Carbonite for Mac Eats Up CPU

If you use the Carbonite cloud-based backup tool for Mac, you may notice that your computer’s fans are running loud and often, and that the Carbonite daemon is running at 80-120%. This gets really, really annoying after not too long.

I’ve dealt with it for two years by pausing backups while I’m working on my computer, hoping that Carbonite would release a new version that fixed the problem soon. That has not happened yet, and I grew tired of trying numerous fixes mentioned around the Internet, only to have the problem continue.

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Finally, I saw that someone used a different backup tool called CrashPlan. I am on their 30 day free trial and am really digging it so far. The pricing is at or below that of Carbonite (depending how much space you need) and it seems to be running quite smoothly so far.

I really like the extra configuration and security settings that you just don’t get with Carbonite. It allows you to set schedules for CPU and bandwidth usage so that you can maximize your time efficiently. You can even choose what type of encryption you want to use on your stored backups, and if you set a password, your backups will be protected by that as well.

There doesn’t seem to be any restriction on file types, either. I remember Carbonite had a thing for a while where they wouldn’t let you back up video files, which just seemed dumb. They might still have that stipulation. I don’t know. It doesn’t matter, because I’m ditching Carbonite for good now.

What do you use to back up your system and how well does it work for you?

Apple Mail “smtp.xxxx.com:xxxxx” offline

I have 2 gmail accounts configured under “Mail” and over the last few days 1 of my accounts when sending a new email shows the “smtp.gmail.com:xxxxx” as “Offline”, if I forced a send from it, I would have to type my password in again. Then it would send, but go back offline.

Even when re-setting the password under the Mail Account Prefs, no difference.

Here’s what worked for me.

1. Start a new message

2. Pull down the “smtp.gmail.com: xxxx” menu and select “EDIT smtp server list”

3. Click on the account that’s going “Offline”, select “Advanced”

4. Fill in the password and close.

I don’t know why, but the account that was having issues did NOT have my password saved (even though it was “saved” under the normal account preferences area).

All seems well again, even after closing and opening mail etc.

The very strange thing is, the “EDIT smtp server list” seems to be a sub-menu under the normal Account preferences, that can’t be accessed except the above way. Odd.

Hope this helps.

iTunes App Store Category ID’s

I’ve been developing a web app that queries the iTunes Store database. Apple doesn’t make it easy to find out category ID’s, so I figured this might save someone some time now that I have done them all.

6000 – Business
6001 – Weather
6002 – Utilities
6003 – Travel
6004 – Sports
6005 – Social Networking
6006 – Reference
6007 – Productivity
6008 – Photography
6009 – News
6010 – Navigation
6011 – Music
6012 – Lifestyle
6016 – Entertainment
6017 – Education
6018 – Books
6020 – Medical

7001 – Action
7002 – Adventure
7003 – Arcade
7004 – Board
7005 – Card
7006 – Casino
7007 – Dice
7008 – Educational
7009 – Family
7010 – Kids
7011 – Music
7012 – Puzzle
7013 – Racing
7014 – Healthcare & Fitness
7015 – Simulation
7016 – Sports
7017 – Strategy
7018 – Trivia
7019 – Word

Practical Security Round-up

We here at Geekamongus care about you, the visitor, so we offer some news and tips about staying secure:

iPhone
Here’s a good reason to set your iPhone to *not* auto-join Wifi networks, especially those AT&T Wifi Hotspots.

Antivirus Software
There is no need to pay for antivirus/security software for your Windows computer.  Save your money.  As cnet suggests, use one of the many free programs available.  Personally, I prefer MSE or Avast.

Facebook
Considering there may be 1.5 million Facebook accounts up for sale on the black market, now would be a good time to rid your computer of malware and then change your Facebook password.

While you are at it, you may want to learn about (and restrict) all the personal data Facebook has unilaterally decided to share about you.

Microsoft SharePoint Security Warning
SharePoint administrators and users, beware: Serious XSS flaw haunts Microsoft SharePoint

The Google Overlords
Afraid of Google?  Here’s a good way to anonymize yourself when doing Google searches or using many of their services:

Read more on the project page. Download the Firefox plugin here.

Defective by Design

After reading yesterday’s announcement from Apple regarding the iPad, then browsing their site while drooling over the specs, I decided I would try and get one when they become available.  I have become so accustomed to my iPhone 3Gs that I can’t imagine having a bigger extension of that for use around the house or while travelling.

But then, I started reading about all the Digital Restrictions Management that gets bundled with the product(s), and really started questioning my ideals. Being a proponent of the free and open source software movement, I am all about not being restricted to do what I want with devices and software I purchase. The sad fact of the matter is that everything Apple does works against that.

The people over at DefectiveByDesign.org lays it all out pretty well, which further convinced me that I have been duped by vendor lock-in, with restrictions on everything I can do with my devices. This sucks, and it is something I hope all of you think about and question. While the gadget lust is still there, I am feeling conflict from my true geek side, which tells me not to waste my money on something that is, in effect, defective by design.

Apple has new goodies……sort of

I’ve been waiting a LONG time on the new Mac-Mini refreshes, and I have to say I was surprised at the new versions. They’ve got a little kick to them this go around. However, if you bump the RAM up to at least 2GB and add the 3year warranty and a new keyboard, you are sitting at about $900.00

If you don’t care about the warranty and don’t need the keyboard, you can still get the 2GB of RAM and keep it down to $649.00.

Also, they released new Mac Pros and iMacs. I have to say I was impressed, that is, until I read a little more. Apple and I have a strange history: I love to support them and I love OSX. However, they always seem to just MISS my cup of tea, and I always think…”Well, I’ll wait for the next round”.

Let me explain. As you know (or don’t) Apple has pretty much switched from ATI to Intel to Nvidia for graphics. However, even with the brand new models, the BEST you can get (Nvidia wise) is a  GeForce GT 130. If you are thinking “130…what the hell is that?”, read on.

Basically, as most of us know, the “best of the best” in the Nvidia world is the “GTX 2xx” series, and prior to that, it was the 9800 Series. Well, Nvidia has renamed their chip line on the 9600/9500 line to…you guessed it! “GT1xx” !!!!!!

If I’m right, it seems the GT 120 is a renamed 9500 and the GT130 is a renamed 9600! I can’t believe that even on the HIGH end Mac Pro, they DON’T offer at least ONE version of a GT280! However, they do seem to offer a ATI 48xx series, which is good, but as I said I LOVE Nvidia.

Now on the other hand, I’m always looking at this situation from the stand point of “what if I want to GAME and run everything with nice resolutions and AA etc”, and as most of us know…if you want to game with the big boys, just build a PC. Well, that still seems to be the case.

On the brighter side of things, these new Macs truly have some wonderful configurations and will be very good machines, especially for those people that just want to do everything but the high end gaming.

My advice:

If you’ve never had a Mac, and don’t care about gaming at all, but need a complete computer (monitor and all) I would go for the 1499.00 iMac, as it has a 24inch screen.
If you think you’ll game from time to time, I would go for the 1799.00 iMac and possibly upgrade the video card to the GT 130 or the ATI card.
If you’ve never owned a Mac and are happy with your current computer, but are curious about OSX and would like to just use the monitor, mouse, keyboard etc. that you have, then go for the entry Mac Mini and upgrade the RAM to at LEAST 2GB.

If you’re a hard core gamer and want to keep up with the latest games etc…just keep building PCs or check out the Dell XPS 630 for a great entry gaming rig that can upgraded as needed.

HTH.