Sunday, November 29, 2009

A trip in to Kyoto

In a couple of weeks I will probably have to play tour guide for a day in Kyoto. I am still deciding where to go, but since Kinkakuji, the golden temple, is one of the must see tourist spots I thought I had better go and refresh my memory of it. I have been to Kinkakuji before, probably in 1993 when I first came to Kyoto but have not been back since. It was also a good excuse to visit Kyoto to catch the end of the autumn colours.

I actually prefer the east side of Kyoto, walking from Kiyomizudera up through maruyama park then on to Nanzenji. But that can be quite a hike and the golden temple is the famous sightseeing spot in Kyoto.

I took the train to Kitaoji and walked west towards Kinkakuji beause I wanted to stop off at Daitokui on the way. This is a large complex of temples and was very pleasant to walk around, not nearly as crowded as Kinkakuji.

From Daitokuji I went to the Imamiya shrine, which had several bright red maples in the compound.

Then finally on to the crowds at Kinkakuji. The approach to the temple had some nice trees in their autumn colours, as did some inside the temple itself.

Then finally, the standard tourist shot of the temple itself . I think this is almost identical to the one I took 16 years ago,

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mozy: Backup that does not work.

I just gave up on using Mozy as a backup solution because it simply does not work.  Now that I am using a DSLR I needed a better way to back up the photographs. Previously I had just been uploading all the jpegs to Flickr as a form of offsite backup, as well as keeping local backups on DVDS.  With the DSLR I now have lots of raw files and the modifications that I have made in Lightroom so I needed a real backup solution.

I have been using JungleDisk for some time for sharing files between computers and for backing up a small volume of important files.  JungleDisk uses Amazon’s S3 service for storing the data which charges per GByte of data stored. I thought this would start to get expensive if I had many GBytes of raw files plus other data so I looked around for an alternative.

Several of the photography podcasts I listen to mentioned Mozy as simple to use backup service which is reasonably priced and offers unlimited storage. The uploads are slow, but I decided it was probably adequate for the amount of stuff that I have.  I tried out the free version, which has a 2GByte limit and it seemed to work so paid for a subscription and started backing up my data.

After about 2 months of continual backup leaving the computer on during the day I had about  150GBytes of files backed up and the initial backup was complete. Then the trouble started.  Backups stated failing with a “Server Error 12” so I emailed Mozy support and did some Googling about the cause. The support, outsourced to India, replied with a “reboot and try again” message even though from reports on the web it is clear that “Server Error 12” is a problem on the Mozy side not on the client. When that did not work, support replied again that they could not fix it so had “escalated it” to someone at Mozy. They replied after 3 days that the error should be gone because they had fixed the account on the server. However, backups still did not work.

Then the Mozy emails started being blocked by GMails spam filter and some emails seemed to have been blocked before then. So far these are the only false positives that GMail has ever  found in my email. This caused some delay, but the advice was then to uninstall and then re-install the client which I did. After re-installing files started being uploaded again but the program wanted to re-upload all the files.  Since that took 2 months the first time I don’t think that is reasonable. But, to see what would happen I left it running only for it to stop with “Server Error 12” again.  So I emailed support again, and waited.  4 days later I gave up and deleted the account and have applied for a refund.

The backups stopped working on November  6th, by November 24th they were still not working and it is clear that something in the Mozy system is broken. A backup system needs to be reliable and Mozy, in my experience, is not.

Googling for possible solutions I found many others who had also had problems with Mozy and had given up as well. Not only are there reliability problems there seem to be serious issues if you want to restore files or transfer data from one computer to another or reinstall the OS or, well do anything that you might expect a backup system to support. The comments on the review: "Mozy Review: Is Mozy Online Backup Worth it? My Experience…" seem both typical and agree with what I encountered.

Reading other’s experiences it seems that Mozy may be fine if you have 1 or 2 GBytes of data so can do a full backup/restore in a few hours. Then if there is any trouble you can simply back up everything again.  If you have more data than that then Mozy does not appear to be reliable enough.

For the moment I have gone back to using JungleDisk. The upload speeds are much better than Mozy and I have been using it for several years without any reliability problems.  I can use it on multiple computers and browse the backed up files on a virtual drive. With lots of data it is more expensive than some of the other online backup providers. So I will probably investigate one of the alternatives.  But next time I will be more careful about checking for bad reviews first!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Maples at Mt. Kasagi

 Drab, misty weather this morning cleared up around lunchtime, so after spending all weekend in the house we decided to go out and visit Mt. Kasagi where they were having a momiji matsuri (Maple Festival.) Mt Kasagi is just a short drive from us in southern Kyoto prefecture along the side of the Kizugawa river. There is steep path up the side of the mountain to a temple on the top. We visited a couple of years ago and I have been meaning to go back.

Although they were having a maple festival there was only one small area with maple trees, but  there was somewhere for the children to play while I took pictures.

At the entrance to the temple there was a small tree which seemed to need photographing, with a large gate in the background.

On the way back down the mountain we took the road, which went past another large maple, lit be the sun which had almost dissapeared below the horizon. This maple was a glorious red.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Some autumnal colours at Joruriji

After some busy weekends I had some spare time this week so went back to Joruriji to see if the trees had got their autumn colors yet. A few trees are starting to turn red but the maples are still green. After a shot cold spell the weather had warmed up again with clear blue skies.

There are still some flowers in bloom so I tried a shot of the backlit flowers with the autumn trees in the background.

I think it will be a few more weeks before the trees really turn in this part of Japan.