Posts Tagged ‘software’

Computer Backup Recommendations

This is the first in a series of reference articles that answer frequently asked questions from friends, family, and clients.  I will update these articles as required. 
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions or recommendations.

Required hardware and software
    Software – Acronis TrueImage 2012
    Hardware – external hard drive – USB, eSATA, Firewire

I recommend imaging all PC systems.  Imaging the system is easy, and fast (1GB/min typically).  Imaging software takes a ‘snapshot’ of your computer.  This snapshot can be used to restore your system automatically.  By restore, I mean if your hard drive dies, you can install a new drive (same size or larger), and restore *everything* in one operation – Operating System (Windows), applications, and data.  After the restore, your system will be *exactly* where it was when you performed the backup.

In addition, the image can be used to restore individual files and folders, but more importantly, if your system is compromised due to a virus or system problem, you can restore the entire system back to a known, good state.

Acronis (and other imaging software) can be configured to image your system on a schedule (Friday nights for example).  You can also setup the software to automatically shut down your computer after the backup is completed.  I typically do this monthly on all our computers, setting up the jobs before I got to bed and having the system shut down.

We have three external USB drives – one reserved for my business systems, and two for home systems.  All my backup drives are encrypted (I use Bitlocker).  I recommend selecting a hard drive with enough capacity to hold at least two backup images for all your systems.

Reference links
Rosewill RX-358 V2 BLK (Black) 3.5″ SATA to USB & eSATA Enclosure w/Int.80mm fan

Acronis True Image Home 2012 – upgrade and special offers often available from Acronis

Acronis TrueImage Home 2012 from Newegg

Android Software List

Lots of people are getting Android phones.  My last update was in January, so it’s overdue.  The most compelling feature of the Android devices is the integration of all the applications, and in particular with Google Services.  For example, search from the home screen can include Text, e-mail, contacts, calendar, or web. 

The Droid is the most stable smartphone I have ever used.  It has run for at least 45-50 days at a time without turning it off.  At this point, I cycle the power once a month and mute the phone each night.  I don’t recommend using a Task Killer.  Lots of people seem obsessed with killing tasks to optimize battery life.  I just don’t load tons of widgets on my phone and enable wireless and Bluetooth when I need them.  My experience is that running ActiveSync and Google Mail sync 24×7, my battery can easily last through 12-15 hour days.

Ad Hoc Apps – there are several times I have installed an app to solve a problem.  I’m am constantly amazed at the variety and quality of applications available for Android phones. 

Favorite Apps

  • Google Sky App – I use this at night in the back yard to explore the night sky before going to bed.  The dog gets some exercise, and I unwind a bit. We have also used it to locate meteor showers and the Space Station.
  • Evernote – I use it to capture information for later review or reference.  It syncs with the Evernote desktop client.  There is also a Chrome plug-in so Google searches also search Evernote data.
  • Twidroyd – Twitter client, does a good job, but ever more intrusive ads in the free version may have be go pro, or explore other Twitter clients.

Installed Apps

  • Touchdown – Exchange Activesync client – $20
  • Where’s My Droid – locate by sending a text or e-mail
  • Twidroyd for Twitter – twitter client
  • Google Translate
  • WordPress – blogging tool
  • chompSMS – Texting client
  • Facebook for Android – Facebook client
  • YouTube – upgrade from default client
  • Google Maps – awesome, ties into Navigation which rivals, but will not replace my Garmin, and can show traffic overlays
  • Aidiko Book Reader – eBook reader, with large, free library
  • Google Voice – replaced Verizon voicemail, and use for international calls
  • DropBox – sync files with PC’s and web
  • Google Chrome to Phone – send web pages to your Droid – experimenting
  • GMail – upgrade of default client
  • NPR News – fair and balanced
  • BBC News – because US news pretty much sucks
  • Voice Search (Google) – improved client for voice search, marginal
  • Places Directory – ties into Google Maps, very useful when you travel
  • Astro File Manager – awesome, backup and restore apps and data to SD card
  • NYCMate – NYC bus and train maps – very handy if you travel to NYC.
  • Google Sky Map – awesome night sky map
  • Google Finance – stock market tracking app
  • Google Buzz widget – link to Google Buzz service
  • Tone Picker – MP3 ringtones (free)
  • Swype – alternate text entry app – ‘wipe’ your finger across the on-screen keyboard to spell words.  Awkward with alphanumeric data entry, but amazing with text.

Uninstalled Apps

These are applications I used on a regular basis.

  • HandCent – excellent SMS client, but I uninstalled because it gets very, very slow possibly due to the number of texts I retain (>10,000, every text in the past year).
  • Barcode Scanner – does a good job of scanning barcodes, with Google search integration to comparison shop.
  • Romote – Roku DVP Remote – awesome, awesome app.  We took our Roku ( on vacation, but forgot the remote.  I installed and configured the Roku Remote in a few minutes, and it worked seamlessly.  
Categories: Android, mobile, Software Tags: ,

Peter Nordahl Password Utility

Peter Nordahl developed a Linux boot CD several years ago, and I have found it to be very useful.  This utility allows you to reset user or administrator passwords.  The link above includes a tutorial on how to use the utility.

Categories: Software Tags: , ,