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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I recently upgraded to Mac OS system 10.5 for one killer app. Time Machine is Apple's built-in backup program. You hook up a suitably massive storage device, and it backs up your computer -- your entire computer -- every hour. It keeps archived versions of everything on your computer for every hour in the day, then every day in the week, and then every week until it runs out of storage and starts deleting old archives.

Apple also makes a hard drive called a Time Capsule. It's also a wireless router. You install it, and now your laptop (we only have laptops) can back itself up wirelessly no matter what room of the house it's in. Our Time Capsule is 500GB but they make one that's a full terabyte.

Note that you can use Time Machine software with any backup device, including the ol' flash drives. But then you have to remember to hook them up to your laptop. The beauty of a router/hard drive is you don't have to do anything. The backups just happen.

Previously I was fitfully backing up my working directory to a couple of flash drives. But to restore my stuff would have involved rebuilding the system, finding all the application DVD's, and manually restoring all the preference files. That could take a day or two. With Time Machine, you just say, "Please restore my entire computer as of this date."

That's pretty good.

This Slate Article talks about what backup programs and devices are available for Windows.

There are also online services, such as Mozy and Carbonite. Offsite backup protects you from fire or theft. The problem is speed. It takes all day for a physically present device to back up your whole computer wirelessly the first time. A full backup over the Internet could take days. Also, if your internet service provider has set limits, even large ones, on your internet use, then an online backup service will put your into a higher use bracket.

But one way or another, idiot-proof backup has arrived. Might be worth setting up. We've lost two hard drives in the past two weeks. It's not fun to lose your data!

8 Comments:

Hello,

A humble request...

Do you, by any chance, happen to know who Secret Dubai (the blogger: secretdubai.blogspot.com) is?

http://whoissecretdubai.blogspot.com/

By Blogger whoissecretdubai, at 9:46 AM  

*sigh* that all seems very complicated. I think I'll stick to the good ol' flash drive backups for now!

By Blogger Neil, at 9:57 AM  

Neil,

Complicated it most definitely is not. If your hard drive crashes, you simply reinstall the OS and it gives you the option to restore your old files via Time Machine. You just select that option, walk away and when it's done, everything is all back to normal as if nothing happened. Without TIme Machine, you probably lose certain things like passwords or preferences.

The other great thing about TIme Machine is that you can go back and find individual files you may not have even thought you would want to back up. If you realize that a draft you wrote two weeks ago was better, or something you want to read again, you just go back and get it.

If you have a Mac, I highly recommend it.

By Blogger Tim W., at 11:04 AM  

Thanks for that tip! I just lost a hard-drive and it took me days to put all the stuff back onto another one.

By Blogger Ned, at 12:16 PM  

If you have an airport express (apple wifi thingie) you can plug any hard drive into it and get the same thing as time capsule. It's not officially supported but it works.

By Blogger someguy, at 4:40 PM  

Hey, you probably already know this, but I was trying to follow your blog here on Blogger and it says: "You have followed this URL, but it doesn't appear to have a feed."

I have your TV writing book...it's great, thanks! Am working on a pitch for a show about flight attendants (I was fired from that profession because of my blog 4 years ago.) A Canadian production company has optioned my book (based on my career-ending blog).

Greetings from Austin!

By Blogger Ellen Simonetti, at 9:02 PM  

Ellen, you need to put the feed URL into Blogger Reader. It's:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/
ComplicationsEnsueTheCrafty
TvAndScreenwritingBlog

(Although all in one URL, i.e. on one line.)

By Blogger Webs, at 11:16 PM  

Did you experience any problems upgrading to 10.5? Does everything still work? All contacts intact? All you did was buy Leopard, put the DVD in and hit Upgrade? I'm considering upgrading from 10.4 myself.

By Blogger Darren, at 3:09 PM  

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