Sunday, January 9, 2011

TSA Opt-Out Day Update: Suspicious Bagel

The Daring Fireball reported on a passenger arrested after passengers reported his package to authorities. It contained a bagel, among other suspicious items.

I think the professor was arrested for being uncooperative, not for having a bagel. Just to play it safe, you can now screen for suspicious bagels in the TSA Opt-Out Day game.

None of the news stories reporting on the bagel incident have included an actual photo of the suspicious bagel, so I have created an "artist's" interpretation of the device. You can see it in the screenshot of the game to the left. If that isn't a suspicious looking bagel, I don't know what is.

Let me know in the comments if you know more about bagels and airplane safety.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Followup: Testing my Backup Solution the Hard Way

If you have been following my adventures, you know that my white MacBook died in October 2010. You can read the sad tale of the crash, what I lost, and what data my old backup system saved.

The incident made me finally realize that I need an automatic cloud-based backup system. After a little research (you can read about my backup solution research in the same article), I installed CrashPlan and let it start backing up using a 30 day free trial of CrashPlan+.

The nomenclature is a little confusing, but CrashPlan is the backup software you install on your computer. CrashPlan+ is the cloud-based backup service which CrashPlan can utilize. Alternatively, CrashPlan could be used to backup to a friends computer or an external hard drive.

It took about 15 days over cable modem, but my entire 26 GB user folder finished backing up to the CrashPlan+ cloud. Now I've let it start digesting the 882 GB of data on my Drobo. That will take longer -- several months.

The CrashPlan feature I've been using most is the ability to throttle network bandwidth. While I'm asleep, I let CrashPlan use up to 1 Mbps of bandwidth. During the day, I limit it to 200 kbps so that the internet still feels responsive. I only wish you could schedule the bandwidth throttling rather than having to manually change it.

Overall the program works great. The restore interface looks good, and makes it clear when each file was backed up. I feel a lot more comfortable that I'll be ready if disaster strikes again.