What if your computer is stolen?

Just now I was catching up on some articles posted on Digg and stumbled across an interesting one: How to Prepare for a Stolen Mac.

Most of the tips apply to any computer, Mac or PC, so it should be a good article for anyone to read.

This has been something that has been bothering me greatly lately. While I backup my computer nightly to an external hard drive, it doesn’t help much that my backup is sitting on my computer desk, just 3 inches from my Macbook! In the event of theft or fire, I am almost guaranteed to be screwed big time.

What do I plan on looking into to solve this issue?

  • I am going to look into either a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box at my local bank. I can then burn a weekly backup of my data onto DVD’s and keep it protected.
  • I will make sure my renter’s insurance covers all of my equipment (laptop, printer/scanner, external hard drive, wireless router). That way I can get up and running as quickly as possible.
  • Right now I have a Dashboard widget that e-mail’s me whenever my computer’s public IP address changes. If someone activates Dashboard and they are online, my e-mail account will get an instant e-mail containing the new IP address. In theory, this would let myself and law enforcement to track down (or at least narrow down) a search for a stolen laptop. I will look into other solutions that make this happen automatically, regardless of Dashboard being activated or not.

You can never be too safe.

A new direction

As my friend Rico said to me, the only way to get out from underneath writer’s block is to write.

So I am going to do that.

I am going to take this blog into a very different direction. While I will continue to do a lot of writing on technology matters since that is my career and area of expertise, I am going to branch out into many other subjects. The goal is to diversify my thoughts and spark some creativity.

So I have renamed this blog to “Chris Gonyea’s Revelations,” a title I think matches what direction I am going with my writing.

Let the writing begin.

Backup your data, please

I just had a friend lose 200 GB of data and come running to me asking for help. Unfortunately, the usual tricks didn’t work (Windows won’t even mount the drive).

Please please please backup your data. Buy an external hard drive and have it backup daily (or at least once a week).

I have my computer automatically backup to an external hard drive every night at 2am. I am working on a plan to burn all of my data to DVD’s and storing them off-site somewhere, to protect myself against the fire scenario.

This Week in Tech going away?

Leo Laporte (of TechTV fame) has stated that there isn’t a This Week in Tech episode (one of the most popular podcasts out there) this week because no one showed up to do the show. He is taking a 2 week break and then will decide afterwards if TWiT continues:

It’s about 80 degrees out – in all likelyhood the last nice day of summer in Northern California – so all the TWiTs decided to play hookey. At the same time. Unfortunately that means there will be no show tonight.

It’s my turn to play hookey next week. I’m off on a Geek Cruise next Friday, and will be gone through November 4, so there will be no TWiT next week either.

I’ll decide what happens to TWiT, the show, when I come back, but at this point it looks like it’s on life support and the heart monitor is flatlining.

A few thoughts on how to keep TWiT going strong:

  • Shorten the show: The last one was nearly a hour and a half long. Make it 45 minutes instead. Listeners will like it because it will seemed more focused and won’t take as long to listen to. Makes it easier to edit too.
  • Rotate the guests: Rotate the guests more often, so everyone doesn’t get burnt out so quickly.
  • Get some help: Get some help from outside sources to do the editing of the show afterwards.
  • Grow slowly: There are now about a dozen TWiT network shows now, just about all of them launched in the past year. There is only so many hours in a week to record and edit them. Cut the under performing shows, or at least make them bi-weekly or monthly to distribute the time demands.

MSNBC promoting Firefox?

I have noticed several times the past few days on MSNBC a weird sight to say the least:

  • Several screenshots of web sites that MSNBC was using in various stories.
  • Every screenshot that showed a full web browser had very familar icons…ones that belong to Mozilla Firefox.
  • MSNBC is partially owned by Microsoft, owners of some major web browser named Internet Explorer.

If I had the capability to record TV, I would have gotten a screenshot of the segments I saw. But I don’t, so I am hoping there are others out there that saw what I saw. There isn’t any doubt though that there is a huge Firefox fan working at MSNBC, who often gets his or her’s screenshots on the air

Building a Better Voting Machine

Wired.com has a very interesting article titled Building a Better Voting Machine. The article discusses what can be done to create the simplest, most secure, and most accurate voting machine out there.

The idea is to minimize the possible ways a voting machine could be compromised, provide an audit trail the voter can verify, and make it simple for everyone involved (voter, voting officials, auditors, manufacturers, etc.).

I completely agree with how they come up with the ideal voting machine. Unfortunately, it won’t be used this election and who knows if it will ever be used. The companies that create voting machines these days are absolutely horrendous when it comes to providing an audit trail and making sure the machines themselves are secure.

Some changes

I have been on a blogging binge the past few days (well by my standards anyways). To celebrate, as some of you noticed, I changed my blog theme a few days ago. This is the first theme that I am truly happy with. It actually has fit what I have imagined my blog looking like. The good thing is someone had the skills to come up with the design, unlike me.

The main photo at the top of my blog is a picture of Lake Sunapee I took from the top of Mount Sunapee two weeks ago. That area surrounding the lake is where I grew up and where I spent the first 22 years of my life, before I moved to Manchester a few years ago. It will always be home for me and will always be on my mind. That is why I thought it was a fitting photo for my blog.