The Secret to Making Agile Work For You

There’s only one way Agile (or actually anything at all in life ever) works.

1. Define a process
2. Use that process

Hurricane Harvey

We made it through with zero damage. However, many in the city were not so fortunate. If you want to help, but don’t know how, please consider donating to the Houston Food Bank.

http://www.houstonfoodbank.org/

Pictures from The Netherlands, June 2016

In 2016, I spent three weeks in The Netherlands for work.  I took lots of pictures.  Here are some pictures from June 2016.  Some were taken in The Hague, and others in Amsterdam.

 

 

https://goo.gl/photos/2eDYuHSDAHHRKYNR8

 

James Bundy, 1924-2014

James Bundy, the father of my best friend, Carl Bundy, passed away today at the age of 90. He was one who took me into his home as his own on many occasions, taught me the finer points of being a baseball fan, and taught me the even finer points of being a STL Cardinals fan. He also taught me to hate bologna, as well as liver and onions. One of the cornerstones of my youth is gone today, but certainly will never be forgotten.

Tonight, I will have a Budweiser for you, James.

 

Eric Houser

I was never very close with Eric Houser. I met him when I was 8 years old. We shared a table in Miss Lee’s 3rd grade class at Summersville Grade School. I don’t remember much of that year other than Miss Lee was horrible, and Scott Snyder and Eric sat at my table. I had just moved to Summersville from the Horace Mann district, and I was an awkward little jackass. Those two guys helped to ease the transition.

I left Summersville at the beginning of 5th grade when my parents moved back into town. I didn’t see or talk to Eric until high school. While we had lots of mutual friends, he and I didn’t hang out all that often. But, there was always a hello when we saw each other. We sat next to each other in an English class we had together in our Senior year, I believe. We talked regularly before class started about music, the books we were reading, our writing assignments, etc. Eric was always a good guy. I always enjoyed what little time we did spend together.

When you grow up in a small town like I did, the relationships you build when you are young stick with you. Though it may be years in between encounters with different people, they become part of who you are, and part of what the world is to you. They help to light the path that makes you what you are today. My world just got a little smaller and a little more dim last night.

For many, their world was ripped apart last night, and it will take years to even come close to healing the pain they are feeling. I can only hope that those close to Eric can begin to find healing, comfort, and peace.

RIP, Eric Houser.

Simple Home Backups

I’ve seen many friends and family members lose important data on their personal computers lately, and I feel very bad for them.  So, I’ve written up a short document on how to do backups easily and on the cheap.  This isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s a good place to start.  Please, back up your data!

 

Simple Home Backups
By Koree A. Smith

Basic Backup Theory
The basic theory of backups is that data is to exist in at least two places at all times.  Also of consideration is the cost, the media type used for the backup, the geographic location of the backup, and the reliability of both the backup device as well as the main device the data is hosted on.

Common Misconceptions About Backups
1. “An external drive will save me!” – Not at all true.  If the data on the external drive only lives in one place, that external drive, then your data is not backed up.  If that drive fails, that data is gone.  Sure, it makes the yearly reinstall of windows easier, but you are not backed up.

2.  “A redundant/mirrored drive system will save me!”– Having your system disk mirrored is desirable, but isn’t really a backup.  For example, if you have a mirrored drive system (RAID1 and others), it mirrors EVERYTHING done on the main drive.  So, if you, or someone else, accidentally deletes something, the mirror mimics that deletion with no way to recover.  Mirroring is more about uptime than about data preservation.

3.  “A NAS (Network Attached Storage) device will save me!” – Also not true.  This is really the same as #1, unless you are only using the NAS as a backup device!

4.  “Backups are expensive!” – Sure, they can get expensive.  But you can protect yourself against most data loss for a relatively low cost.

Incremental Backups Briefly Explained
The best way to do backups in a home environment is to use one of many incremental backup softwares.  What an incremental backup is, is a backup that takes a full snapshot of the data when first doing a backup, and then only backs up changed files from there forward.  Most of this type of software keeps several versions of each file so you can do point in time restores.  You can usually even set the retention time!  So, for example, let’s say you have a spreadsheet that you have been working on for a few months.  Let’s say you work on it, and mess it up, or accidentally delete it.  You decide you need a copy of it from October 15, 2012.  Well, if you had incremental backups running at the time, you can do this!

Geography is Key!
When it comes to backups, geographical diversification is important!  What this means, is, don’t put all of your data in one basket.  Backing up to an external drive that is only used for backups is the very basic way to back up.  It will save you from most hardware failures and software failures.  But, if your house is broken into, and both the computer and the backup drive are stolen, you are out of luck.  This also applies to other disasters such as tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes.  If all of the devices holding your data are destroyed, then all of your data is gone.

Koree’s Basic Home Backup Plan
Here’s a list of what you need:

1.  An external hard drive that is at LEAST equal to the size of your computer’s total storage capacity.  (I recommend double that size if you want good incremental backups)
2.  Software that will do a local incremental backup (list to follow)

In this scenario, you would do incremental backups to this external drive.  The external drive would likely live in the same location as your computer, so this is not my recommended setup, but would be the cheapest.

For item #2:

Mac:  Time Machine or Crashplan.  Crashplan is free for doing local disk backups.  Time Machine comes with your mac.
Windows:  Crashplan
Linux:  Crashplan

There are other products for Windows and Linux.  I don’t suggest using anything by Norton/Symantec for Windows, and if you can use any of the other products for Linux, you probably don’t need this tutorial.

Time Machine and Crashplan are very good at leading you through the setup process.  No expert knowledge is neeeded.

Cost Analysis (Based on 500GB of data)
Western Digital 1TB Passport Drive:  $75
Software:  $0
Total for Basic Home Backups:  $75

Koree’s Recommended Home Backup Plan
Here’s a list of what you need:

1.  An external hard drive that is at LEAST equal to the size of your computer’s total storage capacity.  (I recommend double that size if you want good incremental backups)
2.  Software that will do a local incremental backup
3.  A subcription to a cloud backup service (I recommend CrashPlan, but there are others)

In this scenario, you would do incremental backups to the external drive, as well as to a cloud-based backup service.  This gives you the features from the previous example, as well as the added security of having an offsite backup.  In this scenario, you have three points of failure before data loss, instead of two, as well as geographic diversity.

Cost Analysis (Based on 500GB of data)
Western Digital 1TB Passport Drive:  $75
Software:  $0
Crashplan Cloud Service Cost:  $72 yearly, unlimited data for one computer
Total for Recommended Home Backups:  $75 one-time, $72 yearly

Koree’s Super-Paranoid Home Backup Plan
This is the one that I actually do.

Here’s a list of what you need:

1.  Two external hard drives that are at LEAST equal to the size of your computer’s total storage capacity.  (I recommend double that size if you want good incremental backups)
2.  Software that will do a local incremental backup
3.  A subcription to a cloud backup service (I recommend CrashPlan, but there are others)

In this scenario, you would do incremental backups to the external drive, as well as to a cloud-based backup service.  I also back up to a second external drive, and take this one to my office.  I do this third backup about once a week instead of daily.  This gives you the features from the previous example, as well as the added security of having a second offsite backup.  You have four points of failure, instead of three, before all data is lost, as well as double the geographic diversity.

Cost Analysis (Based on 500GB of data)
2x Western Digital 1TB Passport Drive:  $150
Software:  $0
Crashplan Cloud Service Cost:  $72 yearly, unlimited data for one computer
Total for Super-Paranoid Home Backups:  $150 one-time, $72 yearly

If you have multiple computers in the house, you can use this guide to back them up as well.  Crashplan has a great family plan.  Current pricing is $150 a year for unlimited data, for between 2-10 computers.  That is a *really* good deal.  I’m not trying to sell you CrashPlan however, it is just who I use and the best deal I see out there.

Drum Mics

Played around with a single overhead plus close mics for drum recording today. Surprised by the results. I’ll post some examples soon.

The Laney Lives!

So, the Laney is fine. Apparently the effects loop had been accidentally turned on, so it was an easy fix. While it was in the shop, Jake also discovered that it was biased for 6L6 tubes instead of EL34 tubes, which is what’s in it right now. So, it should be more badass when I get it back!

Looking for Free Recording in Houston?

I’m currently looking for bands that want to record a demo. I’m willing to record one demo track for free for a band here in Houston. If anyone is in such a band, or knows someone, let me know.

How Not to Write a Song – February 12, 2013

I wonder if listening to the same song over and over again will help me come up with lyrics for it…

Or if I’ll just end up hating it.

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