Archives for February 2009

Back Up Your Computer – a case study

In December, I ran a series on the importance of backing up your computer’s data. Unless there is nothing irreplaceable on your computer, backing it up is a must.

(sidenote: I have since come across several other companies who offer this service at a reasonable rate and will be posting on them soon)

Here is what almost happened to me:

In January, my computer started running slowly and freezing. Given the  amount of work and photos and music on my system, this alarmed me. I was already backing up documents that I used for my business, but there were plenty of other items stored on my computer that would have created a huge nightmare if they were to be lost.

I removed unnecessary files and defragmented my hard drive, but the problem continued.

I immediately signed up for the unlimited Mozy upload and backed up everything on my computer. Then I ran a total system recovery. This seemed to fix the problem, until a week ago, when my computer started turning off on its own, and freezing again.

Wednesday, I ran another system recovery but then my computer wouldn’t start. I received the dreaded DOS screen.  On Thursday, I spoke with my computer’s help and support team and discovered that (here’s the kicker:) my warranty had expired the day before. I tried running a recovery three more times but the issue became worse. Finally,  I submitted that my laptop was a goner.

Do you think I’m glad I had backed up my entire computer? You betcha. It has been a huge huge relief knowing that my data is all safe and sound waiting for my new laptop to be purchased. At this point, my only issue is that I am having to work on my husband’s six year old beastly desktop. But it could have been much much worse.

I don’t know when I will be able to purchase another laptop, but waiting will be much easier.

So consider this your fair warning. Don’t risk losing it all.

*(Mozy is $4.95 a month for unlimited storage. It automatically backups up your data at a scheduled time.
As I have mentioned, there are several other online storage companies, but for the purpose of this post, Mozy is mentioned because it is what I used and it is what, in this particular case, saved my butt.)

photo: Eleventh Earl of Mar

The Best Laid Plans

So remember the other day, when I mentioned that I would be trying to post more?

haha haha ha ha ha…

My laptop died. Kaput. Can’t start it. I’ve run three complete system restores. Nada. Didn’t correct it. It’s not purty. Battery is good. Hard drive is good.

So I am using my husband’s 6 year old computer. And you know that in computer years that is darn near stone age. But the irony [oh, sweet Irony]? His 6 year old computer is, you know, running. And my one year old laptop is NOT.

Want some more irony?
My warranty expired Wednesday.
My laptop died Thursday.

So bear with me. (and pray for me as I pluck away on this old beast) My time online is limited a touch. And that time will have to be totally focused on finishing blog designs so that I can make money and purchase a new laptop asap.

*and before y’all start telling me to purchase a Mac? Ain’t gonna happen. I could afford to make the initial purchase. But then it would mean spending another $600+ on graphic software, because I use CorelDraw (I’m a CorelDraw lover), and it is no longer compatible with Macs.

Think I can apply for a bail out???

Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Two young girls working on a laptop in the classroom

Being online is so much fun:

  • Want to learn how to knit? There’s a site for that.
  • Want to learn how to cook an authentic Chinese meal? There’s a video for that.
  • Want to learn where ‘Babes with Big B**bs’ hang out? OOPS – there’s a site AND video for that. And you probably don’t want your child coming across it accidentally while searching for information for a report on grapefruit varieties!

There are a lot of programs that you can purchase for keeping your children safe online. Others are free. Some are browsers/search engines only. Others are lock and key type programs where you have control over what content gets blocked.

I’ve gathered several that I’ve come across and tried out. Be sure to look them over carefully and see if any of them will work for you and your family. Nothing is foolproof – so always monitor what your children are doing online.

After all, the internet should be fun and safe no matter what age you are.

If you have found one that works for you, be sure to mention it in comments.

Option One: use kid-friendly browsers/search engines:

  • KidZui: browser option for kids. All of the sites are reviewed by parents and kids.
  • Kid Rocket: kids can even send email (Windows compatible only)
  • Buddy Browser: new version set to release in March
  • McGruff Kid Safe Browser: of course the Crime Dog has a browser! (Windows compatible only)
  • Quintura Kids: a fun, visually pleasing search engine

Option Two: use filtering software:

  • K9 Web Protection: this is a free filtering software; I use it on the computer my kids are on and I’ve had no problems with it. There is even a community to keep each other posted on new alerts.
  • Open DNS: another free filtering software
  • There are many filtering programs available for purchase as well. I have found these two free programs to be every bit as secure and safe.

So, once again I’ve been MIA (with a side order of exciting news)

I know several of you have asked where I have been and commented that you miss my regular posts. I’m really trying to make an effort to get back to posting daily. Even if it’s just a short nugget of info.

I’ve been trying to get Modern Media Mom off the ground; it seems to be doing well – it’s been very well received and I get compliments on it daily. Now if only I could get companies to take me seriously and give me products to review and try as well. (helloooooo, Apple!) But until then, I’m focusing on having great content that is relevant to people who are just like you and me: not computer engineers, not professors of software design. Regular folks trying to glean as much as they can from this crazy internet.

Now – in the “totally out of the blue” department: I found out on Friday that an essay of mine is going to be published in a real live book. With pages and a cover and everything!

I was approached about submitting something awhile back, but didn’t hold my breath.

So now, my release papers are in the mail. And I will give you more details as they are released and announced.

I’m still shocked and amazed. I have never ever ever thought of myself as a good writer, but I’ve felt nudged in that direction many times over the past year.

On the day that I left Blissfully Domestic, I had three separate people, with no connections, ask me if I had thought of writing a book.

I’m beginning to sense that the Lord has a story that He wants told through me. I have no idea what it is yet. In fact, I want to vomit a bit when I think about writing more than 700 words about anything.

At this point, I need to pray about it more; to seek direction. So keep me in your prayers, if you would.

And be on the look out for more frequent posts from me.

Newest Version of Kindle Set to be Released

If you are an avid reader, you probably have bookshelves overflowing with books. Stacks of books in the corner. Piles of books on your bedside table. Boxes of books in your attic.

While there is sometimes nothing like holding a book in your hands – the feel of the pages as you turn them, the sound of the pages as they crinkle – the stacks of books eventually become something of a hassle.

Have you heard about Kindle? Amazon is releasing Kindle 2, the newest version of its wireless reading device. Release date is February 24th, but you can preorder them here.

Check out some of its features:

  • Slim & Lightweight: Just over 1/3 inch and 10.2 ounces
  • Books in under 60 seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
  • Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for crisp images and text; even reads well in bright sunlight
  • Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging
  • More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books
  • Faster Page Turns: 20% faster page turns
  • Read-to-Me: Text-to-Speech feature means Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud.
  • No Wireless Bills: No monthly wireless bills, data plans, or commitments. Amazon pays for Kindle’s wireless connectivity so you won’t see a monthly wireless bill.
  • Large Selection: Over 230,000 books, plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines and blogs available
  • Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise
  • Read in the sunlight with no glare

It seems like a pretty amazing little device (and it is little!)

For more information, including videos and reader thoughts on it, visit the Kindle shop at Amazon.