Finally sorted out my Cloud Backup!

I’ve been looking for a decent backup service ever since my wife promised to skin me alive if I lost any of our family photos! I’ve played with a variety of different methods including dumping folders to disk, syncing photos from my machine to another machine in the house, and all sorts of other options. Each worked to an extent but there was always some sort of overhead in terms of management, keeping track of things etc.

On a friend’s recommendation I’ve been giving JustCloud a try and have been using this for around a month now. I must say, I’m pretty pleased with the service and I’m looking to keep using this in the future. It does all you would expect a cloud backup provider to do, it automatically backs up your data to an off-site location, but also has a number of other compelling features which make it a pleasure to work with. I like the fact, for example, that it will automatically back up your mobile devices as part of your backup license. You pay a small charge for every machine you want to back up, but mobile devices are free; I wouldn’t have backed up my phone and tablet for example, but it’s no effort and no charge, so why not?

I also like the fact that they have an unlimited storage feature. I don’t need this, but my friend backs up 4Tb of photos and video, all for one yearly fee. It also provides a sync folder to share files across devices if you really need. I tend to prefer using Dropbox for that, but using Dropbox for backup would have been really, really expensive. With JustCloud I’ve paid $120 a year for their Premium plan and I don’t have to worry about backup any more!

Will keep you posted how I get on, but in the meantime JustCloud is my hero!

Are you backing up online?

There are a number of ways of backing up your data, but the one that has really taken off in the last few years is storage in the Cloud. That’s the name given to the variety of online backup technologies that let you take a copy of the data on your laptop, your computer, and now even your phone, and store it safely away somewhere where you can forget about it.

One such online service is iDrive, one of the biggest names in Online Backup. They have an interesting set of offerings including a free service that lets you store up to 2Gb of data. Their service works by letting you install a small application on your computer, which you can then use to backup files. You can even set up a continuous backup that monitors what’s going on on your computer and keeps your backup updated with your latest changes.

One new product they have, which I hadn’t seen before is iDrive Lite which is designed for backing up your contacts on the iPhone and Blackberry. You install it on your phone, sign up for the service and just rest assured that your contacts are continually backed up. It’s a great way to get some peace of mind.

My NAS box is boring

Well, I’ve had my Buffalo LinkStation for a few days now and it certainly does what it says on the tin. I copied all my media across, backed up all my stuff and now I know they’re all safe. The problem is, now that I know they’re safe, there’s not much more I can do with it 😉

I guess if there’s one device in your network that you WANT to be boring and uneventful, that’s your backup storage. There are lots of exciting devices about, multifunction devices, routers for mobile satellite, even programmable remote controllers; but there’s now way you can call your storage device fun. I mean, this thing has 2 RAIDed terabyte drives, cool power-saving features; but that’s about as sexy as it gets. Well, I have a new toy on order .. but more about that when it arrives 😉

So, if you’re looking for a NAS device, check out the Buffalo 2.0TB LinkStation Pro Duo Network Attached Shared Storage.

Make sure you have backups

I was speaking to a Phil, a friend of mine who runs a limo service here in the Isle of Man and who’s had a spot of bother with his PC. He had trouble for a few days, tried a system restore and ended up in a worse situation than he thought, with his Internet not working and all his applications messed up. Finally, he tried messing around with his Windows CDs and accidentally wiped his PC clean. And when I say wiped, I mean he deleted all his files, his photos, his videos, his emails, everything. And guess what … no backup!

What he really needed was an external USB drive to backup things to. And it wouldn’t have cost the world either. I was looking at the sale on and saw a 1Tb Iomega Desktop Hard Drive for a whopping $129.99 (at least that’s the price this week). With a hard disk that size you can take backups as many times as you want, and even take a few extra just to be on the safe side. It even comes complete with a license for some backup software that’s designed to make your life easier. Setup should be no more complex than plugging in a cable into one of the USB sockets in your computer.

So Phil, next time may sure you have a backup!

If this blog looks weird ..

.. over the next few hours, don’t be alarmed. I’m implementing a new theme that will give this blog a complete makeover. It’s going to look totally different by the end of it, but I’m using a theme that is so customisable that it will take ages to get the blog perfect. I’ll also be using this blog to test the WordPress theme out, so if you have any problems with it, please let me know.

One thing I’ll be doing will be to take a backup before I start. It’s funny how you don’t realise how important a backup is until you really need it. Interestingly, a friend of mine even keeps a keylogger running on his system, just a keep a complete history of all the keypresses he makes, in case he ever needs to recover or redo something. It’s also worth keeping in mind that sometimes even backups can fail though. A friend called me this morning because his computer was reporting all his photos as corrupted and when he plugged in his backup disk, it asked him if he wanted to format it (i.e. couldn’t read from it). John, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you all day. He’s a passionate photographer and has thousands of photos on his computer. I can’t imagine how gutted he would be if something happened to them.

Breakdown in communication

Here’s a great post about how effective communication can be the only way a problem can be resolved. It’s a story about an issue with a server backup which took 11 hours to backup 19Gb of data. The morale of the story is in understanding how the problem wasn’t initially resolved because of lack of communication and commitment between the two parties involved (administrators at the different offices) and how speaking to someone who wanted to resolve the problem was what did the trick in the end.

I quite like, it’s a well-written blog with lots of insight about quite a few things (not just design). Posts range from Perl to Adwords, from Google Gadgets to webdesign, in fact anything you might come across when working in web consultancy. Anyway, I’ve subscribed and look forward to future posts.


Sceduled Backups

I was listening to a podcast about different ideas for backing up your family’s data the other day and have been thinking about the best way for backing up ours. I’ve recently bought a 0.5T hard disk which is just great for this sort of thing, but the main problem is remembering to do it on a regular basis. Because of this I’ve been looking around for options that will let me schedule backups and just forget about them.

One product I had blogged about in the past is an online solution called: IBackup – Online Storage. It’s had some glowing reviews from magazines like PcPro, PcWorld and WebUser, so I thought it might be worth a look. The way it works is that you pay a monthly subscription for some space somewhere on their services which you can use to upload data to to use as a backup. The great thing is that you can access this from any other computer, not just the one you uploaded it from.

Anyway, to get back to scheduled backups, one of the features of their product is a Desktop Scheduler which allows you to schedule backups to happen on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can see some screenshots which give an idea of how the thing works. I must give it a try one of these days.