OSX Missing Essentials: Time Machine FileGoBack & HistoryHound

Categories: Technology

Time machine is a godsend when you need to get back a missing file. You can almost blindly root around through the available dates until it shows up – and count yourself lucky. The rooting around becomes exceedingly more difficult when you’re after a previous version of a particular document though. I’ve just come across an amazingly useful utility that makes this revision search easier, FileGoBack. You can use it like a regular application, but it’s also just a right-click away in your services menu where it really shines. My only annoyance is that this utility has been around for quite some time without me being aware.

Jerry Krinock, the man behind Sheep Systems, also makes some really useful bookmark utilities if you happen to use more than one browser. I like Synkmark for the control it offers in organizing and verifying bookmarks in addition to the main feature of keeping your favorites up to date across Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. It lets me choose a primary browser as the standard and helps to avoid the very evil looping situation it’s so easy to get into when you also use iCloud and Google sync services. I have used the more readily advertised Xmarks in the past, but gave up when the end result was too frequently a universally in sync corruption. I just want the sync to happen when I want it to rather than attempt to trust software to trigger on every seeming change everywhere.

While thinking about browser tools this week I also re-discovered HistoryHound. If you’ve ever tried to find something you remember having seen on some webpage somewhere, this will really help you out. It configurably indexes your cache of things browsed to increase your chances of finding what was found (and omitting what ought not be). This goes well beyond the dated list of URLs available in your History menu since it lets you search your actual recent content ordered by relevance. Bravo to St. Clair Software, who also make the more well-known Default Folder X.

(Since this post may seem overly complementary, I’ll make it clear that the only relationship with any entity mentioned is having bought the software at regular price.)

Click Finder Renaming

Categories: Technology

I was going over updating various statements and photos for the new year. Many of the files had an unhelpful naming convention which did not sort logically in list view. Additionally, while filenames such as IMG_002342 sort well enough, they don’t convey much to jog your memory of any event. To fix this, I was going to go for a shell script or the Better Finder Rename application. Before going that route, I idly highlighted the files and right clicked, to get quite a shock.

There is now a context menu option to Rename X Items. This is not just a simple find and replace operation, either; You can prefix or suffix names, and even conform them to an incremental or dated format. This will allow you to have more meaningful names than IMG_002342. Try replacing IMG_ with Christmas2014_ and you’ll immediately see how clarifying and convenient this is.

For more complex situations, Better Finder Rename is a professional powerhouse, but for occasional quick renaming needs, this Yosemite (Mac OS X 10.10) capability is a fantastic time saver.

SugarSync – The Black Cloud

Categories: Technology

About, well, exactly this time last year I had a look at SugarSync, a competitor in the cloud storage space. They had a deal of 49.99 for 60GB of space for a year. I was reminded of this today when I got a billing receipt for $99.99 for my next year of service. This is the only communication concerning this account for the year other than the general marketing blurbs about their new and improved 2.0 beta. To further place them in the halls of evil, the receipt actually came from my billing service so I have still never been notified by the company. Neither reminder/notice before the transaction, nor even a receipt after. Nothing.

This situation is in direct contrast to DropBox, a company that sent out a nice reminder of my subscription with actual information about what would be happening, when it would happen, and how to easily make any changes as to exactly what would happen. Others such as Apple, and Skype also sent me reminders so it’s really not an unreasonable expectation.

So, I decide to dump SugarSync and proceed to their website. Looking through the options, the answer to the question “how do I cancel my account” is to email them or use the support portal. Clicking the support portal link and selecting email allows me to input the problem. Clicking submit asks me to see if my question is answered by the note “how do I cancel my account” which directs you to the support portal. We will see if they ever get back to me. This is seeming like one of those impossible to escape billing scams I had been lucky enough to avoid so far.

To at least get the account settings right for future, I then try to downgrade my account to the basic free one. This offers a warning that if I consume more space than the maximum I will be charged another $99.99 or whatever they feel like never notifying anyone about when they initiate the secret ninja billing again in 365 days. The question as to why I might be allowed to casually exceed maximum disk space is an incidental imponderable. So, to get the space down below the “limit,” I go to delete things. I had basically used the service to back up my iTunes and never touched it again so there were huge numbers of files and directories. Apparently you can see 20 of those files at a time (which is apparently not adjustable), you can “select all” and “delete” them. Okay, so now the space used is unchanged. This is because the items just went to the “deleted items” folder. Great! Just empty that? No, no, no, no, no. You can see the “deleted items” … 20 files at a time, “select all” and “delete them permanently” after clicking the pop-up asking if you really want to do that. Every click of every page, waiting for reload, and more clicking has given me plenty of time to write this consumer report … and there is plenty more clicking left to do.

Conclusion: Avoid SugarSync like the plague and use DropBox instead. SugarSync does not integrate well with iOS apps I use, and DropBox works with most everything. SugarSync billing practices border on slimy, while DropBox notifies customers in advance of any activity. It’s really not worth it to deal with a company with so little regard for customers when there are others doing it right. It’s a shame because SugarSync does offer some promising features such as the ability to sync specified folders external to a central sync directory without the linking workaround required by DropBox.

[It should be noted that I have no affiliation with either of these companies, but if you feel like checking out DropBox and sign up with this link we’ll both get some permanently free additional space.]

UPDATE: SugarSync support promptly issued a refund, but then stated that they don’t issue any notifications “because you can check on the website.” Great! My opinion has entirely solidified.