Tales and thoughts from the founder of NormSoft (maker of Pocket Tunes), working and living in St. Croix, USVI

Friday, February 29, 2008

Some random product reviews

Mozy backup software for Mac or PC

A couple of months ago, I installed Mozy (www.mozy.com) on my Mac to do online backups. The key features that attracted me:

  • Encrypted storage, and they don't have access to the encryption key! If I forget my password, I'm toast, but there is no way for them to dig into my private data.
  • They keep 30 days of incremental backups, and you can restore to any point within the past 30 days. So if you accidentally delete a file, you can still retrieve it within 30 days.
  • Really good incremental backups. Not only does it only upload the files that have changed, it also only uploads the portions of the files that have changed. So if you download a single email to your 100MB Inbox file, it only backs up that new email, not the entire 100MB file.

So far I've been very impressed. The Mac beta occasionally crashes, but it automatically restarts itself and resumes from where it left off. It also takes forever to initially backup your computer, but it's worth the wait.

Garmin Mobile XT on Palm Centro

I tried TomTom's mobile GPS, and it was absolutely terrible. I couldn't get it working on my 700p or 700w, despite the fact that those devices are listed on the box as compatible. (I'm a Palm developer, so if I can't get it working, there's no chance most people could.) So I returned that device and purchased the Garmin model instead, after playing with one at this year's CES. In the meantime, I upgraded to the Palm Centro (which I also love, by the way).

I love the Garmin Mobile XT! Setup was very easy, and it works great. The device itself is small (about the size of the Centro), so it will be easy to travel with. It has a clip on it that fits perfectly on any sun visor, and it comes with a car charger so you don't have to worry about running out of juice (though it also has a good battery).

The positives are: easy-to-use user interface. It supports downloading of traffic information, which is included for free (no monthly fee). The voice prompts make it easy to use without looking at the screen. The screen automatically turns off on your Palm to save power, and the voice prompts continue. You can switch to other applications while navigating, and the voice prompts continue.

The only downsides are that the maps are slightly out-of-date. It was missing an exit here in Tennessee that was built within the past year, and it didn't have one of the new restaurants at that exit. Also, the application occasionally resets spontaneously. This has happened a few times at key points during the navigation, so I have almost missed exits due to it. Luckily this is uncommon; I have been using it regularly for 6 weeks and only seen his happen 3 times. Still, I hope they fix it.