Multiple Machine Synchronization

I have struggled with keeping select sets of data synchronized between multiple PCs and backups of that data up to date. Over the years I have utilized rsync along with various scripts. Last week I decided to spend some time looking for a tool that will handle this for me with minimum effort. I considered bit torrent sync but then found unison which is an open source solution and so decided to use it instead.

The software is well documented and I was able to have it working in an hour. It wouldn’t have taken this long but the version supplied by my linux distribution didn’t match the Mac version and so I had to compile it from source. No issues other than that and it works great.

No Tracking

I’m not a big fan of web tracking or of massively interconnected javascript adds. If visitor data collection were only utilized for serving targeted adds then it wouldn’t bother me. Unfortunately some web sites pass non-anonymous information about visitors on to 3rd parties who then aggregate and sell the information on farther down the chain. I doubt that many web sites actually perform this type of tracking willingly, but it happens automagically through their javascripted web add system.

This web site contains absolutely no tracking whatsoever. I used to utilize google-analytics because I was curious to see how many visitors the site had and where they were coming from. I really don’t need this information and so there is no reason for me to collect and share it with google. I have removed google-analytics from the site. The site has never had adds and never will (beyond my own plugs for consulting services). I may put an old-school hit counter at the bottom of the front page too gauge how much traffic there is, but also because I think they are cool.

How To Copy A Directory Using sftp

This should not be so hard but here is what I had to do:

  1. get -r dir
  2. locally: mv dir copy_of_dir
  3. mkdir copy_of_dir
  4. put -r copy_of_dir

The remote server complained about Couldn’t fsetstat but it worked.


Using Minitab

We have sort of a corporate standard software for statistical analysis, Minitab. I don’t have much experience with it but attended a training seminar a few months ago and have been trying it out for smaller things here and there. I did an analysis this week with the tools I normally use (Ruby and Matlab). I decided to go back and try the same analysis using Minitab to see if there was anything to gain by using it instead. I was very surprised. I had a few hurdles to get over to get Minitab to do what I wanted, but once I did it was much faster than Matlab, or even excel.

Minitab is a great tool for statistical analysis. I have to say it is much better than Matlab or Excel. I will be using it much more in the future.

New Phone

I finally got rid of the Motorola droidX and got a new phone. I decided to give the Samsung Galaxy S3 a try. There are plenty of reviews out there that mostly detail what a great phone it is but my mileage has varied. I just wanted to list a couple of observations I have about the phone:

  • Phone – I still talk to people on the phone and it seems that the ability of this phone to maintain signal is less than the droidX and S2.
  • UMS – The S3 does NOT support USB mass storage. When you plug it in to your computer via USB it is not detected as a USB mass storage device and there is nothing that can be changed in the settings to make it work. It seems that this is a new “feature” of Android to try to force the adoption of MTP. But it seems more like a ploy to eliminate microSD cards which will force users to spend more on phones with more internal memory. Whatever the reasons this “feature” it makes transferring pictures and/or files much more difficult than it should be and impossible in some situations.
  • Keyboard – The S3’s keyboard features are not as good as the iPhone or droidX. The S3 does have the swype keyboard but it’s prediction is horrible where the droidX’s prediction was very, very good. The S3 also seems to have an issue with key accuracy (eg. giving an i instead of an o).
  • Size – This is a very big phone. It is nice in terms of display, but is challenging to use with one hand.
  • Display – The display is beautiful indoors, but is very dim and hard to read outside in bright sunlight.
  • Ringtones – Absolute crap as with most new phones. Why can’t we just have a decent collection of rings instead of music samples?

My bottom line is that it is a reasonably decent phone, but I wish I would have waited and got an iPhone5 at this point. It would have synced up with my MBPro flawlessly and the size/shape of it seems to be just about perfect.