30 October 2014

DropBox or OneDrive?

I have, as a university student, a 4 year subscription to onedrive for four years for USD$100. That gives me at least 1 TB but that might be "unlimited" given the news of this week.

I don't think I will ever use it. Why? I don't trust it. I buy 100 GB of storage from Dropbox for a lot more, but it works better. Today I did some testing of file creation and editing on two well-connected sites (using TeamViewer to test) and Dropbox created and updated files within 5-10 seconds,  OneDrive didn't update some changes at all, and most of them took a minute or two to propagate. That's not going to work for collaboration in a fast workflow.

Sorry Microsoft, but this is a system I can't trust based on simple testing, and the one attraction (offline files) doesn't work that well on Windows 7, and you know I'm not going to upgrade to Windows 8.x or 10 just for that.

It's got a long way to go before it's a trustworthy solution.

17 October 2014

Making file notes of phone calls while on the go

The problem: You receive a phone call while on the go, and you really should make a written file note of what was said. You try to remember to do it when you get a chance.

One solution: I use a Nexus 5 Android-based phone, and am a heavy Evernote user. I don't use Evernote as my main practice management tool, but it does have its advantages. The ingredients for the solution are:
IFTTT has a nifty way of connecting a multitude of online services, and it solves this problem by creating a new Evernote note whenever I receive a phone call on my mobile phone. I can then type the note there and then, or when I see it later in Evernote I'm reminded to type up that file note. The file note is pre-populated with as much information as is available from the phone. I just add my own text at the end and email the note to my main system.

Of course, if you use Evernote to run your practice then it's just a matter of moving it to the correct notebook.

02 October 2014

National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014

The Australian Senate has passed the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014. It has a lot of interesting amendments to various pieces of legislation such as to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979, which gives it a framework for ASIO affiliates who may be consultants or contractors to the organisation. It also allows for secondment to or from the organisation, and one presumes that if an employee is seconded to an overseas intelligence organisation, they retain their powers.

The bill is quite long and has many interesting provisions in it, so I’ll just note the couple of issues for now and perhaps come back to the bill later. There are a number of provisions around computer surveillance, which may be of a particular computer or a computer on particular premises, or a computer associated with a person, whether or not the person’s identity is known. In appropriate cases it permits adding, copying, deleting or altering other data in the computer, but this should not materially interfere with the operation of the computer unless it is necessary for the purpose of the warrant.

The bill also has quite a number of provisions in relation to how a surveillance device warrant may be issued and attempts to achieve a fairly high bar before a warrant will be issued. Such a warrant can authorise removing say, a clock, inserting a device into it and then returning the clock to the premises. Even electricity cables may be tapped, and I understand that there is some technology available that can provide intelligence from power cables.

Many of the activities set out in the bill may be done upon authorisation by the Minister or the Director-General, rather than a judge.