Backing Up Your Data : To Spend or Not to Spend?

“Of the nine in ten computer users who store personal information on their computers – such as family photos, personal contacts and resumes – about 24 percent report that they have lost personal information in the past month, generally because of system crashes.  Just 57% of those who store personal info on computer back it up” via CNN

As you might imagine, backing up your data is one of the most essential computer habits which people forgo – many a time, because they’re just too lazy.  Setting up an automated backup solution is something we will tackle today.  In this post I am pitting two options against each other, one paid (Backup Platinum), the other free (Comodo Backup). 

Now, unless it can really blow my socks off, I usually find it very difficult to recommend paid software.  SoftLogica’s new ‘Backup Platinum 3.0’ which is a one-stop data backup software solution is unfortunately, no exception to the rule.   

Backup Platinum may be powerful…

Make no mistake, Backup Platinum is a very well designed piece of software which has a ton of useful features which include:

  • CD-RW and DVD support
  • Local Machine, Network & FTP support
  • Synchronization
  • Incremental backups
  • Secure ZIP compression
  • Scheduling
  • Ability to run in service mode without user login
  • Email notification

But FREE alternatives are just as good!

Backup Platinum costs USD$67 at the time of writing.  Now there are, tons of free backup software systems out there, almost all of which don’t hold a shade to Backup Platinum.  However, you only need ONE free viable alternative to make paying money for a license seem like a bad idea.

That viable free alternative is Comodo Backup (Guaranteed 100% safe at Softpedia).

Now there are some minor differences between the two (particularly in Backup Platinum’s security and Windows settings backup features), but Comodo does a great job in covering the most of Backup Platinum’s key features.  Hence, I find it very hard to recommend the latter (simply because of it’s price) in favor of Comodo’s free offering.

What could Backup Platinum do better?

It is truly difficult to win this battle based on software features as proven by their head to head comparisons to Comodo. 

Better emphasis on a solid support plan needs to be in place.  Premium pricing is only justifiable if you can provide companies with a strong guarantee that their backups are truly robust and easily recoverable.  They currently offer a 2 day response time which I feel is inadequate at this point. 

As for me, I’m sticking to the free Comodo Backup for my daily use.

UPDATE: Comodo Products come with a launchpad which can be annoying. To turn it off, click windows start ->Run -> type in msconfig, -> go to the startup tab and uncheck the 2 items found in the comodo directory. This will prevent this program from starting up the same time as windows. The next time you startup windows, turn off the notification for selective startup, and you’re home free.

If this process is too much of a hassle, you can try a softpedia search for backup software (apply the filter to list freeware items only), which has some decent but not as powerful solutions or you could of course shell out the extra USD$67 for Backup Platinum.

UPDATE : 6th July 2007 – Check out Cobian and Backup4All as much better alternatives for both commercial and freeware backups solutions

Links:

Backup Platinum

Comodo Backup

Disclaimer: Backup Platinum has paid me to review this product, and to give an honest opinion.  Please note that all opinions expressed in this post are completely my own, and have not been influenced by the manufacturer (which I think is pretty obvious if you read the review).

[tags]backup, backup4all, comodo backup [/tags]

How to Put Wikipedia on Your iPod

Imagine carrying the world’s most comprehensive encyclopedia – in your pocket

Updated every 6 months, Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings the Wikipedia, to the Apple iPod.

Does not work on new iPods

While Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod generations one to four, as well as on iPod Minis and Photo iPods…

The following iPods unfortunately do not work with Encyclopodia: 5th Generation (Video), Nano, Video, and (obviously) shuffle.  The good news is that if you’re a very technical person, you can try out this alternative method

Not so great for iPod Minis

If you own an Ipod Mini, you’d be a bit squeezed by the massive 1.5GB it takes up on your hard disk (Expect this figure to grow every 6 month as Wikipedia grows and Encyclopodia is updated).

Couple that with the tiny Ipod Mini screen, and you may wonder if it’s even worth the trouble.

…but AWESOME for regular older iPods

On a regular Ipod with a bigger screen and tons of hard disk space however – it’s a different deal altogether.  This application will breathe new life into your aging gadget, ( and  give you something to show off when your friend is flashing his new Nano around :) )

Update: If you have trouble booting up your iPod to either music or Wikipedia, just try holding down the action or rewind, button when you reboot your iPod.

Do not attempt to install this on Ipods not supported by the project.  Read the FAQ for more details.

ps. I own an iPod Mini – and I LOVE using this cool piece of freeware.

Encyclopodia

Top 5 iTunes Widgets… EVER

I can’t imagine my music without iTunes, and neither can I imagine my desktop without widgets. So here they are in no particular order…

I give you the top 5 iTunes Yahoo Widgets :

1. iTunes Companion

iTunes Companion is a highly customizable, highly functional iTunes remote which searches for missing album cover art for your current iTunes track at amazon.com and downloads it to your hard drive.

Among other things, the Widget also searches for song lyrics which are then saved right into iTunes, and can be read from your iPod.

2. iTunes ezrate

Do you have a large library of iTunes music? Do you want to leverage the ratings feature to create useful smart playlists, but are frustrated with the tiny rating toggle in the iTunes interface? If so, Itunes EZRate is for you.

Use it in conjunction with an iTunes control Widget or the compact mode for a minimalist view that focuses on rating all of your favorite (and least favorite) tunes.

3. Sleep Music

With SleepMusic, you will now be able to fall asleep and wake up in music! You can set the time when you want the music to stop, restart or even just decrease in volume, so you can even use SleepMusic as an alarm clock!

Since the Widget acts on the master volume of the computer, you can use it with every music players (Winamp, ITunes, etc.). In fact, with any program using your speakers!

Continue reading “Top 5 iTunes Widgets… EVER”

Check if Your ISP is Billing You Correctly With BiteMeter 2

bitemeter

Every Internet user looks out for a better plan which can suffice his need for surfing. So many plans, so many choices…

But do you ever track what you paid was right ? I found this great tool which is free and I had been testing it for a day and it’s really awesome.

Bitemeter II is a bandwidth and Internet connection speed monitoring utility which ensures you get speed and bandwidth as promised my your ISP and you do not exceed your monthly limit.

Continue reading “Check if Your ISP is Billing You Correctly With BiteMeter 2”

How to Fix Stuck Pixels and Burn-in on LCD and Plasma Screens

Stuck Pixels To anyone who has ever bought a high end display device, you know how much you loathe to see the dreaded stuck or dead pixel on your screen!

What is a stuck or dead pixel?

A stuck pixel is a point on a screen that does not display the correct colour. Stuck pixels are fairly common on high resolution LCD screens. Stuck pixels sometimes start working again with time unless they appear black on a white background, these are known as dead pixels.

How can you fix it?

JScreenFix will help fix stuck pixels on LCD screens. Most stuck pixels are fully repaired within 20 minutes. Some users have reported that JScreenFix can even fix dead pixels!

It will Work for TVs, PDAs, Mobile Devices, and even corrects Plasma & LCD Burn-ins.

Oh yes… the best part – it’s completely free!

Via PCDoctor