Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A New Amusement

I have been wondering for rather a long while what new hobby I might find to get involved with; those who have known me for many years are aware of my various seasons immersed in ballroom dance, Japanese culture, Bollywood movies, and needlework. Well, I may have found a new favorite activity.

It's English Country Dancing.

You've seen it before in every single Jane Austen movie; rows of men and women walking in figures, occasionally skipping, etc. It goes back to the 1600s, and until individual pairs dancing came on the scene with the waltz around 1800, it was the socially accepted form of dance. Many of the steps and figures are reminiscent in square dancing and even line dancing (to a lesser extent).

I went to an adult continuing education class for it last night, and it was enormous fun. I can deal with exercise as long as it involves learning dance sequences! It was quite a workout, since you're almost continually moving, and you really have to focus to remember the exact sequence. The class is predominently women, so you have to take turns switching gender, but since the steps are almost uniformly the same for both men and women, it's fairly easy.

I was relieved that for a regular class like this, people wear t-shirts and regular clothes; few women actually wore skirts. I really worked up a sweat, so I'm going to start wearing workout clothes, I think!

The class meets every Monday night from 7 to 9 at Cohn Adult Learning Center off of Charlotte Pike. It's very easy to jump in, and I highly recommend it, for a workout that won't bore you to death!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Backup, please, I beg you!

I deal with various and sundry computer disasters/inconveniences every day, and there's nothing more tragic than a crashed, truly irretrievable hard drive with no backup. I have had a client who lost years of family photos - all digital, none printed out! - when her hard drive crashed. That's going to be a 3 year gap in pictures of her children, barring the kindness of friend and family who have copies of their own. 3 years of financial data in Microsoft Money, gone. (to her credit, she THOUGHT it was backing up daily, but she was mistaken)

So I've been telling people to get backup drives, and some do, but even then it can be inconsistent. That's why I was really happy to hear about online backup services from my all-knowing Brother-In-Law Cy, The One True Computer Guru Who Knows More Than I Could Hope To Learn In My Lifetime. He recommended Carbonite and Mozy, two online services that backup your computer with a minimum of trouble for a nominal fee. I generally go with Carbonite because it's just SIMPLER, and only costs $50/year.

Carbonite is really gorgeous - ridiculously easy to set up, backs up any changes or additions on your computer any time there's a lull, and the most wonderful part of it is the fact that it doesn't require any hardware or effort on your part, after the initial setup - it just runs in the background on it's own. Plus, it's stored in absolute security on a remote server, which means if there's a fire or theft or act of God, the backup will be safely ELSEWHERE, until you have a new system on which to restore all of your precious files, settings, and emails.

Use this link to download a free 15-day trial subscription to Carbonite, and get an extra free month of service when you buy. I haven't been this enthusiastic about a product in many a day!