Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Plan for Backup and Recovery

The Story

My 4 bay NAS drive (Thecus N4200 Pro) for photo backup had one hard drive failure two weeks ago. While I was trying to pull the data from the NAS, I found the RAID 5 array configuration was missing since there was another hard drive also contained bad sectors. In order to recover one of the most important data (89GB of Photos from the pass 10 years) from the NAS, I ordered 3 new hard drives from Amazon and performed sectors to sectors copy in order to rebuild the RAID array. The whole process took almost 2 weeks to complete even though the hard drives were shipped with 2nd day service.

Usually most of my photos was backed up online at while some of my personal photos are not. This incident triggered me to think of a new backup and recovery solution since the current one still has a chance to lose some data.  I am not a person who would like to backup my data on a scheduled bases, the Time Machine backup concept from Apple will be one of the best solutions for me. However, in order to increase the redundancy and achieve the goal of "Setup It Up and Leave It", I need to think of another solution.

The New Solution
From the above image, you may see the new plan of backup and recovery solution for my home. The key of this new solution is to set up a Mac system as a time machine server, other systems within my network will be backed up to the WD My Book USB drive. The new Mac system includes a shared Photos folder and setup for time machine backup to the WD USB drive as well. One the other hand, the photo folder will also backup to the Thecus N3200 every week.

Maybe you'll think this is a complicated/overkill/stupid setup, but I just can't take the risk of losing data. If you are a Mac user looking for peace of mind backup solution, the Time Capsule from Apple would be your best choice and you can get it here for $278 Shipped. If you are a Windows user, a Drobo from Data Robotics will be perfect for you and you can get it here for $297 Shipped

Friday, May 21, 2010

Using DSLR as a Camcorder

Friend just bought a Canon T2i as a video camcorder and I suggested both items above to him. Image on the left is a Manfrotto 585 ModoSteady 3-in-1 Camera/Camcorder Stabilizer which allow you to get stable video even Canon T2i has a light weight body. Image on the right is a Rode VideoMic Directional Shotgun Mic w/Mount which allow you to capture sound from a further distance and avoid the zoom in / zoom out noise created by the Lens.

You can get the Stabilizer for around $90.00 here and the Shotgun Mic for around $130.00 here

Toilet Seat Cover Paper = Face Blotting Paper

I learned this from a friend of mine who is a photographer, and he learn this trick from a makeup artist since he shoots a lot of photos for models. The toilet seat cover paper used in the restroom is able to soak up oil same as the face blotting paper. In case you wanna clean up extra oil from your model face while he/she doesn't have any blotting paper handy, this will be a quick & free solution. But please make sure your model is OK with it.    :D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Very Interesting Mini Tripod

You may be wondering why I posted a photo of a bunch of key chains above. Actually, they are very cute mini tripod which should be able to hold your point & shoot camera nicely. They even have their own name; Pinky, Scorsese, Snot Buster, iChomp and BoltBot.  Photos below shows you how they work in action and you can get one for 20.00 here

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

iMac or Hackintosh?

Friends keep asking me to build them a Hackintosh after they found out I can do it. However, I usually refuse them if they are only looking for a computer with the basic functions. Instead, I would suggest them to get the iMac with the basic configuration. The reason is simple, iMac is not that expensive compared to a Hackintosh if you just want to have similar performance for the basic functions. Apple is just trying to sell you a computer with high quality components in a well designed package at a reasonable price. The following is a list of hardware components you would need for a Hackintosh ready system, which will deliver similar performance as the iMac basic model.

ViewSonic’s VX2250WM            $189
EP45-UD3P Motherboard            $149
3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo        $139
4GB DDR 2 SDRAM                $103
500GB Hard Drive            $55
EVGA GeForce 9400 GT            $64

Dual-Band Wireless-N USB        $29
DVD±RW Super Multi Drive        $22
USB 2.1 Bluetooth Adapter        $12
Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710        $97
Cooler Master Mid Tower Case        $79
400W Power Supply            $15

The total cost will would be $953 with a good keyboard & mice combo and a good looking chassis. However, you are missing the Snow Leopard operating system and iLife software plus 1 year warranty from Apple.

Hackintosh is only good for people who are looking for a super high performance computer with the flexibility of future upgrades. If you are a basic function user, getting the iMac from Apple should be the best choice. After all, the well designed iMac will look very nice in your room while your DIY Hackintosh may not.

If you wanna save some money on a iMac, check this link here, usually you can save tax plus a couple % discount.

Canon EOS 3D Conceptual Mockup



3-D (three dimensional) video and photo has become one of the hottest topics now a day. The above Conceptual Mockup of Canon EOS 3D from Dean Francis should be able to fulfill most of your dreams. The modular bodies allows you to attach and create 3D videos/photos while you can separate them when you don't need it. Thanks Dean Francis for the creative idea and it would be nice if Canon really can make it happen. If you want to see the Flash created by Dean for this camera mockup, check out his website here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 / Appsync 3.2 Backup Repo

Usually I don't like to post this kind of sensitive info here. However, repo was down this morning and a lot of peoples were not able to download Appsync 3.2.

There is another repo included Appsync 3.2 which I would like to share with you, so you don't have to call me and ask.

If you don't know what I am talking about its fine. You don't have to worry about it.  ^__^

Thursday, May 6, 2010

AT&T 3G MicroCell using experience + comments

"iPhone is the best wireless phone in the world but AT&T's bad network turn it to the worst. AT&T is not able to handle voice calling without dropping the calls." I remember I read that from another website and totally agreed with that. The area where I live gets 0-1 bar reception and I can only make calls if I get lucky and standing in a good spot.

What is 3G Microcell
AT&T 3G MicroCell acts like a mini cellphone tower at your home which uses your internet boardbrand service to transfer voice and data like it is a normal VOIP phones. The device is $149.99 + tax but you can get rebates if you are new AT&T DSL/U-Verse customer or sign up for the $19.99/months unlimited calling plan from home.

How to Setup
The setup process is very simple. All you need to do is login to the Microcell website and register your MicroCell's serial number. Then you need to select the approved cellphones which will be the numbers is allowed to access your Microcell and connect MicroCell to a open port on your router. You need to wait around 30-40 mins to allow Microcell locate itself (GPS receiver build in) and then you can complete the registration process.

I got full 5-bar reception once my phones connecting to the Micorcell device. It should be able to cover 4000 sq/ft area without dropping voice quality base on my estimation. However, I do noticed 3G data service quality dropped a lot once u step around 20 feet away from the devicel. I don't really concerned about the data service feature since my iPhone would automatically switches to WiFi for data transfering at home. If I have to rate this product base on 5 stars rating scheme, I would give it a 4.9 stars. But if you ask me to rate this solution from AT&T,  I would say that AT&T is totally out of their mind. AT&T, you shouldn’t charge your customers $150 to fix your network signal issue. There are regular customers like us who need this product since you are failing your job by offering horrible coverage.

AT&T, I hate you. The reason I am using your service is because you are the only service provider offering 3G signal to iPhone in the US.

p.s. I did a quick test this morning, used a used foil-paper to wrap around the Mircocell device to prevent it from receiving GPS signal. Microcell seems to stop providing service within 30mins with the lost GPS position. So, if you are planning to relocate this unit to different area other than US (I know what you are thinking my friends), this may not be your solution.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

DIY iPad Car Mount

I made this DIY iPad Car Mount video on the day I got my iPad 3G and I forgot to post it here. After 3days, I found there are over 8000 views from youtube. I thought you might be interested in it as well.

This video shows you how I managed to use a string to hold the iPad on my car dashboard. This solution should be able to be applied to most cars unless your car has special designed dashboard. It holds the iPad very firm and allows you to remove the iPad easily.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

iPad Jailbreak Software has been released w/Download Link

iPad Jailbreak Software (Spirit) has been released. Step by Step installation guide show in the video above and you can download Spirit with the link below

Spirit Mac Version Download Here

Spirit Win Version Download Here