Dropbox Linux Command Line

On my web server that I run several sites (including this one), I wanted a relatively cheap backup option.   My host will offer me a backup option, but it’s more than I wanted to pay, so I looked into a few other options.

I settled on a combination of freely available domain backup software (Webmin), which does a nice job of backing up my domains, but if the entire computer tanked, I’d lose them too.   So I opted for Dropbox Pro, which comes with 1TB of space for $99 a year.   It copies off the backups to Dropbox, which has the added advantage of syncing them to my local computer at home too.  It’s worked nicely – and still works to this day.

The Dropbox command line client for Linux will sync stuff – it will sync everything.   This is a problem for me because the total amount of space I use for my server backups is less than 100Gb.   That leaves 900Gb I could use for my own personal backups, which I’ve wanted to do.   I can’t do that because the Dropbox client syncs everything.   Given my server has something like 250Gb of space on it, if I started using all that 900Gb, I’d quickly fill up my web server and cause problems.  Now, the client can be told to include or exclude directories, which does work.   When normally operating, I have it syncing just the one directory that contains the aforementioned server backups.

Here’s the core issue here, and the reason I’m posting.   I want to use that extra 900Gb of space, and whenever I add a new directory on my local computer, it goes to my server.  I cannot exclude it from the Linux command line “selective sync” until it exists.  I’ve been through the help for the command line sync several times already.

I do not know a way to tell the Linux Command Line Selective Sync function to ignore *ALL* directories – including future/unknown ones, and sync “JUST THIS ONE DIRECTORY” no matter what.  Basically a whitelist feature.

If someone knows how to do this, please – let me know.  It would solve a lot of problems.   Given I already pay for Dropbox annually, I’d rather not have to pay someone else (Google, Apple, Amazon) to have cloud services I can put whatever I want on.

If you know a way around this, I’d be really happy to know.

UPDATE: After posting, I found this blog post, which appears to indicate what I’m trying to do (whitelist) doesn’t exist.   They offer a cron script option, which I might be able to look into.   There is another idea of my own, which is to create a directory on my local machine, get it listed in the “exclude” on the server, and then put anything else I want to put in there in THAT subdirectory.   Clumsy, but it could work.

Thoughts on Windows 8 Packaging

Back at my old job, I was the head of “online support”, so as such, it fell to me to test out my company’s product line with new versions of Windows software.  The bulk of the old product line was old DOS games, and as Windows moved on, it became more of an issue how it reacted to our games.  To that, it was me who usually was the first to install a new Microsoft OS and see what happened.  In my time there, I ran of course straight up MS-DOS, Windows 3.1,  3.11, Win95, Win98, WinME, WinXP, & Vista.  Windows 7 came out after I stopped working there.  However, the habit of running the new Microsoft OS kept with me, because I installed Windows 7 the first day it was available, and today is the first day Windows 8 is available.  So I’m at it again.  I intend on writing about my experience with it once some I’ve had a chance to dive into it, but before I did that, I wanted to write a quick article about the packaging.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Windows 8 Packaging”

Cisco EA4500 N900 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router Review

My house is nothing special. One story house built in the Dallas Metroplex in the 80’s – about 1875sq ft. It does, however have something in the walls that seems to cause interference with several things. One of which is TV antennas. My old router (D-Link DIR-825 Extreme-N Dual-Band Gigabit Router) had reception issues in the far side of the house and my office with reception. The router is in the corner of one of the rooms on the back side of the house, and my office was on the same side, but on the front side of the house (instead of the back corner where the router is). It worked, but had issues with range, as well as overload (if you tried downloading too many things at once, especially a torrent, the router would seize up). I first tried replacing it with this: ASUS Black Diamond Dual-Band Wireless-N 600 Router (RT-N56U). At first I was quite happy with that Asus. My range problems went away. I had significantly more range than before (The TiVo in the far bedroom’s wireless adapter was reporting 96% strength vs the 40-60% it used to get). Thought I was OK, but after awhile, that router developed connection problems with my main desktop computer where it wouldn’t stay connected, so I was wondering about another router. Continue reading “Cisco EA4500 N900 Dual-Band Wireless-N Router Review”

Amazon.com and Printers

UPDATE Apr 10: I got a reponse from Amazon in reply to this blog post.  See the bottom of the post for that update.

If you buy a lot from Amazon.com you get to learn their system and how certain things work.   My first order of any kind with Amazon.com was on June 24, 1997.  It as for this book.  I’ve ordered a lot since then.  All kinds of things.  Clothes, food, electronics, media, both physical and digital, both of my HDTV’s…  You name it, I probably bought it from there.  To that, I’ve learned a lot about their system and how they ship, warehouses, location tracking, etc.  Now I don’t claim to know everything, but I know Amazon.com fairly well.

Which is why today I ran into a scenario that was quite puzzling, and one I didn’t know the answer for, couldn’t find an answer for in their help area, and as far as I know has no answer.  That’s why I’m writing here, to see first if anyone knows anything about it, and second (if not), to try and draw some attention to it. Continue reading “Amazon.com and Printers”

Apple Releases iCloud Control Panel v1.1 for PC

While this won’t affect the majority of users here, some probably will want to know about this.  Available now is a new v1.1 (technically 1.1.0.40) update to the iCloud Control panel for the PC.  It’s odd that it calls itself a “Control Panel” as such, given that it’s function turns your PC into an iCloud enabled device, such as an iMac, or an iOS device as such.

There is no changelog with this new v1.1 version, nor are there any visible changes once you run the program, other than the version number in the upper right hand corner.  Cosmetically it seems exactly the same as the previous version.   It has most likely been updated due to the fact that iOS v5.1 was just released.  If you are using the original v1.0 iCloud Control Panel, it’s probably best that you update anyway, even in the face of an unknown changelog, if for no other reason than to be updated with possible bug fixes and whatnot, or just to keep up with iOS 5.1.

You can download v1.1 of the iCloud PC Control panel at Apple’s site here.  You can read (a little) more about the PC Control panel here.

I’m Now using Chrome

Well, I’ve decided to make the move. I have switched from Firefox to Google Chrome. I’ve always had Chrome on my system, as someone who does websites, you have several. On my system, I have IE, Chrome, Opera, Firefox, & Safari. In years gone by, that was a requirement, as you needed to check how your sites looked in different browsers. Going into 2012, that’s less of an issue. For the most part they don’t have the egregiously different displays that they used to. Still, old habits die hard.

Recently, I’ve started having slowdown problems with Firefox. It was’t awful, but I was still dealing with some long standing issues hanging around the browser for awhile. Sometimes it would just stall out, and when you quit, it’s still running in the background, things of that nature. Nothing of the order where I had to stop browsing because of it, but enough little annoyces, that they built up over time.

Then yesterday, I saw an article where Google might be pulling funding for Firefox down the line. It’s all speculative, and I’m not foolish enough to think that Firefox will up and disappear at all, but that article got me thinking. I’ve had a lot of little nit picky issues with Firefox. Not any one enough to make me want to change software, but put ’em all together, and it got me wondering if I should look at Chrome again.

So yesterday I decided to take another look at Chrome. I initially decided not to use it, because there were several plugins I had which there was no comparison for in Chrome. If I switched awhile ago, Chrome would cramp my style a bunch insofar as my browsing goes. So I stayed with Firefox, which wasn’t a bad thing.

I noticed the importer for Chrome does a great job at importing not just the bookmarks, but the login sessions and passwords and other info from Firefox. It was pretty quick. Granted, I had to fiddle with the bookmarks a bit to get them to come up the way I wanted them to, but they were all there. My online travels today were in Chrome. Didn’t go to Firefox today except when I was researching plugins. It was stupid faster than Firefox was. Loaded faster, ran faster, displayed faster. I knew it was a fast browser, but I never really sat down and delved into it like that. Was impressed.

The overall “look” to the browser isn’t that terrible dissimilar to Firefox. A few FF revisions ago, they went minimalistic like Chrome has been for awhile, so it’s not a complete shock to go to Chrome.

So I started looking into plugins, which was the big deal for me. Jotted down all the Firefox plugins I was using. There were a handful that were specific to Firefox, and were not relevant. Went down my list of plugins, and found there were 10 I was actively using in Firefox, so I wanted to see what was out there for Chrome. First choice is a Chrome version by the same developer. After that, something similar. I’ll get into my specific plugin choices later, but suffice it to say with one exception I found something I could use.

Given I was leaning towards Chrome anyway, I decided to make the jump when I had such a good rate of coverage on the plugins. That’s where I am now. I’ve changed from Firefox to Chrome mostly because of speed issues. I’ve got my battery of plugins up and running, except for one. I’ll address that in my plugins story below.

Unlike some people who make these kind of moves, I’m not gonna trash Firefox, and claim it sucks, because it doesn’t. Served me well for quite a long time. Just found that for me and my feelings towards a web browser, Chrome works better. There you go.

Here’s my plugins I was using in Firefox, and what I did with ’em.

  1. Adblock Plus -> Essential plugin. They make a Chrome version, so that was stupid easy to bring over.
  2. Add to Amazon Wish List Button -> I use Amazon’s Wishlists a lot, and you can add just about anything to one. Amazon makes a Chrome version, so I just installed that.
  3. Web Developer -> This is a plugin that I’ve used for awhile. Shows you a lot of fiddly low level CSS/HTML stuff about web pages. They make a Chrome version, so I installed it. It visually looks a lot nicer than the Firefox version, too. Also, Chrome itself has a lot of built in tools for this kind of thing, but I’m used to Web Developer, so I installed it.
  4. Google’s Advertising Cookie Opt-Out -> Google made an official plugin which let you permanently opt out of some of the doubleclick advertising cookies. I was using that. Looked around, and they have a Chrome one too, so I installed that.
  5. Easy Youtube Downloader -> They don’t have a specific Chrome replacement, but someone else had one that did the same thing, so I installed that. Don’t use it often, but when I do want it, it’s nice to have.
  6. Echofon -> It’s my twitter plugin. This is the one thing that I’ve yet to find a good replacement for. I poked around at a few Twitter plugins for Chrome, and I don’t like any of them. I prefer Echofon, so I opted to install their Windows specific client. Looks the same way as the Firefox plugin, but I’d prefer a Chrome plugin.
  7. FEBE -> This was a plugin for Firefox that backed up your entire profile. Bookmarks, config, plugins, everything. Chrome does this for you (save for plugins), so it was not necessary in Chrome.
  8. Garmin Communicator -> I have a Garmin GPS, and it gets new maps and updates via a browser plugin through their site. That same plugin works in both Firefox and Chrome, so I didn’t have to do anything, it just used the existing stuff on my computer. That was cool.
  9. Paste Email Plus -> This was an app that let you paste existing snippets of text into any text box in a browser that your cursor is at. With the work I do (both pro & hobby), you type things over and over again alot. These guys don’t make a Chrome verison of their plugin, so I had to go find a replacement that does the same thing. I did, it’s called “Insert Text”.
  10. Rapportive -> Gives you some extra info about the person whose email you are reading in Gmail. Had it installed in Firefox, and didn’t use it too much, so I just left it out in Chrome, even though they do make a Chrome version.

That’s it!

Steve Jobs RIP

Steve Jobs died today.  Here’s some news on it.  It certainly adds weight as to why he didn’t make an appearance at the iPhone 4S presser yesterday.

I didn’t write either of these two remarks, but I echo them exactly.  Thanks to Chris F for these..

“For a man I never met, Steve Jobs had an undeniable and unmeasurable impact on my life, my career, and my daily affairs. Rest in peace.”

“Saw the Steve Jobs news when I loaded up apple.com on my iPad to get info on the iPhone 4S and iOS5. That says so much about his impact.”

This one below is mine, though.

The filename of the image on apple.com of Steve Jobs’ RIP msg was “t_hero.jpg“. Tells you what someone there thinks of him.

 

Fix the Add-on Bar Location in Firefox 4 Beta 8

I’ve been using the Firefox 4 beta builds for awhile now, and previous to an hour ago, I haven’t had any problems with them.  Beta 8 though posed a new one.  Apparently in Beta 7, they removed the “status bar”, and replaced it with the “Add-on Bar”.  Which doesn’t bother me so much, although it did take some time to train my eyes to look up top for where a link is going when I hover over it.  That used to be on the bottom.

But Beta 8 really screwed things up.  They changed it so that the icons that have always been on the lower right of the browser were now on the lower left.  They’ve been on the right side since this code was in it’s ancient days Netscape Communicator.   BAH!  Look at what I mean.

It even makes the popups from the add-ons show up on the left, too.  Can’t have that.  I looked around online, and couldn’t find anything on how to fix it.  Got mad.   Then played around myself and found an answer.   Here’s how to do it.

1) Right click on the add-on bar (assuming you have it activated, if you don’t do that first).  Click Customize.

2) Drag the icon named “Flexible Space” from the Customize Toolbar shown below, and drag it to the left of the icons that are in the wrong spot.

3) It will leave a long empty bar to the left of the icons, which should now be pushed all the way to the right.

4) Click “Done”, and the big white bar will disappear, leaving the icons on the lower right where they should be.

One small caveat to that, the “X” which translates to “Close add-on bar” will remain – I don’t know if it’s possible to get rid of that.  If you know a way, let me know.

Hope this helps, as I was rather shocked at this major design change after all these years.  What were they thinking?  (Unless it’s a bug where the variable space was left out, in which case never mind, but still…)

How to change the play count number in iTunes

UPDATE: This does not seem to work in Windows 8.  If anyone has an idea how to make this work in Windows 8, let me know.  Tkx.

UPDATE 2: This did NOT work for me in Win8/64bit using iTunes 10.7.  However, since iTunes 11 came out, it works again with no addtl changes.  Can’t explain that.

It’s been awhile since I posted some sort of tech/computer thing on this blog, but when I was using this little tip myself today, I thought I’d share it.  I can’t remember how I happened upon this, but I wanted to pass on the info.

NOTE: This is for Windows.  I have no idea how you’d do this on a Mac.

One thing I’ve noticed about iTunes is that not everything is easily changeable.  For instance the play counts.  There’s been times where I’ve accidentally deleted an album with playcounts, and wanted to get back what I had.  Or I’ve imported a new version of an album, and I wanted to transfer over my playcounts, but you can’t do that in iTunes itself without resorting to playing the track the number of times you want, and shifting the slider bar to the last two seconds so the playcount gets increased.  Those kind of tricks aren’t needed anymore.  Just follow these steps.

Open Notepad and put the following text in it:

Dim iTunesApp, currTrack, newPlayCount
 Dim prompt, title, defaultValue

 Set iTunesApp = WScript.CreateObject("iTunes.Application")
 Set currTrack = iTunesApp.CurrentTrack

 prompt = "New playcount:"
 title = currTrack.Artist & " - " & currTrack.Name
 defaultValue = currTrack.PlayedCount

 newPlayCount = InputBox (prompt, title, defaultValue)

 If IsNumeric(newPlayCount) Then
 If newPlayCount >= 0 Then
 If Len(newPlayCount) > 0 Then
 currTrack.PlayedCount = newPlayCount
 End If
 End If
 End If

Save the file as “SetPlayCount.vbs”, putting it in some easily accessible location.  When you double click on it, a box will pop up, asking you what you want the playcount to be.

One caveat, it only works on one song at a time.  It will be the “selected” song.  Whether it’s playing or not, it will only edit the one track that you have highlighted in iTunes.  If iTunes isn’t running, or you don’t have anything selected (like you just started iTunes), it will error as well.

It’s not perfect, but it is useful if you want to change the playcount of an individual track in iTunes.

Goodbye Compuserve

Just read this morning that as of yesterday, Compuserve Classic ceased to be. That’s a major milestone for a service that had been around for a very long time. Now I didn’t realize the old Compuserve still was operational, that was a surprise.

Anyway, Compuserve and I go way back. When I got my first modem in 1986 (a 1200 bps card for my Apple //e computer), the first place I dialed was Compuserve. As I recall, I ran up quite the bill that first month – something like $400. I was addicted to online stuff immediately. As time went on, I was a member of the Sci-Fi forums, and when I got hired a few years later by Apogee, the gaming forums, too. I was all over the place there.

And yeah, if you’re a Compuserve old timer, you pronounce the name of the GIF file format like the peanut butter name. That’s the right way, not the other way (sounding like ‘gift’).

Anyway, I lasted there for quite a long time, way past when it was commonly used by people. Basically until the point where the guy at my company who paid the bills asked why I still had that account going. :) My old account of 71540,306 is no longer needed, sadly. I read where you can still use your old email addresses if you wanted, but you probably had to sign up to keep it active. I didn’t do that, so I’m guessing mine doesn’t work anymore.

So goodbye Compuserve, you were my first.