The OS Quest Trail Log #75: End of Summer Edition

As summer comes to an official close with the labor day holiday, I recap the month of August.

Beach pictureThis Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end of summer here in the U.S. August was another month of updates, but nothing truly new.

Upgrades

Amazon started off the month with updates to their consumer cloud offerings. They split the cloud music player off from their cloud file storage. With the exception of deals for exiting customers, the change resulted in a overall price increase for users of both services. Some of the special offers of free or added space also began to expire, requiring a new subscription. This results in some increased costs, depending on the deal you were previously on. I wonder how many people took the same approach as I did and cut back their subscription level.

I had problems with the first August update of the Music Uploader for Windows. I reported the problem and submitted logs. I received an email a couple days letting telling me their was a new version which should fix my problem. I never installed it. The Cloud Music Player just never struck a chord with me.

Amazon also announced their Glacier file archiving services. This caused a lot of speculation that backup services would begin to use it. I don’t think I’ll be joining that bandwagon. The pricing is complicated but seems targeted to archiving, rather than backups. It seems like a full restore could be fairly expensive. It also look like deleting files too soon after they’re added results in some added costs (in other words, a penalty charge). The files I would consider putting there are already stored with CrashPlan and I see no reason to move them somewhere else.

My favorite update of the month was Synology DSM 4.1 which was released as the month came to an end. I’d been using the beta since its release earlier this month, so I updated on the day of release. I like Photo Station and have moved to it as a photo organizer. I don’t use the online editors and I do wish I could open the files in a local editor. But I’m used to organizing my photos in a folder structure and don’t do a lot of editing so this hasn’t been a huge burden.

Another successful upgrade was OS X 10.8.1 which fixed my problem browsing for Windows (SMB) shares that appeared with the original Mountain Lion release.

Security

Security was in the news this month. Lessons learned included customer service is a weak link and backups are a lifesaver. I did a bit of security review and strengthened some older passwords. I’ve been using LastPass since soon after it appeared on the scene. I use it to generate complex, unique passwords for each site and save them  At the risk of jinxing things, I think I’m in pretty good shape.

As if to remind me, CrashPlan and Cloudberry backups stopped working recently but CrashPlan was nice enough to let me know it missed me after a couple of days and I was able to get things going again. Local backups were working during this time.

September

September promises to be the calm before the storm of new releases in October. While the bits are finalized, Windows 8 won’t see an official release until October, as will Windows Phone 8. Personally, I’m more curious and excited about Windows 8 RT. Curious is probably the better word. I think Windows RT is Microsoft’s vision of a future computer and Windows 8 Intel is a bridge to get there. I’m not sure I’ll like it, but I want to see and use it.

I’ve started a new website, with fountain pens as a topic. I’m still working on it so no link yet. I’ve taken a different approach. After working on a design for months I decided I needed constraints. I like working out the technical details, but it’s one rathole after another. All fun, but not getting closer to a working website. So I decided to build it on WordPress.com. I’m familiar with WordPress and can migrate it to this server in the future should I want to. But for now I only have to worry about content and a few design decisions. I’ll probably be spending most of my available time in that area, rather than technology projects, but we’ll see.