OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #51: May is Finally Over Edition

Kebabs on the BBQMay is finally over. It seems like every May is a hectic month. Between birthday’s, anniversaries, and other family events there’s a lot of running around. Then things also seem to hit on the day job side of things too and this month was no different. But now the month is thankfully over.

There wasn’t to much happening on the quest so it should be fairly easy to catch up.


I’ve made KeepVault my primary offsite backup tool and it’s been working well. A couple times this month I grabbed a few directories and restored it to do a quick file compare and things looked good. Nothing methodical in my selection, just an old directory unchanged from the initial backup, another that was in the initial backup but has had file changes, and a third that was backed up immediately before the restore.

The main attractions of KeepVault are the low cost, immediate offsite backup and reliability. It doesn’t have some features in it’s more expensive competitors or even it’s own siblings, such a multiple version backups. But in my case the files I want versioning with is pretty small.  For those I still use Jungle Disk.

iPad Is Taking Over

Even though I was among those who pre-ordered an iPad I’ve been surprised with how much I’ve used it. I’m using it now to type is article (although the final edit will be on my PC).

Saturday was the first day I didn’t touch my iPod Touch. My last regularly used app was transferred to the iPad on Friday. I put a selection of music (via smart playlists) on my iPad and dug out my old iPod Nano for those times when I want audio in my pocket. I mostly listen to podcasts and audio books and the iPad’s speaker is surprisingly good for mono. Hooking up headphones for music while I work on the iPad also seems to work well.

So rather than being coupes up inside at my desk I’m sitting on the patio enjoying the cool night-time weather and enjoying a cup of coffee. The on-screen keyboard makes the iPad easier to use than struggling with a net book. At least in my opinion.

But it’s not perfect. Glare is a significant problem outside during the day, even when I’m not in direct sunlight. Fingerprints are more of a problem out in daylight also as they compete for my attention when I try to concentrate on the screen.

Windows Home Server

My WHS started acting up a bit today. The three drives in the top of the case are running a bit hot. That part of the case has always been a couple degrees warmer than the rest despite having a fan blowing across the drives.

Awhile back I’d freed up enough space that I was able to shut down the external SATA drive enclosure but it was still ready to go. So I ended up moving those three drives to the external enclosure and they’re running cooler now.

But as usual, try to fix something and something else breaks. When I fired the WHS back up one of the drives decided it no longer wanted to report SMART data, including temperature. Although it seems fine.

So the plan is to pop a new drive in the last available bay in the external enclosure and go through the process to remove the problem drive tonight. Hoping it finishes by the time I wake in the morning. Then I’ll replace that problem drive tomorrow. Might as well take the time to reseat all the cables too.

Wrapping Up

That’s about it for this edition. Hopefully June will allow for more time to have some PC fun than May did.

OS Quest Trail Log

The OS Quest Trail Log #50: Spring is Here Edition

Picture of a reservoirDespite some roller coaster temperatures recently today turned out to be great New England spring day. Mother nature must have forgotten it’s the weekend because tomorrow is supposed to more of the same with no rain forecast until Monday. But the days leading up to this weekend did bring some activity on the Quest.

The website remodeling is moving along. Still a work in progress since I’m making the changes live to see how they look. But I took down the “under destruction” messages. Those can be a crutch for only so long and a week is pushing it. I figured the category reorganization would take me awhile but once I found the trick it moved right along. The second feature I wanted was to be able to limit a post list to a certain category.

Among other changes were the elimination of the topic specific category feeds. If the stats are right no one was using them so their deletion will go unnoticed. If the stats are wrong and you used them, hit me up in the comments and add them to my list of things to do. It just didn’t seem worth the effort to maintain them with the other changes.

I Love It When Backups Work

My iPad fiasco threw a scare into me but it’s always nice when backups work as expected. Especially a backup process that hasn’t been touched or verified in months. I almost didn’t was to dedicate the space to a Time Machine backup, but it’s now secured its place in my backup strategy.


I purchased the new Transmit FTP software and have started looking at it again. With my Mac problems last year I had moved a lot of my computer routine to my Windows 7 machine. Mac or Windows? I tend to use what works or what’s working at the time. Once I was on Windows it was the path of least resistance to stay there. Software like Transmit it making it worth going back.

I’m deep into testing KeepVault as my new offsite backup solution. I’ve backed up over 261,000 files totaling over 74 GB. There’s a lot to like, an some things I less than happy with. I’ll write it up once I’ve had some more time with it (especially restores) but it looks promising.

May on the Quest

The month of May is usually brings a challenge to find the time to work on the PC. And this May is no different. Due to Mothers Day and other family events this is the only weekend in the Month where at least one day isn’t booked solid. So things may slow down a bit for the next few weeks. Hopefully the day job won’t beat me up so much that I won’t want to do anything at night.

Domains For Sale

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve been dabbling in domains and have offered some for sale. I have some computer & tech related domains up for sale at Snapnames. Check them out of your interested. If you want to buy them you’ll need to set up a Snapnames account (the account itself is free). You’ll also need a free account at Moniker. The domains will be transferred to your Moniker account by Snapnames once they receive payment. No waiting for me to do anything. is a domain I bought with the intent to develop a site with resources and information related to PC backups. Since I haven’t gotten around to it I’ve decided to offer it for sale with a buy it now price of $79. This domain is registered until December 2011. and are both up for auctions which end May 11, 2010. has a minimum bid of $15 while has a minimum bid of $19. Both these domains were just renewed and expire in July 2011. is another domain I intended to develop and just haven’t gotten to it. It’s listed with a buy it now price of $49. There’s almost a year left with the domain registration which expires in April 2011.

I also have the following domains registered at Dynadot and available in their marketplace. You’ll need a Dynadot account (free) to buy them. To find the domains go to Dynadot and click the “Marketplace” link then search for the domain name. Dynadot will automatically transfer the domain once they collect the funds. Everything is listed with a buy it now price. The “<.>” between the name is simply to avoid having the names followed/indexed by search engines. The brackets are not part of the name.

SecureInternetGateway<.>com – $99 (registration expires March 2011)

SecureMacQuest<.>com – $29 (registration expires April 2011)

SecurePCQuest<.>com – $29 (registration expires April 2011)

WinmacHome<.<com – $49 (registration expires Jan 2011)