KROSWEB

Home

Blog

Projects

About Me

Resume, skills and projects.

Music

Catmis

Contact

Blog

This is a blog about my work, music, technology and other subjects that catch my interest.

Backup Solutions for Mac

Aug 10th, 2008

You know the feeling. Afraid to leave home without some kind of backup containing the pictures of your two lovely children and your important documents. What if the house was burnt to the ground or someone broke into the house and stole both your computer and backups disk?

This post will deal with my experiences getting some peace of mind about my data.

Setup

Basically I have two computers I want to backup. My MacBook Pro laptop I use for development and documents and my iMac at home which keeps family photos, movies and music.

Local backup is pretty well covered. My laptop is backed up at work using a Time Machine disk and a series of rsync scripts copying to a disk attached to an unslung NSLU2. All my development files are stored in a Subversion repository on a server at work. My iMac is backed up wirelessly to a Time Machine disk attached to my Airport Extreme Base Station and some of the content is copied to my laptop and then again to the NSLU2 at work.

This is working just fine but it would be nice to supplement it with an encrypted copy on a server somewhere else. What I want is an off-site backup solution in case of fire, burglary or the like requirering a minimum of user intervention like manually invoking scripts or pressing a lot of buttons.

I have tried a couple of backup services for Mac that I will describe here: Mozy, Memopal, iDrive and CrashPlan.

Mozy

MozyMozy offers 2 gb of free storage so I decided to try it out for a few weeks. The initial upload took some time but after that only changes were uploaded. So the backup part worked fine. Restoring of files seems to work fine using Mozy's own UI and you can even get them to send your data on a DVD. But it would have been nice if you could mount your Mozy backup as a drive in Finder like Memopal and iDrive can.

An account with unlimited space for one computer will cost you 4.95 $ per month. This makes it almost 10 $ for me which is a bit too expensive for me for a secondary backup every month. Another thing that may speak against using Mozy is privacy. Read more over at Søren Boll's blog.

Memopal

MemopalMemopal is a startup based in Italy where you get 150 gb for 49 $ per year. I discovered Memopal in a comment to a blog post while searching for Mozy experiences. I then later found out that the same comment appeared on many other webpages as well. That seems a little odd.

The Mac client is not so good in my opinion. You can't really configure what files to backup besides the entire computer, your home folder or a single folder. If you just want to backup your music and picture folder you are out of luck. The client also lacks an uninstaller so I had to uninstall it using the AppZapper application. Besides that the interface has spelling errors and unused entries in the menu bar that are generated automatically in an XCode project haven't even been removed.

Otherwise backup of files seem to do as expected even though a measurement of the upload speed would have been nice. The client also has the possibility to mount your backup in the Finder but I experienced that the client froze several times while trying to mount the backup.

The webinterface for the service is pretty lacking and seems like it could use some more work. It is not even possible to cancel your account or delete your data as far as I can see.

Overall much of the service seems to be work in progress.

iDrive

iDriveiDrive is one of the big players in town as far as I can tell. They have had a PC offering for years now and have begun work on a Mac client as well. They offer you 150 gb for 4,95 $ per month and you are able to sync multiple Macs to the service.

The Mac client is currently in beta and it looks good on the surface. I took it for a test drive and initiallly liked the software. It was easy to use and offered enough functionality in terms of scheduling backups and selecting what files to backup. It was also possible to mount the backup as a drive in Finder.

After a few days of trying to get the software to work I gave up. The scheduled backups didn't seem to work. They would start at the specified time but would keep searching for files to backup up. I therefore tried to do a manual backup of about 8 gb several times and things seemed to work well but at some point the upload just stopped or the application froze entirely. When I started the backup again any progress would be ignored and the upload started from scratch. Not so cool when you have already uploaded 2 gb of data.

In the end I filed a bug report and cancelled my account. They still need to do some work before the service can be considered reliable.

CrashPlan

CrashPlanCrashPlan was the last solution I tried. I read about CrashPlan in the comments of a TUAW post about Mozy. I quickly googled for it, visited the website and decided to give it a go. The website in general makes some good points about backup and the team behind seems dedicated to solving the offsite backup problem. There is a nice video tutorial explaining their take om the problem.

What sets CrashPlan apart from the other solutions is that they encourage you to backup your data to one of your other computers or a friends computer. In that way you don't have to pay a monthly fee for offsite space. Just for the client which is 19.95$ for a limited client and 59,95$ for the full pro version. They still offer online space on their servers but it costs a lot more compared to the other services mentioned in this post.

The client itself is very well done and easy to setup. It is actually based on Java/SWT - it is rare you come across a consumer Java app these days. It is easy to select what folders to backup. One thing I'm missing though is the possiblity to set different folders for different locations but it seems they are working on it. The client also has built-in support for limiting network bandwidth usage, unlimited versioning and other nice features.

To try out the app I decided to ask my mom if she wanted to swap some space. She is also worried about losing her pictures when leaving home. We installed the client on her computer, accepted a friend request and could start backing up content. An advantage of this approach is that it makes it a lot faster to restore data in case of an emergency and you know exactly where you data is.

Conclusion

For now I've settled with CrashPlan as it seems to work the best. It backups your data, doesn't get in the way and doesn't hang your computer. It wasn't the kind of solution I initially planned. I quickly discovered that it takes a long time to upload your data and it will take a long time restoring them in case something goes wrong. Besides that there's the privacy concern. I found the model where you can backup to your friends using CrashPlan works just fine for me.

Of course you can always argue about relying on a closed source solution. Is it possible to extract your data without using the client using standard tools or are you locked into their application now? These are valid concerns but CrashPlan suits my needs for a secondary backup right now. I haven't found any open source solutions offering the same kind of ease-of-use and non-intrusiveness.

In case you know any good ones please inform me in the comments.

Posted in Backup by Kaspar | 4 comments

Syncing iTunes Libraries

Aug 5th, 2008

transferI have been searching for a nice way to keep my iTunes libraries in sync for a while now and I think I may have found the solution. It is called Syncopation developed by Sonzea and will cost you $24,95.

My setup consists of an iMac with a library stored on an Airdisk attached to my Airport Extreme Base Station and a MacBook Pro that only keeps part of the music. The problem is that I often buy or import new music on my laptop and want to sync it to the main library in some way. I have tried different software including TuneRanger now but Syncopation gets the job done.

You just need to install the software on the computers you want to sync and then the software will be able to perform a syncronization between the different libraries. In my case I need to do the sync on the iMac to add new tracks and metadata from the laptop. If I do it from the laptop the software wants to sync the entire library from my iMac.

It's nice to finally have found a solution to the problem.

Posted in Software by Kaspar | 1 comment

Paternity Leave

Aug 2nd, 2008

In august and september I will be on paternity leave with my daughter Rebekka. It will be nice to unwind a bit after some intensive months of finishing things in the Mobile Home Center project.

I hope to get some time to update this blog more often than has been the case this year.

Posted in Personal by Kaspar | 0 comments

Facebook

Jan 17th, 2008

Some months ago I registered an acccount at Facebook but I have just recently started using it for real. Especially since so many danes have discovered the site. It's an amazing tool for finding old (and existing) friends - and waste your time :)

Feel free to befriend me. My profile is here.

Posted in Interesting Links by Kaspar | 0 comments

N800 OS2008 Impressions

Jan 15th, 2008

The last few weeks I have started using OS2008 on my N800 that I borrowed from work. This is a very nice upgrade for several reasons:

n800.jpg

There are still a few things I miss though:

Overall it's a nice upgrade and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the device.

Posted in Gadgets by Kaspar | 0 comments

Aarhus.nu Launched

Jan 15th, 2008
Last week the redesigned Aarhus.nu website was launched after more than a year's development.

Read more | Posted in Krosweb by Kaspar | 0 comments

Say Hello to Rebekka!

Dec 27th, 2007

This month on the 13th of december Anne gave birth to our second child. It was a girl and we named her Rebekka. Below is a picture taken on christmas eve.

Rebekka

Posted in Personal by Kaspar | 0 comments

We Have Won a Red Dot Design Award!

Dec 7th, 2007
November 30th 2007, at 7 PM, Center for Interactive Spaces received the "red dot: best of the best award" for the Wisdom Well (Vidensbrønden) design concept, in the red dot design museum, Singapore.

Read more | Posted in Wisdom Wells, Interactive Spaces, Awards by Kaspar | 0 comments

Exciting Mobile Announcements

Oct 18th, 2007

Nokia presents an open API for touch and other types of sensor based interaction:

http://www.nokia.com/A4136001?newsid=1160272 (press release)

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/nokia/nokia-introducing-touch-ui-to-open-source-s
0-os-311363.php
(video)

Apple introduces an API for third-party developers to iPhone/iPod Touch in february next year. Suddenly the iPhone/iPod Touch got a lot more interesting. We will see how much they restrict the device. Will it e.g. be possible to access the sensors in the device?

http://www.informationweek.com/hardware/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=20240391
&subSection=Macintosh+Platform

An update to the Nokia N800 has been released called N810 which is a really cool device.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/portable-media/nokia-n810-internet-tablet-officialy-
announced-311926.php

I've been wanting to update my mobile for a while now and I'm not quite sure where to go. Nokia N95? Sony Ericsson K850i? iPhone when available?

Posted in Mobiles by Kaspar | 0 comments

Upgraded to Ubuntu

Oct 18th, 2007

About a week ago I updated to the new Ubuntu Linux release called "Gutsy Gibbon". It has been a bumby ride so far but overall it looks really nice. The desktop effects which are now enabled by default looks great and really improves the user experience in my opinion. Luckily woobly windows are not in the default configurations! Most applications have also been updated and improved which is good of course.

The problems I have had is mainly related to my ATI graphics card. One of the main regressions compared to the last release Feisty is suspend not working on my Thinkpad. It seems to be an issue with the ATI driver and the new Linux kernel. Another problem is that the screen configuration tool which is new doesn't work for me at all. I have a Dell monitor at work but it is almost impossible to make it work properly. It seems the aticonfig tool works a lot better. I hope these issues will be solved at least when the new much improved ATI drivers will appear shortly.

I'm also waiting for VMWare Server to appear in the repositories again as it is quite important for my work. Right now I'm running the version from VMWare's website but it can be a little tedious to configure VMWare on each new Linux kernel release.

Otherwise I am a happy Ubuntu user. Congratulations on the new release!

My Desktop

Posted in Linux by Kaspar | 0 comments

<< 1  2  3  4  ...  17  18  19  >>

(C) Kaspar Rosengreen Nielsen 2002 - 2017 | Powered by Catmis