Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Backing up data

Last week there was a spate of fires in Israel which caused thousands to be come homeless within minutes. Not surprisingly, the occupational psychologist wanted to discuss backups with me. Apart from data which she copies to a 1TB external hard disk (I have one at home as well), a certain amount of data is constantly backed up and synced at Dropbox. 

My dropbox account is limited to 2GB, which is fine for the OP data and programs along with doctoral material, but as it no longer works with Windows XP (my home computer), I don't use it so much. I have a 50GB account with Mega, which is much more useful (I wrote about it here), but was under the impression that like Dropbox, my Mega account is mirrored on all of my computers. This isn't such a good idea if I have songs stored on one hard drive, photos on another and programs on a third. 

I discovered that I can split the Mega account into two - one part is in permanent synchronisation, mirrored by a directory on my computers, and the other part is stored solely 'in the cloud' with no synchronisation. Thus yesterday I copied a few GB of song files to this new directory and was pleased to see that these files were not copied back to my computer. I'll continue copying files over the next few days - photos and songs - so that if a fire does take out our house and I'm not able to get home to retrieve the external disk, laptop and other gear, the files will still be safe. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

End of November/TV series

I don't know where this month has gone; lots of work, a new song, two virus attacks ... and several tv series, about which I'll write here. In no particular order ...
  1. Line of duty. For some unknown reason, I saw the second series of this drama about a police anti-corruption unit before I saw the first. I found it very difficult to find the real protagonist in this series; supposedly it's DS Steve Arnott, but that's not necessarily the way things play out on the screen. Very detailed and very complex, one is always guessing what's going to happen next. There are four series of this program, and I wonder whether I am going to see series 3 and 4, as this is broadcast on Israeli TV channel 1, a channel which lost its monopoly many years ago and now is a somewhat neglected place - it's surprising that I managed to find this series. The second series features a 'Spooks' alumna - Keeley Hawes, who is always a pleasure to see, although of course she has aged since her days in 'Spooks'.
  2. Silk. I was very pleased to see this legal drama return for its third series, which features two 'Spooks' alumni - Rupert Penry Jones (here, Clive, there Adam) and Miranda Raison (here Harriet, there Jo) - along with star Maxine Peake. The legal parts of the story are fascinating, whereas the supporting story - primarily intrigues in the barristers' chambers - is sometimes confusing. The final episode was shown a few days ago, which had an ambiguous ending. Whereas most series end with a bang and a cliff-hanger, increasing anticipation for another series, this ending left things very much in the air.  A classy drama.
  3. Scott and Bailey. At first sight a police procedural, this is really about the personal lives of the two eponymous detectives - and their lives are quite messy. I missed most of the first series and only began watching seriously from the beginning of the second series. We're now in the third series. I enjoy watching this although it's not on the same level as the first two programmes mentioned above.
  4. Madam Secretary. I've written about this before. The sole American series mentioned here, I caught the first - long - series but missed the second series entirely. I've seen three episodes of the third series so far. This is fairly enjoyable but rather facile. I record it for a friend.
  5. Victoria. This is for my wife. Features yet another 'Spooks' alumnus - the great Peter Firth.
  6. The Night Manager. This is being shown again on AMC. I hope that this time the broadcast quality is better - episode 7 was unwatchable last time around as the picture was constantly freezing.
  7. And finally - big surprise! - Cold Feet returns to the screen after about 14 years absence. I absolutely loved this program (four excellent series and one only very good) when it was originally broadcast, but I think that we've all moved on since then. I was aware that a new series was to be broadcast but hadn't prepared myself emotionally for this (neither had I read any stories about the return). The opening episode (i.e. series 6, episode 1) was broadcast last night and I've watched it twice (for recording purposes). As in real life, 14 years have passed, so the protagonists are now approaching age 50 and their children are teenagers. I suspect that someone watching this for the first time would have great difficulty in understanding the back story. The series does not dwell on the past but rather on the future, so I imagine that we are going to see how Adam manages with his new wife (who he marries at the end of the first episode) along with his son, how David will probably leave his shrewish second wife and possibly return to his first, and how Pete and Jen get through life. One more 'Spooks' alumna - Hermione Norris - appears here, although she appeared in the original 'Cold Feet' before starting her 'Spooks' tenure. Taking a peek at IMDB, I see that there are eight episodes to be enjoyed - and I promise not to look at the storylines! Maybe life was better in the pre-Internet days when one never knew what was going to happen in one's favourite television programs.
Here's a link to a piece in the Guardian about the show, and here are some photos.