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Messages - J-Mac [ switch to compact view ]

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General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 25, 2007, 02:08 AM »
Just to clarify about the Extreme Sync Service - especially for NeilS:

I just tried again to install the service and this time I left the user name and password fields blank, and it installed just fine.  Oddly enough, when you schedule tasks via the Windows Scheduler normally, you must have a password set up on the user account that you are using for scheduling the task.  At least that's how it works on Windows XP Pro.  I've never been convinced of the need for requiring a password for the account, nor have I read anything in the Microsoft Knowledge Base that has convinced me, but it is a requirement for using the Windows Task Scheduler.  That's why I was insisting on entering the user account name and password when trying to install the Extreme Sync service.  However it suddenly strck me a few minutes ago that Extreme Sync doesn't actually use the Task Scheduler, per se, but is installed as a service.  So I trudged back to the PC and gave it another try with no user name nor password, and it installed immediately.

I started the service and now I'll see how that works as far as the scheduled synchronizations.  I think I'll add a couple more folders to sync sooner - the others aren't scheduled until next Friday and I don't want to wait that long to test the scheduler via the service.

Thanks to all who posted.


PS - I want to thank Tobias again for posting here and making the offer that he did. Though the SFFS schedule has caused me a lot of confusion over the last two weeks, it is certainly uncommon for a software developer to visit a forum and interject comments and an offer as Tobias did.  This kind of developer interaction with his users is to be commended, and is definitely appreciated by all.  Thank you again, Tobias. This is very much appreciated here at DonationCoder, and I am certain that word of such good behavior will spread far and wide! -- Jim

General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 25, 2007, 01:33 AM »

Thank you for this post.  I just sent an email to you.  I only purchased SFFS 15 days ago on November 10, so an upgrade to Version 4 would be greatly appreciated.  I know I've been thoroughly confused with the method of scheduling in SFFS.

Thanks again.


General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 24, 2007, 11:08 PM »
J-Mac, which version of SFFS are you using (standard or pro)?

I think I saw a similar post by you last week, Neil.  I have no idea -- I didn't notice there were two editions available.  Either way, the one I purchased listed for $59.90, and I purchased it for $41.90 after the DC discount of 30%.  At that price, I would hope it is the higher level!

And as far as the Extreme Sync option (IIRC, that's what you posted about last week), it doesn't work here.  I tried that after the first time SFFS pulled this and it would not setup the service.  Tried it again right before posting here almoat 24 hours ago, and it still is not working.

When I attempt to setup the service it immediately throws an error about my User ID and/or password.  (Both are correct. Other applications on my PC that have scheduled tasks - including Acronis TI Home 11 - have no trouble using my username and password for their scheduled tasks).  After they were rejected four times (with me entering them so slow and carefully just to be sure), I even tried a copy and paste from Acronis, where the username and password fields are showing in Options, but this Extreme Sync refuses them.  I also tried changing the password (successfully!) and SFFS/Extreme Sync rejected that also. (Of course I then had to also change the P/W in the other programs as well - tested them and all work well).  Except SFFS/Extreme Sync.  (And, yes - I am set up as the Administrator on this Windows XP Pro, SP2 machine).

So I cannot get SFFS to hold a schedule regardless of method.

I'll just have to sync manually with this until I can around to purchasing a sync app with a working scheduler.  Actually, I think I'll go back to SyncToy for the time being.  (Should have stayed with it in the first place!!)



General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 24, 2007, 12:29 PM »

After restarting the scheduler, I kept checking every now and then just to see if it is still running. All is fine until I reboot.  Then -- even though I have SFFS starting with Windows -- the scheduler is no longer running.  It has to be manually restarted with every reboot.  This is totally unacceptable!  What is the purpose of a "scheduler" if it does not run?  Since one must remember to "start" the scheduler each time Windows runs then there is no point at all in scheduling backups to run, as they do not run at all automatically.

I really do miss the point of having such a "non-feature".  Or, more aptly - the developer has apparently missed the point.  Or simply does not understand the meaning of the word "schedule".

A software user should never have to do watch a scheduled task and continually restart the so-called "scheduler".  Not with any application in this day and age.  Granted I do perform checks every now and then just to make sure that any and all of my scheduled tasks are occurring as planned, but I never feel the need to keep checking on a program to see if it is still scheduled at all!  If all scheduled tasks for all programs behaved in this manner, I can't imagine DonationCoder users just standing by, allowing and tolerating such non-performance, and yet still recommending that program highly, as is the case with SFFS.  I wonder why that is?  I have seen other software applications -- ones that I consider extremely useful -- lambasted here for inconveniences that are far less critical than the way the SFFS scheduler behaves.  Weird!

If I had to constantly monitor scheduled tasks for all software applications on my PC, I would be requesting the excellent coders here to please develop a small utility to keep an eye on all scheduled tasks and alert me when I need to restart the scheduler!  Maybe something that could initiate an email or SMS notification that reads something like:  "Alert!!  Time to stop whatever you are doing and go home and restart your SFFS scheduler or no sync jobs will run!!"

OK, OK -- I know.  Enough whining and crying about this.  Time to go find a sync application that works.  SFFS is definitely fast, but when it doesn't sync as scheduled because the scheduler has a faulty design, I lose a lot more time than its speed could ever gain.  (I spent less time and had more reliability using the free Microsoft Power Toy SyncToy - plus, the scheduled syncs actually work so I can relax elsewhere while it takes its good old time!)

Thanks for putting up with my whiny little rant, folks!  I know it is probably annoying, but I feel better!


General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 23, 2007, 04:38 PM »
Just happened again!  Sync scheduled for this afternoon and nothing happened. This time I had started the scheduler, placed SFFS into my Startup folder and made sure it is running all the time, and yet still it did not fire up. I just opened it and the stupid scheduler was not running again.

What is it with this program? What the hell does it take to get it to fire on schedule? I have had many different scheduled tasks in various programs, some scheduled via the Windows task scheduler and some via the application's own scheduler. But I have never had this much difficulty getting a program to perform its single solitary purpose when scheduled!

Now I am really sorry that I purchased this dog. And I apologize if I have offended any dogs of the canine variety. Should have used a more properly descriptive term, but you can't say that here.


General Software Discussion / Re: What’s Your Backup Strategy?
« on: November 23, 2007, 01:01 AM »
I use Acronis True Image Home 11 (though it is giving me fits currently!), and I also use Supper Flexible File Synchronizer to sync all data and media files that I consider important.  All goes to an internal Seagate SATA HDD, and also to an external Western Digital My Book Essential USB drive.  (Fortunately I am blessed with lots of HDD space -- both the Seagate internal and WD external drives are 500 GB, and all my working files are on another Seagate internal drive with 500 GB.  My C: drive is a Western Digital internal SATA drive of 80 GB and it only has Windows XP and my installed programs).

On top of this I also subscribed to Mozy Online and backup all my data and media files to their servers.  I currently have that set to update the online backup once daily.  Mozy cost me about $45 for a year.  I did use it recently when I had one of my hard drives fail.  I didn't even need to use an Acronis image (fortunately!), but I simply logged on to Mozy and downloaded all that had been lost.  Worked nicely!  It takes a while to download - it's not a speed demon at all when restoring.  But I just started it when I was going to bed and checked the following day and everything had downloaded - back into the exact same file and folder structure that it had been in.  Nice!

I also have BackItUp, which a module that is a part of Nero Ultra.  I do make a full backup of everything with that monthly.

All files that I consider critical -- those that I feel I would definitely regret losing - I burn to several DVDs weekly and store them out of my house.  Sounds like a bit of overkill, but I have had to try and help too many friends who have lost data and seen the panic they are in.  One friend thought he was backed up well - he kept a backup on an internal drive, plus one on an external drive, and even a set of DVDs weekly.  Unfortunately there was a fire at this house.  Very small - the firefighters said it was a smoldering fire, mostly inside the walls - electrical, I think.  His office wasn't affected directly, but water they used got into the office ceiling and it collapsed onto his work station, and causing a shelf on the wall to fall.  Computer was shot because of water, and the backup DVDs had been on the shelf and were also ruined.  Weird things can happen!  You can't be too careful - it all depends on how much you value the data on your machine.


General Software Discussion / Re: Virtual Desktop suggestions?
« on: November 21, 2007, 06:50 PM »
I've used Manage Desk for a while, though I'm not using any currently - dual monitors has satisfied my desktop needs for now.  Manage Desk has most of the same features as most VD applications, but I found that it also gave me the distinct feel of actually having many desktop - with separate icons, taskbars, etc.  Small outfit, so the developer was pretty responsive most of the time, unless he was on the verge of an impending release or the like - definitely a one-man show there.


Living Room / Re: Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader
« on: November 21, 2007, 03:41 AM »
USB cable so you can back your ebooks up on your computer if you wish. Also (and this is a plus for me) it can read some existing formats, including PRC and MOBI - I have lots of PRC and MOBI. However I cannot find out if I can activate paid for secure ebooks on it.

Also, has anyone seen the "drop test" video? They show a Kindle dropped on every side from about a yard (meter) high. Funny, and they don't say if it was operable after the drops. But it didn't look damaged.


Living Room / Re: About Rudeness in Forums
« on: November 19, 2007, 11:15 PM »
I voted "Very Rarely".  I can't help it - I am rude from time to time. Don't even realize it when I am; I usually see a curt reply to a post I made and have to go back and take another look at what I wrote.  My posts often sound a little ruder when I read them after the fact.

Combination of a lot of factors, I guess. Just smack me once or twice - I'll straighten up!


Because, Jesse, that's what they do!!   8)


General Software Discussion / Re: Darik's Boot and Nuke
« on: November 19, 2007, 02:49 AM »
Darik's Boot and Nuke is included on the great and wonderful Ultimate Boot CD.  It contains a plethora of disk and memory diagnostics and boot applications.


Any updates on this Jim? Have you found a good solution? A number of small bugs were fixed relating to this type of use of SQLNotes (and many improvements). So you may want to download a recent version.

My offer still holds to help you set it up.

Cheers, Pierre

Hi Pierre!

I did try a previous version, but I need pretty good documentation to walk me through a database-type application. As I mentioned earlier, I was great 20 years ago with dBase III+ (don't know if you remember that one or not - it was a long time ago!). Then the program was acquired by Borland and they released dBase IV which was menu driven and while it was supposed to be idiot-proof, it also happened to be bug-ridden and most previous users abandoned it for other programs. I was in a different position and didn't have a need to learn a new DB application - so I didn't. When I tried again with Access and kept finding myself in VB editing windows, I realized I was hopelessly lost and just started creating some horrifically complicated Excel spreadsheets (well, at the time they were Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets) with v-lookup and h-lookup tables and then pivot tables, and if one miscue occurred debugging was equally horrendous.

Anyway to shorten this rambling long story - I am hopelessly lost with databases unless there are fairly easy-to-follow written instructions for them. Other programs I can start using intuitively and seem to have no problems at all picking them up and making them hum. Databases - I must have a severe mental block against them!!

I'll download your latest creation and spend a day working with it. In the meantime I have been re-working the spreadsheet I have the documents listed in and adding documents that have arrived or been created by me since I last worked on the spreadsheet. Most of the programs I am looking to use allow importing Excel spreadsheets, so I shouldn't be wasting much time or effort by updating this sheet.

I also am trying to get a subset of these documents into Zoho Creator, as recommended by another member here. I am leery of Zoho for one reason: They have the option to make all documents created or stored there Public, like most online web applications. I once had an entire LiveJournal blog - meant for a smaller group and containing relatively personal information - "accidentally" become public, though my options had it set to be Private. LJ had a server event that made all LiveJournal postings public and did not fix it for about a week. So I am justifiably nervous about keeping anything sensitive on any site like that! Though to be honest their Creator site is pretty nice and easy to set up.

Still, I'll give SQL Notes another go and see if I can get anything working as I need it there!

Thanks again Pierre!


I've been using NOD32 (currently using 2.7) for two years now and have not sen a speed issue thus far I have it configured to Blackspear's Extra Settings, which basically is a command line configured scheduled scan that is pretty comprehensive IMO. I haven't seen any particular delays, though that scan - scheduled weekly - takes about 3 hours from start to finish. Not as bad as NAV or McAfee were some years ago on a much smaller PC. Though it is a lot longer than TrendMicro ever took - but I was never impressed with TM's thoroughness.

My biggest issues with Eset is their lack of decent notification - both of updates/upgrades and of license expiration. They do neither at all and you must go to the web site and check to see what upgrades are available. And for your subscription expiration, contacting support gets a reply of, "Please refer to the email you received when you purchased NOD32 for the expiration date." Unheard of nowadays.


General Software Discussion / Re: SyncBackSE vs. SuperFlexible
« on: November 16, 2007, 03:58 PM »
I just got "bit" by the scheduling feature in SFFS. I thought it was scheduled for earlier this afternoon but a reboot of my PC naturally had shut down SFFS and it is not set to auto-start, so - nothing happened.

Every other program I have used that has an internal scheduler automatically places the auto-scheduler feature in the startup folder. Not SFFS. You must manually start the scheduler, and if you don't manually create a link in the startup folder it will not start upon reboot and the files will not be synchronized.

This is about as non-intuitive as I have seen in an application - especially one as important as a backup program. I do realize that this is a file-syncing program and not actually a backup program, but using synced files and folders as backups is exactly how they characterize SFFS.

This is one of the poorest UI's I have seen in a while. It does sync fast and true, but I now know that I have to be exceedingly careful about every setting and test them all in every conceivable situation, as the developers have not put the customers' ease of use anywhere near the top of the feature list!

I should have evaluated it for the full period allowed! Maybe this will teach me.



From his February 2007 newsletter -

"Bye-bye Windows! My three-month Macintosh trial may have ended, but my new permanent gig with the Mac is just getting started. Apple's computer and OS X are now my PC and operating system of choice. If you give the Mac three months, as I did, you won't go back either. The hardest part is paying for it — everything after that gets easier and easier. Perhaps fittingly, it took me the three months of the trial period to pay off my expensive MacBook Pro. But the darn thing is worth every penny.

In early November I began a total-immersion trial of the Macintosh as part of my research in gauging whether Vista is most people's best operating system choice. I started by making a brand new MacBook Pro 17 my primary computer. For a month before the trial officially started in November, and the two weeks that followed, I worked on selecting products, converting data, and setting up corporate software systems for my company, Computerworld, as well as finding solutions for personal use. Prior to my adoption of the Mac, I had one Windows computer for both business and home, so the Mac had to handle both sets of tasks too.

After hundreds of hours testing Vista and living with the Mac for three months, the choice was, well, crystal clear. I've struggled to sort out my gut feeling about Windows Vista, but the value and advantage of the Mac and OS X are difficult to miss. Microsoft's marketing materials for a past version of Windows used the phrase, "It just works." But the only computer that tagline honestly describes is the Macintosh. Don't translate that in your mind as, "Yeah, so what, the Mac is easy to use." Any new computing environment takes some getting used to. The easy-to-use aspect is nice, but not all that significant. When Mac users say, "It just works," what they mean is that you spend more time on your work, and a lot less time working on your computer."

I just saw this reply to my post, so I thought I would point out that it is only a partial quote. Here's another paragraph from the same newsletter:

And here is the link for anyone who would prefer to read the whole article instead of little snippets as have been posted thus far:


I'm just surprised to hear him commenting about Windows software - he quite explicitly said at one point that he was dropping Windows altogether.

Where did he say that?  I've known Scot for years and as far as I know he has steadfastly insisted that he would still run Vista and XP and continue to report on them.  Just his main "daily use" machine is now a Mac.  I don't think you'll see Scot stop wrting about Windows anytime soon - too much juicy stuff for a writer to pass up!


General Software Discussion / Re: roboform2go or sticky password?
« on: November 13, 2007, 11:41 PM »
I'm planning to buy something to carry all my passwords with me (and save me time if I lose my laptop or have to reinstall OS). I heard that FF has a flaw that may let crackers retrieve your stored passwords. I also see people heare swearing by roboform (as a former opera-only guy, I didn't really test it).

There is a portable version of Roboform:

Now I found:

Has anyone compared those? Is the portable roboform less feature-rich than the standard version?

I have kicenses for Roboform Pro (2), Roboform2Go, and the PPC version.  I have never tried Sticky Password, though.

Roboform and Roboform2Go are identical in every way, except of course you can take the 2Go version with you and use it on any PC you need it.  Actually I am using the 2Go version on my desktop PC and it stays plugged in always.  Might seem stupid, but I initially purchased it because I traveled a good deal when I was working, before I became disabled.  Now I am pretty much housebound so rather than waste it I just keep it plugged into my main PC, and on the rare occasions that I do travel I take it with me.  Why use it on a stationary machine?  Because as I add more and more web sites to its database, if I were using the regular version, I would have to stop and copy the database over onto the USB key before leaving.  On 2 occasions I forgot and was missing a number of passwords I needed!

I tried Keepass on two occasions, and all that I could find it was good for - in my world - was storing passwords for non-Internet-related programs/files/databases, etc. on my PC.  As for using it to auto-fill logins on the web, it was not nearly as easy to use as Roboform.  Roboform also keeps encrypted notes, as well as Identities.  You can fill a form requiring name, address, phone numbers, financial info, etc. with one click - or automatically. But I recommend keeping a click necessary to fill rather than completely automatic - you may end up accidently filling and submitting forms on a page where you don't want to do so.

RF also has a warning pop up whenever you fill a form with financial info - credit card numbers, etc.  You can turn that off but I like it personally.


Thank you for all the replies, folks.

I didn't mean to imply that the developer would not respond, or respond in a timely fashion.  It's just my experience that good developers usually respond favorably to requests about functional issues, and even innovative feature requests.  But I'm not seeing anything functionally wrong with the application; it's really just a personal UI preference.  I get a file/folder naming structure set in my mind and I can get a little frustrated if I am forced into someone else's idea for a naming convention.  When a developer imprints his or her own naming conventions on a program, it is usually not going to change.

I was just hoping that there was actually a work-around for this in SFFS and that with all the SFFS users here that someone might have found it and could share it.  Appears that's not the case, though.  It is certainly not going to stop me from using the program just as effectively.  I'm just set in my ways and like most animals, if I am knocked out of my planned scheme of things - in this case, profile-naming - it slows me down a bit.  Takes me a while to adjust to someone else's scheme.

Thanks again!


Thank you.  Interesting - to say the least!  I love programs that work well; I am usually annoyed with programs that force you into hierarchies or structures that the developer apparently favors.  Requires you to change the basic ways you think.

I won't bother writing the developer about it. Doesn't usually help for preferences like this.

Thanks again!


I purchased SFFS, based of course on the great recommendations here at DC.  But I have run into a stupid issue that's driving me a little crazier than I already am!  It doesn't affect functionality, but it is annoying me just the same.

SFFS takes whatever profiles I create and tries to group them as it sees fit.  I would prefer to group my profiles as I desire; not as the program decides.  THe first example I ran into is naming some sync folders starting with the word "My", as in My Important Docs, My Pics, My Music, etc.  SFFS insists on then creating a group named "My" and then listing profiles under that group.  For example, the folders I named in the previous sentence show up as follows:

-----Important Docs

How do I stop it from grouping my profiles as it sees fit?  I can rename folders but not groups.



General Software Discussion / Re: Money Management Software
« on: November 13, 2007, 03:06 AM »
Hi Arun.

I only know of the two major personal finance packages - Microsoft Money and Intuit's Quicken.  I have used Quicken for about 8 or 9 years, but I'm not certain I feel comfortable recommending it - particularly for the future savings part.  Both of these have grown - or regressed, depending on how you look at them - into what a lot of users are calling "dumbed down" applications.  They are both OK for tracking your checkbooks, comparing income and expenses, and tracking your bank account activity automatically.  But they also both default to putting all your finances online - ostensibly so you can access your stuff from anywhere.  I have no desire to access my finances anywhere!  It's tough enough to sit at your own PC and work on your finances.

I'll post back with links to these programs and their user forums - at least you can read about them and see what their users are saying.  But if I can find a better solution I'd jump in a minute!


General Software Discussion / Re: Perfect Software?
« on: November 09, 2007, 12:32 PM »
... a question: does anyone know of a software company that said at some point, "this thing we make is as good as it needs to be, so we're not going to improve it anymore?"

A perfect program of its time was Dale Nurden's TClockEx 1.42

 (see attachment in previous post)

Also, Alexander Davidson's MetaPad 3.5, as mentioned on page 1.

[Edit: "Notify"]

"of its time"????  I still use TClockEx 1.42 today - it is installed om every PC I own!!


General Software Discussion / Re: Perfect Software?
« on: November 09, 2007, 12:30 PM »
A couple of examples come to mind. I'm not sure if it was a conscious decision on their part, but the fact was that these applications languished, and are now really historical footnotes.
  • PKZip - While this did everything it aimed to very well, a "bloated" Windows app (WinZip) eventually cleaned its clock despite using the same underlying algorithms.
  • Lotus 1-2-3 - Languished in the version 2 realm for ages, waiting for others (particularly Microsoft Excel) to catch up. Eventually a version 3 was released, but it was too little, too late. At one time "Lotus" was synonymous with spreadsheet, but now that name seems to carry the connotation of "Notes".

In both of these cases, while the app itself may have been well-suited to the platform it targeted, the evolution of platforms (particularly the triumph of Windows over DOS) sealed its fate.

A similar story is in progress for the super-organizer Zoot, but I hope that the sequel comes out before the story ends. This is still a 16-bit app, and has been passed by by the need for rich text and volumes of data beyond what its 16-bit space can handle. It's been tweaked continually, but hasn't had a major revision in several years. Luckily, there is now a public beta for a 32-bit port, so hopefully it will fight its way back (it deserves it).

This all seems to imply that even when an application is "just right", the developer can't just rest on his laurels. The evolution of the platform underneath him will eventually kill his product just as surely as poor quality might.

(edit: fix formatting)

Wow - Lotus 1-2-3.  Used it, and WordPerfect 5.1, for many a year.  And, Oh my I am going to show my age here: I used - and actually trained people - in Visicalc prior to Lotus 1-2-3!!

And you're right to an extent - I have never been able to work in any version of Excel as easily and productively as I did with 1-2-3.


General Software Discussion / Re: SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
« on: November 09, 2007, 12:17 AM »

I'm looking at SQLNotes now for the document tracking database, as we discussed in another thread. I must say, though, the proposed pricing is more than I had expected. That's not to say it is out of line with what it should be -- I guess I just didn't know the price range for this type of application. I might have to take another hard look at Access for my database since I already own that!
It all depends on how you value your own time...
Also the price is very approximate and will be in line with comparable products. May end-up being less. Finally, contributing beta testers, translators and solution providers get a free licence!

Thank you Pierre.  Maybe I will give it a try using a relatively small sample of my data.

Sorry not to have seen your reply earlier. I most likely did get the DC email notification, but I was overloaded with a lot of spam - my ISP's server spam filter died (or broke down?) and I was getting literally a few hundred spam messages dropped into my inbox daily! Had to do some major adjusting to my own spam filters to compensate and I'm sure I missed responding to a lot of good messages in the rush.

Thanks again!



What exactly is the purpose of the GTD Experiment?  Programming?  Sharing our current "systems"?  Read about last years and just do again?

Not sure what is expected.  "more input.....more input....."


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