New Backup Solution: Carbonite

March 28, 2009

As you’ve read here from time to time, I’m a bit of a computer backup junkie. After losing some data last year, I vowed never to let it happen again, especially with our baby pics and videos. So, I’m always on the lookout for good backup solutions.

I have a great system at home, but I needed an easier way to do offsite backups than simply moving external hard drives back and forth between work and home. Offsite backup is a crucial part of any backup plan, however. What good would it do me to have three copies of all my data in my home closet if my house burned down? I’d still lose it all.

So this week, I’m checking out a free trial of Carbonite. I’ve heard of Carbonite for a while, but they only recently released a Mac version. After hearing a couple of ads for it on my favorite TWiT podcasts, I thought I’d check it out.

Basically, it is a simply program that you install and set up once, and then you never think about it again. You tell Carbonite what folders you want to back up on your computer, and you’re done forever. From then on, it automatically backs up whatever is in those folders to Carbonite’s online storage servers. And it backs it up regularly, whenever a file changes in a folder marked for backup.

You can back up all your documents, photos, movies, music and more. Seriously, there is no space limit. And, you do it all for one price a year (about fifty bucks). No matter how much stuff you put online, you never pay more. It’s a sweet deal and a great offsite solution.


One Arm Typing: A Tough Act to Learn

March 26, 2009

It has been humorously pointed out to me that had a lot more content back when I was just “geeky,” and not a “geeky dad.” Well, it’s true. I can’t argue with that. My posts have been few and far between the last month, except for the occasional batch of picture postings.

What’s the deal? The deal is that I can’t type one handed. You see, Maryalice is still recovering and, although I personally think she’s doing a phenomenal job, she needs some rest. Our beautiful little angel is going kind of rough on mom in the eating and sleeping department. So, our current family activity goes something like this: I get home from work, work out and shower, and grab some dinner with Maryalice at about 6:30. By 7:00, Maryalice hands me Abby and heads off for a nap until 10:00 p.m. At 10, she gets up and I go to bed to get my beauty rest for the next day’s work. Weekends, I try to get Maryalice to rest as much as possible while I take care of everything.

Now, Abby has a pretty consistent wake/sleep schedule right now. As part of that schedule, she’s wide awake from about 6:00 p.m. until after her 11:00 feeding. That’s daddy time. So, with a bright-eyed baby in one arm demanding to be fed all the stinking time (kid eats as much as me), that leaves no room for typing out insightful blog posts in the evenings.

I’ll try to do better, but I’ll be honest. Abby needs me more than you do right now.

Dave Ramsey’s Town Hall for Hope!

March 25, 2009

indiv_promo_ad_120x240Dave Ramsey is hosting a nationwide Town Hall for Hope on April 23. This will be a 90-minute “group discussion” with the nation that will be simulcast to thousands of local churches across the country. Dave will talk for about 30 minutes, and then he will spend the next hour answering questions live from people through email, phone, text, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. This will be an incredible event, and I am so thankful to be a part of it!

Click the banner to check out the site and get all the details. You can find a venue in your area, or even register to host the event at your church! And if you’re wondering why we’re even doing this, watch the video below.

Abby Meets the Grandparents

March 15, 2009

I just updated the Gallery page with three new videos, each one showing Abby meeting her grandparents. Thanks to all the grandfolks who endulged me by letting me film the big baby reveal. I think these videos will be great to have years from now, when Abby’s all grown up.

Check the “Movies” section on the Gallery page!

New Pictures: Abby at One Month

March 12, 2009

Believe it or not, it’s now been a month since Abby joined our family. What a wild, crazy month it’s been! It is amazing to see how much this kid has already changed. She came out looking just like me, a malady she’s already outgrown. I see her looking more and more like her mom every day, which makes me happy.

We took 162 pictures of Abby to mark the one-month milestone. Not to fear; I hand-picked the best 35 to share. Some of the pics came out fuzzy due to a camera problem. Fortunately, 105 of them were crystal clear.

Visit the new gallery by clicking the little lady below. Enjoy!


When Tivo’s Not Enough

March 9, 2009

I love my Tivo. It’s a beauty. It’s an original Tivo Series 3 HD video recorder with dual tuners. It has two cable cards in the back, as well as an antenna input for the digital HD antenna in my attic. The picture quality is amazing, the Tivo software is second to none, and even the little “ploop” sound effect makes me happy when navigating the menus. It’s a work of art.

However, even with dual tuners, there are times when the Tivo alone isn’t enough. Somehow, all four major networks have conspired against me this season. Two nights a week, we want to watch/record more than two shows at once. It’s a weird perfect storm of programming, where ridiculously long episodes of American Idol and Dancing with the Stars (sorry, ladies… I’m happily married) conflict with Bones and 24 and Scrubs and, yes, The Biggest Loser (Is it me? Perhaps.).

Therefore, I had to come up with something else. We only have one TV in the house, so getting another cable box or Tivo wasn’t an option. “Dancey Show,” as I affectionately call it to my wife, isn’t worth buying another TV and Tivo. And sadly, there are still some shows that you can’t buy on iTunes or reasonably stream from a computer to a TV. However, I still have my wonderful AppleTV connected to my beautiful TV set, so I got to thinking.

I’ve heard much about Elgato’s EyeTV tuner stick for the Mac. It is basically a USB thumb drive-type device that has a coaxial cable input on one side and a USB connection on the other. You plug your cable into it, plug the stick into a Mac, and presto! You’ve got a new TV in the house, capable of receiving all standard programming from the cable company, as well as unscrambled Clear QAM digital signals. That means I just turned my iMac into a part-time HD television with Tivo capabilities.

Better still, the EyeTV software has built-in presets for handling your recorded shows. I can set recordings individually or by a Tivo-esque season pass, and then I can tell EyeTV what to do with the shows after they’re recorded. For example, whenever EyeTV finishes recording a fabulous! episode of Dancey Show, it automatically converts the show into a high-quality .mov file specifically tailored to the AppleTV. Then, it instantly moves the show into iTunes on my computer, which then syncs to my AppleTV in my den. The result? A beautiful HD-quality episode of Dancey Show magically appears on my AppleTV, enabling us to enjoy the dramatic ensembles of ABC’s finest constumers.

For a more manly example, I also have it set to record Hannity on Fox News Channel every night at 11:00pm. While I sleep, EyeTV records the show, encodes it into a specific iPhone format, and moves it into iTunes. So, when I sync my iPhone before work each morning, I automatically have last night’s episode of Hannity’s sharp wit and conservative tongue lashings for my lunch-time viewing pleasure.

EyeTV won’t cure cancer and it won’t make my daughter sleep more than three hours at a time, but it does meet a need. If you need to supplement your DVR capabilities, or if you want to get rid of the TV altogether, EyeTV offers a great feature set and fantastic quality, all for a single $130 outlay with no annual service contracts or subscriptions.

Learn more about Elgato’s EyeTV in this demo, available at

Obama Seeks Economic Advice … From Twitter?

March 6, 2009

Okay, I like Twitter. I have an account, although I rarely post to it, and I “follow” several tech pundits and podcasters. It’s a useful tool to get a quick look at what’s going on in the areas and with the people I’m interested in.

That said, Twitter has an enormous user base and makes absolutely no money. Over six million users strong, Twitter has never unveiled a business plan. Their only income comes from investors, who are simply throwing money at the captive eyeballs and trusting Twitter to emerge with a practical way to monitize those members.

Today, the White House has asked Twitter founder Ev Williams to join a small group of young business leaders to have a chat about the economy. Seriously? Says Ev Williams himself, “Going to the White House tomorrow for a meeting about the economy (which must mean they’re really out of ideas).”