Automated Website Backup

Backup Your Web Site Automatically in cPanel

One of the services I perform for web clients is periodically making backups of their web site. This includes backing up the web directory (all of their HTML files including WordPress and any accompanying theme files and plugins) and taking a backup of their site’s MySQL database.

Rather than doing this manually, it’s easier (and more reliable) to just schedule the process in cPanel.  Unfortunately, if you’re using a reseller account like mine or if you have multiple sites, you can’t select a single web site in the native cPanel Backups module.  You’ll have to write a bash script and run it at your desired frequency through Cron. Read more

Sites with Security Hacks

How Many Times Have You Been Hacked?

Results: How many times have you been hacked?Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year alone. In a recent attack at the federal Office of Personnel Management, hackers stole the most sensitive personal data for 21.5 million people.

The New York Times recently created a microsite that allows you to answer a few questions to learn which parts of your identity may have been stolen in some of the major hacking attacks over the last two years and what you can do about it. Not all attacks are included, and many attacks go undetected, so think of your results as a minimum level of exposure.

Here’s the link: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/29/technology/personaltech/what-parts-of-your-information-have-been-exposed-to-hackers-quiz.html

Karma Hotspot and MacBook Pro

How Not to Launch Your Product

I recently (well, not recently, more like 294 days ago) purchased a Karma Go wireless hot spot device for use when I travel.  My in-laws didn’t have wireless connectivity in their home (they used dial-up until when they switched to broadband last year, and finally installed a wireless router a couple months ago) and on more than one occasion I’ve had to drive around looking for a location with wireless because I had an emergency at work and needed internet access.

While I could get a wireless hot spot from work, I like the idea of having my own wireless connection and at $99, the device is tiny and fits in my briefcase or backpack.  More importantly, the data never expires and there is no monthly contract, so the fact that I would only use it as a last resort/contingency, makes the whole concept very affordable.

Getting the device was an adventure in and of itself. Read more

Connected Devices Map

A Map of Every Device Connected to the Internet

This isn’t exactly current (about a year old, actually) but I ran across a tweet recently by programmer and “Internet cartographer” John Matherly: Read more

OmniFocus dashboard

GTD Review: OmniFocus

Overview

I recently switched to OmniFocus as my GTD application for Mac OS X and iOS.  Now, I realize this goes against my initial criteria for finding a new GTD system, which included a requirement that the system be cross-platform, but my computer usage — even at work — has shifted to almost entirely Mac OS X.  Further, while I rely on an Android (Samsung Note 3) as my personal phone, there are a couple good applications — I currently use Quantus Tasks — that have been able to access the OmniFocus sync servers using an open API, meaning I can always access my todo list whether I’m on a computer or on the go.  This has also made me more reliant on my company iPhone and I ended up purchasing the OmniFocus iOS application as well.

OmniFocus is not a light investment, the Mac OS X application is $40 (upgrade to Pro version is another $40) and the iOS app is $40 (upgrade to the Pro version is another $20), which is a turn-off for many users, but it can be configured from a very simple workspace to one with significant complexity and features, making it a great choice for GTD practitioners of all skill levels and needs.  Personally, I’ve spent similar money on GTD applications ($50 for todoMatrix and another $20/year for its web interface, $20/year for Doit) and in my opinion, paid applications only increase the level and quality of support and enhancements from the developer over time.

Read more

Google Font

Google Font Library Project

Someone I follow on Twitter (CodeVixen) sent out a link to Font Library, an open source project intended to tag and organize Google Fonts.  If you’re a little typography-challenged at times like I am, you can shop by tag and the site displays a sample of each font on the page so that you can see how it looks.  Really helpful!

Two-Factor Authentication

Sites with Two-Factor Authentication

Looking for a way to keep your online accounts (cloud storage, banking, social media, email, etc.) as secure as possible?

Two-factor verification (also known as two-step authentication, abbreviated to TFA) is a process involving two stages to verify the identity of a user trying to access services in a computer or in a network. This is a special case of a multi-factor authentication which might involve only one of the three authentication factors (a knowledge factor, a possession factor, and an inherence factor) for both steps. If each step involves a different authentication factor then the two-step authentication is additionally two-factor authentication. (Wikipedia) Read more

GTD Quick Reference

Can a GTD system be too simple?

I was reading an article the other day on Lifehacker that showcased how to use Apple Reminders for GTD.  The idea was that it’s so deeply embedded in iOS and OS X, that users of those platforms should find it beneficial to use it for GTD-based task management.

This raised another question in my mind, can a GTD system be too simple?  I’ve seen ways to deploy Outlook, Evernote, OneNote, Gmail and many other systems for GTD.  One of the founding principles of a GTD system is that it should be easy to use, or you won’t use it the way you should.  But isn’t there a balance between complexity and a lack of features?

It’s no secret that I have a very clear idea of what features are important to me, but each person will typically have their own idea of what is required and what is extraneous.

How do you balance the simplicity and complexity that both add to the usefulness of a GTD system?

Evernote UI

Going Paperless with Evernote

My office was a total mess.  I had two file cabinets full of papers that I may or may not ever need one day.  I’m not a pack rat when it comes to documents, but if there’s a chance I might need it, it got filed.  Filing papers takes a few minutes, so it was not uncommon for me to toss a stack of incoming mail on my desk.  You know, I’ll get back to it later in the day or the following day.  Instead, I toss another stack on top of it.  This only makes it harder to sit down and work through the queued mail. Read more

Evernote Import Folders

Creating an Import Folder for Evernote

Import folders are a perfect way to easily drag and drop documents from a computer into your Evernote account.  Follow these instructions to set up an import folder:

First, open your Evernote application (the Evernote program, not the web site) and click on Tools and then Import Folders.

Accessing the Import Folders settings in Evernote

This will open the Import Folders setting dialog box.  Below are the settings I use and recommend.  The Subfolders setting will allow you to drag and drop a folder of documents into the Import Folder rather than having to drop the documents themselves.  I recommend creating a dedicated Evernote Notebook for incoming scanned documents, which is indicated in the settings as well.  Finally, you can decide whether you want Evernote to delete documents after they’ve been imported so that you don’t have to periodically do it.

Evernote import folder settings dialog box

One last note about the Source/Delete setting.  There are several things that will cause Evernote to not load your PDF:

  • The PDF contains more than 100 pages
  • The PDF file is more than 25MB
  • The PDF does not contain at least one “scanned” page, defined as:
    • A “scanned” page contains at least 1025 pixels of image data
    • A “scanned” page contains no more than 512 characters of regular, searchable text (e.g. this is enough for a text-based fax header or similar). PDF files that have already been processed by a separate OCR system will not satisfy this condition and will be rejected.
  • The PDF contains more than one non-scanned page. (I.e. the doc may have one “cover” page without any image data, but if there’s more than one, than it’s not a real scan and we reject it.)
  • The analysis crashes or fails for some technical reason, typically due to a malformed PDF from some crazy source, or if the PDF is password protected (encrypted).
  • This analysis process takes more than 30 seconds to complete.

If any of these exist and you have the Source option set to “Delete”, you may lose a document that you need to archive.  If you can’t load it to Evernote, you can always keep a local copy of it… but not if Evernote deletes it first.

Need Evernote?  You can get it for free here.