’ve tried both PingChat! and Kik Messenger.  Of the two, Kik Messenger has been far better and more reliable with one caveat: Charlene was never notified when I had kik’d her.  She had to actually open Kik in order to get my message.

What’s up with that?

But tonight I resolved the issue. And if you’re having the same problem, here’s how you can too.

(Keep in mind that Charlene has the original iPhone 3G with iOS 4.1.  If you’re on a different setup, your mileage may vary.)

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Notifications
  3. Select Kik
  4. Turn on Sounds, Alerts, Badges.

That’s it!

Now, whenever I kik Charlene, she gets a nice audible notification as well as a popup message on her phone, and a little badge on the Kik icon.  Ta Da!

Google Maps Does Bikes

googlemapsbikes

My dad loves biking.  For his birthday and Christmas, he usually requests a hike, or a bike ride with his family.  And now Google is happy to help him out because Google does bike trails. From the Google Maps “More” menu, it’s possible to pull up a bike paths overlay.

You can also plan a point-to-point trip by bike, and it will route you on the most bike friendly path.

It looks like there is some information on Bakersfield where my parents live.  But it is a tad sparse.  I’ll bet they add more information as time goes on.

There is, however, a plethora of information for the Bay Area, particularlythe South Bay where I live. Maybe I’ll have to dust off my bike and get out and ride, especially since the weather is getting better.

The NY Times Agrees with Me

Yesterday, I wrote a brief post expressing my incredulity at the name of Apple’s latest product: iPad. Brad Stone of the New York Times seems to agree with me. Stone wrote an article about the iPad in the Technology section today. Apparently, the name of the product is causing a lot of buzz.

The first sentence of the second paragraph sums it up:

Many women are saying the name evokes awkward associations with feminine hygiene products.

But perhaps there’s a bright side to this story. Fujitsu, STMicroelectronics, and MagTek all have products with the trademarked name of “iPad.” If they decide to put up a fight with Apple over their apparent trademark infringement, Apple may be forced to give it up.

A similar situation happened a few years ago between Apple and Cisco over the “iPhone” name. By the time Apple released their iPhone, Cisco had already registered iPhone as a trademark. A brief fight ensued, with Cisco ultimately agreeing to let Apple use the name. There were some vagaries around a future partnership, but I never heard anything further about it.

In this case, it might behoove Apple to let Fujitsu, STMicroelectronics, or MagTek win any battle they choose to fight over the iPad name. Then they could “lose” the rights to that name, and go with a much better name like “iSlate”.

Steve, if you or someone in your company is reading this, I highly recommend you leave the “menstrual” name to those guys and choose something that’s more provocative than it is evocative. And it might even be a good idea to find a guy like Michael Cronan to help you out in the future.

iPad? Seriously?

Of all the names Steve Jobs could have come up with to describe Apple’s newest product, he and his marketing team chose “iPad.”  Are you freakin’ kidding me?  Of all the other cool names floating out there: iTablet, iTab, iSlate, etc. the number one winner was iPad?  What’s next, iTampon?

As my boss pointed out today, “that sounds strangely menstrual.”  He further went on to joke:

I think I’m going to start a web site that will help people get the most out of their iPad. It will help them to get maximum usage from their iPad. I think I’ll call it Max iPad.

Anyone care to guess the domain name for such a site?

Steve, I know you were sick and needed a liver transplant because you nearly died. But seriously, if that’s the best you can do post-op, it might have been a better idea to leave the naming up to Phil.

Update: According to Twitter, Apple didn’t even have to release an iTampon in order for their current product to be castigated as such.

Apple Event Today

Apple’s expected to unveil a new device today. The consensus seems to be that it will be some form of tablet computer: iTablet, iSlate, etc. There’s nothing new on the Apple home page this morning, but I’m sure it will be updated later today:

Apple Home page

Transformers at ILM

This post isn’t very timely, as it pertains to the summer 09 release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, but I still thought it was an interesting read.  It details the incredible depth of detail ILM had to create when working on the movie’s visual effects.   Here’s a short rundown of their numbers:

ILM’s render farm has 5700 core processors, the newest of which are dual processor and quad cores (eight cores per blade), with up to 32 GB of memory per blade. In addition, the render farm can access the 2000 core processors in the artists’ workstations, which ups the total core processors to 7700. As for data storage, the studio’s data center currently has 500 TB online. Transformers 2 sucked up 154 TB, more than seven times the 20 TB needed for 2007’s Transformers.

Give it a few more years, and I’m sure these numbers will be insignificant, but right now, numbers like this are pretty much unfathomable to me.