BackBlaze Review

I’ve been toying with the idea of backing my PC up to “the cloud” for some time now. I’ve used Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive and other cloud based storage before, but what I really want/need is a proper backup.

By that I mean something that I don’t need to think about and just does it’s job. I’m not looking for the ability to sync data across devices (I can use Google / Dropbox / OneDrive for that. All I need is reliable (ideally off-site) backup.

A few years ago, I read the BackBlaze blog, “PetaBytes on a budget” and based on this, even toyed with the idea of setting up a similar service in the UK. This remained a pipe dream after I found that they were already planning to launch a UK service themselves.

Fast forward to now, I installed BackBlaze last week and subscribed to their “backup all you want” for $50 per year. Even with the pound at the current low, that’s less than £40 per year!backblaze

Although it took about 8 days to do the initial backup over fibre broadband, now it happily runs as a background service and I don’t have to think about it any more. I just wish that I’d done this sooner.

If I need to restore a file or folder, I can just download it or I can order a HDD or USB stick with my entire backup on it directly from BackBlaze.

Twilight, fl.ux and Light Dims

It’s widely accepted that bright lights, especially blue-tinged lights from tablets, smartphones and PCs are contributing to sleep deprivation. Articles such as “Bright Screens Could Delay Bedtime” in Scientific American and “Screen reading before bed can ruin your sleep” on all describe how screen reading late at night can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to poor health.

Twilight and fl.ux

I’m a bit of a screen junkie and I decided that I’d try to improve my own sleep patterns. I installed Twilight onto my Android phone and fl.ux onto my PC and laptop. These applications keep track of the local sunset times and add a red hue to the screen after sunset. I’m not 100% sure whether this has improved my sleep patterns yet, but it does serve as a useful prompt to switch my screen off when my eyelids start to droop! 😉

Light Dims

The other thing that annoys me at home is my alarm clock radio. It casts a bright green light across the bedroom and I can even see the brightness through closed eyelids. I’ve tried sticking Post-it notes over the display, but this isn’t ideal. To reduce the problem of night-time glare I ordered some “Light Dims” online. Despite coming from America, delivery was only $0.99 (£0.65) and the stickers arrived within a few days. I fitted a sticker over my alarm clock display and one on the TV LED in the bedroom. I’m pleased to say that they do exactly what the website says.

Light Dims

Night-time glare is much reduced, I’m looking forward to better sleep patterns 🙂

TFL’s new website coping well during #tubestrike

I recently read an article in ComputerWeekly describing how TFL had redesigned their website using HTML5 to optimise performance across multiple device types. I was interested to see how the new site was handling the likely increase in traffic due to the tube strike.

Prior to the HTML5 re-write the last major redevelopment of this site had been in 2007, well before the  proliferation of mobile devices, now used daily to check for travel updates or plan journeys. 75% of Londoners visit the TFL website regularly and there are 8 million unique visitors per month.

I was in London earlier this week so I,  along with millions of other commuters, wanted to keep up to date with the news of the tube strike. I, like many others, turned to my smartphone for answers. The site performed well on my Android phone, so I wondered whether the increase in traffic had caused any performance degradation.

At Trust IV we have developed an in-house application to test the performance of websites, we monitor performance for several hundred sites, each of which is categorised into a relevant business sector. TFL was already being monitored in our “travel” category. I was impressed to see that the website was the 3rd fastest travel site monitored today with a page response time of <1.2 seconds. The site developers should be pleased with themselves.

TFL_WPT report


Although occasional spikes in response times were observed (which is common when monitoring in this way); on the whole the site remained responsive throughout the day. Average response times appear no slower today than they were last week (the chart below shows response times in milliseconds).


If only more of the sites that I visit regularly performed as well as this.

Get in touch for more information about our “Test The Market” monitoring application and how it can give you insights into your own website performance and see how your performance compares with your competitors.


See more articles like this, and download the response time report at: