1. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    A free lesson re: backing up your work

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Quorum1, Sep 26, 2010.

    I had all my writing saved on our PC and backed up to a USB key. Last weekend we decided to sell our PC so I made sure all my work was backed up on the USB and planned to save it straight to our laptop.

    Soooo, I hadn't made the time to save my work onto the laptop, but had stuck the key in the side port. This morning I was sitting feeding my bub and working on the laptop (multi-tasking mum!) when bub made a sudden move and the laptop slid onto the floor.

    I look down and there is my USB key, the case broken off and the mangled innards bent in a most unnatural way. While I am on the verge of hysteria my husband rushes in and tries to reassure me that the data might be salvagable. It was. Thank goodness.

    So a free lesson for me, and one I thought I should share - if you write on a computer back your work up twice and email it to yourself. That way, unless the internet crashes you won't lose it all.
     
  2. ManOfSteel
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    ManOfSteel Member

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    Agreed! Just like savings, it is always better to keep them in more than one "bank" and one "currency".

    External disks are good. Flash pendrives are also good but fragile and can be damaged by cellphones and home appliances. Beware of optical media: they are the most unreliable.
    If you have many documents, archiving and compressing them and e-mailing them to yourself is a great idea.
     
  3. Horizon Noise
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    Horizon Noise Member

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    If you're doing important work then you need to back up properly. And that means no USBs and no copying random files by hand (unless you have only a small amount to back up). I back up using Cobian Backup, which is free s/w and allows you to manage every aspect of your backups. I do a full backup of everything on my PC every month to a second internal disk. I do the same to a third external disk every month too, staggered by two weeks. Every day - and I mean every day - I do an incremental backup (what has changed) to my 2nd disk full backup. A full backup takes me less than 1 minute per Gb, and the incremental backup takes about 12 seconds. You can even schedule it to take place in the background so you never even know it's going on.
     
  4. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    That is some serious backing up! I should be so organised!
     
  5. Horizon Noise
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    Horizon Noise Member

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    It sounds complex when I write it but literally, once you spend 10 minutes setting it up you never need go back to it. Schedule a backup task and forget about it, you don't even have to press a button if you don't want to. That and buying the HDs of course, but they're so cheap and easy to install now I think everyone should have at least one extra.
     
  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    When I was talking to someone about saving my schoolwork, backups and such, he said "If it isn't in 3 places, it doesn't exist." I guess he means something like on my computer, in a backup I keep close, and a backup I keep far away.
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    These are all good advices. I figured out emailing to myself awhile ago. I guess sharing it with a friend is also a good way to back it up too.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use Google Docs for a lot of my backing up - every few weeks I re-upload all my files. Aside from that, I have a big home computer (with two hard drives) that I come home to and put all my files that I make while I'm at uni on it. While I'm away at uni I have a netbook with triple storage space, which is basically an external hard drive I can play solitaire on, as far as I'm concerned, and my main laptop. My USB stick goes between all of these. :p I'm never too worried about losing something, because it's usually up to date in at least 2 locations, and 99% of my stuff is up to date in all 5 :p
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Emailing to yourself is only effective if you use a web mail provider. Otherwise, you are only taking a roundabout route to saving a copy on the same drive of your computer.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    In addition to backups on an external drive, I use Dropbox, which I have synced across four computers. So anything I do is saved in four places (and also in the cloud) without me having to do anything. Great service.
     
  11. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    My backup strategy is simple and based in the tiny size of everything you can write in your life if saved as plain text.

    I put all the work in a virtual encrypted unit, which is managed as a single file unless decrypted. Then, I send that file from a web mail account to another one (different server). Then, I copy that file in several computers, both at home and at the workplace, including workplace's central servers. From time to time I also update that file in friend's computers.

    At this point, if all my work disappears it would have to be by means of major international nuclear accident or alien attack.
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup! Dropbox is the bee's knees. I also use it, have it synced across the three 'puters here at home and the two at my parent's house. Never, ever, evah have to worry about loosing a pin drive or having my dog think it is a toy.
     
  13. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Another happy Dropbox user here. Dropbox also saves the last few versions of your file, which protects you from accidentally deleting/overwriting your text.

    Box.net provides a similar service, but you have to pay if you want to automatically sync the documents with your computer.
     
  14. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ummm...hard copy?
     
  15. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aye, backing up is important. I really should back up more often considering my last laptop died on me and I hadn't backed it up really. I've only been backing up, when I do, with a USB but I think I'll copy some of my documents to Google as well now.
     
  16. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of satisfied Dropbox users. I have a free account and am nowhere close to filling it up (I use it primarily for my writing-related files). The service has completely changed the way I work. Before I would email myself copies of files via a web email account, not only for backup purposes but also so I could access the file wherever I was. Now I access Dropbox (either by setting it up on other computers or grabbing my docs via the web interface) wherever I go. When I'm at home I open the file directly from Dropbox, which means that every time I click "Save", my work is safe in the cloud.

    The other awesome thing about Dropbox is that you can download the app for your mobile devices. I have an iPad and an Android smartphone. Having Dropbox (and Documents To Go Premium) on my phone has been a revelation. If I have time to kill or think of something I need to get down, even if I'm at the grocery store, I can access my most current version of my document, make my changes/additions, save it, and when I get home later there it is waiting for me on my computer.

    Sometimes I just love technology. :)
     
  17. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds awesome... I'll have to check it out, maybe.

    I don't really like writing on Google Docs, because of the slight lag - both between typing (if I go too fast) and saving. I have the crappest internet connection, so if it goes down I can lose a lot if I'm not paying attention and do something stupid. It should be next to impossible to lose work on Google Docs, but I've done it.

    Incidentally, to the people who say you can't crash a Mac, I've done that too. :p I just go out of my way to prove the failings of technology that's supposedly invulnerable.

    Anyway, my point is that unless I'm making quick notes and am on a public computer or something, I won't use Google Docs for anything but backups or sharing.
     
  18. flanneryohello
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    flanneryohello Member

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    For what it's worth, I have never once experienced lag or any issues working directly from my Dropbox folder. I've also never encountered any downtime or other problems that would keep me from working. When you install Dropbox, it's as though you've got another drive on your computer. It feels very local and the synching is pretty much invisible, happening totally in the background.

    Someone mentioned this earlier but one thing I LOVE about Dropbox is that it archives at least ten previous versions of your file (not sure how many actually). I had a mishap with one of my novels where the formatting got completely screwed up. Fixing it would have been a headache. All I had to do was log on to the Dropbox website and choose to restore the most recent version of the file before the formatting went screwy. Viola, I was back.

    I really can't say enough good things about Dropbox. For something I'm using for free, it's provided tremendous value. There are very few products or services that I feel so strongly about.
     
  19. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^ I think I should upgrade that "Maybe" :p
     
  20. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Be careful, everything dies eventually, and CDs much (much!) faster than previously thought.

    Don't leave your life's work in a cd/dvd/tape and imagine it will surely be there a decade later.
     
  21. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think "hard copy" was referring to that expensive, space-taking up process known as "printing things out" :p

    I make yearly-or-so mass print-out sessions, where I print out pretty much everything I think is important. But it's more of an archive than anything, especially 'cause I usually end up editing so much.
     
  22. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Tree killer! Tree killer!

    I kid. Paper's fine, as long as you have a decent scanner / camera to ocr it back to a workable format.
     
  23. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't :cry: I've been typing up the 30 pages I wrote on the train the other day all morning. :p

    Actually, writing first drafts in a notebook is a good way of having a hardcopy, even if it's not the best version, you can't accidentally delete words :p
     
  24. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm happy to confirm that 30 years on, my files of paper are still termite-free. My manuscripts per novel generally fit into one of those boxes you get photocopier paper in. My worksheets, academic research etc are coded by year. I always print out everything I think is *worth keeping, but I check through my things regularly.

    You make a good point, I've lost stuff that's been stored on a floppy.

    *so it doesn't take up all that much space!
     
  25. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    I suggest digitalising all that paper eventually. One never knows where can a water pipe break.

    If you don't have a serial scanner (at the office), you can even do it with a camera equipped phone and a lot of patience. :)
     

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