I remember when I was given my first 2 GB hard drive. I said, “I will NEVER fill that up!” Now, I’m having a hard time figuring out if I need to delete files or upgrade my 1 TB of storage.
Between the software we use, our digital music collections, thousands of documents and digital photos, we can easily fill a hard drive in no time.
The price of storage is so low, that we take it for granted: we save everything, we know we should back it up, but a very small percentage of people I come in contact with actually do anything to protect that data.
I speak from personal experience when it comes to data security. I have had a laptop stolen, I’ve had hard drives fail, I’ve lost USB thumb drives and I work all day on three different computers.
Protect Your Data
Especially if you use USB thumb drives or carry a laptop, you need to secure your data. A lost or stolen device in the wrong hands could be very problematic for years to come. I use TrueCrypt to protect my systems. It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. I have chosen to set my system up so that when the computer starts up, it asks for a password to gain access to any files on the computer, but they also offer the option of only encrypting certain files or directories. It is very easy to install and you won’t even know it’s there.
Many people gravitate to external hard drives with backup software. This isn’t idiot-proof enough for me. Like TrueCrypt, I wanted something automatic that requires no thought. On my desktop, I utilize RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Drives). Basically, I have two physical hard drives in my computer, but they only show up as one. Every time I write a file, it is written to both drives. So when (not if) one drive fails, I have a complete copy. I finally did this after I had lost my entire digital photo and music collection due to a disk failure. About a month ago, one of the drives in my system died, but I lost no data due to RAID. RAID is becoming an available option from many computer manufacturers such as Dell, HP and Lenovo so look for it on your next computer purchase.
Unfortunately due to size limitations, RAID isn’t a viable option on a compact laptop such as mine. Again, I wanted something that was a no-brainer. That’s where Mozy comes in. I pay $55 per year per machine to have unlimited, automatic, off site backups. The first backup takes some time, but incremental backups after that are very quick. If my house burns down, RAID isn’t going to help me, but I can have Mozy mail me DVD’s of my data and get back up and running very quickly. I run this on all of my machines and the peace of mind is well worth the money spent. They offer 2 GB of backup for free, which is probably enough for documents, but not pictures or music.
I see more and more people working with multiple computer systems, frequently a laptop for most items and a more powerful desktop for photo/video manipulation. In my case, I have a Windows XP laptop, a Mac Mini desktop and a Windows Vista Tablet that I need to keep my data consistent across.
I tried quite a few different programs that all promised to sync easily across systems, but narrowed it down to one that actually works called SugarSync. Pricing starts at $24.99 for 10 GB of storage. Simply choose the directories you want to keep synced and anytime a file is changed or created, it is uploaded to their service. When the other computers are connected to the internet, they sync from the site to the computer, keeping all computers working with the same copies of your files. It also provides for web based access if you need to access a file from someone else’s computer.
You Have Car Insurance, Right?
Think of this as insurance for your precious data. For an extra $150 when I built my computer, I have hardware redundancy and for less than $7 per month I have complete data protection in the event of loss or theft, off-site backups, multiple computer syncing and online access to my important files. And it’s worth every penny.
Avoid Blah-Blah Conversation With This Voicemail Cloaking Device
Please Dear Lord, Don’t Let Them Pick Up, So I Can Leave A Voice Mail and Make A Quick Get Away.
You know those times when you have to return a phone call, share an update, remind someone about something? And those times where there’s no getting around it, you have to make the call and deliver your message, but you’re short on time, patience, courage, or ___________?
Guess What? I Have Good News For You.
SlyDial allows you to make a call from your cell phone to their cell phone, but their cell phone won’t ring. Instead of their phone ringing, SlyDial lets you dial directly into their voice mail, and leave a message. Yeah, that’s right, call directly into their voice mail, and their phone doesn’t ring. Check it out, it probably works on your smart phone.
You can get more details and info here. The App. is free and straight forward. It looks like the picture below when it’s launched on the iPhone4.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.
PS. fyi, I don’t work for, nor am I in any way associated with, employed by, or even know anyone at SlyDial. In other words, there’s nothing in for me by saying nice things about SlyDial, except the pleasure of telling you about a tool you might find handy.
New Realtor.com iPhone App
Realtor.com launched their new iPhone application and gave a few of us the chance to play with it and tear it to pieces before the launch (maybe they didn’t quite put it that way, but it’s the way I’m approaching it).
When I first open these new apps, I always think of the intent and this one is pretty obvious. The Realtor.com iphone app iss totally and completely designed with the end consumer in mind (sorry Realtors if you thought it could be about you). It’s about providing the latest property information in the quickest, easiest and most user friendly fashion possible.
When you open the app, a home screen gives you several options, including searching for nearby homes for sale, nearby open houses or perform a new search by location or MLS ID. You can allow for the app to use your current location and it actually gives you nearby listings currently for sale (also giving you the option to narrow down your criteria). This can be really cool if you are driving in a neighborhood and just want to get property information without having to even get out of the car or make a phone call. (Bad for agents that rely on the client to actually make that call to capture their business).
You can view a map option or a list option of properties and are able to actually click on any given one and get detailed information, not only on the property, but also the listing agent and the brokerage (very similar to what you see on Realtor.com). You can scroll through photos of the listing and turn the phone to get bigger photos and you can save the property and include notes to go with it.
What’s even more fascinating is the option to contact the listing agent on the spot. You can call them by clicking on their telephone number, you can email them, visit their site and add them to your contacts. (I know I’m an over achiever, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could tweet or facebook them as well?).
My favorite feature is the “drive around and use your location” to find listings – but you can also enter an address for a particular listing and/or its surrounding competitors and even enter the MLS number.
Great move on Realtor.com to empower the consumer. Personally, an educated consumer is the best one in my book, but here’s the beef many will have…You can now say “Buh Bye” to Buyers’ Agents, with this app, listing agents will have the upper hand – this will give quick and easy information to the local consumer (not the end for those buyers agents that work with absentee and relocating clients).
I can now see me getting bombarded by calls from people who “forget” to tell me they are working with another agent and just wanted quick info. I can also see my clients calling other agents just because their information was handy. We’ll just have to see how this extra communication tool will evolve….it could be detrimental for many.
The question of who does Realtor.com work for will inevitably come up. Many will criticize this as a tool of disintermediation, but if we are smart, we will not only know how to use this information in our favor, but we will welcome it with open arms. I do wonder if it could be possible to personalize this particular iphone app for a fee so that Realtors can offer it to their clients (of course I would try to come up with a win-win for everyone).
For now it’s time for everyone to make sure their contact information is correct on their listings, and especially Realtor.com. Listing agents will have the ability to answer inquiries on the spot, staying above the competition with customer service always at the top of the priority list.
And for the record, I’m not associated with Realtor.com, so feel free to kill it if you have the itch.
Desktop Analytics – Polaris
I’m a big fan of keeping a pulse on the health of my blogs and sites. Polaris has released a desktop application that allows you to keep track of your Google Analytics, on your desktop.
The free version only allows monitoring from one account, while the $15/year version will allow multiple accounts.
The system features are very easy to setup and it works on the AIR installation system, which most of us already have with the Twitter apps. It was quick to download and install.
Polaris shows total visits, pageviews, activities by date, visits statistics and tons more. Essentially anything that you would benefit from in Google Analytics, but on the desktop.
The current product is cool, but the company is also advertising some interesting upcoming products.
Dopac is our flagship web analytics solution that brings Google Analytics to your desktop with a host of new features and possibilities. Based on the success and experience of our previously released beta product, the “Google Analytics Reporting Suite”, Dopac takes the original experience to the next level and brings a lot of new concepts to the table.
Rayet is our strange kid on the block. It’s experimental, funky and fun!
With Rayet we are aiming to make web analytics reporting smarter. Instead of generating a lot of good looking graphs and charts Rayet will cut to the chase and analyze your data for you. Rayet will give you suggestions on how to improve your website experience based on the analytical data available. By comparing different time samples it will tell what works and what doesn’t. Being in very early development there’s currently no release date planned yet.
- Phobia is made for one single purpose; impress your boss, client or anyone else you need to suck up to. It gives you data ownership by allowing you to export or synchronize your data in any given format. Anything from smart looking spreadsheets, pretty PDF’s or entertaining presentations is entirely possible! More info on features and release will be up here soon.
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