May 12

Ultimate Bookmarking: Diigo, Delicious, and Pinboard (oh my!) [How To]

My favorite bookmarking tool by far is Diigo. In addition to bookmarking like Delicious and Pinboard, I permits highlighting and annotating web pages. You can tag bookmarks, also like Delicious and Pinboard. If you’re a paying member, it’ll also capture the full text of the page for you to search later.

Diigo can automatically mirror your bookmarks to Delicious, but it’s one-way. Lots of apps support Delicious and/or Pinboard but not Diigo. For example, Zite only supports Delicious. Instapaper only supports Pinboard. So, how do you make sure your Diigo repository is complete? Enter If This Then That (IFTTT) and a few recipes. One copies from Diigo to Pinboard, one copies from Delicious to Diigo, and one copies from Pinboard to Diigo (don’t worry, you won’t end up with duplicates).

Here are the IFTTT recipes you’ll need:

Not only does that allow you to bookmark from almost any app, it prevents “lockin” and catastrophic failure (does anyone remember the Magnolia meltdown in 2009?)

And voilà! Everything should be in Diigo now, one bookmark service to rule them all.

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May 09

My Comprehensive Backup Solution

I was asked recently what my backup strategy was.

I’m not the biggest fan of Time Machine. That’s a really loaded question. I use it on my MacBook Pro, but I exclude a LOT of apps and locations.

A lot of my “working” data is on a paid DropBox account, primarily for easy of use, sync, portability, and version control. I use a lot of cloud services from Picasa to S3 to FTP at Dreamhost to eventually Google Drive. I live in Evernote, Dropbox and Gmail. I use Backupify and Spanning Backup to automatically back up the data stored at Google. I use If This Then That “aka IFTTT” to send almost all social media (Tumblr, blog posts, whatever) to Blogger as an archive. I chose Blogger because they make it the easiest to get it back out.

All my bookmarks are mainly at Diigo, but also Pinboard with a subset at Delicious. I actually wrote a post on it.

90+% of my data is on 2 Drobos maxed out with 4 SATA drives each (I didn’t start with 4 or the larger sizes I have now). I swap out the drives for larger ones when I start to run out of space. If a drive fails (and they inevitably do), no data is lost. I think it’s somewhere around 8 TB now (lots of photos, video, and music).

I use either Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper for bare metal backups (though not as frequently as I should. My internal drives are just getting too big.

I use WinClone to backup my BootCamp partition.I also use ChronoSync to keep/backup particular directories, like documents, photos, and music in sync. It stores them in their native format, so they’re easily accessible. For example, I sync my photos from my MBP to my desktop where they’re on a Drobo and easier to backup to CrashPlan Central. Same type of thing backing up other data from my MBP to some location on my iMac.

I also have a NewTech Voyager that allows me to use cheaper (and more reliable internal drives) to backup large amonts of data that will be offline.

The coup the gras, though, is CrashPlan. They win a bunch of awards, and I prefer them to Mozy, Carbonite, and Backblaze. I have a bunch of different backup sets with priorities, retention schedules and stuff. Some of it is backed up “locally” to a Drobo (both MBP and iMac). The rest is backed up online to CrashPlan+.

I don’t know how many computers you have or how much data, but they have a 1 computer, unlimited plan as low as $3 a month and an 2-10 computer plan as low as $6 a month. Once you set all your backup sets and it does its initial upload (which can take awhile), you can forget about it. If it encounters errors, it can email, SMS, or send you a Twitter DM.

Backing up locally or to a friend’s computer is free.

It took awhile to get it all setup and in sync, but now it’s almost completely automated. The bare metal and swapping drives in the Voyager aren’t automated, but I can live with that.

Basically, if it’s not in 3 locations, with one of them being offsite, it’s not really backed up.

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Mar 24 review

I’ve been on a kick getting all sorts of old family photos digitized (aka scanned) so that they’re preserved and are usable in our new digital world.

I’ve tried two services, and Scan Cafe. I’m still waiting for my Scan Cafe photos, but I have mine back from Here are my overall thoughts.

Preparing Photos
Before sending your photos, you need to bundle them by size (all the 3x5s need to go together, all the 4×6 need to go together, all the 5×7 need to go together). The scans are returned in one “directory” on a DVD, so if you want to have any separation between bundles, you should include an index card with description. That’s purely for your reference. There’s an additional fee for the photos scanned in order.

Also, you need to make sure they’re all “right side up” and the good side is always up. They will, for a nominal fee, go through your photos and do that for you.

You’re responsible for packing the photos and shipping. They were very accommodating letting me encase the photos in a plastic bag to protect against moisture.

The photos were scanned the same day they received them and were returned promptly.

The results were mixed. The scans varied in quality, with glossy photos doing better than matte.

They do auto-crop the photos, but that proved problematic. More than a few photos were chopped off correctly. Pictures of sunsets, where there’e s a very dark foreground or silhouettes were especially prone to incorrect cropping.

On the other end of the spectrum, the majority of the photos need additional cropping (there’s a very thin black border).

On the spacers with text letting me know where one batch stopped and the other one started, the black text shows distortion in the colors (there’s separation with a blue and purple halo).

I also had a couple photos that were scanned at some odd angle.

While they do offer automatic color correction for an additional fee, I forgo that. The scans I received were more or less true to the originals. I did not send them photos that showed fading or other problems.

Once the photos are returned, you’re responsible for removing any dust or scratches, rotating them correctly, and additional tweaking. I’ll need to go through most of mine and adjust as appropriate.

Pricing will scan up to 1000 photos for $49.95. There’s no prorating, so if you send them 500 photos, it’s the same price.

Additional services, such as scanning the photos in order, color correction, and making sure the photos are the right-way-up are sold separately. Scanning in order is $19.95, color correction is $49.95, and rotating the photos is $59.95.

Assuming you want all the bells and whistles, that brings the price to $179.80 per thousand, or as low as $0.179 cents a photo. Keep in mind there’s no pro-rating.

If you just want to get your photos scanned and scanned quickly, it’s great. If you’re competent with Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, iPhoto, Picasa, etc., you’re probably ok rotating the photos and doing minor adjustments.

It was certainly faster and easier than me scanning all the photos, but I’m still planning on adjusting them as needed before I create a photobook, etc. If you don’t have a scanner, it’s a great option. There’s certainly more work on my part than I’d like, but I can live with that.

Here’s an example of overzealous cropping. The bottom half of the photo is missing:

This photo was scanned incorrectly:

The black text is not truly black:

This photo needs to be cropped to remove the black border:

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Jun 29

Apple updates Safari and Mac OS X to fix security issues

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Safari 3 came out in beta. We’re already to 3.0.2 for security upgrades. That’s pretty impressive.

From ArsTechnica

Apple updates Safari and Mac OS X to fix security issues:

Apple has released Safari 3.0.2 for both Mac and Windows with lots of tweaks, including some security fixes. They’ve also issued Security Update 2007-006 for anyone who isn’t using Safari 3.

Read More…

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Jun 17

Photoshop teeth-whitening filter

Here’s a cool Photoshop Plugin: PearlyWhites from Image Trends. It automatically whitens a person’s smile, no selecting necessary! It’s $49.95, and there’s a free trial. I haven’t tried it yet, though.

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Jun 16

VMWare Fusion Goes On Sale

VMWare, though while not releasing the official 4.0 version, it taking orders. Pricing is $79.99 (the same as Parallels). They’re offering special pre-order pricing of $39.99.

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Jun 16

A Minor OpenXML Automation Epiphany

Im a little late in this one, but I realized it’s a little harder to create OpenXML documents (like Word 2007) that I thought. While it’s still really easy to parse the actual XML code, you then have to ZIP it all with the right “stories” etc. Yuck!

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Jun 16

Safari 3 beta on Windows vs. Firefox 2 and IE7

Now that Safari’s been out for awhile, there are some comparisons between the three major browsers (Firefox, IE7, and now Safari) on Windows. Here’s a wrap up.

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Jun 12

Safari for Windows: Why it makes sense

As most people know now, Apple’s released a beta for Safari 3 for both Windows and Mac.  It took me awhile to figure out why, since I’ve always preferred the extensibility of Firefox over Safari.  I found it interesting to tout it as being faster on JavaScript rendering than IE 7 or Firefox.  That wasn’t enough of a reason for me to switch.

This morning, I realized it was to gain developers for the iPhone.  Now that developers can harness Safari on iPhone for widgets and other applications, it makes sense having a score of new developers that might not own a Mac but do develop for the iPhone.  These could be free (like so many OS X apps and widgets) or commercial (also like so many OS X apps).

I’m guessing, if it works on Safari 3 (either platform), it’ll run on iPhone’s Safari.

UPDATE: Crave agrees with me.

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Jun 09

Sprint Treo 700p patch not such a good thing

Apparently, the patch for the Treo 700p was a bad thing right now (the previous post about it is here).

More info can bet found at and

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