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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 December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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