The value of Backup and Data

I have been bad….Very BAD!!!

When I started the blog, my second article was about home backups. I started writing in and before I knew it was too long. My problem was that I was covering too much ground, and too much information was fresh in my mind.

Well, after my article in NMS I decided to write this article, which will initiate a series of backup articles. Why a series? Because there is too much information that I need to give you, and I don’t want to bore you too much, but backup is so important and people give it so little importance that I MUST convey the information.

What is the Value of Data?

This is more than anything a question you need to ask yourself. The data that is important for me, might not be important for you. And Value is even harder to assign. However there is a some easy points to quantify it.

  • Can you reproduce the data?
  • Is it easy to host someplace else?
  • How vital is to have it available?
  • What is the damage if the data is loss (economical and emotional damage)
  • How often you need it?

None of these questions by themselves can put value on data, but all together can. For example, the perfect picture of the first birthday of your first child. You might not look at the picture all the time, but if lost forever, you will remember that picture and be sad about it (emotional value). However because it is a picture, it also probably is hosted in Picasa, Flicker, Facebook or another social media. Maybe not with the same quality, but at least you could save it from there if lost from your computer. In the other hand, lets say your QuickBooks database for your small/home business. Maybe it won’t slow you down a lot if lost, but could have several repercussions when tax season arrives.

Now that we have an idea how to assign value to data we should…

Assigning Value to Backup

The Value of the backup is proportional to the value of the data. It sounds like a lot of mathematical terms, but simply, if the data is very valuable (or invaluable) to you, then the backup is as well. VERY SIMPLE, No?

Although this is simple, I am still amazed to find out most people don’t backup regularly. I know I don’t backup most things at home almost never, however, most of the data I don’t care for (even though I have TB of data), and the data I care about I have it in my desktop, my laptop, my work PC, my old PC. It is a mess, but if needed I can recover most of it.

This mess of data also brings another value for the backup. The backup will organize your data. It is more is a consequence of backing up, but when you start to plan and put in effect a backup plan, you also end up organizing your data, which later will save you time when you are searching for it.

Extra benefits of backup

When setting a backup you will have plenty of benefits, some are more visible than others, however these are the ones I can think of right now:

  • Data can be recovered
  • Data will be replicated
  • Data will be organized
  • Data will be centralized
  • Multiple versions of the same data (*1)
  • When replacing computer, moving data is easier
  • Backup can be backup again (maybe to cloud, offline, remote)

(*1) It depends on the backup, but at least you have 1 older version of a file. Some backups support more than one version. If a file becomes corrupted, or you save a change that you want to undo later, an older version is the solution.

Thinking about value

Unless you do all your work online, and you don’t care about data, there is always something you won’t want to lose in your computer. Backing up is important, and have extra benefits beyond being able to recover data, and the value of the backup is the same as the data, or even greater in most cases.

So, do you value your data? And are you backing up your data?

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10 tips to help improve your wireless network

From Microsoft at Home

If the Windows operating system ever notifies you about a weak Wi-Fi signal, it probably means that your connection isn’t as fast or as reliable as it could be. Worse, you might lose your connection entirely in some parts of your home. If you want to boost the signal for your wireless network (WLAN), try some of these tips for extending your wireless range and improving your wireless network speed and performance.

Couple at a laptop reviewing wireless channels

1. Position your wireless router, modem router, or access point in a central location

When possible, place your wireless router, wireless modem router (a DSL or cable modem with a built-in wireless router), or wireless access point (WAP) in a central location in your home. If your wireless router, modem router, or access point is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home. If your router is on the first floor and your PC or laptop is on the second floor, place the router high on a shelf in the room where it is located. Don’t worry if you can’t move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.

Bad router and good router placement comparison


2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)

Metal objects, walls, and floors will interfere with your router’s wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.


3. Replace your router’s antenna

The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omnidirectional, meaning that they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router’s power will be wasted. Most routers don’t allow you to increase the power output, but you can make better use of the power. If your router’s antenna is removable, you can upgrade to a high-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals in only one direction. You can even aim the signal in the direction you need it most. Consider a Linksys high-gain antenna—they’re powerful and easy to install. Or shop for other high-gain antennas.

Standard antenna and high-gain antenna examples


4. Replace your laptop’s wireless PC card-based network adapter

Laptops with built-in wireless networking capability typically have excellent antennas and don’t need to have their network adapters upgraded. These tips are for laptops that do not have built-in wireless networking.

Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can’t send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop’s PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB wireless network adapter that uses an external antenna. In particular, consider a Linksys Wireless-N or Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless-N USB network adapter. These add an external, high-gain antenna to your computer and can significantly extend your wireless range.


Wireless router and wireless repeater

5. Add a wireless repeater

Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless router, modem router, or access point and your computer, and you can get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. Check out the wireless-N repeaters from Linksys, Hawking Hi-Gain, ViewSonic, D-Link, and Buffalo Technology, or shop for a wireless-N repeater.


Wireless channels

6. Change your wireless channel

Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. In the United States and Canada, these channels are 1, 6, and 11. Just as you’ll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless router’s channel through your router’s configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don’t need to change your computer’s configuration, because it can automatically detect the new channel.

To find your router configuration page, consult this quick reference table, which shows the default addresses for common router manufacturers. If the address is not listed here, read the documentation that came with your router, or visit the manufacturer’s webpage.

Router

Address

3Com

http://192.168.1.1

D-Link

http://192.168.0.1

Linksys

http://192.168.1.1

Microsoft Broadband

http://192.168.2.1

Netgear

http://192.168.0.1

Actiontec

http://192.168.0.1


7. Reduce wireless interference

The most common wireless technology, 802.11g (wireless-G), operates at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). Many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. If you use these wireless devices in your home, your computer might not be able to "hear" your router over the noise coming from them.

If your network uses wireless-G, you can quiet the noise by avoiding wireless electronics that use the 2.4 GHz frequency. Instead, look for cordless phones and other devices that use the 5.8 GHz or 900 megahertz (MHz) frequencies. Because 802.11n (wireless-N) operates at both 2.4 GHz and the less frequently used 5.0 GHz frequency, you may experience less interference on your network if you use this technology.


8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver

Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer’s website.

Similarly, network adapter vendors occasionally update the software that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter, known as the driver. These updates typically improve performance and reliability. To get the driver updates, follow the instructions for your operating system:

Windows XP

  • Visit Microsoft Update, click Custom, and then wait while Windows XP looks for the latest updates for your computer.

  • Install any updates relating to your wireless adapter.


9. Pick equipment from a single vendor

Although a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware (like their USB wireless network adapters). Linksys has the SpeedBooster technology for its wireless-G devices, and D-Link has the 108G enhancement for its wireless-G devices. These enhancements can be helpful if you have wireless-G devices and you need to transmit over a long distance or you live in an older house (old walls tend to block the signal more than newly built ones do).

If speeding up your connection is important to you, consider the next tip—upgrading your wireless technology.


10. Upgrade 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g devices to 802.11n

Although wireless-G (802.11g) may be the most common type of wireless network, wireless-N (802.11n) is at least twice as fast and it has better range and stability. Wireless-N is backward-compatible with 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g, so you can still use any existing wireless equipment that you have—though you won’t see much improvement in performance until you upgrade your computer or network adapter to wireless-G, too.

If you’re using wireless-B or wireless-G and you’re unhappy with your network’s speed and performance, consider replacing your router and network adapters with wireless-N equipment. If you’re buying new equipment, definitely choose wireless-N. Linksys Wireless-N routers, for example, are powerful, secure, and simple to set up. So are Linksys Wireless-N USB wireless network adapters.

Find out which wireless technology is installed on your computer:

Windows 7

  1. Click Start, and then click Device and Printers.

  2. Right-click the icon of your computer, and then click Properties.

  3. Click the Hardware tab. Scroll through the list until you see your wireless card or adapter. Under Name, you will see 802.11n or Wireless-N, 802.11g or Wireless-G, or 802.11b or Wireless-B.

Windows Vista

  1. Click Start, click Network and Internet, and then click Network and Sharing Center.

  2. On the left, under Tasks, click Manage Network Connections.

  3. Double-click Wireless Network Connection, and then click Details. Under the description, you will see 802.11n or Wireless-N, 802.11g or Wireless-G, or 802.11b or Wireless-B.

Wireless networks never reach the theoretical bandwidth limits. Wireless-B networks typically get 2–5 megabits per second (Mbps). Wireless-G networks are usually in the 13–23 Mbps range. The average everyday speed for wireless-N equipment is about 50 Mbps.

Don’t forget—the security of your wireless network is as important as its speed and performance. Learn about the different security methods.

Help make your network more secure:

Bring Misplaced Off-Screen Windows Back to Your Desktop (Keyboard Trick)

I wanted to share this tip. We had a machine that was configured for dual monitor and it did not know anymore that a monitor wasn’t connected. Of course the monitor connected was on the secondary port, so all windows that we opened were on the “non-existent screen”. This tip finally allowed up to change the monitor setup (we right clicked the desktop first, and opened properties)

Source How-To Geek

If you’ve ever hooked up your laptop to a secondary monitor and then disconnected without remembering to move the windows back to the primary desktop, you’ve probably uncounted this problem:

The application is running. You can see it in the taskbar, but you can’t see it on the screen, because it still thinks it’s running on the secondary monitor. You try and use right-click, Move, but that doesn’t do anything, and the window doesn’t move anywhere. You end up rebooting and cursing Microsoft.

There’s a simple trick to get around this. First make sure you’ve alt-tabbed to the window, or clicked on it once to bring it into focus. Then right-click on the taskbar and choose Move

At this point, you should notice that your cursor changes to the “Move” cursor, but you still can’t move anything.

Just hit any one of the arrow keys (Left, Right, Down, Up), move your mouse, and the window should magically “pop” back onto the screen.

Note: For keyboard savvy people, you can just alt-tab to the window, use Alt+Space, then M, then Arrow key, and then move your mouse.

This should work on any version of Windows. It’s really amazing how many people are not aware of this little trick.

Update: Note that you can also right-click on the taskbar and choose to Cascade your open windows, which will often help bring the windows back onto the screen.