Monday, January 19, 2009


Supposed to be playing golf today but what do we see when we look out of the window? Dreary, grey, leaden skies. Drizzle. DRIZZLE! In the south of France?

So I spend the day watching movies and sorting out my backup and data storage issues. I bought a Drobo recently (expensive, but well worth the cost given the level of data security and flexibility it offers) and just invested in a fourth Terabyte hard drive for it, so I have a total of 3TB of on-line storage attached to my Mac now (plus whatever the Mac's hard drive gives me).

With almost 600GB of MP3s, movies and TV shows in iTunes alone, plus video footage, eBooks, photos, etc. I need a different means of backing this up other than DVDs. Yes, I KNOW Drobo will protect me from drive failures, but "Just In Case" I need to make sure I am not going to lose this stuff if ever Drobo goes up in smoke (let's face it, those digital photos are irreplaceable, and there is a lot of money invested in the iTunes stuff).

My local computer store which has just opened in Calvisson is a great source of cheap accessories - WD 1TB hard drives, for example, for just 120 Euros! And he came to the rescue with a neat external hard drive docking station for just 32 Euros. This is a small plastic box which attaches to your Mac or PC via USB and allows you to insert any old SATA drive (2.5" or 3.5"), which then appears as an external USB hard drive on your PC. So I bought one of those, and now I can just buy a cheap SATA drive whenever I need to add some backup storage to my system - pop it in the dock, backup, pull it out the dock, and stick it in a drawer: voila!

I use the Mac Backup utility to do those big off-line backups, but anyone who uses a Mac should also take a look at Time Machine. By sticking a spare drive in that docking station, Time Machine will perform automatic incremental backups at hourly intervals, then daily, then weekly. TM also integrates tightly with certain applications such as Mail and iPhoto, so you don't have to go hunting around a backup disk to figure out directory structures looking for a particular e-mail message or photo. Instead, you fire up the application, and TM will let you step back in time WITHIN that app to restore a single mailbox, e-mail or picture. Pretty impressive. Microsoft users eat your heart out.....

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