Ménage numérique [fr]

[en] Musings on backups (my first real hard drive failure) and on trying to keep digital stuff (smartphone photos, anyone?) under control. Oh, and Hazel. Try Hazel if you haven't yet.

Entre hier et aujourd’hui, ménage numérique. Il faut que je vous parle du workshop que j’ai donné hier au Swiss Creative Center, mais d’abord, le ménage.

En rentrant de Neuchâtel, j’ai branché Time Machine, parce que ça faisait 2 semaines que je n’avais pas fait de backup, me disait mon ordi, mais surtout, parce que j’avais vu passer un petit tweet de Matt Gemmell un peu plus tôt dans la journée:

Oups, me suis-je dit. Avec toute l’énergie que je mets à encourager mon entourage à faire des sauvegardes, ce serait bête que je ne suive pas mes propres préceptes. Bon, ce ne serait pas la première fois, non plus.

Je branche aussi mon disque dur externe, celui qui contient plus de 10 ans de photos et bien d’autres choses. 600Gb de données. Au bout d’un moment, je me rends compte qu’il couine. Et qu’il n’est toujours pas visible dans le Finder. Re-oups.

Je vous passe les étapes pour vérifier qu’il était bien mort (il l’était). Le coeur battant un peu, je vérifie où en était ma dernière sauvegarde Crashplan (2 jours, ouf). Celle de Time Machine date d’il y a deux semaines… j’ai fait un peu de ménage dans mes photos depuis là. Je lance le “restore”:

  • Crashplan: 10 jours (la sauvegarde est sur mon serveur à l’eclau)
  • Time Machine: 10 heures (la sauvegarde est sur un disque dur externe que je peux brancher direct dans mon ordi)

Je récupère les fichiers dans Time Machine, et ceux “qui manquent” dans Crashplan.  Ça tourne toute la nuit. Aujourd’hui je vais chez STEG pour rendre le disque dur cassé et en ramasser un nouveau (3 mois de durée de vie… heureusement il y a une garantie).

Bref, cette histoire aurait pu être un désastre si mes sauvegardes n’avaient pas été plus ou moins à jour! C’est la première fois de ma vie qu’un disque dur me claque entre les mains. Heureusement ça arrive à une période où j’ai un système de sauvegardes qui roule. Il y a quelques années, j’aurais pu perdre des choses irremplaçables.

Ne jouez pas avec le feu, faites des sauvegardes, et dites-moi si vous voulez mon code Crashplan pour avoir une sauvegarde distante sur mon serveur. Quand on se fait cambrioler ou que notre logement brûle (Dieu nous en garde), c’est déjà assez horrible comme ça sans qu’on ait en plus perdu toutes les photos de nos chats ou de nos enfants.

En parallèle de tout ça, j’ai remis le nez dans IFTTT et Google Plus. Avec iOS7 (ou peut-être même avant mais je dormais), il y a plein de portes intéressantes qui s’ouvrent. Par exemple, Auto Backup uploade automatiquement vos photos de smartphone dans Google Plus (elles sont privées bien sûr, mais on peut ensuite les partager d’un simple clic). J’ai joué donc du coup avec les albums et les photos dans Google Plus. J’aime bien, sauf que j’ai la sale impression que Google Plus duplique les photos quand je les partage, et je n’aime pas sa manie de faire des albums sans me demander quand je partage plusieurs photos d’un coup. Je suis peut-être un peu formattée “Facebook”, mais j’ai l’impression que c’est un peu plus le pétchi.

Autre chose testée, le partage de photos dans Facebook directement depuis l’album photos d’iOS7. J’aime bien, en passant, comment iOS7 regroupe les photos en “moments”. J’aimerais bien que Lightroom en prenne de la graine. (Tiens, peut-être temps de passer à la version 5.)

Le problème récurrent que j’ai avec les photos que je prends sur mon smartphone, c’est que je les partage (Facebook, Google Plus maintenant, et même Flickr) sans qu’elles ne transitent par mon ordinateur. Et mon ordinateur — enfin le fameux disque dur externe qui est mort, là — c’est quand même ma “master copy” de toutes mes photos. Je gère le tout avec Lightroom, qui gère également la publication sur Flickr, Facebook, et Google Plus. Vu que Auto Backup met automatiquement toutes mes photos sur Google Plus, je préférerais par exemple que Lightroom aille les “chercher” là-bas pour les importer dans son catalogue.

L’autre souci, c’est que beaucoup des photos que je prends avec mon iPhone sont vouées à finir leur vie dans Evernote. Photos de tickets, de documents, de livres que je lis… Pas besoin que ça finisse dans Lightroom ni que ça y passe. Jusqu’à maintenant, j’importais de temps en temps les photos de mon téléphone dans Lightroom (avec le câble), puis je triais celles qui allaient dans Evernote, les glissais-déposais dans l’application, et déplaçais les fichiers originaux dans un dossier “dans Evernote”. Comme ça, la prochaine fois que j’importe les photos de mon iPhone dans Lightroom, celui-ci ne me propose pas de les réimporter.

En zieutant les nouveautés de IFTTT (depuis la dernière fois que j’avais regardé), je me dis que je pourrais avoir sur mon iPhone un album Evernote, et une règle IFTTT qui envoie dans Evernote toute photo mise dans cet album. Malheureusement, ma recette ne semble pas fonctionner. Problème d’IFTTT? d’Evernote? d’iOS7? Allez savoir.

Bref, après toutes ces explorations je me dis que je vais rester à mon ancien système un peu manuel, même s’il provoque des doublons de photos partagées sur Facebook et Google Plus.

Alors que je réfléchis à ces questions sur Facebook, un ami m’aiguille sur Hazel. Hazel vous permet d’établir des règles pour votre Mac afin de faire un peu d’ordre dans vos fichiers. Par exemple, toute image qui se trouve dans le dossier téléchargements depuis plus d’un jour sera déplacée dans mon dossier photos. Tout .dmg trainant là depuis plus d’une semaine sera balancé. Vous pouvez tester gratuitement Hazel pendant 14 jours avant de l’acheter (et le prix est raisonnable). Moi, une heure après, je l’aime déjà.

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Getting Your iCloud Photostream to Play Nice With Lightroom [en]

[fr] Frustré de devoir passer par iPhoto pour récupérer vos photos d'iPhone (via Photostream) alors que vous utilisez Lightroom pour gérer vos photos? La solution s'appelle PhotoStream2Folder (et c'est développé par un Suisse)!

So, with all the cat photos I’ve been taking, both with my “good camera” and my iPhone, and trying to publish them both to Flickr and Facebook, I’ve been looking for solutions to make things a little less kludgy.

See, I use Lightroom to manage my “proper photos” and upload them to Flickr, and my iPhone photos now end up in iPhoto, thanks to iCloud. So if I choose to upload any to Flickr, I do it manually from the Flickr site. As for Facebook, I need to export my Lightroom photos to my hard drive first (but that’s another story: haven’t found a solution yet to sync my Flickr uploads to Facebook).

I’ve been unhappy about having my photos in two separate catalogues, specially as the iPhone 4 does have a decent camera and can at times produce usable photos.

The solution is called PhotoStream2Folder and it has been developed by Laurent Crivello, a fellow Swiss guy. (Do consider making a donation if you find his little tool useful.)

PhotoStream2Folder is not just useful for Lightroom users: what it does is dump your photostream photos in a folder you can access on your hard drive, rather than hide it forever in your iPhoto library.

I basically set it up following the “watched folders” instructions on the site (and at the same time, discovered Lightroom watched folders). Follow the screenshots, they are better than any explanation!

  1. First, I installed PhotoStream2Folder
  2. Then, I created a folder called “Photostream” in my Pictures folder — this is where PhotoStream2Folder will dump my photostream photos until Lightroom moves them into my “proper” photo folders (I organize by year/month on my hard drive)
  3. I enabled Auto Import in Lightroom (File > Auto Import) and set it to import photos from the Photostream folder I’d created into another folder in my photo hierarchy:
    Auto Import Settings
  4. Then I configured the settings in PhotoStream2Folder like this:
    PhotoStream2Folder General Settings
    PhotoStream2Folder Lightroom settings
    PhotoStream2Folder Tagging Settings
  5. …and launched the scan!

This means all my photostream photos are now part of my Lightroom catalogue. I personally move those I want to publish or make other useful use of into “proper” folders, and leave all the rest in the photostream folder.

Hope this comes in handy to somebody!

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Sync Multiple Google Calendars on iPhone: Finally Figured it Out! [en]

[fr] Instructions pour synchroniser plus d'un calendrier Google avec son iPhone.

This is something that has been annoying the hell out of me for some time, now. I use at least half a dozen different Google calendars to keep track of my stuff, but when adding a Google account to iCal, all it does is add the main calendar.

I had come upon a hack which consisted in adding each Google calendar in iCal on the computer separately, rather than using delegation. A few weeks ago I was doing some digital housekeeping, and forgot why I had initially done that, and switched back to normal delegation. There went all my lovely syncing.

Let me explain things a bit more clearly:

  1. I have a bunch of Google calendars.
  2. I prefer using the iCal application on the computer and on my iPhone rather than the web interface.
  3. I want everything to sync.

Now, getting Google calendar to sync with iCal on the computer is quite straightforward: add a Google calendar account to iCal following these instructions, and under the “delegation” tab, include any secondary calendars you may have.

It gets tricky with the iPhone. You might think that now that you have your Google calendars in iCal, you will find them on your iPhone if you configure your iPhone to sync calendars with your computer. But no. iCloud or no iCloud, that’s not how it works.

So, you can add a Google account to your iPhone under Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Add Account… > Google Mail. That’s fine if you have only one calendar, but not if you have more than one, because there isn’t anything like the “delegation” function you had in iCal.

So, if you have more than one like I do, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Add your Google account as a Microsoft Exchange account as described here.
  2. Head over to https://m.google.com/sync/settings/iconfig/, select your iPhone (or other device), and choose which calendars you want to sync.

It’s pretty straightforward, but (a) you have to know about it and (b) do not forget the trailing slash in the URL above. I kept getting “device not supported” and 404 errors which were driving me batty until I figured out what was the cause. Almost gave up!

Thanks a lot to @zecege who patiently tweeted to and fro with me while I figured out all this!

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Vous avez un Mac? Installez Hidden [fr]

Hidden, c’est l’application qui a permis à Joshua Kaufman de fournir à la police les données qui ont permis de récupérer son MacBook volé.

Pour $15/an, la petite application dort sur votre ordinateur, prête à être réveillée via votre compte en ligne si votre appareil est volé. Hidden prend des photos avec la caméra iSight, des saisies d’écran, et envoie tout un tas de données permettant de localiser votre Mac disparu.

Je viens de payer et de l’installer — très facile. Il y a un mode test qui permet de vérifier que tout fonctionne avant d’en avoir vraiment besoin! A ce prix-là, ce serait dommage de s’en passer.


Alternative: Prey — à regarder le screencast, semble un poil plus complexe (mais gratuit et open-source) et permet aussi de couvrir des téléphones.

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A Few Tools I Like [en]

[fr] Petite collection d'applications et de services qui valent la peine d'être explorés et utilisés, selon moi.

Quickly, before collapsing in a little sleepy heap, some tools I want to write about here, but am not writing about because I want to do it properly and that takes time, and I never get around to doing it.

So, maybe I’ll talk about them more in detail later on (some of them I already have talked about), but just in case, here are tools or apps I like and would encourage you to look at these days:

That’s it chickens… I might add a few if I’ve forgotten, my bed is calling!

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DupeGuru: You Own Less Data Than You Think [en]

[fr] Pour faire la chasse aux doublons sur Mac, Windows ou Linux, je vous recommande chaudement d'essayer dupeGuru! (En plus, système de rémunération des développeurs intéressant: Fairware.)

One of the consequences of putting an SSD into my MacBook and using CrashPlan and an Amahi home server to store my data and backups is that I have been forced to do a little digital spring-cleaning.

I had:

  • a 500Gb HDD in my MacBook, which hit “full” some time back before I freed up some space by moving stuff to an external HDD
  • an external 320Gb HDD, initially to store photos and videos, in practice filled with undefined junk, most of it mine, some of it others’
  • an external 250Gb HDD, initially to store a mirror of my MacBook HDD when it was only 250Gb, then filled with undefined junk, most of it mine, some of it others’
  • an external 110Gb HDD, containing disk images of various installation DVDs, and quite a lot of undefined junk, most of it mine, some of it others’

As you can see, “undefined junk” comes back often. What is it?

  • “I don’t have quite enough space on my MacBook HDD anymore, let’s move this onto an external drive”
  • “heck, do I have a second copy of this data somewhere? let’s make one here just in case”
  • “Sally, let me just make a copy of your user directory here before I upgrade your OS/put in a bigger hard drive, just in case things go wrong”
  • “eeps, I haven’t made a backup in some time, let me put a copy of my home directory somewhere” (pre-Time Machine)

See the idea?

dupeGuru logo.Enter dupeGuru. I’ve wanted a programme like this for ages, without really taking the time to find it. Thanks to a kind soul on IRC, I have finally found the de-duping love of my life. (It works on OSX, Windows, and Linux.) It’s been an invaluable assistance in showing me where my huge chunks of redundant data are. Plus, it’s released as Fairware, which I find a very interesting compensation model: as long as there are uncompensated hours of work on the project, you’re encouraged to contribute to it, and the whole process is visible online.

Back to data. I quickly realized (no surprise) that I had huge amounts of redundant data. This prompted me to coin the following law:

Lack of a clear backup strategy leads to massive, uncontrolled and disorganized data redundancy.

The first thing I did was create a directory on my home server and copy all my external hard drives there. Easier to clean if everything is in one place! I also used my (now clean) 500Gb to copy some folder structures I knew were clean.

Now, one nice thing about dupeGuru is that you can specify a “reference” folder when you choose where to hunt for duplicates. That means you tell dupeGuru “stuff in here is good, don’t touch it, but I want to know if I have duplicate copies of that content lying around”. Once you’ve found duplicates, you can choose to view only the duplicates, sort them by size or folder, delete, copy or move them.

As with any duplicate-finder programme, you cannot just use it blindly, but it’s an invaluable assistant in freeing space.

I ran it on my well-organized Music folder and discovered 5Gb of duplicate data in there — in less than a minute!

Now that I’ve cleaned up most of my mess, I realize that instead of having 8 or 900Gb of data like I imagined, reality is closer to 300Gb. Not bad, eh?

So, here are my clean-up tips, if you have a huge mess like mine, with huge folder structures duplicated at various levels of your storage devices:

  • start small, and grow: pick a folder to start with that’s reasonably under control, clean it up, then add more folders using it as reference actually, better to set a big folder as reference and check to see if a smaller folder isn’t already included in it
  • scan horribly messy structures to identify redundant branches (maybe you have mymess/somenastydirectory and mymess/documents/old/documents/june/somenastydirectory), copy those similar branches to the same level (I do that because it makes it easier for my brain to follow what I’m doing), mark one of them as reference and prune the other; then copy the remaining files into the first one, if there are any
  • if you need to quickly make space, sort your dupes by size
  • if dupeGuru is suggesting you get rid of the copy of a file which is in a directory you want to keep, go back and mark that directory as reference
  • keep an eye on the bottom of the screen, which tells you how much data the dupes represent (if it’s 50Mb and hundreds of small files in as many little folders, you probably don’t want to bother, unless you’re really obsessed with organizing your stuff, in which case you probably won’t have ended up in a situation requiring dupeGuru in the first place)

Happy digital spring-cleaning!

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A Data Management Fantasy [en]

[fr] Mon rêve: un système qui cacherait sur un espace donné de mon SSD (disons 50GB) les fichiers les plus récemment ouverts se trouvant sur mon disque dur externe. Ainsi, j'aurais à portée de main et sur disque dur rapide tous mes fichiers courants. Vous connaissez une solution qui fait ça?

I’m now running a happy MacBook with a 120Gb SSD (too big or to small depending on how you look at it, but I was in a hurry and dependant on what was in stock in the shop). I have an external 500Gb HDD to store all my junk on.

And here’s my dream. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could devote a certain amount of space on the SSD to my files, say 50Gb, and have that space occupied by cached copies of the files from the external drive that I most recently used? When I modify the files, the cached copies and those on the HDD would sync. And if I haven’t touched a file for long enough, it would be removed from the cache to free up space.

Like that my “current” files would be on the super-fast SDD and close at hand when I’m on the road.

I’m sure a solution to do this already exists — heard of anything?

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Reverting iTunes 10 to an iTunes 9 look: Icon, Buttons, Colors [en]

[fr] Quelques liens utiles pour redonner à iTunes 10 le look d'iTunes 9.

Thanks to @tommorris (he has a blog too) my iTunes 10 has stopped looking “wrong”. Here’s how to change the icon back to the iTunes 9 icon, arrange the window buttons horizontally instead of vertically (just stick that code, including backticks, into the terminal, and hit Enter), and even bring colour back to your left sidebar (alternate download link for the file to replace).

Honestly, what were they thinking?

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OS 10.6, iCal, gCal, and my iPhone [en]

[fr] Après ma mise à jour de OSX, petit problème avec iCal qui refusait de synchroniser avec mon iPhone les calendriers Google "délégués". La solution: ajouter chaque calendrier CalDAV individuellement. J'ai aussi trouvé la source des alarmes énervantes qui ont fait récemment leur apparition pour chaque nouvel événement que j'ajoutais: l'onglet "Notifications" dans Google Calendar.

I upgraded to OSX.6 (Snow Leopard) a week or so ago and discovered that iCal supported built-in sync with Google Calendar. I’d been using Spanning Sync until now (and was happy with it) but thought that if iCal did this out of the box, I might as well try it.

So, I set up delegation to add my multiple gCal calendars to iCal, but was disappointed that only my main calendar seemed to sync with my iPhone.

I found the solution to the problem here: how to make multiple Google Calendars in iCal sync with iPhone. In short, you turn off delegation, and add each gCal manually as a CalDAV account. Five minutes of work, but it works!

Since my upgrade I also had annoying notifications for each new event I created, even though I had turned off alarms in iCal. After hunting high and low, I spotted the “Notifications” tab in gCal calendar details, and discovered I had a series of default alarms set there for my main calendar. I turned them off, and while I was at it, linked my mobile phone to my account so I can get SMS alerts when I want them. (For once that this kind of stuff works with Switzerland too!)

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Extracting Web Apps From the Browser: Fluid and Prism [en]

[fr] Prism et Fluid sont des applications OSX qui vous permettent de créer des mini-applications qui sont en fait une fenêtre de navigateur (Firefox ou Safari) qui n'ouvre qu'une seule URL. Pratique si vous avez l'habitude de consulter Gmail, Twitter, Digg etc. via leur interface web.

This has been a productive morning for a lazy Saturday. A tweet from Tom Morris put me on the track of Fluid, and then Prism. (This is for Mac users, by the way.)

Fluid and Prism are both site-specific browsers, the first based on Safari, the second on Firefox. If you’re the kind of person who always had a Gmail tab open in their browser, and maybe another for Twitter, and for blog comments, and Google Docs, and for Friendfeed, and god knows what, you’ll like this.

Personally, the reason I like desktop clients is that they separate the web service I’m using from the browser. I can Cmd-Tab to it. I don’t see it all the time when I’m in my browser. I don’t lose the tab when my browser crashes.

Site-specific browsers basically allow you to create a simple application which is in fact a single browser window that opens up one single web page. Links in that web page, when clicked, get opened in your default browser.

I have now created “apps” for Identi.ca, Wave, and Gmail, so far. It’s as simple as filling in a small form with URL and title fields.

My only gripe is that I haven’t yet figured out how to replace the URLs favicon by another larger one as the app’s icon. Blown-up favicons are really ugly. I’ve found some sources of icons online, but am not finding all those I need, and clearly not managing to “install” them (I’m sure I don’t need to re-create my apps).

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