There will be no NDoc 2.0

According to this blog post the NDoc project is over - there is no NDoc 2.0 on the horizon. This is bad news indeed and I can't say anything else than "thank you Kevin Downs for the great effort and an excellent free tool".
On the bright side, there is MS' Sandcastle on the horizon to replace NDoc. Check out the blog here and the thread on MS forum. Apparently first CTP release is imminent. Follow the hyperlink on the blog to download first CTP. Let's hope that it will be a worthy NDoc replacement.

Generic Plugin for LLBLGen Pro v2

I started to build my own collection of [LGP] plugins. For now, there is only one - Generic Field Setter. It is capable of looping through single/all project entities and set matching fields to read only. The comma delimited field list can be set through project custom propery or typed directly. As a bonus, you can set default values through modifying included .config file.

Free download here.

FinalBuilder4 action for LLBLGenPro available

Yesterday I crafted a [FB4] action for [LGP] that invokes its command line code generator utility (CliGenerator). You can find free download here.
Note: CliGenerator is included with [LGP] SDK which is an extra download available for customers (actually you have to build the utility from sources that ship with SDK).

Doing backups over the internet

I spoke a bit about backups in the previous posts. I guess most of the people are doing backups locally (to a disk (array), to DVDs/CDs, tapes, etc.) or even not doing them at all (ouch). The first group faces a problem of media size and of possibility of a local disaster (backups and computers might be destroyed at same time). While the second group is totally unprotected probably because doing backups is not exactly easy (just imagine backing up few gigs of photos to CDs) or just because of ignorance.
Here kicks in the idea of doing backups over the internet which appeals to both group of people – data is far away and thus protected from local catastrophes and there is no hassle of managing storage media. All you need is a broadband internet connection – the faster the better.  And you can combine it with local backup, why not.
Carbonite is internet backup service provider targeting average Windows PC users who need to backup photos, documents, music, similar stuff and don’t like to think too much about the process. Right, they are dirty cheap and their backup software you need to run is so simple that even your mother might use – it is like fire and forget. Did I mention that they are very generous by not providing any space limitation (well, this is actually limited by common sense and your upload speed as most broadbands don’t really have a huge upload speed – actually it does around 2 GB/day for me having a declared upload speed of 384kbit/s). Ok, they probably won’t let you upload that TB of data you have but for an average user would be probably enough as there won’t be a gig of changes per day.
How does it work? You install the software you download from carbonite website, decide whether you let it decide the folders to store or pick the folders manually and that’s it. Carbonite backup runs as a service and watches for changes in selected folders (network folders are not supported in case you wonder) . You can see the backup status directly in windows explorer (there are colored dots near the folder icons) and you can pick folders to backup from within windows explorer, too (right click on folder, Carbonite submenu). It was designed to be simple and it is – there are no sophisticated options at all. But hey, it is targeted at an average user who doesn’t care anyway – the less he has to interact with backup the better. And an average user doesn’t run a x64 OS either so x64 OS aren’t supported at this time (this fact isn’t very well documented) which I learned only after installing on my Windows 2003 OS.
As I just started with Carbonite I’ll just backup my photos for now. “Just my photos” actually means 14 GB or stuff (isn’t amazing how the photo archive groves once you have children) and I am something like 16% done after a day of uploading – works as advertised.
How about security? You certainly don’t want every “photo” to travel over the web in plain form, do you? Carbonite claims that they do encryption at your side using your personal key that is mirrored at their side, just for a precaution. It is reasonably secure but if you want greater control over security you would encrypt the files by yourself or turn to another provider.
The bottom line is that I like Carbonite backup so far. I always liked the idea of backing up data over the net to some remote location. I wouldn’t mind having more control over the process itself, but hey, for that price I get more than enough space at extremely low price – a great combination.

Backuping up data is important

My workstation is a relatively old one. I built it at the time when Athlon 1800+ was very popular. At that time RAID 5 arrays were not exactly popular (note that now many motherboards come with RAID5 controller built in). So, I have now three disks in my computer. One system and two for data storage. But hey, disks are not exactly reliable storage media - thus you need to do backups. You know that and you are doing that already, right? I won't even start explaning the importance of backing up vital data: I remember a real episode when a guy, working for a huge company (a company that didn't understand the term backup nor source safe - one of the reasons being money: you know, backups cost (funny thing was that they were working on multimillion dollar project)) came to his boss saying that they lost a part of source code due to some obscure Delphi 5 bug. Needless to say that they didn't have any sort of backup other than programmer heads.

For data backup I use SyncBackSE, an excellent, flexible, reliable and cheap backup software. However, backuping up system disk is another story since OS keep locked many files, not to mention the restore problem (how would you restore system if you don't have a system disk?). A backup beast that does disk image backup comes very handy. Meet Acronis True Image (9.1 for Workstation). Creating disk images on the fly is just a matter of few clicks and setting the schedule - voila, every night I do a backup image of my system disk (about 70Gb of data) and I sleep better knowing that restoring the system in case of system disk failure should be straightforward and quick - no huge time loss involved (didn't need it so far and I hope I won't need it ever, ah one can dream). The image is of course compressed to reduce the space usage - I get 50% compression ratio on average. In case you don't want to create an image of entire disk you have an option to select folders and files manually.

True Image does more than this (there are other versions targeted at home and servers) and it is worth checking it out. Plus, Acronis is into disk management utilities in case you need to play with partitions and recovering data.

And remember, if you are not doing backups, start right now, even if you have to do it by writing batch files to do the copying!