May 2008 Entries

I didn't think that I will be scoring this much. I guess some things just never disguised easily. I didn't even get this much scores in high school (may be because of Galactica).

NerdTests.com says I'm a Highly Dorky Nerd King.  What are you?  Click here!

So what is yours?

When my external HD blown up taken down all my son's and our pictures and realized that I have deleted original copies from my hard drive just to install Windows 2003 Server, I have then understood the importance of taking regular backups and not deleting the originals.

I am still on the look out for the best practice for my own purposes but at least manage to get enough WAF to spend dollars on a ReadyNas NV+ and get a solid storage device first. You may get an HD enclosure and a new HD (please please please do not use old HDs for backup, that is what I did and lost, learn from my lesson) or burn the data on DVDs depending on the size of data. Even a USB stick with enough size to keep your personal data will do. Keep one of these outside in a bank safe or at your parents place.

First thing first, HDs have around 20.000 hours or around 5 years of life time. Check these specifications with the manufacturer and set a reminder at rememberthemilk.com to buy new hard drives. Most HDs with SMART capability will tell you how many hours they were on the power.

Once you have a solid storage device, now you need a means of backing up your data onto this device regularly and safely. Luckily most network attached storage devices provide a solution like one touch backup, Rsync, file or folder sync etc. Or you can go ballistic and buy Norton Ghost and set it and forget it. Or maybe you can use Windows Backup Services to do the job, or a scheduled batch file to copy over the files even will do the job.

Restore At Least Once

One thing for sure; you need to at least try to restore once to see if it is actually working. Trying this as important as taking backups. If it is not restoring properly, what is the point of taking backups. After you take a full backup, try restoring it for the love of God, and see all your personal data in one place still accessible and visible. Do a head count for your files, open some of them and make sure they are not corrupt or ghost files. Once you pass this step you can be sure that your backups are valid.

Regularity

You may schedule your backup scripts, or take a backup when there is change in the watched folders and files. It totally depends on how you use your computer and what kind of data you have. You can take it every night, every week, every hour; you decide. Once you make a decision, don't stick with it, keep it running for a while and ask the question: if something go bad, how many hours/days/weeks of data I will be loosing and change your strategy immediately. Continues improvement is necessary on the basis of your backup strategy.

First Backups are Always Painfull

First time backups (depending on the size of your data) are always painfull. Runs longer, looks like nothing is happening, makes you irritating that you can not use your computer to accept some of the game requests on Facebook... Stick with it and have patience. This is your life, important data has to be backed up and you didn't do this because it takes time and your wife is angry with you that you are putting this task off for a while. Get a cup of tea and some magazines and watch the data flowing down to your storage device. You will be doing this for the first time; of course it will take time but the second run will be easier.

On my next entry, I will be explaining what I am doing for my family backup strategy.
It is time for me to come out of my cave and have a look at what's this fuss about Silverlight (don't throw stones please). I will be at the King O'Malley's Irish Pub today lunch time to listen Greg Harris explaining "Next Generation Silverlight Web Apps" at the Canberra .NET User Group.

By the way winter is almost here in Canberra. I had to put on 2 polars this morning to feel warm. Given that my thyroids are missing, I am feeling much colder than a usual person. Brrrrrr.

An awesome assembly from Tom at Seablick comes to our help and makes it easy to rewrite URLs in an ASP.NET application. Love it.


Recently, a friend of mine bought a Playstation III. This got me thinking about the game console industry and the consumer's locked down situation to big corporations and their strange versioning issues. They are simply not free.

If you buy a Playstation III, Nintendo or an XBox 360, the operating system which you can run on it is locked down. Without any significant hacking operation which involves soldering gun, Philips screw driver and results in void warranty,  you can not upgrade or install let say Linux.

Computer users are enjoying this flexibility. That is why I like PCs because it is open to research and development and hacking in a lot of ways. I am the sort of user who looks for this kind of flexibility in any device I buy. I buy my computer needs mostly white box and separate bits and pieces. Even my guitar FX can be upgradable via a USB cable.

Linux may not be solid enough to develope games let alone lacking a common framework for developing games but it is getting there.

Game consoles in the market today doesn't require you to install drivers, fiddle with output options etc. They are easy, designed by the end users with usability in mind. Chuck the CD in and start playing. Our dream game console will be the same. Additional devices will work as soon as plugged in, games will start as soon as you put in the CD, you do not have to think latest ATI driver and change ini files for game playing, no directX upgrade and most importantly; when the next version of this console is out, it will be %100 compatible with old versions.

This game console would have a base operating system and a game development framework. API is open to everyone to develope. Machine is compact and allows you to upgrade its hardware with easily accessible market devices like DVDRom, RAM, CPU, HD or other things within the limit of machine's capabilities except graphic CPU. The catch is the wisdom of the crowd. By letting people to develope for this machine and even upgrade the Game Development API by way of extension points. If we think about Linux as the base operating system all we need is a common game development framework.

I can see the comments right now like "you can develope with XNA for XBox" or "you need this sort of equipment to develope for PS". No, no, no, the point is to develope on your computer in a common free framework environment and run it on this dedicated machine. No strings attached to big corporations, no proprietary software or hardware or framework. Everything is open. Games however may be sold for any price tag you want as they are developed by companies with paid staff and whole lot of expenses.

What do you say, do gaming console consumers need a machine like this? What would be the hurdles to develope a common framework on a machine like this? Do consumers need this sort of flexibility? Would you buy one of these?

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About me

Hi, my name is Gurkan Yeniceri. I am a software engineer with 8 years of experience in both public and private sectors. I have been generally writing about software engineering and Microsoft technologies since March 2005 on this site.
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