Category Archives: WebKeyDesign

Backup Strategy For Project Managers

drive iconBackups are a necessary routine for computers. Over the years, there has been many trends in computing that promised to make backups easier, simpler, but as humans, we still tend not to do a good job when it comes to backing up our data. The best solution for home users is Time Machine in Mac OS X. Simply add a drive (usually an external drive), and setup Time Machine to backup your entire main drive. Time Machine is the most simple backup to setup, but it is not perfect. After multiple backups, Time Machine usually encounters problems and the easiest solution ends up having to wipe your Time Machine drive and start all over again. On Windows, there are third party apps that allow for Time Machine like backups. Their main benefit is that their user interfaces are easier to use than the built-in Microsoft Backup program. There are also cloud backups as well now, so you can use iCloud, Google, Microsoft, or Dropbox for your backups. For most of us though, the cloud backup should really be a secondary backup and not your primary. In general terms the advice is to have a backup plan and to automate it as much as possible. Eventually all hard drives and flash memory fail in some way, and so backups are always going to be needed.

As a project manager, one backup strategy that I have used for a number of years is to have a one folder backup strategy. For my business laptop, I create one folder under C:\Users\Username\My Documents\. This folder I name Projects and I then create a shortcut for it and place the shortcut on my Desktop. For every project I work on I create a folder underneath the Projects folder. As I complete projects, I then move these folders to \Projects\Archive. Anything related to a project has to be save somewhere under the Projects folder. This takes discipline, but is very easy to do once you keep to this routine of saving files to one folder.

OS X Disk Error

Although every Operating System now provides a directory structure for users, most people have made the Downloads folder their main working folder! How many times has someone asked you to help them find a file, and you have opened their Downloads folder to discover thousands of files? This happens way to often. The Downloads folder was never meant to be a work folder. It was mean to help users find their downloaded files, but over time, people have treated the Downloads folder as their main repository for everything. It is important to remember that the Downloads folder is really a temporary folder for files. Nothing important should ever exist in the Downloads folder. Anything in the Downloads folder can and should be deleted. Move all your important files and working files to your main Projects folder and never work on any files outside of the Projects folder.

Now that you have all your files in one location, you need to copy your Projects folder and anything underneath to a secondary drive, backup location, cloud service. Although at the end of the day, you could simply copy and paste, drag and drop, it is best to automate this. In a business environment, there usually is a network drive or NAS that you can backup important files to. There are multiple apps or commands that you can script to accomplish this. The easiest way I have found is to use SyncBackSE. Using this application, I automate the backup of the Projects folder to run Monday through Friday, while I am at lunch. This backup strategy works well and is uncomplicated to use.

Fix SARG Reports in pfsense

torchSARG Reports are a good compliment to Squid Proxy and since there is a package that is available for installation in pfsense, it makes good sense to setup SARG Reports. The downsides to SARG Reports is that the reports do take up space and over time this can be significant. This posting is about a problem I encountered on pfsense 2.1 and the latest SARG package.

For some unknown reason the reports stopped generating. Upon checking my System Log this is the issue I found:

php: /pkg_edit.php: The command 'export LC_ALL=C && /usr/pbi/sarg-amd64/bin/sarg -d `date +%d/%m/%Y`-`date +%d/%m/%Y`' returned exit code '1',
the output was 'SARG: Cannot get the modification time of input log file /var/log/squid/access.log (No such file or directory). Processing it anyway SARG: File not found: /var/log/squid/access.log'

I am using the 64-bit version of pfsense, so hence the sarg-amd64. If you are using 32-bit, it will state instead sarg-i386.

The solution is to edit the sarg.conf file that is located in one of these locations, depending on your pfsense build:


You will need to verify that the access_log line is correct:

#access_log /usr/local/squid/var/logs/access.log

In my case, removing the # sign and specifying the correct path to my Squid access.log corrected the problem.

If you have issues with SARG Reports, it is best to do the following:

  1. Under the Status Menu – click SARG Reports.
  2. On the General tab click Save
  3. Next click on the Users tab and click Save
  4. Click Schedule and create your schedule or if you have one already open it up and click Save.
  5. You can go back to the Schedule and Force Update to see if SARG Reports are working now.

I also schedule SARG Reports in Cron to run at 11:50pm every night instead of midnight.

50 23 */1 * *

Notes On 2006

Undeniably, I have been on a bit of a break from WebKeyDesign, but before 2006 officially passes into the server logs as just another year, I wanted to put down some final thoughts on a very trying year.

Great Expectations

Like most people, I started the year trying to improve myself. After fifty hours of online seminars, a few self-improvement books, lots and lots of technical reading on web site related technologies, and many personal challenges having to do with family and work, I have to say that 2006 was perhaps in the top three of worst years I have ever had to go through. Professionally I had this vision of improving myself and when my company decided to close shop, I was devastated and unemployed.

At the same time, my personal life was not very enjoyable. I felt like I was being pulled apart in several directions and that all I could do was stand there and try to be the pillar that doesn’t move for everyone else. I probably wasn’t very much fun to be around.

As for myself, I was learning things, improving my skills and knowledge. Since college, I have always known that there are only two ways that I learn. I either recluse myself to some private space and pore over thick books or I sit and do what it is I need to learn to do at the computer. In general I can’t stop reading, it is something which helps me with stress, so I constantly read.

Learning To Succeed

After a few job interviews, I had started to doubt myself, to think all kinds of bad thoughts, but then one day I woke up and all that self improvement seminars and books kicked in. I found myself at another job interview, being asked the same question again: “Why should we hire you?” Then at that very moment, it sunk in. I don’t really need this job. “I will be successful regardless of where I work.” After the interview, I got a phone call at home, informing me they wanted to offer me the position. I ended up not taking the job after all, because I actually received an offer from my current employer, who I had really wanted to work for.

At home, I knew I needed to change things. Instead of doing more, I did less, but what I did do, I tried to do better. Communication is key in relationships, and while I’m not known for being very good at this in personal relationships, I knew I had to work at it. The idea is that your personal life has to be enjoyable. If it somehow isn’t then you need to change things.

Time Enough For Updates

There seems to never be enough time for everything, and while IE 7 and Firefox 2.0 came out, I don’t know very many people who prepared all that much for major browser releases. It seems like we are always trying to catch up. But The Holidays are a time for family and friends. While I do enjoy putting in long hours at work, I also understand that December is the month for relating to people and not computers. So while 2006 was a hard year for many of us, we are definitely better people because of it. Hardship is what makes life challenging, and while no one welcomes the stresses, we certainly enjoy life better when we learn to properly handle them. See you in 2007!