Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How to revolutionize the way you backup your data

Free house

I always struggled with backups. I manually used to copy my data all over the place, and the only automated backup technique I implemented on a Mac was Time


Machine. But that had positives (was natvely built in and supported by the OS and more importantly, when doing a bare-metal restore), and negatives (I didn't always trust it, it requires more disk space than what you're backup up and it is physically next to your device; a fire would take both out).


And of course, it isn't cross-platform. Not an issue in my household, but it might be in yours.



I have "talked" about Dropbox before, but its too expensive when you're planning to backup 500GB or so of data (yes, my pics and music is that big). I always struggled with what to use, and then came across two excellent services; Mozy.Com and CrashPlan. I ended up using CrashPlan primarily because

  1. it supports machine to machine backups (you don't need to buy the cloud service)
  2. its cheaper when you have multiple systems


I've got it seutp and am banging away at cloud and machine-to-machine backups. Lets see how it goes! But so far, very impressed with the tech and the concept.


OS X Lion

Overview callout osx

I downloaded and installed Lion from the Apple App Store. Grrr.



Definitely not going to tell you anything you don't already know or can't read from other sites. Just some thoughts;


  1. Having a 4GB download sounds like a brilliant idea, until you realise you live in a country with shit broadband. Advice: copy the installer from the Applications folder to somewhere else after you've made the big investment
  2. One of the least touted features of Lion is the Recovery Partition. Its excellent, and a welcome addition
  3. Augmenting the above is the ability now to encrypt the entire OS file system using FileVault.
  4. The natural gestures, LaunchPad (for iTards) and Mission Control are gimmicky. I've left them on, but don't think its anything wonderful.
  5. The Apple ID is now quite pervasive in the OS; you link it to your user account, you assign encryption recovery keys to them etc, all pointing toward more powerful user and identity management across devices


Overall, on the surface, it feels like a maintenance release rather than a massive shift. But fundamental changes that improve security and manageability are never bad things. We'll just have to see how the big download concept works when you're not in the US or Europe.