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Messages - iphigenie [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: Anyone on DC do Actinic (UK)?
« on: March 02, 2012, 10:53 AM »
Hi Bruce

Just an endless list of little things.
I'm ok with the fact that it mostly generates static pages and that I will not be able to do the dynamic clever stuff I am used to, but i would still expect to be able to use a lot of tricks to get improvements.

I have figured out some but it takes me forever, I would much rather get someone who knows the tool to go through my ideas with me, tell me whats easy/not easy, and perhaps implement some of it or point me in the right direction.

Main areas:
- product highlights etc. on the home page
- move to clean css and proper page structure
- rejig structure between text and products so people see more products (it's very content rich). I've started with content categories so I can design them differently
- in page navigation, how to
- improve search (eg: misspellings etc) without necessarily polluting the pages with <noscript> all over
- custom search forms/URLs that can search in custom variables and search results (eg: create hard coded search links)
- using block to create a "dynamic-at-upload" pages based on custom variables
- creating a nice 404 page
- being able to export, clean data, then reimport since editing in tool takes forever to switch from one product to the next

I've done a bit of it already, but it takes me forever. Current state is far from what I would like it to feel like, but is a start

Not a plugin for farr yet but that could probably be arranged

I use Open Source tool DocFetcher
* has a portable version
* can work as a one off or constantly updating (maybe not in portable)
* supports all the formats you mention, and unicode
* supports regexp for search but also for excluding files from indexing

it doesnt do archives yet, not sure if it can warn of encryption. Worth a test though :)


From appearances Genie Backup Professional looks more like their regular backup software (similar to Backup4All) while this Timeline looks like it is more designed to "help" you by working with where it thinks your important files may be.  If that is so, then Timeline is not of interest here, since I like to put stuff in its own place and then decide how to backup.  Do I have the distinction right ?


Timeline is meant as continuous backup - will run in the background and backup what you told it to backup constantly as it changes, when your backup device is accessible. Incrementally, keeping versions.

Compared to a normal backup solutions it has the following differences:
- does not run on a schedule but constantly. Its checks can run on an interval (every 5 minutes) or on detection of changes. It does have a game mode and a power/battery saving mode, which is better than quite a few always-on backup options
- there's only 1 backup set and 1 backup target, rather than the option of multiple backup profiles (at least in home version). This is quite limiting if you come from a tool where you had created many profiles with different frequencies and logic.
- it has a local browse client that allows to browse backed up versions from windows explorer, as well as browse by timeline and search (by name) files in the timeline vault
- it could be quite greedy of disk space, at least the home version

You control what it backs up, within certain bounds
* It does have preselect options for backup, for things like your windows system (that does back up a lot), email, images etc. that are preconfigured sets with locations and file filters. It calls this "smart selection". I havent investigated this much but this looks like a reasonable set of choices: disaster recovery, email, desktop, documents, office files, financial files, local iphone files, local blackberry files, pictures, music, videos, bookmarks, ebooks, compressed files and iso images. This is a "quick start" option
* You can skip these and go to "my computer" and select folders and files. If you select a whole folder, new files and subfolders in it will automatically be added. There is only 1 global file filter available to exclude files by extension/name for the whole set of manually selected files and folders
* the backed up files are in a folder on the target drive that has a slightly opaque name, but once in it you have a tree of files that mirrors your own + a separate set of versions. So normal files could be retrieved without installing the software again.

It is not necessarily the right backup if you are a pro and have lots of varied backup/sync needs. It is a neat backup for installing on machines where you don't want (and don't need) to think too much, for other people in your household/family/client circle who will not backup and not think of backup unless it it terribly easy, of the "plug this particular USB drive in at least twice a week and the rest is automatic" variety

It seems it can email regular reports too (I liked that in the early Genie Backup tool) but I havent enabled this.

If you have the disk space, it looks like it can keep a history of snapshots for rolling back in a way that might be easier to grasp for normal users than some of the rollback/images tools. I havent tested that bit much, maybe I should since I have gotten lazy on the backup image making. But now I just use it for files and folders and outlook for all the files and documents that don't need sync.

I haven't tested it as much as I should, though.

(pic is of the restore interface)

NAS in my case is just one of these network shared drives without a computer - well, there's just enough embedded linux that it is a low power file sharing computer in a drive box. Usually supports normal windows sharing, ftp, webdav etc and often nowadays they have options for extra services.

I like them because you can store your drive away from your computers, which makes it a little more burglar safe. Performance is OK but I have gigabit ethernet wiring and yet it's still kind of sluggish on the "reload folder information" bit when copying/moving from windows.

Currently I have a Zyxel one that has a bit of extra logic and can run a web server or other goodies (also has a media server but that never functioned properly for the amount of music i have)

Living Room / Re: Firefox and LastPass problems
« on: February 27, 2012, 05:24 PM »
Interesting - I dont have any autologon on the sites i have set to preopen in firefox, that might be why I don't see the bugs

For bookmark sets, I use the speed dial extension. I tend to mostly use it as a lazy bookmark set but it can also be used to open a whole set at once

Living Room / Re: The problem with online ad alternatives
« on: February 27, 2012, 02:29 PM »
It doesnt look all that shady to me - this is seed capital we're talking about, and a lot of it even in the valley is not full VCs but a network of angels. Angel funds are quite common, after all.

So if you are a blogger and your income is safe, why would you not be tempted to invest and participate instead of only just watch. And why would you not be courted as a way to gain cred/cash/connections for a startup, when there are so many.

Even journalists need to buy products and make savings and investements and it's not necessarily a loss of integrity to do that

Living Room / Re: Firefox and LastPass problems
« on: February 27, 2012, 02:24 PM »
Very odd - never had an issue with lastpass. Have FF 9 and the up to date lastpass. But then FF is my secondary browser so I would perhaps not notice

I left Acronis a while back - when they changed their type of licenses and took away some features from me I cared about unless I paid full corporate price.

I now use Paragon - incidentally they seem to now have a free version of their backup, that could be interesting I need to check it out

Paragon backs up and restores from local, network, usb and CD/DVD and has different types of boot media to make sure you always can boot back up. I have used their hard disk manager and their rescue kit products a few times to get out of some self-created messes.

And according to the the Genie Timeline Pro release notes the last version released was February 2, 2011 - Genie Timeline

I have on my machines - so not much has changed.

I find it a nice continuuous backup and inobtrusive, although when I had it using a isb drive it would complain after about 10 days of not connecting and that got annoying. Now that it uses the NAS I hardly ever notice it.

I didn't like the out of the box profiles - for me they backed up too much. And one annoyance is there was no easy automated way from the main interface to remove files that were backed up but one didnt want anymore. That'd be my top item on the wishlist. But it does nicely backup files with version and has a reasonably convenient way to go back and look at snapshots.

Note: I use this on my additional and family/friend PCs - a good way to pick up new folders with document/settings and not be surprised - my core machines have Paragon on top for full images and recovery.

General Software Discussion / Re: Anyone on DC do Actinic (UK)?
« on: February 27, 2012, 02:01 PM »
*sigh* tell me about it...

Got to move carefully on this one not lose the rankings - site might be a bit ugly and not all that good at selling as it could be (an euphemism) but it does come up in the first 3 spots in Google on a lot of its rather niche products. So I need to improve what I've got and evolve it slowly first, then replatform very carefully

Maybe I'll do a DC rebate once I have understood my margins :)

General Software Discussion / Anyone on DC do Actinic (UK)?
« on: February 26, 2012, 01:16 PM »
Hello all

In a strange twist of fate I have acquired a small wine business (yay!) and inherited a website that runs on Actinic (less yay).

Now I come from much more state of the art ecommerce projects, so am banging my head on Actinic a bit, and trying to figure out what is possible in up to date Actinic (site is quite old, so has accumulated workarounds from v6,7,8,9 etc.) and what is not possible etc. is proving quite a challenge.

All I knew from Actinic was helping get the data off it for people migrating to something else, although it's actually not a bad package within its limitations and design choices. It is frustrating to me, though.

I know some of the lovely people on this forum often supplement their software income with a bit of IT services, any of you have Actinic on your product portfolio? Might be a day's worth of review/advice/sanity checking in it, and perhaps more onwards (unless I decide to replatform)

I have that tool on some of my laptops, to replace "no hands backup" which I used to use. It quite happily will backup when I am on the network with my NAS, but won't cause trouble when I am not. Quite simple and seamless, so no big deal if it isnt developed onwards (seems a recurrent issue with backup programs)

Genie9 now have a cloud version of timeline, iirc. Most likely a white branded reseller thing, like all the virus scanner vendors also have nowadays

Edit : they claim not, their software and Amazon S3

They are never a replacement for a local backup option! But there are situations where the local backup will fail you. Fire, flood, and burglary are examples (happened to my brother in law, laptops and usb backup drive stolen = all their photos gone, except for those they had emailed to relatives over the years)

I have files that are on 2 of my computers, then on a usb drive, and on a NAS, and on a portable drive that travels with me. And online.

My problem, hopefully, won't be losing files. No, my problem is duplicates and actually managing to delete things I dont need without them reappearing somewhere on the sync/backup chain...  :D

Thank you iphigenie, great stuff

I know what you mean by specific but FWIW Dropbox's folder location can be changed these days.  I think I am more or less a case #1. The files that I am comfortable putting online are moved to a location (dropbox for example) "manually", I don't use online options as a general purpose backup (everything on my drive)

Yes, you can put it where you want, which is good. But it's still a "one folder" approach. Works great for files whose location you control, but not for files created by applications where you cannot control the location, or where you just want one file from a folder backed up. And I have a lot of that, the paranoia of backing my settings up (not finding that a crash has lost me configs that I can never rebuild. been there, done that. Still mourn a custom evolved objectbar skin from 8 years ago... yeah, well  :tellme:)

I'd tried putting the files in dropbox and using links, but it's not practical and too easily can go wrong

So I use dropbox for specific work projects and for

If you're trying it out, there's something to be aware of that I covered in my trial of sugarsync.  I'm not sure if they fixed it (they never responded to my queries), but, from the review:
During the uninstall, it stated that "no files would be removed".  [Expletive Deleted]!  They removed *everything* from my machine.
Full post of that experience is here.
yikes! I'll be very careful should I uninstall it. Hopefully though, 2 years on, they dont have that bug anymore...

One thing that is not in sugarsync that was so easy in syncplicity (and is also easy in spideroak) is excluding single files - since the idea on this one is to backup -and when it makes sense sync - settings and files that programs leave all over the place (in Appdata, user folder, programdata or the application's folder) and that often the folder contain many standard (easy to reinstall) files as well as the few files that need to be backed up. It's likely I'll end up using something else as a result, as I end up backing up more files than I need with sugar sync.

Maybe syncplicity will change their plans back to something more reasonable, maybe I'll just increase my plan in spideroak and use that for sync, even with the duplicate upload space it needs. Maybe I'll try a few more...

Living Room / Re: Losing my e-Book religion
« on: February 25, 2012, 09:48 AM »
I donated to Calibre this summer - I try to donate something each month to one of the projects I use...

What was a bit sad was that I received no message beyond the payment (paypal) confirmation - not even a generic, automated message of thanks. That's silly of them, as it makes me less likely to re-donate (yes, unfair of me, but these things matter...)

@ iphigenie

Wow, that's an impressive summary!

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to do that, it's material like this that helps to make DC as valuable as it is.

I think this should be in a thread of its own or in the review section somewhere, and certainly linked to in the next newsletter.

-cranioscopical (February 25, 2012, 07:29 AM)

Thanks, that's very sweet of you.
This is very unstructured and not impartial or systematic, purely based on my needs and experience

Will have to try Livedrive which is mentioned in this discussion though, looks well packaged

Obviously around online backup/sync there are 2 views

view #1 the service as a separate "drive" (dropbox, amazon storage services etc.). You tell the tool what to backup and sync by moving or copying your files and folders to it. You copy to/from it. You arrange your workflow around it. You manage it manually. Many people seem to find this more convenient. And if all you deal in are files you manipulate directly anyway and where you control the location easily, it is. If you want to backup settings and configurations that have to be in a specific place, and change often, you need an additional tool to copy these to the "drive" regularly.

view #2 the service as a background backup service that "just happens". You tell the tool what to backup from where in a configuration screen (or right click menu), rather than by moving the files to a specific place. Then it just does it behind the scenes. You don't reorganise your files, but you have to go through the tree and change settings/tick boxes.

I have tried quite a few - won't list them all

* spideroak - still use this. Pay for it. Love it. Quite slow admin (due to the encryption) but has native linux and has had for 3+ years. Keeps a lot of local information on files but efficient upload (diff/rsync style, i assume). I use it on windows and slackware. Safe solid backup, encrypted, keeps machines separated (each computer has their own backup space, separate), keeps versions. Allows for picking by file or folder and by file type (in a tree/explorer style setting). Has only limited "easy start" for people who dont know where their files and settings are saved, compared to some others. Can do safe sync (via 2 backed up copies), but not meant for seamless sync. Not for collaborative share but allows for file sharing/publishing of any custom combination of files and folders (that has to be set up from the local client software first) complete with rss feed notification - i use this to make files available to tech support situations etc. Web interface only for retrieval of files (and versions). Computers only.
I like it enough that i even considered getting a while label reseller option... settled for an affiliate link for now. (in case someone wants to try it and feels nice) Free plan: 2Gb
Capturesp.PNG  Capturesp2.PNG  Capturesp4.PNG

* dropbox. Because everyone uses it so I use it for collaboration. Very simple to use but not all that good for backup - aimed at collaborative sharing. I absolutely *hate* the forced use of a specific local folder though. It is not at all how I want to work. Works best for occasional use or for collaborative sharing. I use it for work with certain clients, and for uploading to (that's an awesome mechanism for uploading photos, i must say). Supports mobile devices and linux. Webinterface allows for administering sharing as well as file access.
Very easy to pick up due to the "one folder" approach even for fairly unfamiliar computer users. And exists in multiple languages, so I introduce my foreign relatives to it.

* syncplicity. Has the best windows integration, imo. Can have a dropbox style main folder but also works on individual folders, and files. Easy to add or exclude specific files straight from explorer right mouse button menu (add, exclude, share). Does keep versions and deleted files (within plan limits). Aimed more at synchronising across machines so adding a folder on one machine always triggers a prompt on the other machine.  Does not keep machines separated, creates one big files pot. Deals with conflicts by creating (named) duplicates, which can be good (no overwrites) but also extremely annoying. Works beautifully for sync'ing work in progress and settings (perfect for saved games!).
Big weakness is that once you have shared a lot of folders all over the place the admin interface makes it hard to figure out what's what (see screenshot) unless you renamed labels carefully when adding. Web admin interface does more than just download, allows for individual access and sharing. Cloud editing via Gdocs, zoho (and a few more). Very intuitive (to me) way to control whether to sync or backup only, and what destination etc.
I had a plan for 2 years but then they changed their plans and wanted me to pay the same for half the space and only 5 machines' access, then they tried to bill me in duplicate, so I lapsed back to free. Just use the free plan for settings sync. Shame. Focusing on the corporate market now (not even SMB, corporate)
If you sign up to the free plan use my link and give us both more space, will ya? https://my.syncplici...e&token=TZHBEQJ3
Free plan: 2Gb
Capture.PNG    Capturesy1.PNG

* cx - a more stylish version of dropbox. Lots of great reviews, does have better group and commenting features, but I couldn't see the point for me. Possibly has features on macs that I cant assess. Prettier but not much better, that I could see. Didnt try it much, though. NOT granular to the file level.
More generous free allowance, though. Free plan: 10Gb! (might make it a valuable free service for group collaboration at 10Gb)

* sugar sync - an interesting mix. I'm currently rying it to see if it will substitute for syncplicity is very similar in features, heard much good from colleagues about it. Creates an automatic shared folder (magic) that is automatically sync'd between all machines. Then allows the backup (and optional -but by default on- sync) of individual folders, but unlike syncplicity only from its own admin interface. (Edit: I lied, it does allow config from windows explorer/interface but only while it is running). NOT granular to the file level.
Web interface quite powerful, allows for access for retrieval and versions, like they all do, but also email, links for sharing, and a download/edit/upload way to change files when without the software (but no cloud edit like syncplicity offers). Good support for photos andmobile devices. Also, copy and move and rename, and some view/play for media files. Admin client is a bit quirky as similar tasks are done on vastly different screens, compared to syncplicity I found it harder to do management tasks but easier to get a good overview of things synchronised. Good support for devices, not just iphone and android for once. I could grow to like this a lot, and they are still coming up with features that both groups and small businesses can use. We'll see.
Free plan: 5Gb
Pricing is better than dropbox or syncplicity, and they have offers at the moment (you get a deal via email while in trial, and that deal worked for me, i paid)
https://www.sugarsyn...ral?rf=b5jratm0f6yt0 (as all these things, you get extra space too when you use a code, iirc).
Capturesu1.PNG  Capturesug.PNG  Capturesug2.PNG

* memotoo and funambol - based on an open source setup you could also install on your own server. AImed more at addresses/calendars but has a file module as well. Wouldnt do as a full backup option, but for a set of files can be nice. Works with every possible device/os out there, pretty much, including old Nokia, Maemo/Meego and more.
Memotoo is a slightly extended hosted version of funambol. cheap yearly fee for contact/calendar/file sync (14 euros?) and

94 can allow things through for specific sites, either because it is needed or because you want to let that particular site have stats
Thanks for that tip. I had left everything "ON" in Ghostery. Must spend some time fiddling with site-specifics now. ArsTechnica would like that, I think.

On Opera Ghostery operates via the normal content blocking mechanism, so what is available is simply the right click standard option "exempt this site from blocking".

On Firefox there is an option called "whitelist domain"

On chrome you either go in the full settings and add URLs in the text box at the bottom, or, when on a site, click on "edit blocking options" and click the "dont block"  option

In each case ghostery uses the built-in blocking mechanism and enhances it to only apply on in page elements and use its additional rules, but it lets the normal mechanism do the blocking

I suspect it is a performance choice to only allow blocking/unblocking of a bug everywhere, or a site for every bug.

On Opera I noticed the occasional unwanted blockage on redirects, usually links from newsletters. Disabling ghostery makes the link work. That's a side effect of Ghostery plugging in Opera's content filters

Clarifying this one as it took me a while to figure out - mostly because it is rare and therefore first happened quite a while after I installed Ghostery.

- clicking on a link in an email newsletter, the page opens in Opera
- you see a message from Opera's content blocker telling you that the content has been blocked, with the usual hint as to how to open the settings and check the rules
- if you look into the blocker rules, you don't find anything that matches the URL in question (in my case it was obvious since I had no rules set up)

it seems that due to the way ghostery hooks up in the content blocking service (which is the right thing to do) means that sometimes ghostery trigger a block of a page that is a redirect to a further page.

Because ghostery is meant to happen on the bug elements loaded in a page it doesnt show any additional information (since you don't see these blocked elements) and just lets the normal Opera mechanism operate.

So when it triggers on a full page that is a redirect from one of these tracking/analytics email (because the whole page is a bug, in a way) you have no indication ghostery was involved.

It happens very rarely and it might puzzle others and now they might find this thread (also posted that on Opera's forums back in November)

Q. Will Ghostery affect my browser performance?
A. Ghostery initiates a scan and decision for several types of page elements, and in some cases, this scan may represent a slight increase in page load times. However, if users choose to block page scripts, our lab research suggests that pages load faster on average.
-Ghostery FAQ
Can anyone confirm, deny, or comment on this??
[edit] Damn that's a zippy install!

I never noticed much difference in Opera - and i love installing extensions which do not require restarting the browser (hear that, firefox???)
I didnt notice any difference in the other browsers either but they are back up browsers so I would not necessarily have a feel enough to notice

On Opera I noticed the occasional unwanted blockage on redirects, usually links from newsletters. Disabling ghostery makes the link work. That's a side effect of Ghostery plugging in Opera's content filters

Iain - you can allow things through for specific sites, either because it is needed or because you want to let that particular site have stats

DC Gamer Club / Re: Minecraft - An Incredible Indie Game
« on: February 24, 2012, 01:25 AM »
I've just been introduced to the wonders of persistent world, group minecraft servers, and competitive minecraft (2 teams, 2 identical worlds, spectators, a set of objectives, first one to finish wins), by one of my friends who runs the sticky piston minecraft server hosting

Quite intriguing what dynamics are at play and what people get up to on huge world.

Minecraft is very RAM hungry though. It's some monster server he's had to put up.

Any of you interested in my asking if he'd do a DC members special price? Dont want to waste his time

Living Room / Re: Get Britain Working (But we won't pay you...)
« on: February 24, 2012, 01:16 AM »
Alas it is not compensated in future generations - it was already compensated in the past. The luck of the 50s to 90s, pretty much. And some pretty heavy dismantling and sabotage/flash sale of state services and assets in the 90s and 00s.

Still, it is all an excuse. "Times are tough, all the hard earned rights are a luxury now... it couldnt last... " If you fall for it in Britain I shall never forgive you >:(

Living Room / Re: Losing my e-Book religion
« on: February 22, 2012, 02:31 AM »
Very useful thread to remind why I resist using any of the big sites - even if it means now and then having to skip a particular author or book. There's so much available anyway :)

Considering all the security cracks of the last year, I will not leave my credit card on file except in very rare cases. Not on skype, not on steam, etc. I do on amazon but that too might change.

So any ebook system that demands a credit card for accessing already paid books would be a no no in my book.

If you have a device that is not locked to a store, then look at the publisher's own store. many have one now and they are less likely to have silly tactics

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