I currently have a Mac Mini Server with a 2TB external drive. Time Machine backups of the Mac Mini Server go on the drive. Additionally, with my wife and I have user accounts on the server, so our Macbook Air/Pro laptops are also "Time Machined" to the external drive thru the server. The only worries I have are: 1) the external drive simultaneously failing with one of the Time Machined Macs (not too likely?), and 2) the house catching fire (also not very likely?)
I simply don't have an off-site backup. Is that foolish? I've thought about putting an identical Mac Mini Server / 2TB setup off-site about 10 miles away at my in-laws' house, but is that really necessary? Does Time Machine work over the internet?
My wife and I purchased a Sleep Number bed a little over 2 years ago. I have mixed feelings. The positive side is that we each have control over the firmness/softness of our respective sides of the bed. Therefore, we sleep great. Having that customizability is infinitely better than our prior bed which was too soft for me and too firm for her. If you have someone sharing your bed, "sleep number" is the way to go to keep you both happy, if you have differing opinions on mattress firmness/softness.
Now for the bad. Two years ago, we purchased the Select Comfort Sleep Number 7000 series, king size, for around $4000. Honestly, I'm disappointed with what came in the boxes. As you assemble the bed yourself, you realize that you're looking at a trivial amount of material. Now, maybe the fully assembled bed is worth more than the sum of its parts, but $4000 is a lot of money.
At the time that we were considering the Sleep Number bed made by Select Comfort, my internet research revealed the Sleep Better Store, which essentially is a copycat company who makes an adjustable air-mattress style bed, but because they don't have showrooms, high-pressure sales people, etc., and only sell via telephone and internet, they purportedly offer comparable products at much lower prices. However, my wife was seduced by the branding and name-recognition that Select Comfort has garnered over the years through its showrooms, TV commercials, and QVC appearances, so we went with the "name brand". Having seen what really goes into the construction of one of these beds, I will strongly lobby for the Sleep Better or some other copycat brand in the future in order to save some money. I think the key is the adjustability of firmness provided by the air chambers. Heck, I suspect that you could be very happy by going with an "entry level" Sleep Number-style bed and putting a nice featherbed or other plush mattress cover on top, rather than going with the super-expsensive "top of the line" models....
Just my two cents.
My experience with TuneCore was great! The initial costs were very low - I think it's like a dollar per track, and a dollar per online music store. And what do you know, our music is available on iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, eMusic, all over the world! Depending on the vendor, you get one or two cents every time the song is streamed, and for downloads, it's usually 65% or 70% of the purchase price. Uploaded the tracks in FLAC format too, actually, and everything turned out swell.
This is the type of innovation that is changing the music industry, and I don't think the RIAA knows how to, or even can, keep up.
1. Record your album in your garage/basement
2. Upload your tracks to TuneCore for distribution
The problem for my band has been step three, since we no longer officially exist (Singers are in CO and Philly, bassist in VT, and I'm moving to BFE), but we did sell 3 copies on AmazonMP3 and a few tracks on iTunes, plus about $0.76 worth of streaming on Napster and Rhapsody.
In conclusion, TuneCore allows Joe Sixpack to (sort of) achieve his rockstar dreams, at least in terms of getting the music out there and making it available.
We're trying to establish a minimum skills and knowledge level that it is assumed that end users will have. Some are obvious — knowing how to surf the web in a browser and click on links. Knowing how to write and reply to e-mail. Word and Excel.
What we find though is that some things which we assume are widely known — like using CTRL-click to choose multiple items in a list — are a mystery to many users. As well, there are some people who for whatever reason just can't understand written instructions. And others who simply freeze when presented with a screen full of things that they have never seen before.
Right now we're bouncing between beginner level detail for the truly unskilled, and complaints from more experienced users that the instructions are "too long." In extreme cases we wind up phoning people and walking them though how to use our web based discussion lists. (Which admittedly are using a software package that sucks.)
So my question is: what are the minimum skills that are assumed for an "average" end user?"
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