Back me up, store me away, and do so redundantly

I, like many others, have had my fair share of hard drive crashes; and like many others, I have my tastes when it comes to brands. My favorite brand is Seagate, my least favorite brand is Maxtor. This poses a big problem because they joined into Seagate Maxtor, so I usually lean towards Western Digital these days. The point is that you can love a brand as much as you want, but hard drives can and will fail. And will do so at the least appropriate the moment.

The best case scenario is that you have a very recent backup. The worst case scenario is that you don’t have any backup, and you lose valuable data, from either an emotional or professional point of view. Often, from both. This usually leads to nervous breakdowns, extensive cursing, going through a list of past, present and future deities to blame, and possibly weeping. I’ve done all of that, and I’m not ashamed of admitting so.

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USB ports vs. cigarette lighters in cars

On this blog post (in Italian), Giovanni Fontana wonders why cars still have a cigarette lighter instead of standard power sockets. Most people, he argues, need to connect portable devices to charge than to light up cigarettes, and sockets should at least be an optional replacement for the standard cigarette lighter. Moreover, he continues, the current situation is as weird as having a house full of cigarette lighters requiring an adapter to connect electric devices: wouldn’t it be more logical, he postulates, to have standard sockets requiring an adapter to have a cigarette lighter?

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Batch-converting images for an HDTV

A couple of days ago, my parents bought their first HDTV. Since it has a USB port that can be used to show pictures stored on a flash drive, I found myself in the position of finally using an old 512 MB stick I had lying around.

I scouted my iPhoto Libraries for pictures, and simply dragged them into a folder I had created. I quickly stumbled across two problems:

  1. The Finder almost immediately reported that the drive was full, even when it still had over 350 MB available, or that one or more files couldn’t “be read or written”;
  2. 8-megapixel images are just too big for a Full HD screen, so you end up wasting a lot of space and possibly slowing down the TV.

Did I fix them? You bet I did. Read on to find how.

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