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Saturday, October 17, 2009

why backups are a good idea


Cable fire
Originally uploaded by f650biker
Note: This post refers to a commercially available service that's owned by some friends of mine: Rob May and Jason Falls.

I've always been kind of a computer geek (my wife would probably remove the "kind of.") I was the first kid on the block with a Macintosh back in the 80's, and was among the early adopters of something called "Chicago Online" (a piece of a fledgling service called "America Online") in the early 90s.

I've also been trying for years to digitize everything - and that includes photos. I've been storing photos digitally for years, but have been positively militant about it since my eldest daughter was born in 2000. But one thing I was never very good about was backup. Part of the blame goes to Windows, which always made backing up a lot harder than it ought to be (I'm back to Mac now, BTW). But mostly, I was just lazy.

When the hard drive on my Dell Dimension blew, I knew I was in trouble. I sent it in to one of those mail-order recovery places to see if they could help. I was willing to spend $2,000 to get my data back, but the only stuff I cared about was the pictures.

It didn't work - I lost everything, and only had about half of the pictures backed up. My mom was able to fill in some of the gaps from CDs I'd sent her over the years, but it was still pretty devastating.

Now most of my pictures are taken on my iPhone and uploaded directly to flickr - which means that I don't have to worry so much about my hard drive any more. But what about flickr? What if they go down - or out of business? And for that matter, what about all the work I've put in to building effective social networks on facebook and twitter? And even this humble blog contains some stuff that I wouldn't particularly want to lose.

I've finally gotten smart. I'm now using a service called Backupify to back up all of my online accounts. At $29 per year, it's a lot more economical than the $2,000 I was willing to pay to recover my hard drive. I'm using it to back up my accounts at:
flickr
facebook
twitter
de.licio.us
google docs
blogger
gmail; and
friendfeed

I'm hoping that, as the service grows, they'll also start offering backups for my accounts at:
reqall
Ning
google reader; and
pandora

The best part about it is that - for today only - backupify is FREE for one year.

Disclosure Alert a la Hallicious.comBackupify is giving away three Amazon Gift Cards, in a random drawing, to individuals who blog about it and list a service that they would like Backupify to backupify. This post is my entry into that contest. You can participate by following the instructions here

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