Tag Archives : Dropbox


The Importance Of Your Computer

Several months ago one of my family members purchased a brand new MacBook Air for the purposes of going to university. This morning I received sad news that said laptop had been lost. Thankfully the laptop was insured so at least the physical value of the laptop should not be an issue. Lesson One: Make Sure Your Laptop Is Insured For Both Accidental Damage And Loss! However what happens with the data which is on it? The truth is that there is no excuse for not having mission critical data (such as university work, important account files etc etc) backed up as it is changed. This is possible through services such as Dropbox and SugarSync, which are free and monitor folders and files and automatically upload changes to the cloud. Lesson Two: Sign Up To Dropbox And/Or SugarSync! Passwords, need to be safe and secure. In other words unique and ideally containing random letters as well as characters which are not alpha-numeric. This isn’t a daunting process as 1Password has it covered. 1Password is covered in detail in my ‘Useful Software & Services For The 21st Century Student‘ post. It is more expensive than the average app, however its an investment that will keep your banking details, and other secure login sites safe. Lesson Three: Make Sure You Don’t Use The Same Password, Or Simple Passwords For Anything! All of this advice is to protect you from losing your laptop or computer as a result of carelessness of theft. But it should also be followed generally as the hard drives which your data is stored will not last forever. I have suffered two hard drive failures around 7 years ago where my data was not backed up, and it was horrendous. Memories gone, important documents lost, hours taken to rebuild what I could. As anyone who has suffered a hard drive failure or computer loss will tell you, although the physical computer can be replaced, the memories contained on it usually cannot.


iCloud – Where Is The Silver Lining

Well its been several months since mobile me was re-branded/relaunched as iCloud, and I thought I would give a little critique as to my current thoughts of Apple’s cloud/syncing solution. Firstly I do honestly believe that MobileMe/iCloud was a vital tool for anyone who owned either more than one mac, or an iPhone/iPad, as it allowed syncing of ‘mission critical’ information such as contacts, calendars and bookmarks across all platforms. For mission critical information MobileMe/iCloud didn’t throw up many problems for me, an event or contact created on one device was already waiting for me on my others when I came to it; however when Apple announced iCloud in 2011, its killer feature was going to be document syncing. Apple had yet to shake away the public perception of iDisk, one that was unreliable, and susceptible to poor data transfer speeds. They were so keen to insure they hit the ground running that they released the developer preview of iCloud several months prior to its general release to insure that developers had ample time to code their apps to insure that they moved away from the customary use of Dropbox sync to iCloud, however there have currently been very few apps released that take advantage of iCloud. The big names that still use DropBox include: 1Password and Text Expander as well as others, I wonder why they haven’t embraced iCloud syncing by Apple? On iOS documents in iWork sync across other devices, however this chain of convenience is broken by the very un-Apple like approach of not implementing document support in the mac versions of iWork. Syncing is possible however users must instead use the web interface, which to be honest is far too much effort. Apple have always got ‘mission critical’ information syncing spot on, and under the old model of MobileMe would have been something I would have paid for, however my 5GB of complementary online storage is currently un-utilised, whereas I am paying for extra storage from SugarSync. I do hope that Apple release iWork ’12 soon that has iCloud properly integrated, thereby encouraging developers to embrace this new technology and use it in conjunction with SugarSync/Dropbox.


OSX Lion & New Macbook Air

This week has been a very busy week for Apple, first we saw (yet another) set of record breaking financial results, a day later new hardware and software were flying out of Cupertino at an astonishing rate. First I will look at Lion the new operating system, and then I will have a look at the new Macbook Air that I have in my possession and setting it up. A few weeks prior to any hint of a release date for Lion my local supermarket had a 25% discount on iTunes gift cards, so I stocked up, knowing full well that not only would I be buying a new operating system, but most likely some new applications to go along with it. The morning of the second rumoured release date arrived, and when I awoke the Apple Online store was down – which is always a good sign. Having duel displays meant that with a little help from a Safari Extension – Auto Refresh, I could have the Apple website open on one display, and continue my day, knowing full well that I would be one of the first to see it go live. Between 12:30 and 13:00 GMT (I think) the Apple Store came back up online, and I instantly added a Macbook Air to my basked and purchased it with a Paul Smith Case, and extended AppleCare (more on that later), so that it would be delivered the following day. After my order was accepted, I then proceeded to download Lion from the Mac App Store.   Lion Once I had clicked on the purchase button the little Lion logo jumped into my dock. The file was just under 4gb, and took a few hours to download. When I originally started downloading I was getting speeds of over 1MB/s, however as word spread round the world, this gradually reduced to just over 300KB/s. Installation took a further 30 minutes, and was a straight forward, non complex affair. When Lion booted it looked clean, fresh and was very responsive. There was one thing that I was disappointed in, and that was no “Welcome Video” with the funky music that we have been used to with a new mac or new install. My desktop iMac is a 27inch Quad Core 2.91Ghz i7 with 8GB of RAM and 1TB HDD, however it was getting sluggish, applications that used to open in once bounce of the dock icon, now were taking upwards of 5. Lion replaced all of this, applications opened in one or two, and things generally happened a lot more smoothly – just as expected with a new OS from Apple. Documents had been backed up (twice) before hand and came across smoothly, Applications had been updated to their latest stable release and were all working fine. Two things which I didn’t like about Lion, the first is of huge debate; the natural/un-natural scrolling. What does work ‘naturally’ on a tablet or phone, just seems backwards to me when using a mouse. Some have chosen to fight it out and get used to it, I have chosen to change it. If you wish to change it click here for instructions. The second thing was the lack of Front Row. This wasn’t a feature that I used an awful lot in Snow Leopard, however I knew that when I did want it, knowing that it wasn’t there would annoy me intensely. From what I understand, Front Row is still built into Lion, its just not compiled as an application. Thankfully Ralph Perdomo has written an application that finds the files and combines them in to Front Row, so that you can either launch it from your Applications, or do so by using your Apple remote. Click here for link to instructions on how to add Front Row back in Lion.   MacBook Air For those of you who either know me, or who follow my blog/tweets will know as of September I will be going to law school to take my first steps in becoming a barrister. A road that will be filled with lots of reading, revision, note taking and most likely a combination of all them. Being a student of the 21st century, all my notes, slides, essays will (and have been) taken on the computer using a variety of software and hardware, and whilst the iPad is perfect for throwing in my bag and taking notes on, multi-tasking still isn’t as smooth as I would like. Coupled with the fact that Christmas and Easter holidays are not normally spent in Manchester and spent in Leeds means that I have to pack up and cart back a serious amount of hardware, which as a one off isn’t an issue, but for a long weekend it simply isn’t practical. I see the next steps I take to be ones which I will constantly have a book in my hand, or notes open essay writing. Something that can be done on an iPad once every so often, but not on a regular basis. Therefore the MacBook Air was the only choice really, I decided to go for the 13inch with 128GB SSD. The 13inch was chosen as I’m one of those people who needs the most amount of screen real-estate as possible (hence 27inch iMac and 20inch Cinema display), and against the 256GB model as not only was it an added cost; but as this would be a work machine, and text files done take up that much space, 128GB was adequate. It arrived today, and even though I have played with its predecessor in the Apple Stores, when you hold it in your hands, it really is a feat of engineering genius to get something so powerful so light, and wafer thin. Lion came pre-installed, and I copied across the handful of applications that I needed for university, including Evernote and Pearnote for note taking. Email was stored on IMAP servers so no import was needed, calendar and contacts are looked after by […]


My iPad And I 5

A week has gone by since my iPad landed, apps have been purchased and the experience enjoyed. Here is an overview of the apps which i’ve purchased, and the role which my iPad has played.