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.




PogoPlug: Create your Personal Cloud

Just ordered my pogoplug. Cloud technology is hitting the market in a big kind of way. Gone are the days of copying things over to a USB key and using the “sneaker” network (walking your files over from one computer to the next) to get your files to a new location. Most people have smart phones or a laptop and a desktop or a computer at home and one at the office, and it has always been difficult to get files and media back and forth from multiple devices. I use two services that are quite handy for sharing files. Dropbox, is a must for anyone with an iPhone or Android smartphone. You get 2 gigs for free or upgrade to one of their premium packages for a fee. You can seamlessly take files from your Mac or PC and save them to a dropbox folder in Finder or Windows Explorer, they will magically appear on your smartphone. The reverse is also possible. Take a photo on your phone and upload it to dropbox, et voila. The other one I use is WeTransfer. Again, you get the defacto 2gigs for free. This service is best for transferring files between people. If you have a 500mb powerpoint presentation that you need to share, go to WeTransfer, upload the file and send your partner a link to the download. Continue reading