Google, I Hate You Because You Are Awesome

When Google isn’t alienating us by pushing social experiments down our throats, and doing evil, they are often awesome. Nevertheless, I started thinking this month how I will take my Google Apps domain and start hosting it myself: mail, chat, calendar, contacts, etc.

Today they integrated Google Voice with Google Talk in GMail. I still don’t know how they are doing it, are they connecting to PSTN through XMPP? In any case, I feel all excited and giggly about it. Maybe I will keep my Google Apps account after all..

It’s always been another one of my personal technological gaps. How do I travel and remain reachable on my US number? I could spend months on end in Israel, and it’s always nice to have seamless access to my US number and voice mail. SIM cards are so cheap abroad, the phone numbers assigned to them are arbitrary, I should be able to punch them in to Google Voice and just have people reach me with my usual number (this feature is yet to come). In short, unify and clean up the mess that is telephony and voice mail. Hopefully, if all this magic is through XMPP, we will have sexy integration in Empathy as well.

So at this point, not only has this delayed my disengagement from Google, it has brought me a step closer to getting an Android phone (Apple, stay classy and ignore Google Voice).

This isn’t conclusive, I don’t welcome our new overlords with open hands. My trust is being eroded with age, I just need to hear another horror story about political repression or Google evil doing to decide on personally hosting encrypted everything. Even if it means I will have to spend a few years of my life setting up Asterisk.

Google, I Hate You Because You Are Awesome

My Perfect Data Backup Solution

This might already exist, and I might just be uninformed. When I look for a backup tool that will do what I need, usually I get a scoff in the form of “rsync, dummy”. My computing equipment typically consists of a laptop that I use everywhere, and sometimes even at home, a headless computer at home that I use mostly for music and movies (with a projector), and several external hard drives with varying capacities.

These are my requirements for an awesome backup solution:

  • When I connect to my home wireless network I want it to automatically start syncing and backing up data to the headless computer.
  • I don’t want it to saturate the network or be too taxing on disk I/O, so that regular computing tasks could be resumed unhindered.
  • I want it to be resumable, so if I leave the house while it was syncing some huge file, it will just continue where it left off when I get back home.
  • A visual status indication of whether a sync is taking place. A way to pause it.
  • I want it to have 3 different kinds of backup modes for 3 different types of data:
  • Home folder
    Snapshot based backups, that allows me to easily roll back and view previous revisions of my home directory.
    Accumulative backup. See what new music, photos or videos I have on my laptop, and copy them to the backup storage. This mode never deletes media that existed in previous syncs. I should be able to download or create new media, and have it stored on the high capacity storage at home, and only carry with me the media that I am currently consuming (I really don’t want to clutter my laptop disk with The Godfather trilogy, but I might want to take it with me on a flight).
    Virtual machines
    I usually have a small collection of virtual machines on my laptop. They are by far the largest single type of data I have on my machine. Since they support virtual disk snapshots natively, I don’t really care for revisioning like the home folder, virtual machine disks could clobber older versions of themselves on the backup storage.

There are countless backup solutions (read: rsync wrappers) out there. Do any of them answer those needs in a user-friendly way?

My Perfect Data Backup Solution

Nation Of Misguided Teenagers

“I still don’t understand what I did wrong. Seriously, I don’t understand!” Eden said during a morning radio interview after pictures of her posing next to blindfolded Palestinian detainees were found on her Facebook page.

Of course she doesn’t understand, she spent “the best years” of her life serving in an army of occupation, immersed in a culture that is blind to the humanity of it’s subject population. It’s not a sentiment reserved for the lower ranks, or the middle ranks, it goes all the way up. It’s a mentality where the only people with mothers are people who speak Hebrew. The Israeli army is where youthful experimentation occurs, you get to humiliate, you get to intimidate, and if you are lucky: you get to kill.

“I’ll rephrase my question, Eden, so that perhaps we can learn together how it was wrong…”, the radio host will walk her through it, slowly.

She crossed an invisible line, specifically she embarrassed the IDF, “I hoped there wouldn’t be any media interest” an IDF spokesperson said. But the media showed interest, and that is what turned Eden’s souvenir into “shameful behavior”.

And now Israel’s military, media and political elite must fulfill their solemn role: behave like disappointed adults, and wrinkle their noses in distaste. Another delinquent youth has infiltrated “the most moral army in the world”.

This isn’t of course the first morally corrupt soldier that the IDF has disowned. There are many more, and they have done worse deeds. Mostly these individuals don’t exceed the rank of second lieutenant.

And this is how the IDF keeps it’s legitimacy in it’s own eyes. While the Israeli government and it’s army are accused repeatedly of war crimes and violating human rights, the IDF, through internal inquiry, discovers that all of those heinous acts were committed by the rank and file alone. Where were the brigade and battalion commanders? Where was the regional command? The general staff? They were giving compassionate orders of the utmost morality, but a few teenagers spoiled it for everyone.

“We are a nation surrounded by enemies” Eden tells the the radio host. She doesn’t understand she is outside the fold, she is now a joke. She will repeat all the mantras and clichés she was told that enabled her to see Arabs as less than human. That allowed her to enjoy those army years so much without a hint of remorse or regret. Everyone else will shake their heads: “she doesn’t “get it”, she doesn’t understand how bad this makes us look.

Nation Of Misguided Teenagers