Online backup services - I like BackBlaze - plus a story of losing an assignment

A backup problem
I am getting ready to do a presentation the end of the month on external backups. I will try to put a link here after it is done, and a page made as well.

A story you may find interesting took place when I was back in school getting my teaching credentials for English and Allied Arts (Drama, Speech, and Journalism).

I had an assignment to print out, and went to a big computer lab. While I was finishing my own paper, I overhead another student complaining loudly about losing her final paper that she had worked on all semester.
A biologist and friends discuss a project. From public-domain-image.com.













She had lost everything she did, all her work. I felt really bad for her. She was very upset. But what could she do about it? Not much.

It was pretty horrible. I felt sorry for her. All that work, gone.

But I remembered thinking, why did she do that? (Lose it...) I know it was a mistake, but really. I felt as though part of her problem was really HER problem. Even if somebody took her work by mistake, or if she really did lose it, she should have had a backup to go to.

I printed out what I needed there at the computer lab, and got my paper ready to turn in. I felt grateful that I had kept track of my disk and had another copy on my computer at home.

Later, I thought, this student was going to have to take an Incomplete or work out some kind of other solution with her teacher. What a hassle. And without finding her original work, or having a backup, she would have to recreate the entire paper.

A coimputer lab. From public-domain-image.com.














Sure, it might go faster this time, but it would still take a LOT of work, recreating her sources, doing research, etc. etc.

She needed INSURANCE - - which in this case is a backup of her important files.

Solutions
There are some solutions to this problem. Of course, you and I NEVER want to be in that student's situation. Not only is is important to NOT lose your work, but it is also necessary to make copies of your school papers, always.

And one copy is never enough. PLUS you must keep your copies in different places. What if you lost your hard drive and the data was not recoverable? (Or too expensive!) You might even have damage from a magnet, or even lose your backup.

For that reason I suggest an online backup service, besides making an extra backup copy on disk (NOT just on your computer). Of course, I also suggest backing up your work both on your computer AND on a disk too, just in case. It doesn't cost that much for this kind of insurance, which will be greatly appreciated if you need it.

Online Backup Services
There are many online backup services. Many are even free up to a certain storage amount.

But there is one service I have liked the most. It is called BackBlaze. BackBlaze is available for as low as $3.96 per month. My service is a bit more, $5.00 a month.

Once you get this service set up, it runs automatically and backs everything up on your computer except for your programs and some other files. (which you can always reload anyhow). Your writing files are continually backed up unless you delete them.

You must be careful NOT to backup your files again if you lose a hard drive and get another computer, which doesn't have your files on it again. Just save what is on BackBlaze and make a backup copy to use on your new computer. This backup file will have everything you need on it (like your papers!) and it downloads to your computer when you want it.

This balloon pic is by Richard Giles / CC BY-SA








Some other Online Backup Services and methods
Here is a list of other popular services you may want to try, and another good idea.

#1. Get a plug-in backup (external Hard Drive) and backup your computer files to it regularly. Apple has a system called TimeMachine.

#2. Try out another service besides BackBlaze if you want. The leading services are MyOtherDrive (best if you have Windows and not a Mac), Carbonite, Mozy, Elephant Drive, and the new Microsoft Skydrive. I was NOT happy with MyOtherDrive, because they could not fix their Mac interface, but to be fair, they are not charging me for keeping another backup there. Elephant Drive was hard to use.

I have not tried Skydrive, so don't know much about it. But it was listed on some review sites. I think Carbonite and Mozy have good reviews, but my favorite is still BackBlaze. It is fast and easy, and also cheap (I have Unlimited service on it).

Having your treasured files online is having them in the Cloud. It's a great solution!

What is YOUR favorite backup service?

Betsyanne

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