This Year's posts

Archive for December, 2004

Satellite Images of Tsunami Sites

Friday, December 31st, 2004

Pictures speak a thousand words.

Texas Governor Trying to Compensate for Something

Thursday, December 30th, 2004

Yahoo! News – Texas Governor Seeks to Build Megahighways: “In what sounds like another tall tale told by a Texan, the Lone Star State has embarked on an audacious project to build superhighways so big, so complex, that they will make ordinary interstates look like cowpaths.”

Virtual Bubblewrap

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

Virtual Bubblewrap: a great time waster.

A versioned backup solution for everyone

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

I’m not sure what got me thinking about this, but I’ve had this idea stewing for a few days.

There needs to be a well-integrated transparent, easy-to-use (mom-test easy) way to do versioned backups, both locally and remotely. Here’s an idea I have for doing this on Mac OS X.

  1. Use Subversion
  2. Create a lightweight control panel for the client which lets the user specify which directories and file to keep track of and how often updates should be done (daily would probably suffice)
  3. Someone could sell an appliance which plugs into a home network and functions as a server for these backups. The appliance should be small enough to throw in a bag, yet have enough hard drive space to handle full backups for several computers. Perhaps it should have hot-swappable harddrives. This appliance should be automatically discoverable via Rendezvous/ZeroConf. This device should run on the most reliable open source OS possible (one of the BSDs?) and have redundant hardware. There’s no point in making backups if the machine crashes and you lose all the data.
  4. There could also be services offered for remote backups.
  5. To reiterate, this should be open and easily extensible, but easy enough for my mom to use effectively. That means browsing previous versions and restoring them should be super-easy and do able both via a web interface and a native application (and contextual menus).

Now that I’ve lined this out a bit, I think it could be even cooler. You see, if the backup process can be lightweight and effecient– that means only diffs of updated files are transmitted (like Subversion does), this tool could become more than a backup system- it would be a synchronization system. And here’s an example of where it can become disruptively cool:

A backup/sync should occur at login and logout.

A backup/sync should also occur when I’m leaving a computer. This could easily be accomplished by making this tool Apple-scriptable and using a Salling Clicker proximity alert to run a backup/sync when my cell phone leaves the proximity.

So, we should be able to set up multiple machines to sync with each other through this versioned repository. And, we should let this syncing overlap with other backups, without duplicating the backup. Here’s a scenario of what I mean by that:

Suppose I want to sync my home direcories of two computers.

I also want to do full backups of each of them.

I don’t want the full backups to sync with each other.

So, the appliance or internet service should handle both full backups and the syncing, without duplicating the home directory (I hope that makes sense).

Another potential hurdle is this: what if there are some directories here which are already associated with another repository? I’m sure something could be worked out here.

Feedback please. :-)

How the US can make friends.

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

I just saw on the news that the US has pledged $35M to help victims of the Sumatra Tsunami disaster. This is definitely a great thing, yet some have already spoken out against the richest country in the world for not doing enough.

So, here’s an idea (I actually saw something like this on a blog earlier today, but can’t track it down):

  1. Pull out of Iraq
  2. Spend a tenth as much money [as we’re spending in Iraq] to helping in SE Asia
  3. Send a tenth as many of our military[who’re in Iraq] to help
  4. Let this be a UN or NATO operation


  1. No insurgents
  2. Less money spent
  3. Fewer lives risked
  4. Some people might like the US more
  5. When something bad happens in the US, people will help us.

Just an idea.

You see, this earthquake has me thinking… as this post over at points out, we as a human race have quite a bit of work to do just in order to survive “natural terrorism.” I would hope that events like this could help us to beat our swords into plowshares and work together, because we have potentially greater enemies in natural forces and human mistakes.