Three uncommon websites to visit daily

Ugg, I don’t remember these short winter days ever bothering me much in the past, but this year it seems like the darkness makes my eyelids heavy every evening. I have a feeling that I won’t have another good in-depth post until December 21st when the days start getting longer. Fortunately, though, the past few days in Louisville have been warm. Add to that the beautiful full moon and I’m refreshed for another Tuesday Zep.

This week, I thought I’d share a few websites off the beaten path that I visit almost every day. Plenty of people recommend popular websites to visit daily, but I’ve found some indie alternatives that are even more useful—namely PopUrls, HuffPost, and Friendbinder.

popurls

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Your hard drive will die… Back it up

Do you have precious pictures, music, and documents on your computer? I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me to help recover data from their failed hard drive. Consider this advice your data insurance plan. I think most of us would prefer to have a $300 fail-proof plan (on 1 terabyte of data, or as little as $50 if you only have a few gigabytes) compared to the $1000 to $3000 data recovery cost – with no guarantee – if your drive dies. I will use my own experience in buying a new drive, enclosure, and testing software to illuminate some of the things you should consider when it comes to backing up your data. I’m almost as wet behind the ears as the next guy when it comes to home-user backup strategies, so don’t take this as gospel advice. Please chime in with your own backup strategy.

Why you should have an offsite copy of your data (via Wikimedia Commons)

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Have you tried Chrome?

Unless you’re a “click on the internet-button” kind of person, you’ve probably heard of the Google Chrome (which I’ll refer to as just Chrome) web browser by now. In September, I switched from Firefox to Chrome as my default browser. What follows is why I love it 99% of the time. (There is that 1% that I’m pissed off.)

Chrome e-book image
From official ebook (Used with permission from Google)

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Lala Music Mover uploads your whole collection

As sure as the wind blows, an online music service that you use today will likely be gone (or have very limited functionality) in six months. Fortunately, most of the options I mentioned in my finding music online post from June are still viable, but I’ve found two great new sites (Lala and Grooveshark) to replace the big one that seems to have died (imeem – yeah, MySpace bought it). Of particular interest is the Lala Music Mover software which uploads your computer’s whole music collection so you can play it on their site. Main interface screen shot:

Lala Music Mover screenshot
Lala Music Mover screenshot

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Hibachi, Mute Math, & birthdays

Friday was a long day. On Thurs, our new landlord in Louisville notified us that our apartment wasn’t ready for the Saturday move in. As much as I love having an extra week with friends in Nashville, the news really put a huge dent in our plans. Instead of moving everything with a big Ryder truck today, Nathan’s just going to move on Monday with just his essentials. Jon and I will go up and bring everything else next weekend. I’ll stay and Jon will return to Nashville until Sept 6th when he transfers to a different Walgreens. We still need to work out a deal with the landlord for all this inconvenience. Gotta love moving.

A bunch of us drove down to the Lenox Village area to check out the hibachi grill there – think it was called Minomi. Most of our kitchen stuff is packed, so we’re blowing money eating out. The grill was yummy. Deep South Nashville ain’t bad; haven’t really explored it much since its expansion a few years ago. Jon has switched into shopping mode to relieve the moving stress – we went into a little antique shop that used to be a country church. Jon thinks he’ll be able to get more than $10 selling the Off the Wall LP he found there. I disagree.

At 5pm, I drove down to Franklin for the Mute Math Mobile Listening Party (MMLP). If you’re a MM fan, you can imagine what a thrill it was. About 10 of us fans piled onto the big bus and got an exclusive listen to the full album Armistice (which won’t be released until 8/18). If you have a chance to catch the MMLP in your city before 8/18, you will not be disappointed with your $59 investment (gets you a shirt, concert ticket, and a bunch of other goodies)! The listening party idea is quite a novel one and I’d definitely do it for other bands if the trend catches on. We provided the crew with our feedback and intermingled a bit. I attempted to tweet the experience, but they didn’t go through for some reason. Just noticed twitter SMS delays were due to Thursday’s big DoS attack. This is why these tweets finally just showed up today! Here’s what’s in my phone. At least the twitpic went through.

(8/7 17:23): 3 songs into @mutemath listening party. Sounds too good already!

(8/7 17:31): @mutemath #armistice_no_response Like the darker side of You Are Mine, flavored w the sound of the new album.

(8/7 17:41): @mutemath #armistice_goodbye “If you say goodbye, my heart’s in trouble.” Poetry, and not cliché!

(8/7 18:06): @mutemath #armistice_burden Love how it mellows out @ end by borrowing from & echoing Spotlight remix.

Nathan had a big birthday gathering at Logans, so I joined them for a drink and a slice of cake. We moved on to our usual, Tribe, to play pool until about midnight.

Michael called me and picked me up to join birthday #2, this one for Fernando! I haven’t been to many East Nashville residences, but it was quite strange to be back at the place where I cooked vagina cookies in college. Prof. Alison Piepmeier used to live in the same house! I enjoyed last night’s party much more than my first experience there. Lovely people and great DJs with the Best Buy Digital Music Store. Should have been there just to see Michael dancing to MC Hammer.

But wait, we made the obligatory Cafe Coco run on the way home. One is almost guaranteed to meet someone interesting whenever visiting this fantastic little 24hr joint. Oh, Nashville. I’ll miss you. Time for a nap.

P.S. I’m not sure if it’s Flash, but my Firefox keeps eating up all my CPU time and I haven’t been able to figure out why. Been happening for several weeks now, starting with 3.5.0. I hate having to rebuild my profile, but I’m not even sure that creating a fresh one is fixing the issue. Time will tell. Anyone else have a clue?