Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amazon S3 Client Rant

I'm ranting. You've been warned.

WTF? I decided to stop using Amazon's S3 (Simple Storage Service). For me it was mostly used for archiving important files, and occasionally syncing a few dynamic files. I found it awkward to use and lacking in features offered by other companies offering me my own little space in the "Cloud".

The problem? I have to pull everything off of S3 and place it on my system, so I can upload it to the new company later. Sounds easy doesn't it.I am patient. I'll just download all the files (gigs of it). Ya right! It couldn't be that simple.

In the past I purchased two commercially offered clients to use the S3 service. I'll just use them.

1. Bucket Explorer (No link, they suck)

I went online and grabbed the latest version, since I haven't used Bucket Explorer in a while. I quickly found out that the new version won't accept my key (I paid for it). I guess updates aren't free. Okay, fair enough. Good thing I still have the old version's setup file handy. WTF? It won't let me use my old version because it says it is too old. Thanks Bucket Explorer. Paying for software and not being able to use it is just wrong. Dicks.

2. Jungle Disk (Again no link for them either)

That's it! Jungle Disk has lifetime updates. Yippee. I grabbed the latest and install with my auth/key. It actually let me.  Start 'er up! Okay, so I connect to a bucket, and use "Restore Files". Cool. Pick a destination - check. Select files and folders to restore - check. I realize it takes a while, so I leave it running all night.

I wake up to check it. Done. Wow! Let's see.... WTF? It only grabbed a few folders. Maybe I made a mistake. So I try again and select some of the folders that didn't transfer (at all). Click Restore... WTF? It's done in just minutes. That is not right. It seems while looking over the "Restore Files" interface, that Jungle Disk thinks many of my folders on S3 are empty. I quickly check (worried) with good old S3Fox (for Firefox) and find that all the files are actually still there. What the Hell Jungle Disk?  I adjusted Jungle Disk Desktop's "Restore Files" multiple times by selecting different backup dates, even though they are all the same for months, hoping that will work. WTF? The software still thinks the folders are empty.  How hard can this be? Screw this.

So what does a guy have to do? Download the free (there is a faster Pro version) of S3 Browser.

All I had to do is select one or more folders (wow, they are there) and download them to any destination folder. How hard was that Jungle Disk? I didn't have to set anything up, or adjust shit at all. It was super easy. Lesson learned? Just because you paid for software doesn't mean it is superior to free.

Ranting over.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Cut the Cord

I am a Cord Cutter. Apparently that is a name given to those that have decide to say goodbye to cable or satellite TV.

I start to realize that I was spending too much money on Satellite TV, while having to scroll through piles of crappy shows and bullshit movies. I had most of the channels such as HBO, Movie Central, Encore Avenue, etc. The problem was that the movies were stale, not much was new A lot of network TV is horrible. No offense to anyone, but Glee, seriously? "Hey look, Dancing with Nobodies is on!"

So I did a little research and found that I can watch movies, watch many of my favorite shows, enjoy excellent online music stations, and even check out some great new video over the Internet. More research prompted me to investigate the Boxee Box.  I went for it. I called up my satellite provider and cancelled. The next day I picked up a new Boxee Box. Here is an obligatory picture;

It is a cute little bugger. This thing is tiny. It's a bit wider than a slice of Texas Toast, and just about as tall as a jumbo coffee. Hookup and setup were a breeze. There isn't much to it. Connect the supplied HDMI cable to your TV, plug in your USB storage device ( a hard drive full of video in my case) and plug in the power cord. I powered it up and simply followed the setup.

I was very impressed. It looks great and is easy to use. The tiny fan inside is audible, but not when you are enjoying TV, so I can forgive that small distraction.

There must be a hangup right? Nothing is perfect. Boxee Box for Canadians is a little lacking. The content is not the same as the content enjoyed by U.S. citizens. Perhaps the big broadcasters and providers don't like America's friendly neighbour. In any case, I needed to make some changes.

After some online reading, I realized I could easily set up a VPN to work with Boxee. It's is a whopping $8 a month. Now I can get the additional programming. I could even try out Netflix US. Netflix Canada sucks in comparison.

Now I have pile of great shows to watch, excellent music to match my tastes (thanks Pandora), and easy access to my external hard drive. It couldn't get any better.

Or could it?

Yes, it gets better. I have easily set it all up so that I can now add files to my external drive over my network from my PC or laptop. I can even access my Boxee Box via its own webpage.

Is there a hitch? yes. My plans to watch less TV will be a challenge, but going from $88 a month to $15 sure makes me feel better about my latest decision.

I am alive....

I haven't updated this area in ages.  New things have been happening, but I guess I was too lazy to update a simple web area. I have a few new things to share. I have decided to take up guitar and bass. I have also decided to dump satellite TV. Oh ya, I am older. I made it 46 years.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I can't wait anymore...

I ordered a Epiphone Les Paul Special II on December 3rd 2010 from a local shop. Damn I am getting anxious. It will be a glossy black, which they refer to as Ebony. I also ordered a Line 6 Pocket Pod recently so I can practice comfortably on the couch with headphones.

As soon as I get it, I will post a few pics.