Personal Disaster Recovery and Continuity

It is just my wife and I, no kids. I am the one that handles many of the household details. Read: pay the bills, etcetera. I was thinking, “what if anything happened to me? Would my wife know that I have a life insurance policy here or there?” Probably not. I decided to put something together to help her should something bad happen to me. Some may think it is a bit on the morbid side to think about death, but it’s something that happens. I just don’t want it to be harder on my wife, family, friends, than it needs to be.

I bought a USB drive. A pretty beefy one, 64gb capacity. I’m going to use it for a few other things, not just this little project. I then looked into Truecrypt. I’ve used it before. It’s an open source encryption tool that’s also easy to use. The information I’m going to store absolutely needs to be encrypted. It’s going to have some pretty sensitive data on it. I won’t go into detail about how to use Truecrypt, you can go to their website for that information. I created an encrypted section of the drive.

Once  the encrypted area was in place I created a text file that lists all the accounts she could possibly need. As I get bills I set them aside in order to grab the pertinent information from them. The text file includes account, policy and phone numbers for insurance, 401k, checking/savings, credit cards, bills, and other online accounts. It also lists usernames and passwords to some of those online resources.  At some point I’ll put my will there and maybe a video or two. As things change, I’ll update the text file as needed.

I have instructions for using truecrypt printed off (covering mac or windows) which I will put into an envelope. I’ll store the password separately from the instructions and the usb drive. I’ll eventually need to give the instructions, password and usb drive to entrusted individuals with very clear instructions. I am still contemplating how to do this. My fear is, what happens if the person I entrust has something happen to them? Or, they lose the stuff. That would be a problem. Maybe a law firm is in order.

My hope is that my wife won’t need to dig through papers for required information. I also want to prevent the discovery some time down the road, “oh, look at this! I found a life insurance policy of Sean’s”. It’s all in one place. The important stuff. A lot of the username & password info will allow her to forego any hassle verifying my death or her having to prove her relationship to me. She’ll be able to simply log in as me and take care of business.

Now remember, when I go, I want an Irish wake. There better be whiskey and song!

Update WordPress to 331

Man it has been some time since I updated the version of the site. You have to do that or expect to get spammed/hacked.

The tricky thing with my site is that I do everything via ssh and I lock down ftp except to one home directory.  Essentially I

  1. download the WordPress zip file to my local machine
  2. unzip
  3. upload to home directory via sftp
  4. export wordpress entries to xml, which gets me all my posts, comments, pages, and categories in case I hose everything
  5. then backup: themes, index.php, uploads, plugins
  6. cp -R the contents of the new ‘wordpress’ directory to the existing one
  7. jump to browser and go to /wp-admin/update.php
  8. message saying wordpress is updated, prompts me to update database
  9. update database
  10. done

I then delete my – themes, plugins, uploads, index.php directories and file since all looks good.

Now I’ll do the same method to update the plugins.

Yes, it’s a pain in the butt to do this all. Right. I could set it  all up so that I can run the auto feature of wordpress, but I don’t want to open it up – so I sacrifice.

CyanogenMod Update to HTC Incredible-HowTo


CyanogenMod has breached 1M users. At this time, that’s 1 out of 200 android users are using CyanogenMod.

So what exactly is CyanogenMod. From the website:

CyanogenMod is an aftermarket firmware for a number of cell phones based on the open-source Android operating system. It offers features not found in the official Android based firmwares of vendors of these cell phones.

Cool, right?

I have a HTC Droid Incredible. An older phone, but I like the form factor. I don’t like the big bricks out there nowadays. I don’t watch Netflix on my phone, so the screen size is just fine for me.

I decided to check out CyanogenMod. This is how I did it*.

  1. *Download Astro File Manager
  2. Once Astro is installed, back up all apps. I had done a factory reset so my apps were minimal. I also did not backup other things like images, texts, etc, which you can also do via Astro.
  3. Rooted my phone using UnRevokd method for my phone. I use OSX so it was VERY easy.
  4. Install ROM Manager
  5. Open ROM Manager and backup current rom

Then I followed instructions from CyanogenMod’s wiki page for my phone as folllows:

 

  1. Launch RomManager.
  2. Optional: Choose the first option in the app, Flash ClockworkMod Recovery to update to the latest version.

  3. Select the Download ROM option from the main menu in the ROM Manager.
  4. Select the CyanogenMod option, and then choose the latest version of CyanogenMod from the menu.
  5. Optional: When you select the latest version of CyanogenMod, check the Google Apps* option.

  6. Once the ROM is finished downloading, it asks if you would like to Backup Existing ROM and Wipe Data and Cache.
  7. If Superuser prompts for root permissions check to Remember and then Allow.
  8. The HTC Incredible will now reboot into the recovery, wipe data and cache, and then install CyanogenMod. When it’s finished installing it will reboot into CyanogenMod.

I could not get the download to come through ROM Manager due to the zip being corrupted.

I finally got the download to go via ROM Manager. It took me several times. Kept giving me timeout error or corrupted zip. I just didn’t let my phone dim or timeout, kept it up while the download took place. Something to consider. Otherwise go ‘Recovery’ route: http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/wiki/HTC_Incredible:_Full_Update_Guide

At this point my phone rebooted, got the CyanogenMod splash screen but continued into a loop. It never got into the OS. I was posting updates on Google+ so a follower told me to check this: http://wiki.cyanogenmod.com/wiki/Troubleshooting (Thanks to Tony Love)

So I had to proceed with the following instructions found here and outlined as follows (i used ClockworkModRecovery):

  1. Pull the battery from the device.
  2. Boot into the custom recovery image. Refer to this article on more info on that.
  3. Download the latest version of CyanogenMod on the computer.
    Optional: Download the Google Apps for the device.
  4. Mount the device into USB storage mode:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery: select mounts and storage » mount USB storage
  5. Copy the CyanogenMod update.zip to the root of the SD card
  6. Unmount USB storage mode:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery: select Unmount
  7. Wipe userdata:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery: select wipe data/factory reset
  8. Flash CyanogenMod:
    • ClockworkMod Recovery: select install zip from sdcard » choose zip from sdcard and select the CyanogenMod update.zip
  9. Reboot the device and everything should be fine.

 

Of course there was a bad zip. So I had to redownload the file to my computer, rename it ‘update.zip’, transfer it to root of sd card on phone, and then repeat the instructions above. I eventually got it running!!

Confidence will prevail. As long as you have ClockworkModRecovery installed, you should always be able to revert to factory reset. YAY!

    *Disclaimer – take responsibility for your actions. While I outlined what I did, you have to make sure your backup is good and that making this change to CyanogenMod does contain some risk of bricking your phone. No guts, no glory, but don’t blame someone else.

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    Thank you Steve Jobs




    “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs, at a Stanford University commencement ceremony in 2005.

    Steve Jobs 1995-2011