Archive for March, 2008

Leopard Survival Guide

March 17, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Last week, Macworld posted a series of articles on various features in Leopard. Some of the hidden OS X features require terminal commands to active. I didn’t check, but I bet that many of them can be enabled with Mac Pilot.

Mozy: Offsite Secure Backup

March 10, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Data integrity is pretty important to lawyers. We need to make sure our client’s data is available and protected. Failure to do so could even be an ethics violation. With that in mind, I have been looking for a backup solution for my wife’s estate planning practice. I may have found what I am looking for in Mozy.

Mozy is a company (which is part of the EMC family) offering secure online backups of your computer files. Mozy offers three levels of service: MozyHome, MozyPro, and MozyEnterprise. Currently, on MozyHome supports Mac OS X. You’ll need to be running Windows 2000, Windows Server 2000, or any newer versions of Windows to take advantage of MozyPro or MozyEnterprise. In this article, I will talk about MozyHome, but much of the information will apply equally well to MozyPro and MozyEnterprise (take a look at the Mozy product feature comparison chart). I signed up for a free 2GB MozyHome account. MozyHome accounts with unlimited storage are also available for $4.95 per month.

Getting Started

Using MozyHome requires installing the Mozy backup software. The Mozy software works similarly to Apple’s .Mac Backup application when choosing which files to backup. You can choose one or more backup sets to be included in the Mozy backup. A backup set can be an entire folder or a spotlight search that is run against a folder (or even your entire computer). The software also supports a simpler backup mode where you can choose a single directory or file to be backed up.


Your files are transmitted securely to Mozy’s servers using 128-bit SSL encryption. This is the same kind of security you will find on many banking websites and other websites which ask for or display your personal or financial information. Once on Mozy’s servers, your data is protected with 448-bit Blowfish encryption. You can choose to either use Mozy’s encryption key (which the software lists as “recommended”) or use your own key. Using Mozy’s key might mean less strain on their servers, but it’s not going to mean better protection for you. If anything it will mean the opposite: if someone breaks into Mozy’s servers and gets the Mozy key, all of your data is vulnerable. If you’re using your own key, the attacker will have an extra hurdle to getting at your data.

Backing Up

Setting up was quick and very straightforward. Backing up? Not so much. A trip to the dictionary might help us understand.

intr.v. mo·seyed, mo·sey·ing, mo·seys Informal
1. To move in a leisurely, relaxed way; saunter.
alternate: mozy

Ok, that list part wasn’t in the dictionary – but it should be. Mozy was quite leisurely and it didn’t appear to be in any hurry to backup my files. The initial backup of 1.5GB involved many false starts (broken connections) and finally finished 3 days after it started. Upload speeds ranged from 1.6 to 114.5 KB/s. That first number might help explain why the initial backup took so long. Even that second number, though, could be troubling for people who have 10-20GB or more of data to backup. Backups seem to happen pretty infrequently also. Mozy seems to only perform a backup about once a day, and I can’t find a way to alter that frequency.

Restoring Data

Using the Mozy software you can view your backed up files and traverse the directories in the same manner as the Finder’s column view mode. Unfortunately, there is no preview ability, so you just have to know what you’re looking for. Prior to Leopard, this wouldn’t have been an issue because that’s the way it’s always worked. Quick Look changed expectations – it’s the new baseline for required features. You can choose which backup to restore a particular file from by choosing a date from the Backup Date menu. It’s not clear whether multiple versions of changed files are retained or whether it simply allows you to filter the list and find what you are looking for more quickly. In either case, it’s of limited usefulness without the ability to preview files.

Mozy also makes you choose where the restored file will appear (the default restore location is the Desktop). Having the flexibility to make it appear anywhere is nice. The restore location should default, though, to the folder the file came from.


Pros: Easy to setup; flexible backups using backup sets; solid encryption (if not quite top-of-the-line); free 2GB backup.

Cons: Only backs up files every day or two; no ability to preview files before restoring; slow backups.

Bottom Line: I’ll probably start using MozyHome to make offsite backups of critical client files. That is the kind of backup where you never plan to restore, unless your office is destroyed in a flood and all of your computer equipment is swept away. For everyday backups – the kind where you need to restore a file you accidentally deleted – Time Machine is a far superior solution. If you’re a lawyer or run any other kind of business that involves valuable or private data, you probably need both. Mozy provides a good second layer of backup behind Time Machine.

Apple iPhone Event

March 6, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple held an iPhone event today at which two topics were discussed. First up were the enterprise announcements Apple referred to when news of the event was first released. The announcements involved the two areas in which the iPhone has been most often criticized or use in the enterprise: email integration and security.

Enterprise Email: The iPhone will have built-in integration with Microsoft Exchange servers. Push email, contacts, and calendar events will be supported. Global address book support is also included. To me the big word from the announcement is push. I would like to be notified when I get a new email. Right now I have to get out the iPhone, unlock it, click on the Mail icon, and go to the email account I want to check. I’ll be interested to see how energy efficient the push email solution is. Push email won’t be useful if it means the iPhone’s battery can’t last the whole day.

The only drawback I see so far is that it requires the use of an Exchange server. As a Mac user, I wouldn’t be too happy about having to buy a Windows box to run Exchange just so I could get push email on my iPhone. What I would really like to see is push email on the iPhone powered by Leopard Server.

Security: The iPhone will receive a big security boost too. Most users won’t care about this, but their IT departments certainly will. One of the big fears about allowing corporate email access on the iPhone was what would happen if an iPhone is stolen. The iPhone’s remote wipe feature will allow the IT department to disable or delete at least part of the iPhone’s data (it’s unclear if the wipe feature will extend to everything on the phone or just the Exchange component).

Other security features include:

  • Cisco IPsec VPN
  • Two-factor authentication, certificates and identities
  • Enterprise-class Wi-Fi with WPA2/802.1x
  • Tools to enforce security policies

There’s a lot there to love, and it looks like Apple really listened well to the corporate IT folks.

The other set of announcements from Apple today relate to the iPhone SDK. The SDK (software development kit) is what allows people to write their own applications for the iPhone. Apart from games (something else to do on the train on the way to work), it looks like developers will be able to write some really cool applications. I won’t get into the details, but Apple has put together a pretty good set of tools for writing iPhone applications.

I am already excited about one application coming to the iPhone: OmniFocus. The ink was barely dry and the guys at The Omni Group were already announcing an iPhone application for OmniFocus. I like OmniFocus, but my big problem is that I don’t get to use my Mac for most of the day. My standard operating procedure has been to email myself reminders. I can create tasks in OmniFocus with emails, but I want real remote access to my task lists. That’s where an OmniFocus iPhone application comes in. I can’t wait!

Apple has a video of the event up on it’s website. You might get bored once they start talking about the SDK, but if you stick around you’ll get to see some cool video of Touch Fighter.

BusySync 2.0 Public Beta

March 5, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

BusySync, the popular iCal calendar syncing application is getting close to a 2.0 release. The current version of BusySync allows users to share iCal calendars among computers on the local network (via Bonjour) or over the internet. BusySync 2.0 will allow users to sync events between iCal and Google Calendar. BusySync 2.0 will also be able to use Google Calendar as a conduit to sync calendars between multiple Macs (for example, a home and office computer) in much the same way that the .Mac service currently works. It’s currently in a public beta release, so you can download it and try it out. As always, I recommend caution with trying beta software on live data.

BusySync 2.0 will be a free upgrade for owners of BusySync 1.5. If you’re not already a BusySync owner, BusyMac is offering a $5 discount off the normal BusySync price if you buy now.

Daylite Screencast

March 4, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Kevin over at a mac lawyer’s notebook has posted his first screencast. The screencast is about how to use Daylite, and includes lots of explanatory text as well. Daylite is a perfect application for screencast tutorials. As I have written about before, Daylite can at first appear quite limited. Daylite’s real power shows through once you uncover the many useful ways to combine its basic features. If you haven’t already seen it (and have 27 spare minutes), head on over to a mac lawyer’s notebook to check out the Daylite screencase.