Monthly Archives: September 2006

Personal Backup X4 Does Not Impress

X4 LogoLet me get this off my chess before I go on: don’t waste your money on this program: it is essentially a copy program that pretends to be a backup utility. Now, with that out of the way, I would like to introduce a little background. I have been looking for a backup application to safeguard my iMovies, iTunes, and iDVD collections in addition to other important data. I made a mistake not to try Intego’s Personal Backup X4 (PBX4) before buying it. Instead, I jumped right in and purchase the software based on the reviews that I have read. What a mistake.

Now, this is not a review per se, but just a reflection of my experience using the program. After installing the program, I briefly read some documentation and decided to jump ahead to backup my home folder, which should take about 5 DVD-R’s. I must say that the interface is very easy to learn: I just drop the home folder to the “source” well, then insert a blank DVD and select CD-R/DVD-R for the target. At this point, all I had to do is to click the “Play” (the triangle) button started the backup process–easy enough. The trouble came when PBX4 finished verifying the first disc: it complained that there was some system error and ejected the disc. At this point, I told myself to go on, just to see what would come next. I then inserted another blank DVD-R disc and PBX4 picked up from there, continued with the backup process. When it reached disc number 4, PBX4 choked when filling the disc around 80% and ejected it. Dutifully, I inserted disc number five, PBX4 also ejected at around 80%, so was disc number six. At this point, I aborted the whole process altogether.

Instead of giving up, I thought I could try again, this time with something smaller in size: my 6GB Pictures folder. As with before, PBX4 complained about a system error after verifying disc number one and ejected it. Midway through disc number two (at which time, the source has be exhausted), PBX4 complained about the system error and ejected disc number two. I thought it was odd since we are supposed to finished at this point, but the program patiently waited for disc number three. So I insert the third blank disc and waited to see. To my dismay, PBX4 ejected disc number three halfway through and waited for disc number four. Obviously, backing up 6GB of day only requires two 4.3GB discs, so something was terribly wrong. At this point, I aborted the process one more time.

How about something that fits in one disc? This time, I tried my 200MB Document folder and one DVD-R (I forgot to do the math: a CD-R would provide more than enough space for this purpose). Backup went through without a hitch. To verify the backup, I simulated deleting a couple of files by moving them off the Document folder. Next, I fired up PBX4 and choose restore. At this point, I discover another problem with PBX4: it does not allow selective restore. I could either restore all the files, or none. This is why I claimed PBX4 was just a copy shell instead of a backup utility. That means if I want to restore only a handful of files, I still have to restore everything, which could mean tens of gigabytes, if not hundreds. The good news is PBX4 does not overwrite newer file with an older copy.

Another shortcoming of PBX4 deals with its inability to backup more than one folder at a time. For example, if I want to backup my music, pictures, and movies folders, I have to make three different backups. That is copy, not backup in my book.

In summary, while the program is easy to use, it is just a dumb copy shell and does not worth the $69.95 price tag.

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Bonjour Monsieur Printer

I have been living under a rock, therefore I only discover Apple’s OS X Bonjour recently. All I can say is it works beautifully. For a long time, I have been looking for ways to share printer between my Windows and OS X computers. Today, I learnt about Bonjour for Windows, so I installed it on my Windows system. In a couple of minutes, I could print from Windows to my OS X printer. If you are in my situation, give Bonjour for Windows a try.

Drag and Drop tricks for OS X Tiger

In OS X Tiger (10.4), I often found myself drag and dropping objects from one window to another. The problem is the drop target window is often hidden behind other windows. This trick will help to cope with that situation.

  1. 1. Click on the object and drag it as normal, but do not drop yet.
  2. Either:
    • Task switch with the Apple+Tab key to your target window, then drop, or
    • Hit F9 to span out all windows, find your target and drop.

Here is another tip: When task switching with Apple+Tab key, you can quickly select the window you want using the mouse: just move the mouse pointer to the desired window and click; or you can just let go of the Apple+Tab key while the mouse is hovering over the desired window.

Keeping Shopping List with iCal, iSync, and my W810i

Life continue to be good with my switching over to OS X Tiger and my dear Sony Ericsson W810i phone. This trick also applies to other phones which can be sync’ed with the Mac.

I often found myself keeping my grocery list in a post-it note in my pocket. Chances it are, I will lose it. So, I deviced this trick to keep my shopping list. In my iCal, I create the shopping items as tasks, but I precede each item with a dash, like this:

This way, all of my grocery items are groupped together and you can quickly scan through the dashes when shopping. Finally, I use iSync to transfer them to my phone.

Use MacBook to Charge the W810i

If you want to charge your W810i, but are not interested in any connectivity at all, then this tip is for you. It is useful when traveling as the cable is lighter and more compact than the AC adapter. Plus, the cable also allow connectivity to your laptop should you need it.

1. Connect the phone to your PC (in my case, my MacBook)
2. The W810i will ask you to choose between “File Transfer” or “Phone Mode”, choose “Phone Mode”.

At this point, you might ask, “Why don’t I just connect it and charge at the same time?” My answer is two-fold. First, I believe the phone will charge faster without the connection to the computer. This is due to the fact that the phone will be in standby mode without the connection. Second, without the connection, you don’t have to worry about properly ejecting the device. Disconnecting the phone without a proper eject procedure might lead to data loss, or worse, malfunction.