Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Mozy (aka how not to backup your files)

I posted a great review of Mozy 12 months ago. I even used the word "snazzy".

I just cancelled my account with them. I absolutely DO NOT recommend their backup service. (Please be warned, a rant follows.)

<rant>

My MacBook Pro hard drive failed earlier this year and I needed to restore from my Mozy backup. After following their restore procedure, it became apparent that many, many GB of information were missing. 

I should have known this was coming, and hey to be fair it was beta, BUT they saw no problem in charging me full price during the beta period (I did request a refund, but was told I could "have an additional two months of their service").

Here are some fun email extracts from the saga:

26th June 2007

Sorry to be a pain, but is it normal that I've been waiting 24 hrs for an 8 byte doc to be made available for restore?

That puts a great fear in my heart of what would happen if I needed to restore 18GB….

2nd November 2007

I'm using the Mac client and am trying to restore my "documents" folder. The online archive suggests a file size of 700MB and 4,000 files. When I get the restore email, it is for 200MB and 700+ files.

I've tried twice now, and online it says its restoring less files but then the download is for far fewer files…

2nd February 2008

I haven't used mozy since the problems in november. I've downloaded RC1- it's has caused kernel panics, uses excessive memory (1GB) and has crashed on every attempted backup. I'm even running a fresh install of 10.5…

I really am a very unhappy customer having paid for this service- which was useless when it came to restoring my machine and your support was very sad too. I test lots of beta products and you really shouldn't be charging for this software.

Their answer:

"I always suggest that as the Mac client does work wonderfully for many users, myself included, but there are those times where it doesn't work so well.

I can extend your account by a couple months if you wish to continue using our service."

3rd Feb 2008 (This was after the crash!)

The problem isn't just with the mac client- it was server side. Of the 50+GB i had uploaded, when it came time to restore, only 30-odd GB was available. The restore files that I configured online and downloaded contained a fraction of the files they should have.

And here's the answer:

Good afternoon,

I took a look at the restore that only was able to recover 768 of 5937. It looks like a good chunk of those files are bundles or packages, which weren't supported until 0.9.0.0. I'm not sure why the others weren't able to be recovered. When that happens, we can do whatever we need to do to get the files back.

Except that they DID NOTHING to get them back for me! 


And 768 out of 5937!? That's only 12% of the files I had backed up. I went back and did a double check and virtually zero files were packages (50GB were photos and music- the whole reason for using a backup service).

I've now complained so many times, that I am blue in the face. I have also told them that I'm blogging this.

Please, if you use a Mac and love your files, do not use Mozy.
</Rant>

Filed under: Software

Smartsynch raises $20 Million (Jackson, Mississippi)

It's not everyday that my hometown shows up in VentureSource, so I had to repost this:
SMARTSYNCH (JACKSON, MS) RAISES $20 MILLION IN SERIES E
— Industry: Vertical Market Applications Software —


Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment led a $20 million round of
series E financing for SmartSynch. Other round investors included Siemens Venture Capital, Beacon Group, and OPG Ventures, Innovation
Valley Partners, Endeavor Capital Management, GulfSouth Capital,
Southern Farm Bureau, and Battelle Ventures. SmartSynch provides
smart metering solutions to the energy and utility industry.

SmartSynch’s solutions provide utility companies and their customers with the unprecedented power to take control of their resource usage. SmartSynch’s core product delivers actionable intelligence from electricity meters via public wireless networks and the Internet.

Filed under: Software

The Web is winning (go figure)

Opera_stats
Right after the mobile world congress this year, I posted that this was definitely the Year of the Browser. Opera have just released some pretty interesting stats on mobile web usage for Q1 2008 through the Opera mini browser:

Social networking stands supreme
Almost 40% of traffic worldwide is to social networks. In some countries, such as the United States, South Africa and Indonesia, the social Web accounts for more than 60% of the traffic.

One Web will triumph over WAP content
Full Web surfing comprises more than 77% of all traffic. Content on WAP and .mobi sites accounted for 23% of mobile Web traffic. This share continues to decline as more consumers both use Opera Mini to access rich Web content and become more comfortable browsing the Web on their phones.


Data Consumed

As the content available to mobile phones improves, data consumption increases. Last month, those 11.9 million Opera Mini users generated more than 33 million MB of data for operators worldwide. This represents an almost 88% growth over the previous quarter.

88% Growth, and they’re just talking about OPERA. Nevermind the iPhone, Series 60 phones or Blackberries…I’ve recently realized that I’m clocking in at circa 100MB of data monthly through my iPhone these days.

The mobile web is definitely gaining momentum. Start your engines.

Filed under: Mobile

Geotag it

One of the areas I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at is All Things Geo. Three headlines caught my eye today:

Eye-fi Explore -auto geotags your photos before uploading automagically via wifi.

Sony Ericsson- have patented geotagging songs “Proposed technology for a “location dependent music search” would use
GPS or a similar mapping method to determine the phone’s location and
promptly find music associated with the area, whether on the device or
on an Internet server. The feature would let users cue songs they
associate with favorite areas or download songs from local artists.”

SnapthumbMIT Android Demos- a list of recent apps developed on Android- all of which incorporate geo/contextual awareness. My favorite was the last one: snap

It’s kind of like Digg on a map. People can tag certain places and then other users can vote that particular attraction up or down.

So if you’re in a new city, you can pull up your current location and find things around you that other people think are interesting.

If there’s a particular user that’s uploaded a bunch of cool stuff, you can subscribe to his or her stuff. Arrows on the map change color the more popular they get. Very cool

Any other cool geo-related apps out there you’ve seen? (btw, if anyone has a fire eagle invite, pls ping me)

Filed under: Mobile

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