Recently out of beta and available for download, Bitcasa has a new Mac client and a new pricing plan. With a base plan of 10GB of free cloud storage, Bitcasa is definitely setting itself up to compete with the big boys.
But what is Bitcasa? If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s an online storage service which offers limitless – or nearly so – storage, online. With a free account, you can use Bitcasa as an online locker for cloud storage of some of your most used files or to share photos, videos, music, or documents with your friends. If you have a paid account, Bitcasa can automatically backup your entire computer. Size isn’t everything, though.
How does Bitcasa compare on speed and usability? We’ll find out! (more…)
Ever wanted to search through a user’s old tweets? Or maybe you’ve thought about archiving your timeline (for posterity, vanity, or perhaps future analysis). Problem is, there’s no easy way to do it. Twitter provides no such tools to its users (not directly, anyway). Thankfully, there are plenty of third-party services and apps for archiving and searching both your tweets and other public timelines.
Tweet Cabinet is the first app of its kind that I’ve seen for Mac. It keeps a local archive of as many users’ public timeline as you desire, allows advanced searching within this archive, and does not require authentication — you don’t even need a Twitter account to use it. But it feels underdone, with a poor user interface and limited non-search filtering options. Let’s take a look at whether there’s enough here to make the app worth your while.
One of the best, and perhaps most undervalued features of Mac OS X is one that was introduced in 10.5 Leopard: Time Machine. As Macintosh users, we often forget just how good we have it when it comes to matters like this. I was recently discussing backup options with a Windows using friend of mine and none of the options we could find for him came even close to the ease of use and painlessness (not to mention the system level integration) of Time Machine.
Nevertheless, after I started using Time Machine in Leopard, I quickly found one major drawback. Every hour, regardless of what you are doing, Time Machine starts a backup. It slows the system down, if you back up to a Time Capsule as I do, it slows the network down, and it’s unnecessary. I really only want one incremental backup per day, but this isn’t possible by default. This is where TimeMachineScheduler comes into play.
As many of the Mac AppStorm writers will tell you, backup is important! It is the single thing that is protecting you from massive data loss, hours of frustration and lots of hair pulling.
With the advent of Leopard, Apple released a built-in backup utility that makes backup a breeze, called Time Machine. However, Time Machine was developed for local use only. It will backup to a Firewire or USB hard drive plugged directly into your computer as well as a Time Capsule device on your local Wifi network. While that is a very good thing, natural disasters do occur, as does theft and simple hard drive failure that can put your backup at risk. What if you could use Time Machine to backup to the cloud?
In my mind, data is holds an equal level of importance to my physical possessions. In a recent post, we covered a perfect backup strategy for your Mac. In that, we discussed two off-site options: Dropbox and CrashPlan.
Today I’m going to take a closer look at some other options for off-site and online backup, to give you a full spectrum of solutions to choose from.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of a tried-and-tested backup solution. One that ensures all your data will be safe – whether you suffer a simple hard drive failure, or your house burns down. This type of system gives you immense peace of mind, and removes that guilty feeling in your subconscious caused by not backing up.
Today I’m going to walk through a few options for creating what I would consider to be an “ideal” backup solution for the Mac. This is by no means the only way to handle the safety of your data, but one that’s particularly robust and cost-effective.
When Time Machine was released with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) back in October 2007, it was one of the highlights of the new release. Apple was the first company to offer a fully-functioning, built in backup utility into their operating system and in true Mac-style, they pumped it full of eye candy. Well, only Apple could take a simple system utility and transform it into a work of art.
Although Time Machine is good for recovering files if anything does happen to your Mac, it is a bit basic in its functionality. You do not have the option to schedule backups depending on when you want them – when your external hard disk drive is plugged in (or the device you are backing up to), Time Machine will simply sync any changed files and folders hourly.
For the average user, this won’t cause too much of a problem, but for someone who uses their Mac for high-end software or gaming, the backup can slow down the performance of your Mac. Time Machine also isn’t a true backup option per se, as it does not create disk images (unlike other programs), where you can restore your Mac in the case of a drastic failure.
This is where ChronoSync comes in. At $40, it is quite a pricey alternative to Time Machine (which is bundled in with Mac OS X 10.5 and above) and some might question paying this amount for a piece of software which is pretty much identical to something they get for free anyway. I decided though to download the 30-day trial version of ChronoSync to give it a test run and to see whether it is really a viable (or better) alternative to Time Machine.
New subscribers to MobileMe generally know the basics: contacts, email, calendars and notes can sync across computers and devices, you get some storage, and a fancy email address to share with all of your friends. But if you’re anything like me, you opened up your iDisk for the first time, saw the Backup folder and thought, “What’s this for? There’s no way that a Time Machine backup would fit in the 20GB allotted for iDisk.”
Turns out, the Backup folder is for a program called Backup 3, which is made by Apple. What’s this for, and why would I need it if I use Time Machine?
Good question – let’s find out!
Slowly but surely, awareness about backing up computer data is on the rise. Much of this attention toward backup comes from the recent crop of cloud based storage solutions. The problem with these online storage options is the unavailability of options to backup data over your own network or external drive. There’s also the time it takes to download data from remote servers when you need to restore.
Twin bridges that gap. Nowadays—especially if you’re a freelancer—there is a very high probability of having a web server for running your own website/blog, so why pay an additional monthly subscription for storage?
And in the case of small and medium businesses, there’s likely to be a network storage device or a bunch of RAID servers to use for your backup.
After the break, let us take look how Twin can help us back up data efficiently within our existing storage infrastructure.
When Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) was released, one of the tent-pole features was Time Machine, Apple’s extremely simple, all-encompassing backup solution. With Time Machine, you simply connected your external hard drive, configured a few settings and the utility began backing up your entire computer.
So long as your hard drive is connected, Time Machine continues to make backups on an hourly basis. The hourly backups are consolidated into a single day, every 24 hours and the days consolidated into a week, and so on, as disk space allows.
So your all good, correct? Your data is backed up, you’ve done your job and no matter what happens to your computer, you’ll still have everything in your backup. Well, ideally – yes. In reality, not necessarily.
The entire reason you are backing up your computer is because hard drives fail. A bad drop, a liquid spill, or simply old age, a hard drive will not last forever. So you back up your computer’s hard drive…to another hard drive. Now, if your internal hard drive fails, you have an external hard drive containing a second copy of everything… but as I said, hard drives fail. It’s inevitable. So what to do?
Make triple and quadruple backups? Sure, if you’ve got the time and money, but an easier and more economical solution is simply to check your backups every now and then. Make sure they are running properly, make sure your data is being backed up properly, make sure your the data is not corrupt, make sure you can recover your files properly. A little care and preparation can go a long way.