Is a Nest worth the money?

One year ago I bought a Nest thermostat. Out of the need to justify the $250 cost to my wife, I analyzed one year with and one year without the Nest. Below are my findings.

How to read this graphic:

  • Compared July 2011 thru July 2012 to July 2012 thru JUly 2013
  • I extracted the Kilowatt (KW) usage from each month
  • I used the mean from the average high and average low from each month then took the difference. So if the mean temperature in June 2013 was 91 and in 2012 it was 90 then the difference was “1”.
    • The temperature isn’t part of any equation. It’s just meant as an indicator of why the usage may have been different
  • The cost difference is based on the actual cost from month to month, so “$-81.75” means I paid that much less compared to the same month in the previous year.
  • The graphs speak for themselves. The values are less erratic in the Post Nest months … more predictable and less costly.

So I saved $326.58. Factor in the $250 cost, my actual one-year savings are $76.58 and every year after this will be pure savings.

Nest

Trial: Five $300 PSD > Child Themes

I generally spend most of my time consulting and designing custom sites, but not everyone needs that service. For the rest, a decent design conversion fits the bill.

There’s plenty of PSD to WP conversion companies out there, but none that tailor to child themes, specifically. So I’m giving this a test run.

The first five requests I get will be $300. Send the tweets out and let your friends know about this deal because it won’t last long.

What you get:

  • A custom Hybrid child theme
  • One home page and one interior page
  • W3C Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict/CSS
  • IE 7+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome compatibility
  • SEO Code, Load Speed Optimization

In addition, I’ll be turning the designs around in one day each. Meaning, you’re likely to get your site the next day and, at most, five days later.

Interested?

Just visit the Contact page and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

How I Backup Everything

After my incident last week I was glad I’d just recently started backing everything up automatically. I figured it’d be a good tip to share. First of all, this is only for PC users, sorry.

backups-cartoon

Your best friend here is SyncToy. There’s lots of backup tools out there, but most aren’t free. If they are, then they probably aren’t any good. However, SyncToy is both free and awesome. So go download it.

A prerequisite to all of this is that you have another drive to backup to. You’ll likely want a large external hard drive (I’m using a 1TB drive) so that you leave yourself plenty of growing room. So let’s setup SyncToy to backup our drive.

Setting Up SyncToy

You could just backup your Documents folder or your Pictures, but if we’re gonna play it safe let’s just backup our entire C drive (or whichever your main drive is).

Create a New Folder Pair

Your Left Folder is going to be your regular drive with all your stuff on it (C drive). Your Right Folder is the backup (your external drive, probably).

Action

SyncToy gives you three options on how to backup.

  • Synchronize
  • Echo
  • Contribute

We don’t want to Synchronize files because if you ever accidentally deleted something it would be reflected on both drives. We want to save everything just in case.

Echo sends everything to the backup drive, but if you change a file or folder name on the original drive then those changes are reflected on both drives. This is an okay option, but again, I’d rather keep everything just in case. That’s why we’re doing this in the first place!

So, I’ve chosen Contribute as it just backs up everything. If you rename a file then you have the old name and the new name on the backup drive.

Scheduling Your Backup

I’d prefer to have everything backed up nightly, but you have the option to do whatever you want. However often you chose, here’s how to schedule on Vista or Windows 7. For other operating systems, use SyncToy’s help menu as this is just coped right from there anyway:

  1. From the Start menu, select All Programs – Accessories – System Tools – Task Scheduler.
  2. Select Create Basic Task in the Actions pane on the right.
  3. Add a Name and Description and select Next.
  4. Choose when you want the task to start and select Next.
  5. Choose date/times (if applicable) to run task and select Next.
  6. Choose Start a Program option and select Next.
  7. Select Browse and locate the SyncToyCmd.exe.
  8. Type -R in the Add Arguments textbox. -R all by itself will run all folder pairs that are active for run all. If you want to run just a single folder pair, add -R"My Pair" to the end of the command line.

Now you can sleep well. Of course, this is only one step. What if your office caught fire and your computer and backup drive were destroyed. You probably won’t ever face that problem, but you’d want to look into remote backups to play it safe. But at least taking this step is much safer than you were before!

Backups, You Better Have ‘Em

I‘m sitting on my office floor right now because I just finished installing a new hard drive and I’m waiting for Windows to reinstall.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that when I booted up my computer I was getting a message that one of my two hard drives had failed, but everything was still working fine so I did about five minutes of research and gave up.

Then I came home from Thanksgiving to a DOS screen that told me that no bootable drive could be found. It ran some tests and eventually worked. But just about anytime I left the room I came back to the error message and it became increasingly more difficult to boot up. Then it just wouldn’t boot at all.

So, I went and bought a new drive today (Windows just finished installing, so I’ll wrap this up soon) and I’m back in business.

Thankfully on Black Friday I noticed Target was selling 1TB external hard drives for $59.99 (that’s crazy!) so I got one and as soon as I got home started backing up all my data. I already have another external HD, but it was about to max out.

In the past I haven’t been so fortunate to have all my data backed up, but I made a concerted effort to backup everything this past year and it certainly paid off.

Make sure you’re backing up your computer and your website. It’s not a lesson worth learning the hard way.

Great Photography, If I Must Say So Myself

Patrick DalyLast week I met up with an awesome photographer. I wanted some professional head shots — something I hadn’t been able to achieve with a web cam or a camera timer.

Jared Hernandez has been a friend of mine for a while and I’ve been watching him improve his photography for years now and it’s pretty incredible how great he is now. I mean, just look at this picture — I don’t really look that good. Well, maybe I do 😉

Anyway, posing for pictures isn’t that fun, but Jared did a great job and I wanted to share them with you.

Develop Daly, Version 10

I‘m pleased to announce a site re-design (RSS readers, go check it out). The previous version was fairly similar. The homepage is nearly identical, but there’s a few differences. The major change is behind the scenes…

I’ve fallen in love with Hybrid, a theme framework. Building child themes for Hybrid is easy to do and easy to maintain. The whole idea of child themes is just a wonderful advancement in the WordPress world.

FontsFonts
My favorite improvement is the typography. Overall the fonts are more consistent, but on top of that I’m taking advantage of @font-face which allows you to embed fonts into the CSS. Its not perfect in all browsers (most noticeably Chrome, which won’t work by default). Firefox does the best job rendering the font.


PortfolioPortfolio
The portfolio page makes room for more items. The previous version listed them in one column which eventually would have made for a pretty long page. Now they’re listed in three columns and more friendly with a thumbnail, link to an overview of the project and a link to the site itself.


ThemesThemes
The final major change I made is that I’ve finally got a place to list my WordPress themes. They’ve always been accessible somewhere, but they weren’t always easy to find.

A Magical Musical Journey With Darcy

darcy-banner

A couple months back I launched the new Darcy site. And for those of you who haven’t heard of Darcy yet, this is for you!

Not only are Darcy my friends, but they happen to be incredible musicians, songwriters, and performers in addition to being really great guys.

The whole world needs to hear them. There’s something indescribably unique about their music. You’ll know what I mean when you listen to their songs.

Check them out at http://darcyband.com/.

And The Winner Is…

trophySo this month I gave non-profits the opportunity to apply for a free website.

I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to pick just one organization. The goals for all of the applicants’ organizations were worthy & respectable.

But I did pick one…

The winner is: Champions of Hope in Dallas, TX

To all of the other applicants, I thank you for taking the time to do what you do. I would love to offer a free website every year, so if you’re still on the hunt for a web designer in 2010, come on back!

Champions of Hope will receive a custom designed web site & free hosting for one year (if needed).

Desperately Need A Website?

If you applied (or even if you didn’t), I would love to still help out in some way.

For non-profits only, I’m offering a 40% discount. A typical, custom-designed website costs $2,500. At 40% off you’ll pay $1,500.

To Other Designers & Developers

I have many applications for organizations in need of help. If you could spare some of your time, these non-profits would be incredibly grateful to have new and/or improved web sites.

Comment here or contact me through my website.