Housekeeping's on my mind today.
After enjoying Christmas in the UK with family, and being almost wholly switched off from the blogosphere for the best part of a week, I'm finding it quite refreshing to sit in front of my desktop PC today and think not about blogging but about hardware, software and sorting out a few things.
So with clients on holiday and little work pressure for another week or so, I'm focused on spending some quality time on re-organizing my computing environment as well as playing around with some cool toys I picked up while in the UK.
First up, putting in place a better file backup system than I currently have. I bought a new external hard drive, a Western Digital Essential External USB2 Hard Drive, 160 gigs capacity (but will that really be enough?). My first purchase of a WD hard drive: I've always bought Maxtor until now. Mind you, I'm still keeping it in the family.
Already installed - literally, just plug it in - and the first full system backup done with Norton Ghost.
Ghost isn't the software I'll use for regular file backups, though. A great review in PC World magazine took me to SimpleTech and their StorageSync product which fits the bill nicely for easily backing up documents, images, podcasts, video, etc. I'll also be able to access the WD drive from other PCs on my network.
Which takes me to my next housekeeping task - sorting out my home network.
I've just installed a new 15-meter network cable from my Dell desktop to the router, a Belkin Cat6 snagless cable. While internet access is no problem at all, I've never been able to get the network really working properly, though. Sometimes one of the laptops can't access a desktop. Or file and printer sharing doesn't work for some reason. I'm pretty sure it's a configuration issue somewhere (meaning something I haven't config'd correctly). My network is a mix of wired/wireless, with desktop PCs wired and laptops wireless, all running through a Belkin 802.11g gateway router.
A great feature on networking in the January edition of Windows XP magazine looks like it might help me finally get this network set up correctly. (And this edition of the magazine includes a free book, extracts of Take Back Your Life by Sally McGhee. I may learn a thing or two from this. Might I finally get to grips with my email guilt trip?)
Speaking about hard drive storage, one cool little gadget I picked up in the UK was a new USB flash drive, a 1-gig Disgo classic. Reminds me of the first flash drive I bought three years ago, also a Disgo, a 256-meg drive. That was enormous portable storage capacity then but today's it's just not enough.
One thing I'll be doing with that 256-meg flash drive is installing Portable Firefox on it. This means I can then plug that drive into any computer and use my own settings, bookmarks, etc, all without leaving any personal information behind on the machine I run it on. I've had some experiences recently using a different computer at a client where I didn't have access to my own bookmarks, etc. This will solve that issue.
I'm still not ready to make that final move. The major item to resolve is links - how to ensure that once the move is complete and the domain transferred, all the historical posts are still accessible under the different naming convention employed by WordPress.
So that's still to figure out, meaning that I won't be completing the move yet. In the meantime, WordPress 2.0 was released just after Christmas, and I intend to upgrade to that new version. Should be painless, sort of.
What else? Well, plenty! Figuring out how to make the very cool Opera Mobile the default web browser on my Nokia N70 smartphone, for instance. Finalizing the family podcast we all did on Christmas Day (that's a job for this afternoon).
And, speaking of podcasting, getting my "podcasting studio" properly configured to enable recording via Skype. Now time to sort that out, especially with great help from Shel who did a little video for me showing where all the various cables need to go from the mixer to a separate computer, to another device, etc. I've bought a nifty boom microphone stand so I'll also be able to record more clearly.
So enough to keep me going until at least New Year's Eve ;)
I might be back before the end of the year with another post or two. But if not, I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.