Amazon S3

So, I’m getting a bit of disk space filled up by now, much of witch is client data and template files for the web. I have an external hard drive and another drive on my desktop for double backup, but that just leaves me protected locally if one drive fails. I have nightmares of the day with my laptop bites the dust and for some reason my desktop gets zapped . . . worst case scenario (or, Lord forbid, my house burns). Online storage keeps everything “safe” at a distance.

I wanted a low cost (ok, cheap) solution for backing up online. I have heard of Carbonite and Box.net, but I need LOTS of space (over 20 GB) and those guys start to add up as yearly rates roll along.

Enter Amazon Storage (www.amazon.com/s3) – they charge 15 cents per gigabyte for storage and 10 cents per GB of transfer. I use that service in conjunction with Jungle Disk (www.jungledisk.com, $20) and my files are automatically backed up every evening. Without going through the math with you, 10 GBytes or so of client data was backed up and stored last month for less than 2 dollars. Yeah, that’s cheap. You can also encrypt data for security and access the backed up data as a networked drive – that way you can just drag and drop back to your computer if needed.

I’ve been with the service for a month, so I’ll let you know if I change my mind about it. Oh, and the system doesn’t upload files every night that haven’t changed – just the files that have been created or revised since the day before. Good stuff.

HP Mini 1000

My plan after upgrading my laptop was to let Alison use my old faithful gateway. Well, after minutes (looong minutes) of boot up time, that option fell by the way. I had heard about “Netbooks” becoming really popular for secondary systems and thought she might like one. I searched far and wide and did my research and came up with a great little gem.

The HP Mini 1000 is really a very well built, well thought out little machine. I’m actually typing on it right now. It has a 92% keyboard, so it’s actually not that bad to type on (it’s no Thinkpad, but for the size, it’s nice).  I’ll give my pros and cons below.

Pros

  • Size – the main reason for a Netbook is portability. In fact, that was one of my main reason for buying this. I figured my wife could simply put the computer in her purse and take it with her to school, dinner, trips . . . wherever. After 2 months with it, she’s doing just that. She loves it! She brought in her purse (a small one at that) and showed me how it just slips right in. And at 2 pounds, it’s really a lightweight.
  • Speed – the operating system is Windows XP, so it runs just as fast as any machine I’ve had. It has the new Intel Atom processor, so it chugs along nicely.
  • Solid State Drive (pro and con) – The model I bought has the 8 Gbyte solid state drive (think of it like a big digital camera card). Since she uses it for email and web most of the time, it doesn’t get near the space limit. There’s an SD card slot that will hold up to 30 GB if needed, so we’re good there. Also, it’s super quiet. You have to really get close to even barely hear a fan.
  • Nice screen – the resolution is 1250×600. When I bought it, I thought that might be a little low, but it’s just right for the size. This is the 9 inch screen. There’s a 10 incher as well, but this does just fine. The screen is good and bright . . . almost too bright when plugged in!

Cons

  • Solid state drive size – there’s a 16 GB, but these days, many people want lots of space. You can upgrade to at 160 GB drive if needed – adds weight and hurts battery a bit, but it’s there.
  • Battery life? – Not so much a con for me. We get 3 hours or so from the battery. Alison took it on a trip for 3 days and didn’t charge it once (casual use in the hotel). So, it’s a matter of preference. New netbooks are bragging about 10 hours, so we’ll see.

There’s also a built in webcam for easy Skyping which we like as well. One thing I think we might run into is installations for software. If it’s not downloadable over the web (i.e. on a CD), we’ll have to improvise with a USB CDROM (which we don’t have!).

Overall, I would recommend this for anyone doing lite duty computing such as web, email or word processing. It runs great, has the best keyboard of any netbook (size wise) and looks good to. The build quality is as good as I’ve found.

Price: $350 (most likely cheaper by now)