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Back Up Without Breaking The Bank

Back Up Without Breaking The Bank

    A couple of months ago, I ran into one of my friends sobbing her eyes out. Her computer hard drive had died and she’d lost three years of graphic design work. Of course, it wasn’t backed up — she’d thought about it but hadn’t gotten around to picking up an external hard drive.

    I’ve heard this type of story hundreds of times. Every time I hear a new one, I think about how I’m going to do better at backing up my own work. I still don’t do a great job, but I do have all of my files backed up in one way or another. If I had a major data loss, I could replace most of my work pretty quickly.

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    Backing Up For Free

    Personally, I’m a big fan of data storage solutions that don’t require me to pay out any of my hard-earned dollars. I routinely email copies of files to my Gmail account and I have my most important files on Dropbox. Even better, neither of these methods really requires much technical knowledge — all though there are plenty of impressive hacks to improve on both methods.

    There are tons of other free online storage solutions: AOL runs Xdrive. IDrive is an encrypted option, with automatic backup. Humyo offers 10 gigs of space free.

    But I don’t entirely trust either system entirely. My worst nightmare is losing access to my Google account suddenly — and it could happen overnight. There’s not any sort of guarantee that free back up solutions will still be around after the end of the day. Xdrive is a case in point: AOL has been trying to sell it for a while now. They haven’t had much luck and I wouldn’t be surprised if they just quietly shut their doors one day.

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    While I’ll continue to use my free options — they’re the easiest for getting files back off of, for one thing — I do have a few other backup methods in place. Consider it a belts-and-suspenders situation.

    Backing Up For Minimal Expense

    In college, I backed up my important documents through the power of drag-and-drop. I bought an external hard drive — cheaper now, but not especially expensive even several years ago if you waited for sales. I dragged my folders over to the appropriate drive and went off to do something else.

    With the help of someone more adept at Linux than myself, that situation has improved. Sitting next to my main tower these days is a smaller box without any bells and whistles beyond a really big hard drive. Once a week, that puppy gets fired up and we run an rsync script which backs up everything on the computer I actually work on.

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    For those not familiar with rsync, it’s a free piece of software. It can be ran in three different ways

    1. From the command line
    2. As a script
    3. Scheduled through cron

    The script runs just fine on Macs. I don’t have a Windows system at this point but rsync seems to work with Windows — though it seems to require just a little bit more work, especially if you want it to run automatically.

    For those people less interest in mucking around with command lines and scripts, there are some fairly user-friendly computer applications available that handle automatically backing up your data to the location of your choice. Windows users: I’ve heard lots of good things about SyncBack (available in both paid and free versions). If you’re backing up to a remote location via FTP, SyncBack can handle that with ease. Mac users: It doesn’t get easier than Time Machine. Pretty much all you have to do is connect an external hard drive to your computer and open up the Time Machine application.

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    For all these options, your only real expense is a hard drive on which to back up your data. I generally believe that you should replace your hard drive every three to five years — but I haven’t shelled out for a RAID-quality or server-grade hard drive. Honestly, if you aren’t putting too much wear and tear on your back up hard drive, I don’t see the need for better quality, especially since big hard drives just keep getting cheaper.

    I know plenty of people who rely on thumb drives to back up their files, as well — at least in between larger back ups. They’re definitely cheaper than an extra hard drive, but I’ve always thought of them as less reliable. It’s not so much that I think they’re prone to failure — I just think they’re easier to lose than a larger hard drive and I don’t want to worry about leaving my only back up of a file at school or work.

    I Use Both

    I find it worth my while to back up my files to one of the online options and to my own back up machine. While there are plenty of disasters that can happen to online storage, there are just as many that can occur at home. Insurance might cover replacing a back up hard drive if it’s stolen — but it won’t bring back all your data. Using both methods provides you with the necessary belt-and-suspenders protection.

    Do you back up your files? Please let me know about any other great back up options I may have missed in the comments.

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    Last Updated on September 11, 2019

    8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

    Computers and cell phones have become an integrated tool in our professional and personal lives that the original methods of using pen and paper may not be so common anymore.

    Although our old-school methods of note taking may not have entirely left us, technology is advancing with no intention of slowing down; iPads are moving into service industries, video calls are taking the place of in-person interviews, and store receipts are making its way into our email inbox – all of which requires the skill of typing.

    Learning a new skill doesn’t have to be boring and never had to be. Thankfully, there are effective games and apps that can help you learn to type fast with swift precision and accuracy.

    Why Typing Fast Matters?

    Learning how to type fast is a game changer. In fact, you can save 21 days per year by typing fast!

    Although shaving several minutes from curating a long email or texting paragraphs in a text message may not seem to be of great significance, the minutes soon do eventually add up and the long list of tasks then evolve into frustration. By the end of the day, time is being wasted, and the work pile is stacked high over your head.

    Why not alleviate some of those frustrations through practice and dedicating your spare time to build muscle memory?

    Learning a simple skillset like speed typing can drastically improve other essential areas in life including time-management and prioritization. Not only does it help you efficiently complete tasks at work and in your personal life, but it also boosts your productivity.

    8 Most Effective Typing Games and Apps

    Everyone learns at different speeds and uses various methods. While some work better under pressure and tight deadlines, others thrive when given ample amounts of time to learn and soak in the knowledge that is being provided. Despite the number of resources that are available in the hollow corners of the internet, it’s all about finding one source that helps you learn at your fullest potential.

    Whether you’re a keyboard ninja or not, here are some effective typing games and apps that allow you to test your speed, accuracy, and maybe shoot some spaceships along the way.

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    For Beginners

    1. Speed Typing Online

      What’s more fun than to type to the story of Alice in Wonderland or the lyrics to “Hey Jude”? Speed Typing Online is an online typing game that allows you to dive into the creative and familiar world of famous books, fables, songs, and even hone your skills in data entry.

      The bright blue frame holds the text, which then turns green after punching in the accurate keystrokes. After the end of the personal timer, a statistics page appears to show you your typed words per minute, accuracy, correct and incorrect entries, and error rate.

      2. Typing Trainer

        Typing Trainer

        is another online platform suited for beginner typists looking for step-by-step lessons. Learning the keys on a keyboard can confusing especially for those who aren’t as familiar or getting adjusted to typing on a computer keyboard.

        Typing Trainer has a collection of step-by-step tutorials that covers everything from sentence drills, introduction to new keys as the lessons progress, and skills test. The Typing Trainer specifically highlights unique features in each lesson including a warm-up section where the user begin to build muscle memory and learn to type without looking at the keyboard.

        The website is also programed to identify difficulties the user is facing when typing specific words or sentences.

        3. TapTyping – Typing Trainer

          There is the feeling of physically typing on a keyboard and then there’s the feeling of typing on a touch screen mobile device.

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          Since the use of cell phones has become closely integrated into our everyday lives, learning to type on a mobile is much of a skillset as it is to type on a computer. The mobile typing app, TapTyping – Typing Trainer, allows users to practice while on-the-go making it perfect for commuters who want to practice typing during their down time.

          The app allows you to challenge other typists around the world with TapTyping’s global leaderboard and test your skills by taking advanced lessons. There’s always room for improvement and with the app, you’ll be able to find your mistakes by watching a heat map of your finger strokes.

          For professional writers and programmers

          4. The Most Dangerous Writing App

            Suitable for writers facing a creative block or on a tight-deadline, the Most Dangerous Writing App is a website that forces your fingers to type as quickly as your ideas.

            If you stop longer than 5 seconds, everything you had written will slowly disappear from the screen.

            Sessions are timed from 3 minutes to 20 minutes, or can go from 75 to 1667 words. This online app is perfect to brain dump ideas, write a chapter of a manuscript you’ve been stuck on, or help with procrastination.

            If you’re up to the challenge, try the hardcore mode – an alternative option where a single letter appears on the screen at a time. This level prevents you from seeing the entire word, sentences, or even correct any spelling or grammatical mistakes until the timer is complete.

            If you’re wondering, copying and pasting is not an option until each the end of each session.

            5. The Typing Cat

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              Looking to upgrade your typing skills? Also working as a personal tutor, the Typing Cat has a list of regular typing courses with the option to try other lessons with more complexity such as HTML. Learning to type code is a another valulable skillset worth adding.

              Even with disregarded interest in the coding world, using the code course enhances your typing skills and allows your fingers to familiarize itself with uncommon word combinations and placement of punctuations on a keyboard.

              The coding course can be difficult even for typing whizzes, but it’s all a part of muscle memory. According Psychology Today,[1] only a handful of people actually learn how to type by looking at an actual keyboard, while a majority of the population locate specific keys intuitively through muscle memory.

              Available courses include EcmaScript 6, HTML 5, and CSS 3.

              Fun typing games

              6. ZType — Space Invaders Meet Webster

                Remember playing the iconic 70’s game that allowed you to shoot tiny purple and green aliens from one end of the screen to the other with a two-bullet laser? It’s hard to believe that Space Invaders just turned 40 , but you can still get the same adrenaline rush with ZType, a typing game with the same shooting concept.

                Ztype works in waves – stages that must be cleared but instead of aliens, you must type out the words before the missiles destroy your ship at the bottom of the screen. Every so often, longer and mor complex words would appear and if the words are not typed in the allotted time, a series of letters will disperse like missles.

                The game is quick on the fingers and will still have your heart pumping until the very end.

                7. Epistory – Typing Chronicles

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                  Although this game does cost money to purchase, it is worth the investment if you’re looking for a refreshing and alternative mode to learning how to type fast.

                  Epistory – Typing Chronicles is a role-playing action and adventure game of a young girl riding a fox in a magical and fictional realm; together they combat enemies in the shapes and forms of words.

                  Once you’re starterted, you almost forget you’re playing a typing game. The paper craft art aesthetics of the game has you captivated by the vibrant colors and character’s storyline, while having you build your typing skills.

                  8. Daily Quote Typing

                    Need some inspiration? Say no more.

                    Daily Quote Typing is one of many gammes available on Wordgames.com – a website that offers a variety of typing games ranging from different levels based on your experience.

                    With Daily Quote Typing, users are able to type out inspirational quotes by famous leaders, inventors, and innovators such as Mark Twain and Albert Einstein.

                    Bottom Line

                    At the end of the day, discipline and patience is what teaches to type faster. It comes down to making that commitment to improving not only your typing abilities, but in a lifelong skill that benefits other areas in life.

                    By practicing daily and using effective games and apps, it’s only a matter of time before keystrokes will become second nature and your brain will adapt to learning other skills faster.

                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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