Simon’s Backup Weblog

Happy Christmas 2006

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas 2006
Originally uploaded by sbisson.

‘s and my 2006 electronic Christmas card.

Happy Christmas to you all…

…and all the best for 2007!


On the Island

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 21, 2006

Despite the best efforts of the UK weather we have made it to our broadband-deprived destination. Luckily there was little fog at Gatwick – just lots of displaced people from other airports…

Still Jersey is as lovely as ever, and its been good to spend my birthday with my family.

Many thanks for all the birthday wishes (I’m just about able to read LJ on a Blackberry!).


Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 20, 2006

…my Sole Inhabitant DVD and CD have turned up (with nice low numbers and big loopy signatures).

So today I shall mostly be listening to…

Two (Fossilised) Heads Are Better Than One…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 20, 2006

From BBC News:

Scientists have found what is thought to be the first example of a two-headed reptile in the fossil record.

The abnormal animal, belonging to a group of aquatic reptiles, was unearthed in northeastern China and dates to the time of the dinosaurs.
This animal was a choristoderan, an extinct reptile that reached a length of one metre in adulthood and was characterised by a long neck – two in this case.

The animal’s spinal column divided in two at the point where the neck emerges from the body. This formed two long necks that ended in two skulls.

It’s all quite amazing and what I suspect will be a unique find (especially considering how difficult fossilisation actually is).

Swinging Shelfari

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 19, 2006

More Web 2.0 and more social than LibraryThing, Shelfari is another book logging site. Not quite as portable as LibraryThing’s mobile view, but worth a poke.

You’ll find me under my usual username on both sites.

[thanks to for the tip]

Great Movies, Re-enacted By Stationery

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 19, 2006

Twenty scenes from famous films, put together using common pieces of office equipment.

Can you guess them all?

I’m stuck on number 8 and number 9. They don’t seem to be “Jaws IV” or “Convoy”…

[link via By The Way…]

Today I have been mostly blogging…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 18, 2006

…over at IT Pro.

Ready for ReadyBoost.

One of my favourite things about Windows Vista is its ReadyBoost disk cache technology which uses off-the-shelf USB flash drives to speed up operations and extend laptop battery life.

One of my least favourite things about Windows Vista is trying to find a USB flash disk that will actually work with ReadyBoost.

Read More.

Putting Backup in the Fast Lane

Like many small businesses, Mary and I keep our email and files on a small server running Small Business Server 2003. It’s a useful little OS, and its built-in backup tools simplify archiving your data and your email. We’re also backing up volume shadow copy data, so lost files can be retrieved from Windows’ often ignored file system snapshots.

(If you’ve not turned it on Shadow Copies yet, go do it now. Yes, you’ll lose some free disk space, but you’ll gain a lot of peace of mind. Right click on a volume, and open the properties dialog. In the Shadow Copies tab, click “Enable”. Shadow Copies may not be as pretty as Apple’s Time Machine, but it does the same job, and it’s here now. If you’re trying out a business edition of Vista, you can turn it on there too…)

We currently do nightly backups onto a NAS appliance, a Buffalo Terastation Pro, shifting around 50 GB from the server to the NAS store. With 2 TB of disk space, configured as RAID 5, there’s plenty of space for several days worth of backups. There was only one fly in the ointment: the backup was taking far too long.

Read More.

Twit, Twit, To What?

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 17, 2006

Looking at the current rash of social networking sites, Twitter seems quite interesting, as it’s just a tool for notifying your network of friends what you’re doing…

There are some interesting concepts that this fits into, the idea of copresence, or even the Maori idea of the whanau or extended family. Tools like Twitter are a new form of social glue that helps bring distributed intentional groups of people together, wherever they may be. I know I’m not unusual in having close friends many time zones away, that I see in the flesh maybe once or twice a year – and using tools like LJ to keep in touch with them and their lives. Twitter looks as though it could simplify part of that equation.

So how do you use Twitter? The site is as simple and as bare bones as possible – after all, it’s a tool for keeping in touch quickly, You just post up simple one line descriptions, using the Twitter web site, IM,or mobile phone – and notifications come back to you the same way. I suspect it could come in quite useful when we’re at CES next month…

You’ll find me there as (surprise surprise) sbisson.

Sling Slung

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 13, 2006

Yesterday I hooked up a Slingbox to our Sky+ system.

The Sky+ lets us time shift our TV watching, and the Slingbox adds a new dimension: place shifting. It turns the video output from the Sky+ into a stream of IP data that we can watch anywhere in the house, or anywhere there’s an Internet connection (once I punch the appropriate holes in the firewall). It also means I don’t have to run extra cabling round the house, or spend money on additional Sky subscriptions.

It’s a fine example of appliance design – simple software, easy to understand instructions, just a few connectors, and underneath it all a device that’s doing something rather complex.

All I had to do was plug the box into the house network, hook up a couple of IR emitters, and plug the Slingbox into the Sky+’s S-video output. Once I installed the software on a PC (Mac and mobile versions are available), a wizard walked me through configuration and video stream optimisation, and, well, there it was, working.

One neat feature is the on-screen remote, which looks just like, and works just like, a Sky+ remote. So I can use the EPG, and even watch stored programmes (even if I keep trying to click on the screen). I’ll even be able to program the box when we’re on the road…

Oh, how the mighty have fallen…

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on December 13, 2006

Today I got spam from “Terry Gilliam”.

I guess it beats making movies for the Hollywood machine. Or perhaps he’s raising money to finish “Don Quixote”…

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