Category Archives: General

Bocko & BryGuy #37: Football Is Bigger Than Jesus

This week on the show, Bryan and I look forward to Super Bowl forty-five.  We look back on the history of the media spectacle that has become bigger in the US than organized religion (scary!).

Oscar nominations also came out this week, and we make some early predictions for some movies that we haven’t even seen yet (just like everyone else).

Check out the show notes, as needed, and thanks for listening as always.



As recently mentioned in other Internet quarters around the globe, making “resolutions” for activities or behaviors that one wishes to undertake around January 1 is completely arbitrary.  If you decide that you should be doing something different with your life, you should probably just do it.

I think the spirit of the “New Year’s Resolution,” though, is that if you HAVEN’T been taking stock of your various states of affairs throughout the year, maybe the turn of another year will make you pause and reflect.  And while reflecting on your past year, maybe it will dawn on you that some things need to change.

A friend and I have been talking over the last couple days about the litany of tasks that we have been procrastinating on for various lengths of time, all of them too long.  We’re going to make a concerted effort to hold each other accountable to completing these things over the course of these coming months.

One of the things that didn’t make my list was returning to my blog; I figure that you, O Internet, can hold me accountable for that.  I really fell off the wagon when I was working up in Oshkosh again, and I never made the time to get back to it when I started working in Madison.

So anyway, why not a new start in a new year?  Like all of the things that I’m going to be writing in 2011, please don’t expect consistent quality.  Just expect consistent content, which, in and of itself, is likely to breed higher quality over time.

How Much Weight Can Clouds Hold?

I have been running my computers primarily on an Ubuntu system since Sept 2006.  Over time, through a lot of tinkering and experimenting, I have generally “gunked up” my laptop installation.  With the next Long-Term Service release of Ubuntu now in beta, with the final release due later this month, I decided that the new version will be a good point for a complete format-and-reinstall on that machine.

So if you’re going to roll with that sort of program, you have to do a lot of backing up.  My /home folders are all due for a sound cleaning out; a bigger project than one might realize.  Lifehacker coincidentally had a post late in March that I begrudgingly took to heart (get rid of your ‘Miscellaneous’ filing category) as I set upon this task.  I have always had trouble locating anything on my computers without at least a halfway-decent organizational structure, so a lot of what I need to do is just clean up stuff that’s been straggling, maybe add some new categories here or there.

When I checked out what I have on my server, there are lots of folders that are just going to be huge by nature–Movies, TV, Music, Photos, setup files–all are major data hogs.  I can’t and don’t expect to pare those down much.  After you isolate those big swaths of info, though, what I have left isn’t taking up much room at all– for me, it was just barely over 4 gigs.  This is the area I can attack.

I’m using the free version of Dropbox for a variety of things: it’s an easy way to stash small files (word processing docs, spreadsheets, PDFs, maybe photos) that you’re planning to use in multiple places.  I have a folder for “employment” documents, for example (resumes, cover letters, reference lists), that saves me from worrying if I remembered to grab something that I need before I left the house.  Also, it’s tons smoother than logging in to the server at work for those occasions that I’m working remotely.  Lists that I frequently need all have their place in the Dropbox1

Between the 2 gigs that I can get for zero monies from Dropbox, and another 2 that are available through the Ubuntu One service (almost exactly the same thing as Dropbox), I just about have myself covered.  Why not just leave all this backup stress behind and toss my non-media data into the cloud?  *sigh*  Well, there are a few things:

  • First, and obviously, one 2-gig service isn’t going to give me enough space.  I’d be spreading myself out on multiple services, and that sort of negates the inherent efficiency of moving in this direction.  Do I value the convenience enough to pay a hundred bucks a year (the going Dropbox rate) for 50 GB?
  • Also, we’ve got your typical cloud-pushing paranoia.  “Can I trust someone else to secure my data?”  “I’ve never seen where this data is physically located,” etc., etc., etc.  I have to say I’m starting to get over this one (these services all appropriately tout their security features), but it’s going to take time.
  • Any technical limitations that I wouldn’t have with everything being stored “locally”?  Doesn’t seem like it, but in my experience, you need some thorough real-world testing to know for sure.

I guess the toughest pill for me to swallow right now is the 100 bucks.  You want me to plunk down a fairly significant wad of cash for 25 times more storage.  What I would really prefer is slightly more storage (say, 20 or 25 gigs) at half the annual price.  That would make it easier for me.

But either way, make no mistake – as we link our digital lives to more and more devices, seamless interoperability and access across multiple platforms becomes more and more important.  I don’t know for sure if I’m ready to completely leap into cloud-based storage, but I’m going to have to think long and hard about it2, and this probably won’t be the last time.

  1. Did I mention that I don’t need to sweat having one of *my* computers, with the client installed, immediately available, either?  Because there’s a web interface.  Pretty nice. []
  2. That’s what she said. []