Backing up your life

When putting together a backup solution for all of your precious photos, documents and videos, there are two simple rules to keep in mind. Think of the worst possible scenario and plan for it and don’t keep all of your eggs in the same basket. Whether it be your house burning down, a power surge, flood, burglary… you need to be able to recover from an off site backup. You also need a local backup for quick recovery from your computer, and an external backup should said computer fry.

I use a hybrid solution. Cabonite, is a cloud based storage solution that runs in the background  on your Mac / PC desktop / Laptop and it updates any changed files from the initial backup that it finds on your computer. The initial backup takes a long time but it never interfered with my internet usage. If you’re sending 100 gigs up to the Carbonite servers, be prepared to wait a couple of weeks before the initial backup completes.

PogoPlug is a local based cloud storage device. That might sound counter intuitive but here’s how it works. You buy a PogoPlug and an external USB hard drive. You activate and configure the PogoPlug online at and install the utility on your desktop / laptop. You then configure a service called ‘Active Copy’ which allows you to specify a folder to actively copy over to the PogoPlug. An added bonus to the PogoPlug is that all of your files show up in either Windows Explorer on the PC or in Finder on the Mac seamlessly giving you access to your files regardless of whether you’re at home, in the office or on the road.

As for external local storage, I rely on Apple’s Time Machine to do all the heavy lifting. Time Machine can be setup for Mac or PC, takes only minutes to setup and then it just works. You can use any external hard drive as a Time Machine device on the Mac. It is recommended to use an Airport Extreme with Time Capsule for the PC, alternatively you could use Microsofts built in backup utility on Windows 7 with an external hard drive.

For some of you this might sound like over kill. But for those of you who have ever lost your data in the past, you know that it is better to be prepared than to have to start over from scratch. In a world where most of our productive lives have become digitized backups is no longer something to be put off. I’d be curious to hear what others are using as a backup solution.




37 Signals – Tim Ferriss on tolerable mediocrity, false idols, diversifying your identity, and the advice he gives startups – (37signals)

When 37signals began writing REWORK, author Tim Ferriss offered us helpful advice on the publishing world and book marketing. We’ve admired his lean writing style, focus on efficiency, and outsider-to-bestselling-author ascent for a while now. Recently, I sat down with him at The ACE Hotel in NYC to find out more about his views on the workplace and the advice he gives to startups.

TFDo you hate your job? Good. At least, you’re not bored with it. That’s how Tim Ferriss looks at it. According to Ferriss, feeling comfortable at your job can be a trap. “It’s worse to tolerate your job than to hate it because, if the pain is painful enough, you’ll make a change,” he says. “But if it’s tolerable mediocrity, and you’re like, ‘Well, you know it could be worse. At least I’m getting paid.’ Then you wind up in a job that is slowly killing your soul and you’re allowing that to happen. Comfort can be a very, very dangerous thing.”

Read the full article here

Automate Your Life Part 1: Consolidate and Synchronize Email, Contacts and Address Books

If you’re like me and you have multiple email addresses, calendars and contact lists, you’re probably looking for a way to consolidate and synchronize your data across multiple device. In the past, I used to configure multiple accounts in email clients such as Outlook or Apple Mail but this type of setup either forced me to rely on a dedicated ‘email machine’ or have me manually setup these accounts on different computers whether it be office, home or laptop. Gmail is a fantastic email client and I have recently come across some features that allow me to pipe multiple email addresses into one account, chose what email address I send a message from, and ‘label’ or categorize messages as they are received.

Types of email accounts:

  • POP3 – Old school, if you have a POP3 account setup on multiple computers and read a message on one, that same message will not show up as being read on the other computers. The same goes for sent and deleted items. There is no synergy between email clients in a POP3 setup.
  • IMAP – Solves many of the problems of POP3. Messages read on one computer show as being read on all computers. Sent / Deleted items are displayed on all email clients.
  • Exchange / ActiveSync – Includes all of the features of IMAP with the added bonus of being able to synchronize your contacts and calendar to your mobile device.

Gmail offers all three of these services, however, for my purposes Exchange with ActiveSync best serves my needs for mobile connectivity and IMAP for my desktop client. These will be the one that I discuss.

Some of the advantages of using gmail are:

  • Priority Inbox – gmail identifies which emails are important to you be analyzing messages that you have reply to most frequently.
  • Starred items – Anything messages that you need to get back to or follow up on can be starred quickly and put in a dedicated section.
  • Labels – By using filters you can label emails as the are delivered to your inbox for ‘on the fly’ organization.

I have registered my domain name, to work with google apps. Many hosting services all for this kind of configuration through ‘one click’ installs or you can set this up directly with google at You can also use the free gmail service in the same way shown below. Continue reading