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Backup your data online? January 27, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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In our first issue of Plugged In,  I wrote about “Cloud Computing”, the up & coming practice of using software online vs. installed on your computer.

Today, I’m going to touch on another form of Cloud Computing in the sense of backing up your data online vs. using local external harddrives or thumbdrives.

I’ll admit that I’m probably as guilty as most people, in that it’s rare for me to run consistent backups. What’s on my machine that’s most important to me?

  • documents
  • iTunes library
  • Photos

If something were to happen to my harddrive & those three catagories of data were lost, I’d be a pretty unhappy person.  I’ve already learned my lesson with email, which is why I use Gmail now (over 3,500 messages & I’m barely scratching the surface of my allotted space)

Ones choices to backup their data are either an online service or external hard drive. Let’s take a quick look at each option.


This is an online, fee based service from Apptix. For as low as $6.50 /month (5GB of data) you can have your data backed up & stored online. How does it work? Upon registration, you install a simple application, tell it what directories you want backed up & when, then go about your business. At the designated time, your data is uploaded & stored, encrypted & completely safe.  To restore your data, you select what you want restored & it’s downloaded back onto your computer.

Local devices (USB thumbdrive, external harddrive)

I’ll call this the more conventional method. Flash drives, also referred to as thumbdrives,  are very inexpensive. You can pick up a 16gb drive at Buy.com for less than $35.00. On the high end, a 1 terabyte external hard drive would set you back about $130.00. How much data is 1TB? It’s about the equivalent of 50,000 trees made into paper & printed.

Pros & Cons

I’m going to remain neutral & say that, in my opinion both options are fine & your situation & personal level of comfort should dictate which one to go with. The worst thing you can do is neither.

Here are some things to consider when deciding:

  • How much data do you have? If you have less than 5 gigabytes of data, is it worth $6.50 a month? After the initial installtion, the service will run as scheduled & you never need to worry about it. However for large amounts of data, it might not be feasible to upload that much data because it would take too long.
  • Are there legal reasons you need to store your data locally?
  • What if the online service goes under? How would you get your data back?
  • External harddrives crash just like internal ones, thumb drives get lost or accidentally run through the laundry (no comment) – what do you do then?

I hope you enjoyed this article & found it helpful. Backup your data today!


Be careful of the Downadup virus January 22, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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Yes, there’s another virus out there. 

January 21, 2009 (Computerworld) The computer worm responsible for the biggest attack in years has infected at least one out of every 16 PCs worldwide, a security company said today, and it may have managed to compromise as many as nearly one in three.

According to Panda Security, almost 6% of the Windows systems scanned with its antivirus technology were found to be infected with “Downadup,” a worm that began aggressive attacks just over a week ago.


Some quick facts about the virus:

A computer can be infected by possible three means:
1) if not patched with the latest security updates (in this case if MS08-67 vulnerability is not patched), by an already infected computer in the local network
2) if the administrator account of the computer has a weak password (brute force dictionary attack against administrator password is used)
3) if the computer has the Autoplay feature enabled and an infected mapped/removable drive stick is attached.

Once gained execution this worm does the following actions:
* hooks NtQueryInformationProcess from ntdll.dll inside the running process
* creates a named Mutex based on the computer name
* injects intself into one of the following processes:
          * explorer.exe
          * svchost.exe

Here’s the full story from http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9126482&intsrc=hm_list

Can’t make it to the inauguration? January 19, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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I thought this might be helpful to those who can’t make it to DC or who won’t be in front of a TV. 

Thanks to CNN.com for the story:

More than 2 million Americans lost their jobs last year, the stock market fell by almost 45 percent from its peak, and comparisons with the Great Depression are becoming disturbingly commonplace.

But that isn’t stopping Washington from throwing a $160 million party, the most lavish ever, for Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration on Tuesday.

Technology companies are joining the festivities by hosting a number of inaugural parties, and a collection of news and other Web sites are aiming to let anyone who can’t be in the nation’s capital–or who doesn’t want to brave probably-freezing temperatures–follow along online.


Windows 7?? January 17, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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First off, what is Windows 7?

As defined by it’s Wikipedia site: 

Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) is the next release of Microsoft Windows, an operating system produced by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktopslaptopsTablet PCsnetbooks and media centerPCs.[1]

Microsoft stated in 2007 that it is planning Windows 7 development for a three-year time frame starting after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista, but that the final release date will be determined by product quality.[2]

Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7 is intended to be an incremental upgrade, to Vista, with the goal of being fully compatible with device drivers, applications, and hardware which Windows Vista is already compatible with.[3] Presentations given by the company in 2008 have focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup,[4] and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, most notably Windows MailWindows Calendar,[citation needed] Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are no longer included with the operating system; they are instead offered separately (free of charge) as part of the Windows Live Essentialssuite.[5] 

I came across a blog from a person who tried the recently released beta version here, http://htmlfixit.com/?p=1108

I’d like to hear from you… January 17, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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Having an interactive blog is a lot more fun, and I can cater future subjects to items you want to know about.

That being said:

First post January 17, 2009

Posted by Mike in End User Computing.
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Home & Office Computer Training

Home & Office Computer Training

On behalf of Home & Office Computer Training I’m very excited to offer this blog to our customers and every user of technology. 

Why not make this first post about blogging!

You’ve probably already realized that WordPress.com ranks up among the best, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be here. For you dedicated bloggers, what options do you have when you don’t have access to your computer? If you have an iPhone, you can download the WordPress for iPhone application. It installs like any of application & takes less than a minute to configure. Now you can blog to your hearts content!



Blackberry user’s aren’t left out – I found this after a quick Google search: http://www.mosnaps.com/faq/?tag=wordpress-blackberry-integration