Data Export

I'm still considering moving this site from being WordPress based over to a static site. My plan is to conduct a few experiments first to see how the process works and if the end result would work the way I want it to.

The first stage in this process has been to export all of the written content from the site to allow it to be converted. What has been a surprise is that despite having posts and comments going back to 2002 it only amounts to a 3.8MB XML file. Being XML there is plenty of data structure information in the file which will increase the file size. So ultimately the actual site data accumulated is even less! Graphics, images & other uploads are obviously not included but I still find it an interesting fact.

Thunderbird 3 Bug: A Workaround

I recently upgraded from Mozilla Thunderbird 2 to the new Thunderbird 3 release. For a few days everything was working fine with the new default settings. I have a few email accounts which Thunderbird fetches mail for and I didn't want to use the new Smart Folder mode. So I changed back to not using it. Everything appeared ok, until the next day. I returned home from work to find no new email. This is highly unusual as there is usually some for of advert for an online store showing me the latest offers, especially around christmas time. This lack of email continued for a few days, to begin with I attributed this to my ISP who were reporting problems with the email system. Today after 4 days with no new mail it was time to explore more options within Thunderbird and try to find a solution to the problem.

The solution came about by chance whilst browsing the Account Settings screen. The route to the solution from the main screen is shown below.

Tools > Account Settings > Click 'Server Settings' option under your problem account(s) > Click 'Advanced' button towards the bottom right > Select 'Global Inbox' option and check the 'Include this server when getting new mail' box.

This process should re-enable your account and allow you to get your missing emails.

Thunderbird 3 Account Settings Menu
Thunderbird 3 Account Settings Menu

Thunderbird 3 Settings Dialog
Thunderbird 3 Settings Dialog

Goals for 2008

Happy New Year to all of you out there in internet land; I hope the festivities didn't take their toll.

Instead of resolutions for 2007 I set a few simple goals its time for a look at how I got on.

  1. Contribute more to Open Source Software - It might be writing documentation or code, perhaps just helping other users. It’s about time I gave back to the community.
  2. Upgrade my PC - A new TFT & GFX card are on the main list, possibly new case fans and another hard disk as the budget allows.
  3. Finish reading the book I started over a year ago - Once I get through it I can start on something else.

The first goal can only be considered a partial success, I didn't contribute to the Open Source community as much as I could have done. This is partly down the the amount of travelling I do but is not a good enough excuse not to do more in 2008. On the positive side my contributions included a few forums posts and my Laptop installation guide. It was only the other day I received a comment on my guide from a person who found it useful. It was nice to have the feeling of helping somebody and it will encourage me to post more (and better) guides in the future.

The second goal was to upgrade my PC with a new TFT and GFX, well I am glad to say I managed that one. I was thinking of a further upgrade in 2008 but the system is still performing well. I threw some new games on it and they run fantastically. The next planned big hardware upgrade will not be until the end of 2008 beginning of 2009.

The third goal was to finish reading a book that kept taunting me with its unfinished status. Well good news, I finished reading it and can now file it away on a remote shelf some place to collect dust.

So I mostly met my goals for 2007 but now its time to set the goals for 2008.

  1. Contribute more to Open Source Software - The same as last year but as I need to do more its the first on my list.
  2. Backup Data - An important thing to do so I need to do a full backup and keep it up to date.
  3. Reduce Carbon Footprint - I have already done a bit to reduce my power consumption, lets see if I can do more.
  4. Try and avoid parking fines and other motoring offences - 2007 was expensive.

Let's see how I get on. Number 4 could be an interesting one to review and will probably summarise how well my year has gone.

Secure Hard Disk Erase

When a hard disk dies the main priorities are to ensure that there has been little or no data loss and getting the effected system(s) back up and running. The faulty drive is removed and placed to one side. What happens to this drive next? Is it casually discarded, finding its way into the nearest bin?

Dropping a faulty drive into the bin could be one of the most costly mistakes you ever make. Hard disks contain an extensive amount of information about our digital lives, photos, email, contact details of family and friends, banking and financial information and other documents you might not want others to poses. But the drive you have thrown away is faulty, who is going to want a faulty drive? Criminals, thats who.

The information that you leave on a drive could allow criminals to apply for official documents in your name, effectively stealing your identity. This could cause you all sorts of problems further down the line, I'm not going to go into further details just understand that you want to make sure your data doesn't get into the wrong hands.

So how can the data on a drive be destroyed? There are quite a few methods but the ones available to the general public are probably of most interest.
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