Category Archives: Backups

Half-Full or Half-Empty Hard Drive?

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Over the past couple of weeks, I have been slowly consolidating Hard Drive space within my home-office network.

Because of my background as an backup administrator, I am especially concerned and focused on having redundant copies of data, just in case.

Murphy would be proud…

With that being said, I looked at my various existing 100GB-250GB internal and external hard drives that were sprawled all over the place, and bought a couple of TB hard drives.

Then the fun part, looking at the life cycle of the house data.

There is current local stuff, the Live Data for the house, and then the Secondary Backup.

Next was writing the various robocopy scripts, and making sure I use /e and /mir correctly…

Several more days of data transfer, I finally think I have ALL the data in a nice consolidated fashion!

For the first time in 5+ years, I have everything on one Hard Drive!

Yeah!

But now, as I now am analyzing the capacity of the Live Data drive, I find myself evaluating the situation.

Is my new Half-Full or Half-Empty?

In my 30 plus years of IT, very rarely, have I heard of a hard drive referred to as Half-Empty.

Seems that the when we talk about technology and storage, we tend to be optimistic!

When was the last time your thumb drive Half-Empty? or that CD/DVD that you just burned… Half-Empty?

When was the last time you checked your backup?

Thoughts?

– Andrew
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flickr Award Counter – Backup, Restore and Transfer

If you get involved with the Flickr photography groups that have awards, you will notice that there is no really good way to track what you have, until flickr Award Counter (fAC) by Andy Felton (PhazeShift).

flickr Award Counter can take some time to initially setup, because you have to enter in each Award Title (think of a naming structure), and the URL to the Award image for the greasemonkey/javascript counters to work, but once it is done, fAC works great!

But beware, once done, there does not appear to be a direct way to back up all your filter/counter work.

Backup

After some hunting, I found a thread on the Flickr Hacks – “Award Counter – backup?“, which suggested that one backup the Firefox “prefs.js” file, which can be found (example: Win XP):

C:Documents and Settings%profilename%Application Data ¬
MozillaFirefoxProfilesdm24ria8.defaultsprefs.js

where

%profilename%

is the current user, and

dm24ria8.defaults

could be “any-name.defaults” within this path, and includes “prefs.js”, and all the more fun if there are multiple users! A-)

The simplest backup, is to copy/duplicate the “prefs.js” file within the same directory and adding the “.bak” extension (“prefs.js.bak”) or copy the file to another location, and leave yourself a reminder of where!

Restore

To restore, just replace the damages file with the backup from above.

Transfer

Many times, all you want to do, is to transfer your filter/counter information from one machine to another.

If you use the Restore method mentioned above, one of the immediate down sides is that the destination machine, will inherit the “prefs.js” settings from the source machine.

In some cases, this might be sufficient, but what if you ONLY want the filter/counter information.

about:config

On the machine that has the Main/Source of filter/counters, launch Firefox, and type about:config in the address bar.

You will get a warning screen, and just agree.

[Technically, you are on your own now, so...]

Scroll down to the following filter:

greasemonkey.scriptvals.http://www.phazeshift.co.uk/download//flickrAwardCounter.awards

Double click on the entry, and a new window will open up.

In the “Enter string value” window, copy the string value.

Move to the destination machine, and find the similar entry, and paste in the source filter information.

Quit your browser, and re-launch Firefox, and check your work.

This has been done transferring an existing series of Firefox 4.0 XPro filters to Firefox 4.0 Win7Pro (destination):

C:Users%profilename%AppDataRoaming ¬
MozillaFirefoxProfilesx5lnhhwl.defaultpref.js

with out issue (“x5lnhhwl” will change).

Your mileage may very.

Feature Request(s)

  • Ability to Export/Import filter/counters
    • These could be “traded” via Flickr

Please feel free to add Comments or Feedback.

– Andrew
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Backupify.com – First Look

One of my readers pointed this out to me last week. (Thanks Steve!)

Backupify, which uses Amazon “cloud” as the backup medium, so everything is done online, and quickly!

What makes this service unique, as compared to services like iBackup, is that Backupify only backs up your online life.

As of this blog entry, Backupify supports the following services:

  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Zoho
  • Google Docs
  • Photobucket
  • WordPress

and is in Beta for:

  • Basecamp
  • Gmail
  • Facebook
  • FriendFeed
  • Blogger
  • Hotmail

with the following “soon to come“:

  • Youtube
  • Xmarks
  • RssFeed
  • Tumblr

Now until February 15th, Backupify is offering a “Free Account Giveaway”.

Setup

Sign up is quick, and does not require much more then a Name, eMail address and a Password, and your in, but you will need to Verify your email address.

From there, you are presented with a “Dashboard” of services to configure.

Setting up a Flickr was a simple as using the wizard to connect, basically UserName and Password (going through your Yahoo account). Done.

With WordPress, I had to download a zipped (.zip) plug-in, and up-zipped it.

There is no “Read Me” file, or simple what to do next.

I opened the enclosed “wp-backupify.php” file, and in reading, it appears at first glance that this type of backup is if you host your own WordPress environment.

It would have been nice if Backupify had said something along these lines. (Will investigate later… maybe…)

Gmail is another enter UserName and Password, with a “Please read this before setting up your Gmail account”, that when followed, only states that “Gmail Backup Temporarily Disabled” which was posted December 23, 2009. (Merry Christmas!)

When I checked my email later, I did get notification that: “Gmail backup has been throttled back to once every 3 days until we finish implementing new changes to support the high volume of Gmail backups

Facebook is the standard “Connect to your Facebook account”, asks for permissions, and then allows you to choose what you want to backup: Photos, Friends, Statuses, Links, Notes and Events. You also have the ability to add another Facebook account.

Since I do not have any other accounts offered, I went down to “Backup Settings”, which is very primitive.

You only get a frequency: Weekly vs. Daily, and a Notification email settings: Every time, Daily, Weekly or Do Not, then you click “Save”. My settings are the Default: Daily & Daily.

From the main Dashboard, you can select the “Archive” tab and which service to look at.

I found that my Flickr images have already been backed up!

When I check Facebook, it only appears that my images have been backed up, even though, I had selected the Default settings of everything (see above), upon further review, there are other files, namely XML files.

The Dashboard “History” tab says everything was successful.

Restore

On the surface, it looks like that information is available, but trying to Restore your online life is going to take some time.

Images are readily available from Flickr and Facebook backups, but your content from Facebook is saved as a XML file (.xml), but as of this writing, I am not sure how one would integrate this back into a Facebook account.

Conclusion

The Backupify does do what it says. It backs up your files. Period.

The question that I have, and you should also, how does one do a Restore?

The Testimonials only talk about Backing up, but that is only half of the issue.

Having been a Enterprise Backup Administrator for several years, I would like to see some more controls, and some more documentation.

To be fair, I have not spent allot of time trying to find this info at the Backupify site, but at the same time, the info is not right in front of you, and trust me, when you are facing potential data lose, you do NOT want to be running around trying to figure out what to do.

Another thing that is not easily apparent, is the cost of the Service.

I did find one link that suggested I could find Costs, but it made me sign up, and I still can not easily find an answer.

In searching the FAQ, the word “Cost” only appears once, and if you carefully read the FAQ, it does hint at some of my concerns with a Restoration.

To me, there is also a feeling of scare tactics, but this might be the way that I personally handle my data.

My Facebook data is disposable. I have a backup of my images in my local environment, and if there is something important, I deal with it locally.

In regards to the backup from Images services (Flickr, etc.), at least in my work-flow, I have everything Local, then I post, so I already have a backup so to speak.

I maybe missing something here, but at this point, I am not sure how long I will keep my Free Backupify account.

Please let me know your thoughts.

– Andrew
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