Holy Hell, Help.

Discussion in 'Software' started by OJB, Nov 28, 2017.

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  1. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you're right about 'control-z'. On the Mac it's the Apple key (the one next to the space bar) and z. I use it a lot when I've made a simple mistake.

    My first problem with Time Machine happened when my very expensive Porsche hard disk, which I was using for the backups, failed. Died. Completely. (My husband has an identical disk and his is still working fine.) No big problem for me because I always make multiple backups of my files, so I didn't lose any work. Second time—a while later, after getting a new hard disk set up on my old 2012-era Mac Mini running Yosemite—it was the Time Machine itself that went wonky, and wouldn't allow me to make backups any more at all. On anything.

    I now have a new Mac, using Sierra, but haven't bothered setting Time Machine up. I have a clone of my system, and roughly 10 other backups in place. Two large, but portable hard disks that back up my major files—like my photos—in rotation. And the others are smaller flash drives that I use, again in rotation, two at a time, to back up daily work. One to keep at home, and one to carry on my keychain, etc. I'm pretty much covered. But I wouldn't trust Time Machine again.

    I do send occasional copies of things I can't afford to lose to myself as emails, which is a system I can access from anywhere. And I print off important documents as well. And I have a complete, up-to-date printout of my novel. And my novel's timeline, and a lot of the research materials as well. So I think I'm covered.

    Whenever I work on a file from the day before, I always make a duplicate of that file before I begin making changes to it. So I can instantly go back to the old version if I want it. And I keep a file of these old versions (in organised folders) for future reference. The only thing I can't do is go back and retrieve something I just wrote, if I've deleted it. If the Apple-Z command doesn't bring it back, I've lost it. That's where I need to be careful and keep my mind on what I'm doing.

    However, I don't put complete trust in any one thing. So far, so good. I've had to retrieve old work a few times in the past, but I've always had it to hand, in some form.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 5:30 AM
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  2. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    You know another trick with printing? If you divide your page into two columns, you can reduce the print size to VERY small, only single space, and still be able to read it and scribble notes in the margins.

    It was funny, but a former editor of the major Mac magazine in the UK, MacFormat, did an article on safeguarding work a few years ago. There were all sorts of tech-y solutions on offer, including Time Machine and Clouds, and etc. But he concluded the article by saying that making a paper printout was also a solution he recommended! Technology is wonderful, when it works—and makes writing and editing a lot easier than it ever was. When it doesn't work, however, you can lose a HELL of a lot of what you've produced. In one swell foop.

    How many times have we seen threads on this forum, made by people who are in despair because they lost their work ...through one means or another? Sometimes through simple carelessness, by people who never bothered to make a backup. Other times from people whose backups failed, got stolen, got broken, got corrupted, got lost, whatever. It's a serious problem when it happens to you. I personally think we're being smart, not paranoid, if we go to great lengths to make sure we have many baskets to contain our eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 5:31 AM
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  3. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Member

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    Yes, I have had that happened, too. Multiple times. Most often, it's just a minor thing. For instance, internal names of hard drives get changed (mostly when they're network drives). Turn off Time Machine, and restart it on the same drive. Time Machine recognizes the old backups, spends a few hours re-indexing, and you're good to go again. Not a big deal. (Happens often with new OS versions, and typically takes up to the .3 update to vanish. Now on High Sierra, it seems to be gone with the current .2).

    The worst that happened was that I had to scrap the whole backup, and start from scratch. Annoying. But again, not a big deal thanks to alternative backups.

    The thing is, annoying as those events were, none of them was so bad, or so frequent, for me to abandon Time Machine. It saved my arse countless times when single files went corrupt, or got accidentally deleted (most often, due to my own negligence), or or or. And the last time I had to re-install a Mac (when my internal Mac Mini hard drive failed, and I got a replacement), the fastest and most convenient way to get to the same state as before was via Time Machine. It's a good tool. You may not see it that way, but I just wish to point it out as recommendation to others.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I wouldn't go so far as to not recommend it—because other people like it, and it does have its uses—but I just don't use it myself. I'm okay without it. And I don't really trust it. If your device fails or the software fails—both of which has happened to me—and if you were counting on this as backup, you're in danger of losing your work, unless your primary source is still functioning.

    Even when I was making backups with Time Machine, I never had to resort to using them. I think Time Machine is one of those ideas that is fantastic for folks who often forget to back up, but I've always been pretty scrupulous about backing up after every session on several different media. It takes a bit of time, but hey ...I'm retired! I've got the time. :)
     
  5. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Member

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    Good luck printing video files or .PSD-like graphics files with too many layers too count... not too mention programs, scripts, tiny bits of executables scrounged from who knows where, brushes, PhotoShop (or equiv.) workflows etc.

    Writing is not all I do.
     
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  6. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Member

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    Whatever works for you. Kinda like writing software. :)
     
  7. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think the editor was referring to text files. I'm not trying to discourage anybody from using Time Machine, by the way. I'm just explaining why I don't use it myself ...any more.

    This thread started with a fellow writer worried that he'd lost what he'd written. So I was focusing on the writing side of 'backups.' Of course nobody is going to print out a video or all their photos. But that's not what this thread was about ...at least not at the start. Printing works fine for preserving creative writing files ...along with other forms of backup, including Time Machine.

    I've always maintained that the best way to ensure you don't lose your work is to back it up on several different kinds of media—as frequently as you make changes. I'll stick with that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018 at 7:19 PM
  8. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    But none of that stops you from printing the writing.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I finally got some disks big enough to do decent backups, and did a disk image backup. I essentially will have offsite backup because for job reasons, we live in two little homes in different cities, rather than one larger one.

    My tentative plan is to do a laptop disk image backup every quarter, a Time Machine backup regularly (because I am too lazy to take the time for well-thought-out manual backups), my writing is automatically backed up on that same disk and also on Dropbox and my phone and my iPad, and I'll also print it roughly once a month.

    Hmm. Those novel printouts are only in one home. I guess I should offsite that, too.

    That leaves photographs and my incomplete trust in Time Machine to take care of those photographs. I need to think about that. Right now the bulk of them are reasonably safe in a recent disk image created in the other city.
     
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