Saturday, August 23, 2003


Whenever the subject of backing up a Tingsten appears on a discussion list or message board, everyone recommends BackUpMan. Now I use BackUpBuddyVFS simply because I already owned it when I bought my TT. There are some issues with OS5 in the Advanced mode, but I do not use that mode, and when I wrote to BlueNomad's support they sent me a beta of the new release.

Since I had half an hour to wait while my daughter had a riding lesson today, I decided to try out BackUpMan. It is not noticeably faster than BBVFS, though it does save a few seconds by not backing up things which do not need to or cannot be restored after a hard reset. It also lacks the option to encrypt the backed up files. But the main difference is one of concept. BBVFS does the simple and obvious thing: it copies every databases from RAM into a directory on the SD card. BackUpMan does the Microsoft thing: it cretaes a huge .set file on the SD card which contains a copy of the RAM. Not a big difference but (a) only BackUp Man can read the set file, (b) if the set file is corrupted while writing to the card, you lose the whole of your backup, whereas if there is corruption with BBVFS, you only lose some files, (c) the only way to access the databases stored in teh set file is by restoring them to RAM and thus wiping ut the file in RAM.

These are sufficient reasons for me to stick with BBVFS. I rarely have a hard reset away from a desktop computer, and I Hotsync several times a day, so the SD card backup is only one extra line of security. But I have found it helpful to have a copy of my RAM to hand. Sometimes I mess around with some settings or databases and and later realize I want to reserve the option to restore them to the original at a later date. With BBVFS, I just need to make a safe copy of the backedup databases somewhere else on my SD card.

Weather forecasts for iSilo

Thinking about iSilo, I ought to share something I noticed recently: the BBC 5-day Weather forecasts by city now has a 'printer-friendly' version, e.g.:

This page makes a really easy to use iSilo file, so now I have both the BBC and the Met Office 5 day forecasts always to hand. They usually agree about the next 24 hours, but the Met Office seems more optimistic about the following days!

Bluetooth Hotsync

Normally I Hotsync to my work computer and update all the changing content (iSilo, RadioTimes etc.) there. If I want to install something at home, I use bluetooth file transfer. However, my work computer has had to go to the doctor, so I am doing the big Hotsyncs at home via bluetooth (with the TT plugged into the travel charger).

It works fine, but boy is it slooooow. The first Hotsync with the machine (i.e. when absolutely every record has to be checked) takes over 30 minutes, and subsequent ones regularly take 15-20 minutes. For some reason the transactions database for PocketMoney takes an especially long time, but even just straighforward back-ups of databases without conduits seem to take forever.

Does anyone know if this is just a feature of bluetooth or whether I need to tweak a setting somewhere or other?