Fourth finger Hammer-on and Pull-off exercise

I’m going to start occasionally posting the things I’m working on on guitar. Hopefully this might help you as well while you’re stuck at home and trying to improve your chops.

This exercise works your fourth finger, while doing both hammers and pulls, and alternates between incorporating the third and second fingers in the motion. It is a segment of the E major/D Flat minor scale. As written, it will sound more like E major.

Start this exercise at 40 bpm. Try to get up to at least 200bpm. But shoot for 320bpm. This would enable you to do this as sixteenth note triplets at 160bpm.

Enjoy!

COVID-19 Data Sites

A lot of you are already watching at least one site that is graphing and otherwise processing COVID-19 data. Here are some of my favorites.

I will update this list as I encounter more.

Simple Home Backups

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 BackBlaze. BackBlaze is free for doing local disk backups. Time Machine comes with your mac.
Windows: BackBlaze

Time Machine and BackBlaze 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 BackBlaze, 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
BackBlaze Cloud Service Cost: $60 yearly, unlimited data for one computer
Total for Recommended Home Backups: $75 one-time, $60 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 BackBlaze, 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: $100
Software: $0
BackBlaze Cloud Service Cost: $60 yearly, unlimited data for one computer
Total for Super-Paranoid Home Backups: $150 one-time, $60 yearly