Setting up Google Drive Sync to automatically update from PC to Google Cloud

Screens

I cannot find a built in method for automated syncing from your local machine to your Google drive from within the Google drive app itself.  Here is the process I go through on every machine that I would like to have access to my personal docs.

I use SyncToy 2.1 along with the Google Drive app.

Note: I place commands between tick marks (‘).  Do not include the tick mark or the preceding or trailing white spaces when entering the commands listed here.  Keep in mind that this does not apply to Quote marks (“).  Quote marks must be entered as shown.

  • Install the Google drive app.
  • It will create a folder on your machine called Google Drive.
  • Create the structure you want by creating your folder structure on the Google drive site.
  • Let it download your changes from the cloud.
  • Check the Google drive folder to insure that the structure is as you want it.  By default, on windows 8, this will be installed to “C:\users\username\Google Drive”
  • Download SyncToy 2.1 from the MS site.
  • Install SyncToy.
  • Execute SyncToy.
  • Create a new folder pair.
  • Add your left folder as the folder you wish updated from your local machine.
  • Add your right folder as the folder you wish to update to on Google Drive.
  • Synchronize: This is what I use for most syncs.  It will not delete files either direction, and will make sure that all files exist in both locations.
  • Echo: It will copy everything from the left to the right.  Deletes and renames on the left will also get pushed.  This is great for keeping a repository up to date from only one machine.  Can be viewed as a method for keeping an online backup available.  Do not use if you have multiple machines connecting to the same folder as each time you set this up it will update with the folder on the current local machine and will delete anything on Google drive that does not exist locally.
  • Contribute: This is a repository selection.  It will handle multiple local machines copying from left to right.  Does not process any deletes on the right.  Will ensure that your Google Drive folder contains everything from contributing machines.  You will have to manually delete anything on Google Drive that you don’t want any more.

I’ll be using the ‘Contribute option’ for this process.  I use multiple machines for personal work and want my Google drive to have a copy of everything I store locally that is personal.

So I set up:

  • Left Folder: \mydocs\personal
  • Right Folder: \googledocs\personal\docs
  • Contribute
  • Name your folder pair and preview.  It will show you what it is planning on doing. Watch specifically for Delete or Rename items.
  • If everything looks as you expect it, hit run.

You can make as many of these folder pairs as you would like.  If this is on a work computer, make sure you review your Data Management/Classification Policy.  I keep my personal files and work files separate on all machines so I won’t be going into any details on this.

If everything goes as expected and you do not want to automate the sync, than you can finish here.  If you would like to automate the process, keep going.

Note:  If you are going on to automate the sync process, make sure that you check the active status of your pairs by:

  • Open the SyncToy interface.
  • Click on ‘All Folder Pairs’ in the left bar.
  • Verify that each Active box that you wish automated is checked.

To automate this we need to use the “CMD exe” that comes with SyncToy.  If you selected defaults during the SyncToy installation:

  • It is located at either:
    • “C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe”
    • “C:\Program Files(x86)\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe”.
  • Verify this location before proceeding.

Open up a CMD window.  You can do this by:

  • Hit the Windows Key and R simultaneously.  In the box that pops up, type in ‘ cmd ‘ and hit ok.
  • Type in ”C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe” or “C:\Program Files(x86)\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe” into the cmd window and hit enter.
  • If all is correct you will receive a few lines of help regarding the switches the SynToyCmd.exe will accept.

Now, assuming that everything went correctly in the above step, Type the following into the cmd box:

  •  “C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe” -R

If the sync worked correctly, you will see output indicating how much and what was transferred.  Right now I am dropping the results.  I may come back later and capture this in an email or event log.

If that went as expected, then it is time to create our task and tie it to a trigger.  I would love if Windows would implement something like the Linux inotify.  But as I have found no direct way to receive this sort of notification on folder change to cause a trigger, we are stuck attaching to a simple datetime.

  • Open up your task scheduler.  This is different based on version of Windows.  For XP or 2003 and prior, just hit start, run and type tasks.  That will bring it up.
  • For windows 7/2008 and later, open explorer, right click computer then click manage.  It will be one of the top items.  (For those who want to create an easier way to get this, just pop up an mmc console, hit Ctrl-M and add the Task Scheduler then save it wherever you would like.  Might be helpful if you would like to configure the task on several machines at the same time.)
  • Right click on your ‘Task Scheduler Library’ and create a new task.
  • Name it.
  • Select how often you want it to run.
  • Select your recurrence.
  • Select ‘Start a program’.
  • In ‘Program/Script’ enter: “C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe”
  • In ‘Arguments’ enter ‘ -R ‘
  • Open the property box when you are done.
  • Select only run when logged on.
  • Close the properties window.

I selected only run while logged on because I am using this as a cloud repository.  If you would like to use the Synchronize option, it may make sense to run this even when the machine is not logged on.

So to perform a test of our new task:

  • Find your task in the scheduler window.  If you closed it, re-open it.
  • If you cannot find your task make sure to click the arrow next to ‘Task Scheduler’ and then click on ‘Task Scheduler Library’.  It should be in the window.
  • Right click and Run.
  • You should be able to tell if it worked successfully by watching the ‘ cmd ’ box that pops up.
  • After you verify, you should be all set.  Just keep an eye on it for a few days.

I like this to run every couple of hours.  If you would like to as well:

  • Right click on the task.
  • Select Properties.
  • In the triggers window select the Daily Trigger and click Edit.
  • Under the advanced section you will see ‘Repeat task every’.
  • Since we have a recurrence of the task running every day, make sure the ‘For a Duration of:’ is set to 1 day.  What this means is that the task will:
    • Start at a specific Date/Time.
    • The ‘Repeat Every’ will run the task once an hour for 1 day.
    • At which point the task will Start again, because we set it to recur every 1 day.
  •  Enter your preference and hit ‘Ok’.

 

Micah Norman

Extracting Notes from Kindle using grep and Notepad++

Copy and paste notes from Kindle site into Notepad++

(Normal) Replace ‘Add a note’ with Null

(Normal) Replace ‘• Delete this highlight’ with Null

(RegEx) Replace ‘Read more at location .*’ with Null

(Normal) Find ‘Last annotated’ and cleanup around title.

Add ———————– after title to make finding it easy while scanning

(RegEx) Find ‘\n\r’ and replace with Null.

Micah Norman

Chart 1: Opinion Change over New Information

I enjoy charts.  I like the associations of XY scatter plots or even a brightly colored Pie Chart.  They help me to deduce correlation and causation for different variables without the interruption of all that minutia flying around in the real world.  They don’t care about my personal opinion or feelings.  Done correctly, they simply show how it is.  Life becomes much simpler when you remove the philosophical ‘aught’ from the equation.

I recently read a book called ‘How to be Interesting in 10 simple steps’ by Jessica Hagy.  In it, she creates quite a few graphs showing how to be an interesting person.  This seemed like a lot of fun so I have chosen to copy her idea.  Some of the charts I’ll be putting here have been inspired by her book.

I believe that with the addition of new information, opinions and beliefs should change.  Even if it is simply to a more detailed state.  I’m not saying that information will turn a Democrat  into a Republican, or force a Ford lover to run out and buy GMC, but only that with additional information, more detailed and complex opinions emerge.  Those who refuse to change their opinion in the face of new information are ‘Extremists’.  Those who change their opinion without sufficient new information are ‘Wafflers’.  I find fault with both of these groups.

I am often shocked by the change of opinion I have on one subject when learning about another.  For example, the two years I spent in high school learning Spanish taught me more about the construction of English than many of my English classes combined.  This exemplifies to me the advantage of knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge.  It does not have to be a subject that will get you paid more or impress your friends.  Sometimes, knowledge simply to know is completely worth it.

As information changes, so should Opinions even if it is just a more accurate belief than existed before.

As information changes, so should Opinions even if it is just a more accurate belief than existed before.

 

Export your Twitter Followers to text and MSSQL Database

I would like a better Idea of who is joining and who is leaving my twitter feed.  The apps I have found are just short of horrendous.

Note: Thjs works for me based on the twitter feeds that I follow and follow me.  There is a holy grail expression that says all lines not starting with @, however I am having difficulty getting this to work in Notepad++.  Even after this, there are still about 5 lines I have to clean up.  This is a dirty way to do it, and hopefully Ill find a better way as I go.

In the meantime, until an app that actually works is released, below is the process I take to clean up the list.  I use notepad++ for this.  Note that the search functionality has three types, all that are used.  If you select the wrong type it will error out or give unexpected results.

This is something I am doing on the fly.  I may have typo’s or a not completely efficient system.  I do this at least once a week and will update this process as I go.

Note that items within the ‘ ‘ are the actual terms.  Do not include the ‘ in the actual field.

Note that when copying the terms from this page, do not inadvertently include the blank space prior to or after the ‘.  This will effect the results of RegEx expressions.

Copy paste follower list from twitter.com into notepad++.  Make sure to get the entire list.

Notepad++ (RegEx) Find all in current document ‘@.*’ .  Select and copy all results to New tab

(RegEx) Find/replace ‘.*:’ with null
(Extended)  Find ‘ ? ‘ Replace with \n \t

(RegEx) Find ‘ .*[^\r][\n] ‘ Replace with Null

(RegEx) Find ‘ \t ‘ Replace with Null

(Normal) search ‘Protected account’ and ‘Verified Account’  replace with null

For some cleanup.

(RegEx) Find ‘ \n[^@]([A-Z][a-z].*) ‘ Replace with Null

(RegEx) Find ‘ \n\s[^@]([A-Z][a-z].*) ‘ Replace with Null.

(RegEx) Find all in current document ‘ @ *. ‘ and copy to new doc.

(RegEx) Find ‘  .*:  ‘ and replace with Null.

Manual Cleanup

If you are planning on putting this into a database by turning it into an Importable CSV, I reccomend running the following on the results which should simply be a list of all of your followers starting with potentially a space or two and then the @ symbol:

  • (RegEx) Find ‘ ^ .* @ ‘ replace with ‘ <Date Format of your choice>, @ ‘ For instance I put the following in the replace field, ‘ 5-15-2013, @ ‘.

After running through this process you should have a clean import file.  Take a quick look through the file just to be certain.

Once I have verified it is clean I use Microsoft SQL Import utility to do a quick import of my csv file into a database.  I created a database named ‘Social’ with a table named ‘Twitter’.  The table has only two fields at the moment.

  • Date – datetime
  • User – varchar[50]

You can let the import utility create your table for you the first time you run it.  After selecting the imput file, be certain to change the name of the fields and the type of field under the advanced section.  The User field time is fine with the default.  Be sure though to change the Date field from the default varchar to Date.

After configureing the input, be sure to name your table.

All subsequent times you run this, be sure to name your fields in a consistent manner and select the correct variable type.  When you get to the table selection field it will default to creating a new table.  Be certain to click on the table name and select the table you created in the first import.  By default, when you select an existing table, it should change the import type to append.  It doesn’t hurt to hit the ‘Edit Mappings’ button on this just to be certain.

So far, just because I wanted to see who left me, I wrote a quick and dirty query.  Ill create a more advanced view with appropriate parameters in an upcoming session.  For the time being, this is the query I use to see:

  • Who I lost

use <databasename>

select *
from Followers
where Date = ‘2013-05-13’
and [User] not in (select [user] from followers where Date = ‘2013-05-15’)

  • Who I gained

use <databasename>

select * 
from Followers
where Date = ‘2013-05-15’
and [User] not in (select [user] from followers where Date = ‘2013-05-13’)

The above queries allow you to compare Date 1 with Date 2.  This should be used only if you have two single dates to compare.  If like me, you want to know who left or who gained over a time period, these queries will help.

  • Who I lost

use <databasename>

select distinct([User])
from Followers
where Date between ‘2013-05-13’ and ‘2013-05-15’
and [User] not in (select [user] from followers where Date = ‘2013-05-16’)

  • Who I gained

use <databasename>

select distinct([User])
from Followers
where Date = ‘2013-05-16’
and [User] not in (select [user] from followers where Date between ‘2013-05-13’ and ‘2013-05-15’)

Basically the first query says, “Make a list of all unique items which have an associated date from date1 to date2.  Then make another list of users with a date from date2(+1 day).  Then show me a list of all users from the first list who do not have a corresponding entry in the second list.”  More simply, “If an entry exists in the between dates, but does not exist in the current date, then the follower has left.”

(If I can figure out the Not Operator in Notepad++, this should cover everything I am looking to do in one step .*[@].*  Ill look at this next time I do this.)

 

Micah Norman

Daily Prompt: I Want to Know What Love Is

Today’s Daily prompt is very vague.  It asks, “Is there a single idea or definition that runs through all the varieties of “love””

I think there must be.  The Wikipedia article on love discusses four forms of love.

  • Kinship
  • Friendship
  • Romantic
  • Self-Emptying (Divine)

I did not see anything that addresses a love of ‘Objects or Concepts’ aside from a very broad interpretation of ‘Self-Emptying’.  Because I believe this type of love exists, I am going to add it to the list of 4.  Ironically, because this new form is the least emotional type of love, I will use it for most of the discussion below.  So we now have:

  • Kinship
  • Friendship
  • Romantic
  • Self-Emptying (Divine)
  • Concepto-entity

From these 5 categories of love, many English words are derived.  From the top of my head I can think of Romance, Infatuation, Maternal/Paternal, Patriotism, Brotherly/Sisterly and Religious.  This makes these English words hierarchical, each word is a member of a set that describes love.  This can only be true if there also exists a set that describes all love.  Meaning that there must be a unifying theme.  I am going to explore what those unifying themes may be.

From this point forward I am going to ‘wing it’ using no external resources; only my own brain.

I accept that love is not an absolute, it is a continuum.  This is what I see in my head as that continuum.

Firstcontinuum

 

The most obvious commonality that jumps out is ‘relationship’.  For us to love, we must have a connection to the thing or person being loved.  This appears to be a truism as I cannot imagine loving something I am unfamiliar with.  So the first requirement for our set is ‘relationship’ requiring ‘familiarity’.

Relationship

Can we love things that we are indifferent to?  I am a technologist.  I have a slight interest in Marketing.  Could it be said that I love Marketing.  I think the answer is an obvious ‘No’.  While I may love some people who are accountants, I can say I certainly do not love accounting.  In fact, I may hate it.  As a Technologist, there certainly are components I love.  I am going to add the requirement of ‘Strong to Very strong Positive Interest regarding the object or person’ as a requirement to love.

Interest

There still seems to be something missing.  I have a relationship with my television.  When I need to just veg out and dull my mind, it is there.  When I hear about an interesting new show that may challenge the tired and old ‘Hero’s quest’ story line, it never denies me.  I am familiar with it, I have a relationship with it and I have an interest in the content it presents.  Do I love it?  Absolutely not.

There is an attachment component that must exist for love.  It is not as simple as, “My life would be worse off without you/it”.  My life would be worse off without my TV, the suit I just bought, my coffee table, or my guitar.  Yet I don’t love these things.  Simple attachment can fade.  I am attached to my new messenger bag.  In time however, I will likely replace it.  This is a special attachment of some kind.  Perhaps it is a super set of other properties.

My baseball cards, I might say I love.  They, as a set, are unique to me.  I invested a good deal of time in my youth cataloging and arranging them.  I traded them and played games of chance with them.  When I lost, I was hurt.  When I won, I was ecstatic.  Are these the sub-components of this special form of ‘Attachment’?  ‘Uniqueness’ (as a set and specific to me) and ‘Investiture’ of ‘Time’, ’Treasure’ or ‘Talent’?

I think I have something here.  But what do I call attachment that is made up of ‘personal uniqueness’ and ‘Investiture of some personal limited resource’?  I cannot think of a word at the moment.  I’m going to call it, ‘Uniqueness Infused Attachment’.

How do we add this component to the requirements of the ‘Love Continuum’?  Uniqueness and Attachment are not words to be qualified as negative or positive.  Can we qualify Investment?  If I gamble and loose, I think that would be a negative investment.  If I gamble and win, that would be a positive investment. What is the absolute value though?  If I have my set of 1000 baseball cards and gambled 100 and lost, there was still the absolute investment into the set of cards.  Would I value 900 baseball cards collected over the course of my youth as less valuable than 1100 baseball cards?  Monetarily, of course this is a true statement, but in terms of my recently invented ‘Uniqueness Infused Attachment’ is it a true statement?  I say not.  So I am placing this as an unqualified requirement on the set of all things I love along with familiarity.

Uniqeness

The way my continuum looks right now, there is no sense of where love begins and ends.  Up to this point, I have been running under the assumption that there is some point near the right side of the chart where we say love begins.

LoveQuadrant

Somewhere, around the beginning of the yellow portion of continuum is where love begins.  This may be a variable area which depends on our moods, emotional state, current levels of dopamine, etc.  All we can know for sure is that the exact point is indefinable.  Like the ancient Greek concept of Suartes (sp?) (I said I would use no external resources and I do not remember the spelling) which claims that when creating a ‘pile’ of pebbles, there is not a point at which the group of rocks goes from not being a pile to being a pile*.  It is a soft boundary.

There is one more question I want to ask and potentially answer.  Do we only love those things on the right side of the continuum?  Do we love things of the left side?  It seems that love requires an extreme emotional response.  Does this have to be a positive emotion?  Does the day love the night?  Does good love evil?  Do any of these things have meaning without their counterpart?  I don’t think so.  What is day without the night?  If there were no night, would we even countenance the day?  If there were no evil, who would cheer for good.  I think this continuum is less linear than I had initially envisioned.  Perhaps the top and bottom half are different kinds of love, or love for different reasons.  It however, must exist**.

antilove

 

*I believe I am using the term correctly.  This is based off my memory which is not always 100%.  Let me know if I got this wrong.

** I am exhausted and fading fast.  Sorry for the quality of the last graphic.  I took some shortcuts to save some time and instead of wrapping the continuum, I just created another circle and added it.

 

Micah Norman

My Personal Branding Story: Introduction and Why

A book I am the process of reading called “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi makes the assertion that “People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of their lives” and “as long as we respond predictably to what feels good and what feels bad, it is easy for others to exploit our preferences for their own ends.”  I find both of these statements if true to be truly transformative.  Recently, a friend of mine posted to twitter her realization that she had become so comfortable with the drive to work that she barely even noticed it any more.  I have noticed the same effect in my life so I began researching the causes of this.  What happens to us when we ‘Space Out’?  I have always assumed that when a task becomes automated we are able to spend our cognitive energies on other things.  In the book ‘Incognito: The Secret Lives of our Brain” the author David Eagleman states, “awareness of your surroundings occurs only when sensory inputs violate expectations”.  I have read other books that seem to indicate that our conscious does not start to ‘spend our cognitive energies on other things’ but in fact goes below the surface until some else requires its input.  I found this quite scary.  My belief that our consciousnesses has 80 some odd years worth of value and then blinks out of existence could not be resolved with the realization that the majority of that time would be spent below the surface waiting for something requiring its intervention.  Since reading “Incognito” I have set alarms and invented triggers to force self awareness on things that in the past I would consider beneath notice.  Specific shades of red, certain words and an absolutely annoying application that pop’s up an alarm randomly on my work computer became triggers for forced initiation of self awareness.

All of this is leading somewhere, I promise.  With these fears in mind and my haphazard attempt at resolution I began asking myself “Why am I the person that I am?”  Why do I enjoy boxing when most people react negatively to being hit in the face?  People exaggerate how much it hurts, but that does not mean its not still somewhat painful.  Why do I love long conversations with knowledgeable people on the concepts of Quantum Physics?  I am not a Physicist.  Therefore it is quite likely that I could spend the rest of my life with zero knowledge on the subject of Solar Fusion and not have the slightest negative impact.  Yet I expend what is a biologically and cognitively a huge amount of energy on stuff that doesn’t matter in my life.  Now certainly every once in a while something pops up in my extracurriculars that becomes applicable.  The concept of ‘Opportunity Cost’ in Economics for instance.  Yet when I began my Economics class from Wharton via Coursera, I had no expectation that this would occur and only knew that it was going to cost me up to 12 hours per week.  So I asked a simple, “Why?”  After a good deal of soul searching, I realized that I had no means to answer this question, but I figured out who did;  Western Capitalism!

Businesses in many cases integrate thousands of people across disparate fields of study.  They do an amazing job at aligning and enabling every individual in the organization to move towards the same goal.  How do they do this?  It seems logical to assume that Finance wants to get costs as low as possible, Executives want to control messages, Marketing wants free reign to push the business, IT wants all the cash in the world to experiment with toys after the business needs have been answered.  How is it that these organizations do not Spaghettify*  under the constant pressures pulling them in multiple different directions at the same time.  These were the same questions I was trying to answer for myself.  It seems that business has the answer.  ‘Policy Documents’, ‘Mission Statements’, ‘Vision Statements’ and a host of other control mechanisms.  These items tell everyone in the organization how to answer questions at different levels of abstraction and specification.   The ‘Procedure Document‘ might tell you how to tag a file for backup, but why back it up?  This is answered in the ‘Guidelines Document‘.  The ‘Guidelines Document’ determines its requirements from a ‘Standards Document‘ and our ‘Standards Document’ is an outgrowth the ‘Policy Document‘.  None of these things matter without a good ‘Mission Statement‘ to give us the details and measures the company cares about.  Without a ‘Vision Statement‘, outlining the reason for the company’s existence, how can you know anything?

I think this holds some answers for me.  I have decided to go through the process of working these items out for my life.  While it is possible that I will go through this process and realize in the end that it is pointless, I seriously doubt I will be less complex** for having done it. I will be blogging the process.  As i said in my Inaugural Post, this is mainly so I can keep my thoughts in order through the process.  It however is possible that like the ‘Opportunity Cost’ knowledge from my Economics class, I will stumble upon something important and useful for my life and others lives.

In the original posting I forgot to mention that as part of this process I am going to learn enough about logo theory and science to design one of my own.  I am totally going to have capes made!

This word Spaghettify comes from the best possible end of life scenario.  If you are interested in Black Holes, check this article out.  Also check out ‘Death by Black Hole and other Cosmic Quandaries  by Neil deGrasse Tyson  I promise it is worth it

** I use the term complex as it is a primary point made in the book ‘Flow’.  The author claims that Complexity should be a primary goal in our lives.  Two quotes he makes on the subject, “Complexity requires investing psychic energy in goals that are new, that are relatively challenging.” and “more complex because it involves greater challenges, and demands greater skills”.

 

 

Micah Norman

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