Friday, May 31, 2013

Alternatives to Google Reader: Final Verdict

To read the first post, click here; to read the second post, click here.

It occurred to me that I never told my readers my final verdict for which alternative to Google Reader I decided to use.

After The Old Reader finished importing my feeds, I tested it and liked it the best.  It is possible to use it in a web browser on an iPad, but it is slower that way.  Another negative is that you have to input a new subscription on the webpage rather than through the RSS icons that many blogs have.  However, I do like the format, and I like how it mimics the old Google Reader.  You can set it to view only unread posts (recommended).  You can still like particular posts if you want to view them later without wading through 1,000 different other posts.  It's not a perfect solution, but it is the one that works best for me at this time.

If you follow more than a few blogs and do not view them through a RSS Feed such as The Old Reader, I highly recommend that you do so!  You can read my other posts (listed at the top) to learn more about the other alternatives to Google Reader and find what works best for you.  Some have made comments below the posts about other sites available as well.  I did try them, but The Old Reader is the one I chose.

Scratch that!  I now use Vienna which is an open source app for Macs.  I really like it.  It doesn't have an iOS counterpart, but that's ok.
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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Go see my guest post on CRAFT!

creating really awesome free thingsPlease visit CRAFT to read my guest post on Creating Really Awesome Free Trips: Things to Do in Memphis.  I'm really excited about having the opportunity to author a guest post on such a great blog!

CRAFT is a blog dedicated to Creating Really Awesome Free Things.  This summer, Jamie is hosting a series highlighting free and almost-free things to do in cities all over the world.

If you have come here from CRAFT, thank you for visiting my blog!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Preparing for a Disaster, Part 1: Backing up your computer

One of my biggest nightmares is the thought of losing my computer files, especially the thousands of photos I've taken over the years, and MOST especially, the ones of my daughter.  I know that it is inevitable that, one day, I will lose my files or they will be corrupted and irretrievable.  For that reason, I am making preparations to be able to retrieve my photos and files.

When we first bought our iMac two years ago, my husband also bought a Time Capsule (external hard disk drive) to be used to back up my computer files.  (You can read how to set it up here.)  It's been working great, for the most part. However, about a year ago, it had a problem where it couldn't find the backup files (gave me a heart attack!) and I had to make it start a brand-new backup on the Time Capsule.  It has very recently been telling me that it is running out of room and has been deleting the oldest backups.  What I plan to do is to reformat the drive and start over with a fresh backup of the computer.  Before I can do that, I need to have an online backup of my computer files.

I know what you're thinking!  "Shouldn't the external hard drive be enough?  Won't an online backup be overkill?"  Remember, I collect photos like some old ladies collect cats.  Also, if you are a mother, you know how precious photos of your children are to you.  Besides that, what if we have a fire and the Time Capsule is lost forever?  What if someone breaks into our home and steals my computer and even the Time Capsule?  There are far too many frightening scenarios to think about that warrant the extra backup.

A few weeks ago, I began a trial run with Carbonite.  It offers behind-the-scenes backup of not only your computer, but your smartphone as well.  You do not have to have a paid account with Carbonite to use the smartphone app.  It is a free app!  There are several different levels of service from which you can choose to backup your computer.  I had one day left of my trial left when I started to upgrade to the paid service.  I was || this close to closing the deal when I discovered that, for some reason, it did not let me choose the Home Plus option which I wanted so that I could also back up an older external hard drive that I used to use with our PC laptop.  I found out from their customer service chat line that the Home Plus and Home Premier services are only available for PC/Windows-based computers, not Macs.  Not only that, but if you change your mind mid-year, they will not issue a refund.  Scratch that and back to square 1.

Through some searching of reviews (including recommendations from fellow photographers), I found out about BackBlaze.  It, too, offers a trial period, and is more economical than Carbonite.  It is a great service, and allows you to back up your external hard drives as part of the service (for PCs and for Macs).  You may add on additional computers for an additional $5/month per computer.  I just upgraded to the paid service ($95 for two years) and am still waiting for the initial backup to be completed.  Once the initial backup is completed, I will feel secure enough to reformat my Time Capsule and begin that anew.  I could also start backing up my older external hard drive -- and probably should -- but I want to reorganize the files on it first.

Summary of my Recommendations to You:

1.  Get an external hard drive to use as an on-site backup of your important files.  Backup often.  If you're really paranoid concerned, get two external hard drives and alternate backing up to them, keeping one of them offsite (in the care of a trusted friend or family member).

2.  Use an online backup service such as Carbonite or BackBlaze.  Carbonite has a free app that you can use to back up your iPhone.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Series Coming Soon!

Hello, Readers!  I know it's been a while since I've blogged.  "Real Life" keeps me pretty busy between the regular day-in and day-out tasks and spur-of-the-moment roadblocks that pop up.  Of course, I am the mom of a busy preschooler and that keeps me on my toes every minute of the day!

I will be starting a new series soon about being prepared for a disaster or, at the very least, an unexpected troublesome event.  I wanted to do this back in March, but, like I said, Real Life got in the way.  Several events have prompted the desire to get our family ready for problems:  a tornado went through my hometown of Hattiesburg, MS; my pastor's house flooded in the middle of the night, destroying carpet and damaging furniture and personal belongings; and a devastating tornado destroyed many homes and businesses in Moore, OK, just last week.

Among the things I'll be talking about are how to protect personal information, how to back up your computer and phone, apps that will provide help, and how to put together an emergency kit.  If you have any specific things you would like for me to talk about, please let me know.

"A prudent man foreseeth the evil...." (Proverbs 22:3)
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