Hector to be panelist at the 3rd Annual Forum on Financing, Investing, and Real Estate Development for Data Centers 5/30-31 in New York, NY

Hector’s panel will be on: “Capacity Planning/Scale/Scalability/Rightsizing/Density ”

Fellow panelists include:

  • Joe Higgins, VP of Engineering, Fidelity Investments (Session Chair)
  • Brent Behrman, Senior Vice President, Compass Datacenters
  • Andris Gailitis, CEO, DEAC
  • Colton N. Brown, Regional Director, Sales & Leasing, Dupont Fabros Technology
  • Isaac Fieg, AVP & Data Center Manager, Knight Capital Group
  • Joe Reele, VP Solution Architect, Schneider Electric
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Hector to be Guest Presenter at New England Chapter of 7×24 Exchange 3/20

Hector’s presentation will be on: “Data Centers: A Data Driven Approach to Capacity Management”

Abstract:

The demand for data centers is growing at an alarming rate. Data centers are very expensive to build and operate. Investing in enterprise-wide, data based, capacity planning can result in:

  • Optimal use of your current data center portfolio
  • Improved quality of your data center requirements forecast
  • Reduced CAPEX by delaying build-out of new data center(s)
  • Better decision support

Hector’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on Asset Planning and Capacity Management. Fellow panelists include:

  • Paul Taylor – Fidelity
  • Ed Evers – State Street
  • Theresa Regan – Tufts
  • James Howard – AT&T
  • Joe Maggio – Integrated Design Group; Moderator
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Hector to be Guest Speaker at IMN Conference in Santa Clara 11/29-30

Hector will be a a panelist at the 3rd Annual Forum on Financing, Investing, and Real Estate Development for Data Centers 11/29-30 in Sta. Clara, CA. The panel topic is: “Evaluating Data Center, Internet & Other Key Standards”. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Which standards do you deem important? Critical?
  • Evaluating data center standards & performance metrics
  • Tiering, redundancy & their drawbacks
  • Who’s lead should you follow? ASHRAE, Green Grid or Uptime Institute?
  • Audit strategy
  • SSAE16 standards
  • What are the consequences of not following standards?
  • Tier ratings: Should you get the same rating for 2-Tier 2’s and 1-Tier 4?
  • Compliance& audit
  • High density addressing and the need for IPv6
  • HIPAA and other industry-specific standards you must be concerned with
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Think like a recruiter to tweak your LinkedIn profile

Over the last two years I have networked with many executives who were going through a career transition. I have also networked with  several top-notch executive level recruiters. I have identified some trends in the way recruiters are going about filling positions:

  1. Reliance on job boards is going away. By the time a position gets posted on job boards, it is more than likely suitable candidates have already been identified.
  2. LinkedIn has become the tool of choice for recruiters to search for suitable candidates.

How can you capitalize from those trends? Don’t rely too much on finding job postings and do everything you can to help recruiters find you! As I have stated before, it is not who you know, it is who can find you.

So this is the best advice I can give you:

  1. Write a job requisition for your ideal job. Pretend to be your mythical next employer and write a detailed job description. Imagine you are going to retain an a recruiter to find suitable candidates to fill this position.
  2. Now pretend you are that recruiter. Use LinkedIn and Google and conduct searches to find suitable candidates. Did your LinkedIn profile pop up on the first page? Did your name come up at all on the first couple of Google search results? If the answer is yes, congratulations! If not, you have work to do.

It is more than likely you are using fluff in describing yourself as a “charismatic leader able to achieve synergy by aligning resources to achieve corporate goals”. Do you really think a recruiter is out there using the words charismatic and synergy in their searches. A more likely search would include the keywords: Denver, VP, Director, Supply Chain Management.

Tweak your LinkedIn profile, wait a day or two for your changes to be indexed and search again.  Look at my earlier article on this blog about using search engine optimization (SEO) for ideas. Keep doing this until you consistently come up on the searches for someone trying to hire someone for your dream job.

Have fun with your job search!

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Hector to be guest presenter at a workshop on social media marketing strategies

I will be a guest presenter at a social media workshop on April 7 in Denver. If you are struggling to figure out how to integrate social media into your marketing tool-kit or could benefit on a technology primer on security and data ownership issues, this workshp might be of interest to you. This workshop will provide you with actionable strategies and tactics in support of attaining your marketing goals and will not waste your time with basic tutorials on social media basics such as setting up a Twitter account.

Details

  • Title: “Social Media Strategies for Your Business Brand – A Marketing and Technology Primer”
  • Date: April 7
  • Time: 8:00 am – 12:00 noon
  • Place: Denver Athletic Club
  • Cost: $295 (includes light breakfast, and 12 page comprehensive resource guide). Group rates available.
  • On-line registration: http://www.idiaz.org/Workshop/

Topics include:

  • How to decide which social media tools can grow your business
  • Blogging to meet your business goals
  • Optimizing social media for search engines so you are found by qualified customers
  • How social media can provide market research, generate leads, and create customer advocates of your brand
  • Time management and social media. How much, how long?
  • Where is my data? Who can see my data? – Privacy
  • Who owns my data? – Terms of use
  • Is my data safe? Who can read my e-mail? – Security/Privacy
  • Is e-commerce safe? – Security/Authentication
  • Banking and on-line purchases, accepting payments on-line

For more information on the event: www.idiaz.org/Workshop .

The workshop will be led by Lisa Diaz of iDiaz Marketing. Lisa is a Denver based social media marketing expert. Lisa has over 20 years of experience developing strategic marketing communications, direct marketing, and branding solutions for small, medium, and Fortune 500 size companies. She started iDiaz Marketing in 2009 as a marketing training company designed to help small businesses grow with the knowledge to develop cost-effective, marketing programs.

Please share this announcement with anyone you think might benefit from attending this workshop.

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Think SEO for your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. It is a great platform for re-connecting with past and present colleagues and classmates, giving and getting advice with fellow industry colleagues, and finding jobs or business opportunities. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your extended professional calling card.

As a professional seeking new business opportunities you may have heard the old adage: “It is not who you know, it’s who knows you”. In this day and age, I would expand that to include, “it’s who can find you.” That is where Search Engine Optimization comes in.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the art and science of increasing the volume or quality of visits to a web-site from search engines. For the purposes of this article, those search engines include not only the ones that  readily come to mind (Google, Yahoo!, and Bing) but the search capability within LinkedIn as well. Your LinkedIn profile IS your web-site. You are well advised to use SEO to help people find you. Here are some suggestions:

1. Update your LinkedIn summary to ensure you are found
The key to SEO is to think in terms of how someone trying to find you might conduct a search for someone with your skills or background. A cursory look at random LinkedIn profiles reveals that people tend to write about themselves in “fluffy” terms that would not be used in actual searches. Some examples:

  • seasoned (as in peppery?)
  • highly skilled
  • results oriented
  • stellar track record

If I were seeking candidates to fill a CFO position, would I search for “seasoned highly skilled financial executive with stellar track record” or would I search for “Denver CFO VP Finance renewable energy”?

Another example (from Cade Lee, owner of Iniquitous – a Denver based SEO firm) is for folks in the restaurant business. It is not unusual for a restaurateur to be proud of their food – perhaps based on their grandmother’s recipes. Although this reference might look cute in a menu, basing a web-page on this factoid make no sense from an SEO standpoint. What was the last time you typed in “grandmother’s recipes” when searching for a restaurant? More than likely you typed something like “best comfort food Denver”.

2. Use the “Specialties” section to your advantage
A bullet list of relevant search terms in the “Specialties” section in the summary of your profile will help those search engines find you. Keep it relevant and don’t stuff it with every three letter acronym in the book. If you are CEO material your specialties might include business development and strategic planning. Do yourself a favor and don’t include COBOL, Excel, Word, or PowerPoint as core competencies if you are indeed CEO material. I am amazed by how often I have seen this.

Look at some Google free tools to come up with search terms that people are actually using. Do a Google search on any topic and click on “Show options”. Familiarize yourself with the “Wonder wheel” and “Related searches” tools. They are a great source of ideas. The Google Adwords tool is a free tool that will provide a list of most frequently sought terms based on a few examples you type into the query.

3. Complete your profile

It is interesting to see how many people leave their work experience blank or only list employer names. If it’s not there, it will not show up on a search. You may also think about highlighting your accomplishments, not just stating what you worked on. Stating you “worked on IT governance” does not quite carry the same punch as “reduced IT spending by $1M by designing and implementing a client computing governance program”.

4. Expand your network

The number of people who can find you on LinkedIn is proportional to how many people you are connected to. Add pointers to your personal blog or web-site if appropriate. See my LinkedIn profile for example.

5. Get endorsements and recommend others

The possibility of your profile coming up on a search may depend on how many people have recommended you as well as how many people you have recommended. Think about getting endorsements from managers, peers, direct reports, vendors, etc… No better way to prompt them to do so than by recommending them first.

Now that some potential customer, business partner or recruiter has landed on your LinkedIn profile, how do you keep their attention?

Engaging you visitors

1. Evaluate your profile for readability

Make sure you make effective use of white space. Add bulleted lists and blank lines. A “wall of text” may turn some people off.

2. Keep your profile relevant to your profession

If you are a CIO, display your membership to IT professional groups. You may want to turn off displaying your membership to the World Class Procrastinators, or to the Executives in Minimum Security Prisons professional groups.

3. Make it easy for people to contact you

You can embed your e-mail and phone number at the top of your summary section.

4. Make it personal and easy for people to relate you

You should have a clear, professional picture of yourself on your profile. Pictures of pets, spouse, children, or cartoon characters belong on other social media sites (i.e. Facebook). Make sure those sites are ONLY searchable by your close friends and family and not searchable by the general public.

For additional thoughts on Social Media marketing techniques please look at iDiaz Marketing in particular the resources page.

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Ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac

Friends often ask me what tools to use for ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac environment. After much research and testing, here are my thoughts on a recommended toolset for the Mac:
I had been using tools from SlySoft (AnyDVD and CloneDVD) on the Windows platform. (http://www.slysoft.com/en/)
My current toolset on the Mac:
Ripping tool: “RipIt” from The Little App Factory (http://thelittleappfactory.com/ripit/)
It was a winner of the 2009 MacWorld Editors’ Choice Awards. Is sells for about $20.
It rips all data from a DVD into a “DVD Media Document” by the name of the ripped DVD. Double clicking on that document will get your movie played by the “DVD Player” application on the Mac. This document is really a package (or directory). If you right click on it in Finder and then chose the “Show Package Contents” command you will see a “VIDEO_TS” and perhaps an “AUDIO_TS” folder with all the ripped contents.
Burning tool: “Disco” from http://www.discoapp.com/. Is sells for about $20.
In order to burn a DVD from a VIDEO_TS folder you need to create a UDF formatted disc image. There is a program included in Mac OS X called “hdiutil” that should in theory accomplish this task. I did not see any reports of people successfully using this tool on Snow Leopard. If “hdiutil” did generate a good UFD disk image, burning a DVD could be accomplished within the finder functionality.
Disco can in a single step both generate the UDF disc image and burn a DVD. So far it has worked well for me. Here is a pointer to a review of an earlier version of Disco: http://www.themaccore.com/files/discoreveiw.html
Note: The above tools will create a 1:1 copy of a DVD. Copying DVDs longer than ~4GB will require dual layer (DL) discs. There are two separate, and incompatible recordable DVD standards. The “-R” DVDs were introduced by Pioneer in 1997. The “+R” DVDs were introduced by the DVD+RW Alliance (headed by Sony, Phillips, Mitsubishi, and Thompson) in 2002. Not all home DVD players play all formats (-R or +R); in particular the DL ones. For more detailed information on this see the “Ad Terras Per Aspera” blog article: “How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media”: “http://adterrasperaspera.com/blog/2006/10/30/how-to-choose-cddvd-archival-media”
The Superdrive DVD burners on MacBooks (at least on mine) can handle DVD+R DL media, but not DVD-R DL. That is an issue for me because my Denon DVD player cannot read DVD+R nor DVD+R DL discs.
In short, make sure your burner can burn dual layer media discs that your home DVD player can read.
As I stated above, RipIt and Disco do not support compressing a 7GB DVD to fit into a single layer DVD. This requires a toolset that supports compression and transcoding. For this I’m using “Evom”, a free tool also from The Little App Factory (http://thelittleappfactory.com/evom).
Evom is designed for downloading internet videos (YouTube™ and such) to iTunes and iPod. You can also use it to transcode your ripped DVD to play on an AppleTV or iPhone.
Another tool that will perform compression and transcoding is “Popcorn” from Roxio. It sells for about $50. I have not tested this tool as the Ripit/Disco/Evom toolset is meeting all my needs.

Friends often ask me what tools to use for ripping and burning DVDs on the Mac environment. After much research and testing, here are my thoughts on a recommended toolset for the Mac:

I had been using tools from SlySoft (AnyDVD and CloneDVD) on the Windows platform.

My current toolset on the Mac:

Ripping tool: “RipIt” from The Little App Factory.

RipIt was a winner of the 2009 MacWorld Editors’ Choice Awards. Is sells for about $20.

It rips all data from a DVD into a “DVD Media Document” by the name of the ripped DVD. Double clicking on that document will get your movie played by the “DVD Player” application on the Mac. This document is really a package (or directory). If you right click on it in Finder and then chose the “Show Package Contents” command you will see a “VIDEO_TS” and perhaps an “AUDIO_TS” folder with all the ripped contents.

Burning tool:Disco” Is sells for about $20.

In order to burn a DVD (that will play on a home DVD player) from a VIDEO_TS folder you need to create a UDF formatted disc image. There is a program included in Mac OS X called “hdiutil” that should in theory accomplish this task. I did not see any reports of people successfully using this tool on Snow Leopard. If “hdiutil” did generate a good UFD disk image, burning a DVD could be accomplished within the finder functionality.

Disco can in a single step both generate the UDF disc image and burn a DVD. So far it has worked well for me. Here is a review of an earlier version of Disco.

Note: The above tools will create a 1:1 copy of a DVD. Copying DVDs longer than ~4GB will require dual layer (DL) discs. There are two separate, and incompatible recordable DVD standards. The “-R” DVDs were introduced by Pioneer in 1997. The “+R” DVDs were introduced by the DVD+RW Alliance (headed by Sony, Phillips, Mitsubishi, and Thompson) in 2002. Not all home DVD players play all formats (-R or +R); in particular the DL ones. For more detailed information on this see the “Ad Terras Per Aspera” blog article: “How To Choose CD/DVD Archival Media”.

The Superdrive DVD burners on MacBooks (at least on mine) can handle DVD+R DL media, but not DVD-R DL. That is an issue for me because my Denon DVD player cannot read DVD+R nor DVD+R DL discs.

In short, make sure your burner can burn dual layer media discs that your home DVD player can read.

As I stated above, RipIt and Disco do not support compressing a 7GB DVD to fit into a single layer DVD. This requires a toolset that supports compression and transcoding. For this I’m using “Evom”, a free tool also from The Little App Factory.

Evom is designed for downloading internet videos (YouTube™ and such) to iTunes and iPod. You can also use it to transcode your ripped DVD to play on an AppleTV or iPhone.

Another tool that will perform compression and transcoding is “Popcorn” from Roxio and it sells for about $50. I have not tested this tool as the Ripit/Disco/Evom toolset is meeting all my needs.

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Converting your CDs to a digital audio library

A friend recently asked for my thoughts on ripping CDs for use with various media players. He was concerned with audio quality so he was thinking of ripping his collection to some uncompressed format such as WAV of AIFF and then transcoding to a lossless compressed format such as FLAC. He was also considering re-encoding all or part of his CD collection to a lossy/compressed format such as MP3 or AAC for use with an iPod or iPhone.
This were my recommendations:
Since you can get an uncompressed original from a lossless compressed file, save yourself some space and keep a single copy encoded with lossless compression. There is no real compelling reason to keep uncompressed audio files around.
I use an AppleTV as a media server and an iPod. I had used FLAC in the past but found that Apple players do not support FLAC natively. I converted my FLAC files to ALAC using MAX (a free transcoding tool for the MAC from: http://sbooth.org/). I did have issues with the metadata coming through (album covers, track info and such). For that reason, I have settled on iTunes for both ripping and encoding. On the Mac I use CoverScout (http://www.equinux.com/us/products/coverscout/index.html) for grabbing album covers.
I generally prefer open standards (like FLAC) to proprietary ones so I considered several factors before choosing ALAC for my audio files. In the end, there is a large community of iTunes/iPod users and ALAC is a “de-facto” standard. There are countless non-Apple media servers and players supporting the format. There are also multiple 3rd party utilities available for transcoding to other standard formats such that I will not be “trapped” in a proprietary format for life.
If you are an absolute maniac about the accuracy of your ripper, you may want to look at EAC (Exact Audio Copy) on a Windows platform. You can get EAC at: http://www.exactaudiocopy.de/ and it is free. It will rip a CD to uncompressed WAV files.  There are many good tutorials on how to set it up with various encoders at HydrogenAudio (http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?title=Exact_Audio_Copy). You can set up EAC to use an ALAC encoder such as iTunesEncode.exe. For details see this article at Steve Hoffman Music Forums: “iTunesEncode.exe: Use EAC or Foobar to make Apple Lossless Files” (http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/showthread.php?t=75394). Here is another guide on how to pair up EAC with iTunesEncode.exe: http://www.teqnilogik.com/tutorials/eac.shtml.
Transcoding from ALAC to AAC can also be accomplished with iTunes. Set the iTunes encoder to AAC at your chosen bit-rate. Select the files you want to convert, right click and select “Convert selection to AAC”.
My friend was concerned about losing iTunes playlists if he ever wanted to switch to another platform. There are both manual methods and utilities out there to solve that problem. Do a Google search on: “exporting iTunes playlists”.
If you have a large number of CDs and no time to rip them, there are some commercial outfits that will do this for a small fee 😉
I have soma additional thoughts on digital audio tools at my web-site: http://hdiaz.org.
Have fun with your music libraries, it is all about the music.

A friend recently asked for my thoughts on ripping CDs for use with various media players. He was concerned with audio quality so he was thinking of ripping his collection to some uncompressed format such as WAV of AIFF and then transcoding to a lossless compressed format such as FLAC. He was also considering re-encoding all or part of his CD collection to a lossy/compressed format such as MP3 or AAC for use with an iPod or iPhone.

This were my recommendations:

Since you can recover an uncompressed original from a lossless compressed file, save yourself some space and keep a single copy encoded with lossless compression. There is no real compelling reason to keep uncompressed audio files around.

I use an AppleTV as a media server and an iPod. I had used FLAC in the past but found that Apple players do not support FLAC natively. I converted my FLAC files to ALAC using MAX (a free transcoding tool for the MAC). I did have issues with the metadata coming through (album covers, track info and such). For that reason, I have settled on iTunes for both ripping and encoding. On the Mac I use CoverScout for grabbing album covers.

I generally prefer open standards (like FLAC) to proprietary ones so I considered several factors before choosing ALAC for my audio files. In the end, there is a large community of iTunes/iPod users and ALAC is a “de-facto” standard. There are countless non-Apple media servers and players supporting the format. There are also multiple 3rd party utilities available for transcoding to other standard formats such that I will not be “trapped” in a proprietary format for life.

If you are an absolute maniac about the accuracy of your ripper, you may want to look at EAC (Exact Audio Copy) – a free program for the Windows platform.  It will rip a CD to uncompressed WAV files.  There are many good tutorials on how to set it up with various encoders at HydrogenAudio). You can set up EAC to use an ALAC encoder such as iTunesEncode.exe. For details see this article at Steve Hoffman Music Forums: “iTunesEncode.exe: Use EAC or Foobar to make Apple Lossless Files“. Here is another guide on how to pair up EAC with iTunesEncode.exe.

Transcoding from ALAC to AAC can also be accomplished with iTunes. Set the iTunes encoder to AAC at your chosen bit-rate. Select the files you want to convert, right click and select “Convert selection to AAC”.

My friend was concerned about losing iTunes playlists if he ever wanted to switch to another platform. There are both manual methods and utilities out there to solve that problem. Do a Google search on: “exporting iTunes playlists”.

If you have a large number of CDs and no time to rip them, there are some commercial outfits that will do this for a small fee 😉

I have some additional thoughts on digital audio tools at my web-site.

Have fun with your music libraries, it is all about the music.

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Using VeriSign Digital ID Class 1 Certificates on a Mac

Back in October I recommended getting a free personal e-mail certificate from Thawte for e-mail security. Thawte stopped offering Personal Email Certificates on November 16, 2009. I decided to take up Thawte on their offer of a free one-year VeriSign Email Certificate (Digital ID Class 1). Here are some things I learned — the hard way about using a VeriSign Digital ID Class 1 on the Mac environment.
I followed the instructions on the e-mail from Thawte and downloaded my certificate from Verisign using Safari. It got loaded to my keychain and I thought I life was good. The Mail application could not find the new certificate associated with the my e-mail address.
Here is what I found out: Modern browsers have crypto tools which generate public/private key-pairs. When signing up for a certificate with an authority (as with VeriSign), their website should trigger your browser to create a key-pair and then upload the public key, which is then certified and returned to you. This certificate is in a file format called .p12.
Using Safari, the certificate I got from VeriSign was a .p7c file, which has no copy of your private key.
The only way I was able to get a proper .p12 file was using Firefox on my Mac to access the VeriSign certificate tools to renew my certificate (which essentially revokes the old one and generates a new one).
Once the certificate was installed in Firefox, I exported it to a .p12 file which I then imported into my keychain after deleting the useless certificate that had been previously imported.
Problem solved.

Back in October I recommended getting a free personal e-mail certificate from Thawte for e-mail security. Thawte stopped offering Personal Email Certificates on November 16, 2009. I decided to take up Thawte on their offer of a free one-year VeriSign Email Certificate (Digital ID Class 1). Here are some things I learned — the hard way about using a VeriSign Digital ID Class 1 on the Mac environment.

I followed the instructions on the e-mail from Thawte and downloaded my certificate from Verisign using Safari. It got loaded to my keychain and I thought I life was good. The Mail application could not find the new certificate associated with the my e-mail address.

Here is what I found out: Modern browsers have crypto tools which generate public/private key-pairs. When signing up for a certificate with an authority (as with VeriSign), their website should trigger your browser to create a key-pair and then upload the public key, which is then certified and returned to you. This certificate is in a file format called .p12.

Using Safari, the certificate I got from VeriSign was a .p7c file, which has no copy of your private key.

The only way I was able to get a proper .p12 file was using Firefox on my Mac to access the VeriSign certificate tools to renew my certificate (which essentially revokes the old one and generates a new one).

Once the certificate was installed in Firefox, I exported it to a .p12 file which I then imported into my keychain after deleting the useless certificate that had been previously imported.

Problem solved.

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Own your data!

There have been recent reports of permanent data loss for folks that kept their data on “the cloud”. As an IT professional, these are my recommendations:

Use a for-pay e-mail service that keeps your messages in a server and a local cached copy of all you data on you local PC or Mac. There are hosting companies that will manage Exchange servers on your behalf. You can connect to an Exchange server with Outlook from any PC. If you are away from your PC, you can still access your files from any web browser on any other PC or Mac with an Internet connection. For Mac users, you should look at MobileMe from Apple. Either one of those solutions allows you to have a local, cached copy of your e-mail AND your calendar and contacts. BTW, the mail, calendar, and address book applications that come with Mac’s latest OS (Snow Leopard) can talk natively to an Exchange server as well. An added bonus is that these setups will synchronize your data to your smartphone or iPhone as well.

Here is a good example of what can happen when you trust your data to a service provider: It has been reported T-Mobile just lost all data for their Sidekick smart-phone users (contacts, calendars, pictures, …).

Keep local backups, do not rely exclusively on off-site backup services. An external hard disk drive and some backup software are cheap insurance against a major disaster. Back up stuff you cannot afford to lose on CDs or DVDs and keep those off-site.

Contact me for specific recommendations.

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