Category Archives: Reviews


Update: @CopyApp, Copy: New DropBox, Box & Google Drive’s Competitor

Updated: 5/10/2013

My company Esotech and I have moved to‘s @copyapp. Click this link to get 5 GB free on top of the base 5 GB (10GB) you get when signing up. Their sharing features are excellent, the speed of the app is excellent, it syncs fast. It basically has every feature Dropbox has, a better web menu, more sharing features that are on par with Google Drive, and a non pooled storage for sharing folders and files with clients, employees and friends. It lets you reduce the bandwidth usage (unlike Google Drive), and is cross platform compatible (Linux, Mac, Windows, Android, iOS).

Company’s are an integral feature of Copy as well. I can create a company, then manage who is connected to it. After having a nice conversation with a rep from Barracuda, right now Company Storage space is not calculated, eventually we will have to buy storage specifically for the company account, which I share with all employees and even choose administrators. This will allow me to attach as many users I want to the Company account without using anyone’s personal quota. Did I mention that company storage starts at $399.00 for 100GB with unlimited users? This is around $34.00 a month. DropBox may give you unlimited storage for teams, but at 5 users max, and more money per user (around $155.00+ per year per user over 5, $12.00 / month per user), Copy seems like a better choice for small businesses and startups with smaller data. Better to grow your storage as you need it rather than be limited by how many users are in your company. Most people aren’t going to sync terabytes of data to their desktop anyways. It is so much easier to deal with adding storage than adding and removing users if your company expands or contracts. Copy allows me to pick and choose who gets to see what folder in the company, and most importantly, who can edit or who can just view. EXCELLENT.

Barracuda Networks, I tip my hat to you as you have done an excellent job.

Now for why I am switching from Dropbox / Google Drive to Copy…Dropbox is simple…it does not allow you to share a folder inside an already shared folder. That was the deal breaker for me. The sharing features were rudimentary. I also hate having everyone else that shares folders with me automatically put in my root Dropbox directory. Copy allows me to specify where shared with me folders go. Love it. Oh, did I mention if you share Dropbox folders it eats up space on both accounts that are sharing? Not on Copy.  *Update: After reviewing this issue with a Barracuda rep, I was given mixed messages. Although the twitter reps say that they won’t make it eat into your quota, this is a half truth. If you try to SYNC the file or folder to your computer, it will use your storage as it becomes part of your sync pool. The easy solution is to only sync your own files, and use the web interface to download and manage files given to you by others.

On to Google Drive, it blew up….again. I have had so many problems with Drive. I love Google, I really do, but this is the first time I have been disappointing by one of their products. (Besides them deciding to Axe Google Reader).

One time my partner decided to drag all of my Google drive documents onto his hard drive…accidentally…i watched him do it too. This took hours to repair, I had to resync and reshare EVERYTHING with everyone, there was no easy fix. I couldn’t just drop the files in there, there was no warning, no undo. Funny thing is, the files existed in trash, but then didn’t. There was no easy way to tell where anything went. The Google docs he dragged out existed but had no method of accessing them without a direct link. Bummer

Then came the syncing issues, and this was the real killer as the above problem was more user related. My laptop has not been able to sync to drive for months “Google Drive unexpectedly quit and needs to close”. Great error message Google. After “searching web folders” for 40 minutes you just crash, awesome. No resolution besides…sync one folder at a time? For 40 GB worth of data? No way. It is supposed to work, not require me to finesse every file into my system.

The dreaded day came, I got a new hard drive and wanted to move Google Drive to it. What happens? Now my main PC blows up, can’t sync. Same issue as the laptop. Apparently if you have too much storage on drive, it explodes and can’t handle itself. I supposed it has to do with a long period of time which it has to collect meta data, and if you have tons of small files, it just freaks out and stops.

So, give Copy a try, get your free 5 GB, and while the offer lasts refer it to others so they can benefit. They are even giving out 1 TB free if you can get them some new talented hires.

Copy has said that there is no limit to the referral storage you can get, so get to it!

Update: 5/10/2013 We have been using Copy in the office for a few months and everything has run smooth. No lost files, no problems syncing, no bandwidth issues. (Lan Sync is great!). Overall we are happy. Although I was dissapointed to hear I would eventually have to purchase Company storage once they get their system further developed, I will gladly pay for a 100 GB Company account. I have already collected over 100 GB of personal storage from their referral promotion. Sign up with this link and get some free space!


How to Create a User Hostile Installation Experience: Windows 8 Pro

Ask any of your tech buddies and they may tell you that you can get Windows 8 Pro for 39.99. Wow! you say, that’s pretty good considering Windows 7 Ultimate was in the ~$400.00 price range. So you decide find whereabouts this purchase can be made.

Turns out, Microsoft sells it direct! Not only do they sell it, but they sell it through an app you download which tells you what version of the software you should buy, charge you for it, and let you download and install it immediately.

Sweet! I bust out the credit card, charge $40.00 and off I go into the following prompts.

Awesome, download begins, then gives me a prompt where to save it to and then the kicker…It asks me how I want to go about Installing this new OS. I want a Fresh install of course! Windows 8 does seem much different form a UI perspective.  So I choose “Save ISO and Burn to DVD to install on a computer later”. Perfect. The file is made and put on my desktop, and it even gives me an option to burn the DVD now, which I proceed to do.

So I shut down and unplug everything from my PC, remove my old 120 GB OCZ Vertex 3 SSD Hard Drive, leaving the other 4 in my system, and install in it’s place my new 256 GB OCZ Vertex 4 SSD Hard Drive of which I am eager to fill with games and apps (I ran out of room for all the BETA’s I am part of). I turn the computer on, boot into the DVD, and Voila! The windows load screen appears…and just sits there…for an hour.

Ok! Time to search the forums…after 30 minutes of searching, many don’t know why it’s doing this and are blaming processors, but it turns out you just happen to have to remove any SD card readers from the system during installation…weird…but lets give it ago. Yep! Worked! Installing. Shame I can’t find where I found the resource for that to give credit, it almost blew the day away.

Windows 8 Pro Prompts me for my new CD key, of which Microsoft e-mailed me from the purchase I made through the windows app. I choose the new Hard Drive. It begins installing; Excellent.

The rest of the configuration went without a hitch. It started up, customized, downloaded all my apps. I installed my normal software and games; all working great. Awesome!

Then I notice Windows isn’t activated…and my heart sinks when I click to activate it and it says something along the lines of “This license is only good for an Upgrade License, not for clean installs”. I thought I just blew $40.00, my time and a reformat.

I had to leave for dinner, so for two hours I furiously browsed the web on my wonderfully amazing Verizon Samsung Galaxy S3, and came up with two solutions, I only tried the one, and it WORKED!

The fix was found in a comment on this site. Here is the comment by “scottoe”:

It works similarly to Windows 7 upgrades – do it twice. You can install from a formatted disc but it will not activate because it is the wrong product key for an upgrade. You then install it a second time, as an upgrade to itself and it will activate. I did a custom install the first time, booting from the Win 8 DVD and deleted the old Win 7 partition and then installed Win 8. Then launched the Win 8 setup from the desktop and installed it as an upgrade and was then able to activate it with the upgrade key. I did it today with success. It does not give any indication of a problem the first time until you try to activate it, when it displays the invalid product key message.

So at first, I am thinking…this is retarded…why would this work? Why would they give you a full version ISO, allow an upgrade license to install the software, then require you to re-install over itself to “Convert” it to upgrade software?

I get home and pop in the Windows DVD I made, and run it. It goes through this whole process, doesn’t even ask me where I want it installed, just if I want to install it and keep my files programs and settings. I say sure, since I have already configured the rig and it then proceeds to churn for 30 minutes or so.

A few reboots later, I go through all the setup screens again, but find my profile is intact and all my apps are here. I check on my windows license status in the about computer section, and it is ALREADY activated! When the PC started itself up after the “Upgrade”, it just decided to activate itself with Microsoft.

Although I think this method is awesome and I am very happy with my purchase now, I would still like to know who at Microsoft, decided it was effective licensing and anti-piracy measure, to recommend, and then sell users a $40.00 Upgrade Only License (but only reads Windows 8 Pro, not “Upgrade”) FROM THEIR OWN WEBSTORE, that lets you download a FULL ISO, BURN IT TO CD, authorize a  FULL  CLEAN INSTALL, then after installing Windows 8, have to INSTALL IT AGAIN OVER ITSELF to flag it as an Upgrade?  Do they realize how many people are going to buy the Retail Box, which is also UPGRADE ONLY, do a clean install, and wonder WTF to do?

If you look at the this Microsoft page I think I figured out why this method works. This is how it reads:

You can install the upgrade only on PCs that have a valid base license and one of the following operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP (SP3).

What Microsoft may have not taken into account, is that Windows 8 Pro, in it’s ISO form, provided by them to the user, fulfills the “valid base license” requirement for the upgrade to take place. The Upgrade license allows a person to install a fresh copy; it doesn’t distinguish between what type of license it is at initial install, only on activation AFTER install. The “upgrade”, in essence, performs a “reinstall” or a “repair” which, because it was installed from a Windows based Operating System, qualifies it as “Upgrade” software after the process.

Why not just…let it activate? Seriously? Why all this hassle?

I just went through like 2 hours worrying that I would have to reformat AGAIN, because after installing Windows 8, setting up all my apps, I found I couldn’t Activate due to choosing a fresh install. This had nothing to do with me having the wrong license, just with using a valid, yet poorly thought through method on Microsoft’s part, to go about the upgrade.

PROCESS! Stop making things USER HOSTILE if you want people to keep adopting your software! If you are going to give your users an install file, and a license, they better damn work. And they should work without having to go through these hoops and online research. If I wanted to do all that, I would have installed a Linux build.

There is another possible way to correct this without the re-install method, though I have not tried it. I found the solution at hard forum through Google Searches. The idea is to tell windows its an upgrade copy via a registry key, then rearm the activation sequence, reboot, and let it activate…it might be simpler and worth a try before doing what I did which took a TON of time.

This is the process:

  1. hit ctrl+r
  2. look for  [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup\OOBE] and change “MediaBootInstall”=dword:00000001 to  “MediaBootInstall”=dword:00000000
  3. Open elevated command prompt (Right click -> Run As Administrator)
  4. Type slmgr -rearm <enter>
  5. reboot
  6. auto activation will occur on next boot.

If you use the first method, don’t forget to run disk cleanup when the upgrade completes, which will free about 26 GB of data from the “Upgrade of your Upgrade”. Also, pick up a free copy of Windows Media Center while they are giving them away and save yourself another $10.00, might as well!

Good luck upgrading! I am looking forward to writing GOOD things about Windows 8 as I am enjoying the new user interface, it is a breath of fresh air, and the OS seems to boot and run very very smooth. I love the windows app store concept, and their multi-platform. integration. IF they can keep the cost of their OS around 40 – 80 dollars I am sure it will be adopted quickly, barring the installation issues…



ADT Alarm Service and Installation Review: Overpriced Liars and Unskilled Technicians

My house was ransacked 4 weeks ago. I usually work from my home office and the one day I left home I came back to find all my valuables gone…they went through everything. So I decided it was time to activate the alarm that I had neglected to worry about for so long. My house was not secure at all and I accept it was my fault.

I called ADT, had a salesperson come to the house to give me a quote; $700.00 to install, and they would use the already equipped system that was in the house, the screens and connectors, etc. The salesman even gave me a used panel and motion sensor to help bring down the price. I was happy, they started the process of pulling permits.

A week passes and the technician finally comes to the house. I feel relieved because now I can leave my house without worrying about thieves coming back to take whatever little is left in the house.  I hadn’t left the house alone in a week. The technician tells me suddenly that they cant use any of the screens or connectors in the house because they are too old. This means all this stuff has to be replaced…costing an extra $900.00 dollars (Now about $1900.00 dollars total with first and last months, etc.). This made the total price more than twice cost of the original quote! I reluctantly agreed  and the installation started…it needed to be done, even if i felt slighted by the whole situation.  I had to wait for the weekend to pass to recieve the new screens and finally be able to leave the house. At the same time I had cameras installed…by an ADT Technician working off duty (who was late multiple times because they decided to finally GPS his Van…and also always had an excuse.).

The ADT Technician who was installing the pieces at my house left many unsecure spots, especially on the sliding glass doors which was the main point of entry for the robbers previously, where you could literally stick a finger in the open door after cracking it open and pull the sensor off and then just stick it to the one on the frame, giving full access to the house…I notified him about it as he was installing it and had him fix that, pulling the sensor further away so it would trip when the door was opened a crack. Well guess what?

It’s only been 3 weeks having the damn alarm system installed and already one of the sensors fell off of the sliding glass door on its own and went missing…Now I have an insecure house again because the alarm wont allow itself to rearm. Why did the sensor fall off? Because when you install it as he did on a sliding glass door, sliding the damn door open fully rips the sensor off. Did he test it or know about that? No…did he say anything? No? Is there a way to secure it without that happening? I have no idea. But I am pissed. I am pissed that after spending all that money I already having problems. I am pissed I was lied to about the price by the salesman and about what technology they could use in the house. I am pissed that I had to deal with a technician and salesman fighting each other over the phone in my presence about what could and couldn’t be installed, and I am also pissed because the ADT guy who did the cameras has blown me off to run an ethernet cable for the past 2 weeks so I can view my cameras remotely due to his laziness.

Lazy unskilled technicians, lying salesman, lack of professionalism that is my experience with ADT so far. It makes me feel as if ADT is taking me for a ride, and are just as bad, if not worse, than the thieves that ransacked my house. I feel used and violated by both, and exceptionally angry. The thieves that ransacked my house started the job by clearing out my valuables, now ADT is finishing me off by clearing out my bank for a crappy installation and terrible service.

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