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Written By: Gary on March 31, 2012 One Comment

It’s World Backup Day! It’s not that you should only backup once a year, it’s an awareness day. So I guess it should be called “Backup Awareness Day”. But seriously, you should backup your important documents and photos all the time. Why? Because you’ll be very sad / upset / angry when you lose those files. Please notice, I said “when”, not “if”. Moving your photos to a different device (and deleting off the computer) is not a backup, it’s the only copy. Multiple copies is alwaysrecommended!!!

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If it’s an important document, save multiple copies. If it’s your resume (CV), save it as “Resume March 2012” so that you’ve got previous versions of the file if something happens. If you’ve made massive changes to that document, just e-mail a copy to yourself; the copy in your mail account is an off site backup. When I do new technology plans (100 page documents) I save new versions every few hours, I don’t want to think I moved those 10 pages from section 7 to section 5 and realize later I never pasted them, I can go back and get an earlier version of those pages later.

If it’s photos, don’t wait until your camera is full, that’s the only copy of those photos, if you lose the camera, it gets stolen, or something else weird happens, you lose all those photos!!! Even uploading them to a site like Walgreens, Costco, Kodak or wherever you might send your photos is a backup (it’ll cost to get your photos out, but at least they aren’t lost); these places don’t guarantee that they’ll keep your photos but they do want you to share them and print more copie$ of them, just be sure you’re uploading the largest possible size photos. Facebook is not good for this, they do not keep high quality versions of the photos, they will not be good for printing later.

Every so often back your documents and photos up to multiple DVD (standard DVD’s hold more than 4 GB) and make multiple copies; once you’ve got them sorted making five copies isn’t much harder than making one copy. Keep a copy at your Mom’s house or at your kids house or in your safe deposit box. You don’t want all the copies at the same place in case there is a fire and they all burn down. Then you can delete these photos from the cloud and you’ve got more space for more photos.

The last few versions of the Macintosh OS will back up to an external drive via Time Capsule and you can go back in time and look at what version was on the computer at a particular time (it’s very cool and easy).

There are off site services you can use (I use Dropbox).

Syncing your photo to your computer generally backs up the phone numbers, calendar, photos and more. The latest version of the iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) will back up automatically daily to the iCloud if you wish; the problem with this is it’s an all or nothing option when you want to restore.

All photos that you take with your iPhone or iPad get automatically backed up to the iCloud. These then show up on your computer in the iPhoto Photo Stream. If you import from a camera to iPhoto, it automatically puts those photos in the Photo Stream and you can see them on all the devices you’ve synced with the iCloud (including your AppleTV). It only keeps the last 1,000 photos and doesn’t keep any videos, but it’s a partial backup. So this is an automatic download that I get have in the cloud too.

Backing up is especially important if your main computer is a portable device. You can earlier drop or have stolen your laptop or tablet, you need those files backed up!

Written By: Gary on March 31, 2012 No Comment

One of the easiest services I use for backing up is Dropbox. They give me a folder to store documents in and it automatically pushes a copy of those documents into the cloud (be sure to use a great password) and syncs them with my other computer; so I’ve automatically got 3 copies of the file now. I can view these files from anywhere on the internet with a web browser or with my iPhone, iPad or an Android device. If I store photos from my iPhone to Dropbox it’s now in the cloud and on my two syncing computers (and on my iPhone).

DropBox will give you 2 GB (more than 3 CDs of storage) for free. dbox-logo.pngDropbox syncs that storage with your computers plus you can view with your Android and iOS devices. Are you always sharing certain documents with a co-worker or friend? You can have a shared synchronized folder between your computers. You can even share specific photo albums via the web with friends. If you’ve got your computer synced you don’t even need to be on the internet, those files are there on the computer, if you change, add or delete any files the next time you connect it will sync everything automatically for you.

And if you get more friends to sign up (and install it) they’ll give you more free space (so please use my link for extra space). It runs on Macintosh and on Windows, the programs and apps are free! Not only do I get 500MB for free if you sign up if you follow my link, so do you (you get 500MB extra for following my link verses no bonus on your own!).

They make it incredibly easy to share photos with others, even just via their web site. You got a folder, you share the link and you’ve got a photo album shared. Super super easy.

3 GB of bonus space: After you sign up, they will then let you import directly from your camera and give you an extra 3 GB (that’s 5 GB total, about 8 CDs of back up!). This camera imports directly from you camera and from chips, it’ll also import automagically from your iPhone or other iOS device when you plug it into the computer. Even if you don’t want this feature, import in 3 GB of photos and video and then delete them, you’ll still have the space (as far as I can tell all this free space is for life). As far as I can tell, after getting the 3 GB free you can delete the photos, turn off the upload and keep the 3 GB of space…

Tip: To get more use out of all that storage, once you get a few GB of photos into the cloud, back them up to a DVD (standard DVD’s hold more than 4 GB) and make multiple copies. Keep a copy at your Mom’s house or at your kids house or in your safe deposit box. You don’t want all the copies at the same place in case there is a fire and they all burn down. Then you can delete these photos from the cloud and you’ve got more space for more photos.

Advanced features: You have options to not sync certain folders with dropbox, so if you don’t have the 5 GB of extra space on your laptop you don’t need to keep every folder synced with your netbook or MacBook Air. You could just sync your documents folder and recent photos and not worry about everything else.

Don’t like: The one thing I don’t like about the Dropbox photo import is they rename your photos with the date and time. I actually like the date and time part but I wish they just added that to the original file name, it’s hard to tell where the duplicates are with completely different filenames. But I can decide if that is important later, it’s the 3 GB of extra storage that I want for free, I can use it for anything I want later…

Another tip: Whenever I buy a new product, I try to go on-line and get the digital version of the manual for it, then I put all these documents in a folder in the cloud somewhere. Then no matter where I go, I have the manual for that computer, digital camera, car stereo, GPS unit or anything that I might be traveling with. On the other hand, I also have the manual for my stereo and stove with me too, I don’t really need those all the time, but it’s nice to have those manuals easily accessible when I need them.

Written By: Gary on May 21, 2009 2 Comments

Argh! Haven’t been this frustrated in a very long time…

The last 24 hours:
– I can’t sync my calendar items and address/phone numbers between my computers, MobileMe and iPod Touch.
– My main Windows machine won’t reboot, keeps resetting. Think the hard drive went.
– Accessing/syncing to my AppleTV is goofed up (that’s minor, unrelated and hacked so not an Apple issue)
– My cell phone keeps saying international roaming when I’m at home (it’s Sprint). I’m not that close to the border of Canada/Michigan.

I’ve spend more time with tech support the last 24 hours than the last 24 months. I’ve been escalated multiple times at Apple and not getting any closer. And after all the changes at my end I’m leaning towards it’s going to be a problem at their end so then I’ll have to get everything set back the way I want (a few hours ago, I’d have said 100% sure at their end, but not so sure now). They say this is a new problem and since we’re pushing 4 hours today I’m hoping it’s a unique problem (for their sake).

And I’ve wasted another sunny day :(

Written By: Gary on March 1, 2007 No Comment

So miraculously my mother is now on-line. I had it on my list of things to do but I had finally given up, she just didn’t seem that interested the last few times I talked to her about. About a week ago she decided she wanted to and I jumped on it; she came over we got a new laptop for her: HP 15.4 inch Dual Core, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB hard drive, Dual-Layer DVD burner w/LightScribe, SD chip reader (maybe reads more than that, with the media center “stuff” and a remote for that (which slides nicely into the laptop). BTW, that was $699 after rebate at Circuit City this week. A bit more machine than she needs right now but she won’t need anything else more than that for a while and it’s small enough she can bring it over when she has questions/problems instead of me having to always go over there.

We went over to get a book for her and ended up with Easy Microsoft Windows Vista. Lots of pictures and very clear to read. We looked at some other ones even the seniors ones, and while they were very well written, the images were black & while and not every high resolution, very difficult to see. Mom’s pretty young, not 60 yet, but very low tech considering I’m her kid and I turned my step-dad into a geek before he passed away a few years ago.
So I set her all up, it’s Vista so I’m not very familiar with it but I figured it out. Then I set up an easy to use home page for her to use with with Internet Explorer. I set her up a page at http://GaryLaPointe.com/mom/ and I can modify it whenever I want for her. But I stuck a bunch of stuff on it like local news, weather, on-line shopping and stuff. This includes some of my photos and links to trips she’s never seen and her musician granddaughter’s page. At some point she’ll have to learn favorites/bookmarkss, but for now it’s perfect for her. Take a peek and if you have any suggestions (either for the page or just some good introductory web sites.

She just called and the cable guy left and she’s on-line!!! I had her get the $42 a month service which is 384 up + 5,000 down, the next service down was only $6 less but it was only 500 down, I wanted her to have a more pleasurable experience. In a few months she can try the lower speeds…

I’ll go over next week and hook up the wireless for her and she can set up in the corner of the dining room where she wants it. Right now she in my old attic bedroom.

I think she’s going over to sign up for a 4 week (2 hours a night) computer class that starts next week at the community education center.

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