Welcome!

Hi there! I'm Julian M Bucknall, a programmer by trade, an actor by ambition, and an algorithms guy by osmosis. I chat here about pretty much everything but those occupations. Unless you're really lucky...

Most recently this is what I've come up with:

Cloud, cloud, everywhere

So I got an iPhone 6 the other day. Bully for me, I can hear you say, but this isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that Apple, in preparation for iOS 8, changed the limits and functionality on their cloud storage offering, iCloud. With all the iOS devices in the house, a while back I had to pay for extra storage to enable backups for them all. That storage was just upgraded at no extra cost to 20GB. Time, I thought to myself, to check on all the cloud storage subscriptions I actually have and, presumably, use.

OneDrive

Weird one this. I don’t really use it, but we both get 1TB as part of our Office365 Home subscription. Office365 Home costs $9.99 per month (or$99 a year) for the usual Office installs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, etc), the tablet versions, Office Online, and also OneDrive. For up to 5 PCs or Macs (we’ve used four already, yikes) and up to 5 tablets. Two-step verification enabled. As I said I don’t really use OneDrive for much: some work documents mainly.

An even weirder one. I haven’t really used this recently at all (in fact the documents I have there are from well over a year ago or earlier – some are even from a project I did in 2009, for instance). In essence, you get 15GB for free. Good for Google docs, including the ability for several people to update a document at once, but if you don’t use Google docs, meh. We used to use this at work but have essentially moved completely to OneDrive now. Two-factor authentication enabled.

Summary and next steps

OK, way too much online storage, documents all over the place, all those drivers installed on my PCs, paying for more than I need. Time to clean up.

First up, bye bye Google Drive: I’ve now moved everything off this cloud drive and have uninstalled Google Drive from my PC.

Second, and this was a more difficult decision: dropping Dropbox. After all, I liked it enough to pay for it in the past, but ever since Microsoft upped the storage for OneDrive, using it doesn’t make any sense any more. Yes, I know that Dropbox now has support for keeping a version history of files, but this is an extra cost option, and so far I’ve not needed this kind of functionality for my non-work files. So, I have moved everything off of Dropbox and moved it to OneDrive. This is a little more painful in that it was only just over a month ago that I renewed…

(I will however state that the OneDrive app for iOS is a bit flaky: for some reason it decided to only upload 46 of my hundreds of photos on my iPhone – those taken in the last month. Why? I don’t know. Others have run into the same problem as a quick Google search will show. In the end, I had to manually upload all the others.)

Upgrading the SSD in the Dell XPS 12 – what not to do

So, in the previous installment in this upgrade game I was crowing about how I knew how to boot from a USB drive on the Dell XPS 12 and therefore upgrading the SSD in it was going to be a piece of cake. Well, it turned out to be a piece of the heaviest, densest, fruit cake you’ve ever seen. Dropping it onto a wood floor would have dented the floor. To recap, I decided to purchase a new Crucial M500 480GB mSata SSD to replace the 240GB unit I’d initially installed a year ago in my Dell...

Booting from a USB drive on the Dell XPS 12

There are several possible reasons for wanting to boot from a USB drive, I suppose, but mine came from this thought experiment: I’ve been diligently making regular system backups of my Dell XPS 12 for a while and today I wondered if I would be able to recover from, say, a crashed hard drive or – a much better scenario – from upgrading the hard drive to a higher capacity one. In fact, this latter scenario is the one that interests me: I’m contemplating a 480GB drive (currently...

21 reasons to enjoy DCI Banks

Back in November 2012, I ordered the first series of DCI Banks on DVD from amazon.co.uk , an ITV crime drama series starring Stephen Tompkinson as, well, DCI Alan Banks and Andrea Lowe as Annie Cabbot. For one reason and another, I really enjoy the traditional British police procedural: there’s some bizarre murder, after which proceeds a nicely drawn and perhaps drawn-out investigation of the crime, with lots of character development along the way. The epitome of this type of drama was undoubtedly...

Routers: the next big security hole

There I was, minding my own business, when I came across this article in ArsTechnica: “ Dear Asus router user: You’ve been pwned, thanks to easily exploited flaw ”. I read on avidly, because, well, I have an Asus router, an RT-N66U to be precise and the subject of this article. It seems that some hacker had taken advantage of a security flaw in Asus routers, first described – wait for it – 8 months ago. The report on that flaw is pretty scary security-wise: access to...

Extras

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I'm Julian M Bucknall, an ex-pat Brit living in Colorado, an atheist, a microbrew enthusiast, a Volvo 1800S owner, a Pet Shop Boys fanboy, a slide rule and HP calculator collector, an amateur photographer, a Altoids muncher.

DevExpress

I'm Chief Technology Officer at Developer Express, a software company that writes some great controls and tools for .NET and Delphi. I'm responsible for the technology oversight and vision of the company.

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