Sunday, September 29, 2019

Photo Storage/Backup

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about "automatically storing images from your smartphone." It's time to revisit this.

I'm going to focus more on the storage of images rather than copying them from your smartphone. I'm still using sweech on Android and Air Transfer on iOS. Both of these copy the images from your smartphone to a PC with no change in file names or file size.

This post isn't about absolute backups. I've covered that here and here.

This post is about storage and sharing of images.

Dropbox has pretty much removed itself from consideration.

Google Photos has tons of bells and whistles for presentation and content but sharing is still a struggle. The most direct way is to create a link per album and share it with and individual via e-mail or text. There is some controversy about privacy but I believe it is overblown. Decide for yourself.

And with Google Photos' "Upload size" set to "High quality" storage is free but the images are significantly resized, around 40%. Setting "Upload size" to "Original" eliminates that but will quickly exhaust your storage limits.

What I found was Shutterfly.

I like the price - free.

The size is unchanged and the meta data is unchanged except for the OS date stamps.

I like it.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Just Use Windows Defender

I'll get on my soap box again. Quit using third-party antivirus tools and use Windows Defender. Why? They are just too risky.

Reason #1: Kaspersky injected a unique identifier into the HTML of every website a user visited. And they had been doing this since 2015.

When called out on this they changed to a constant identifier. They might as well have been waving a red flag that this user is using Kaspersky so the hackers could hit you with a specific attack.

Reason #2: Symantec and Norton's anti-virus products BLOCKED Windows 7 updates. Microsoft has had a well publicized effort underway to move from signing their updates with SHA-1 to SHA-2. The August 2019 updates were the first signed with only SHA-2.

Symantec and Norton blocked the August 2019 updates!

Reason #3: Windows Defender continues to move up the rankings (PCMag, AV-TEST, Tom's Guide).

But you know Microsoft can't leave well enough alone. They are renaming Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

More Stuff to Test

You'll remember that I'm big on TESTING my data backups.

I had an opportunity recently to TEST another of my backup systems - POWER.

My electricity provider, Entergy, is migrating their customers to their "advanced meters."

Since my utility connection doesn't have a bypass switch, the installer had to disconnect power to the entire house.

I couldn't have asked for better communication from the installer. He knocked on my front door and told me what he wanted to do. He offered me the opportunity to reschedule or do it now.

I was expecting the installation so I asked him for a few minutes to shut down some of my equipment.

I have UPSs (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) on my most critical systems but I really never had tested them.

Just to be extra safe I powered down my 2 desktop systems and gave him the thumbs up.

It took him 8 seconds to swap the meter.

My UPSs worked great. I heard a couple of beeps but everything kept working. The Wi-Fi and the WAN never went down. We turned the TV off but the TiVo kept chugging along. The Ring doorbell ran off its internal battery. The Insteon network came back with the house power. The Echos reconnected automatically. I have my Netbox system BIOS set to automatically power on which it did.

Test your UPSs some time.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

SD Card Testing

I heard a discussion recently about how to test SD cards. The speaker mentioned H2testw. I found a guide to using it here.

What H2testw does is write files that contain a test pattern that will fill up any unused space on a disk drive. This means that it will work on SD cards, USB drives, or even hard drives (especially SSDs.). If it writes successfully then it will read the files back and verify the data.

I tried it on an 8GB SanDisk microSD that I had. It tested successfully. The complete test took about  40 minutes.

When the application completes you'll need to delete the .h2w files.

It also reports the writing and reading speeds.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

GRDE Bluetooth Earbud

I wrote about my Bluetooth earbud a while back. That was before I dropped it in the toilet.

Impressively it survived! But the volume kept diminishing on it. That could have something to do with its bath.

Since the GRDE earbud worked so well and lasted through a hard life, when I went to replace it I looked at all of GRDE's Bluetooth earbud products.

This is what I ended up with.
And instead of the proprietary charging cable of the previous model, this one has a wireless magnetic inductive charger that plugs directly into a USB charger.

I hope it is half as good as the first one. And I'll try to be more careful.