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What’s the Best Backup Solution?

What’s the Best Backup Solution?


    Your “techie” friends keep telling you to back up your data. Your IT guy (or gal) scolds you on the importance of backing up your data. Both of them state how easy it is to do this. We’ve even shown you how to do it.  However, you keep hearing about a variety of solutions, ranging from small USB Flash drives, to external “book” drives, to backing up to the cloud. So here’s the question…

    Should you use “cloud” services to back up your files or should you use external hard drives?

    The opinions are divided. On the one hand, Cloud storage technology has matured to the point where it’s fairly reliable. On the other hand, External Hard Drives only cost you the one time, but your data isn’t always available everywhere.

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    There are 2 different goals here and , depending upon how important one or the other is to you, will determine the best solution for you.

    1. Have your data in two different places.
    2. Have your data synchronized across multiple computers (e.g. Work Desktop and Work Laptop, or Work Desktop and Home Laptop).

    Goal # 1 is the most important. If your data isn’t in at least two different places, then you will lose it. This is one of the pitfalls of using external hard drives. Most people use them incorrectly.

    If you want access to your data from anywhere, then goal #2 is equally important, although it requires a different solution. You need to decide how important this goal is to you. If you are constantly e-mailing files from your personal account to your work account (and filling up your quota), then you need to try out a synchronizing service.

    Cloud Services for Backing Up

    All of these options have free trials or free versions (along with various pricing plans) and all of them allow you to very simply back up your data to their cloud storage via the Internet. The major issue is accessing files that you may need from your computer when you are away from it. This is a backup service, not another synchronized copy available via a website. For that, you need the options in the next section.

    Synchronization Services

    I personally favor this approach. I can access my files from anywhere that has Internet access and in most cases, from my phone (although I still haven’t figured out why I would want to do that…)

    “I lost Internet access…”

    What do you do when you have a loss of connectivity to your cloud storage? This can happen due to a power loss, a misunderstanding between you and your provider over the bill payment status, or simply being in a location that has very spotty Internet access.

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    For this, an external hard drive or a USB flash drive or SD card may fit the bill. As long as you have power, you can backup your important work.

    External Hard Drives

    This is one area where external hard drives DO shine. It doesn’t matter if you have Internet connectivity or not. Your data is still safe and sound. Prices (according to the Best Buy circular in today’s paper- your mileage may vary) range from $9 for an 8GB flash drive to a $30 for a 32GB Flash drive. An external hard drive is $110 for a 1 TB drive or $170 for a 3 TB drive.

    The biggest blunder that people make when going this route is that they move all of their files over to the external drive and think, “Now I’m backed up. Now I’m safe”.

    The reality is that you haven’t changed anything.

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    All of your files are still only in one place. The only thing that’s changed is that now you think you’re secure from data loss, when in actuality, you’re worse off. At least when you didn’t have the hard drive in place, you knew you weren’t covered. Now you think that you’re good when you’re not. Your data has to be in TWO places to be safe, not one.

    Cost-wise, you can pay for an external hard drive or a flash drive many times over with the cost of the online backup plans. There is one pitfall. Your files aren’t available via the Internet. A secondary pitfall is that if your house burns down, or a tornado or a hurricane hits it, then your backups are sitting right next to the computer that it’s backing up. I personally have my backup drive for my Mac (that’s at home) kept at work, to reduce this danger.

    The lack of Internet access for your files is where Pogo Plug comes in handy. I purchased the Classic version (with 4 usb ports) and have a drive hooked up to it. Once I connected it to my router for my network at home, I can access it locally as well as via the Internet.

    A Two-Pronged Approach

    I use both the Synchronizing files and the Flash Drives/ SD cards approach. The SD cards are for data that I need to access at any time and I use the Synchronizing option for convenient, don’t-need-to-think-about-it backups.

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    Whichever solution you prefer, you need to back up your data that you care about. I would hate for you to miss out on the memories of newborn children or relatives that have passed away, due to theft or hardware failure. Think of it like an insurance policy  and just do it. Let me know if I missed something.

    (Photo credit: Development via Shutterstock)

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    Published on November 19, 2020

    15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

    15 Great Macbook Accessories To Improve Productivity

    When looking to improve your workflow, you need to have a proper computer. And one of the most appealing computers out there is macbooks. These sleek transportable computers allow you to work anywhere at any time and provide a lot of functionality to their users.

    But sometimes, that’s not enough. In so many cases, you’re looking for more.

    While you could go for some productivity apps, there are actually a lot of macbook accessories available that will make your life easier in many ways. These extra accessories will allow your macbook to charge faster, hold more data, or keep it safe and protected while you travel around.

    Beyond that, there is a wide variety of accessories to pick from as many companies have jumped onto the bandwagon of supply to macbook users. Below we’ve listed off some of the greatest macbook accessories that’ll benefit your computer.

    What Makes For Great Macbook Accessories?

    Before getting into the list, we wanted to go over the criteria for what makes for great macbook accessories. The items that we’ve picked from this list will have the following criteria:

    • Reasonably priced – Accessories themselves shouldn’t break the bank compared to the large initial investment of a macbook.
    • Usability – All these accessories are practical in various situations, however, they also have extra features that make them useful in a few situations beyond their obvious functions.
    • Compact – Workflow is also about space in most circumstances. As such, anything that’s too bulky doesn’t help much. These accessories are either large on purpose – for storage of other items – or are nice and compact so they won’t get in the way.

    A USB Drive To Store Files Quickly Without Accessing The Cloud

      While you can always access the Cloud at any time, sometimes accessibility can be cumbersome or it takes time. Instead of trying to access files that way, getting a USB flash drive can save you plenty of time. Especially if your work entails providing presentations.

      The SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive is great as it offers USB-C and USB-A connectors allowing you to plug into virtually any device and transfer files and more between computers. Also, USB drives boast several hundred gigabytes these days making them solid storage devices.

      Buy SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive here.

      Compact Charger That Does More Than Charge

        Your default charger that comes with your MacBook is a good option for a charger, but these days chargers can offer so much more. This can help you speed up your workflow as you can be charging other devices or using the charger for other uses beyond charging.

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        In the case of the Anker PowerPort charger, it is more compact than the default charger. It also offers another USB-C connector allowing you to rapidly charge another gadget with it.

        Buy Anker PowerPort charger here.

        Port Adapter For Those With Multiple Devices

          One of the hard restrictions with a macbook is that it only has two USB-C ports. This is manageable for people with fewer gadgets but if you’re the kind who has several, it can interrupt your workflow if you need a particular device and you can’t charge it or access it.

          In this situation, a port adapter from Satechi can help. It offers multiple USB-C ports allowing you to use multiple devices. This can also help in organizing cords which we know can disrupt work. If the USB-C ports aren’t enough, it also comes with an SD card reader and ethernet cable port too.

          Buy Satechi Multi-Port Adapter here.

          A USB Cable That Isn’t As Intrusive Or Cumbersome To Use

          The USB-C cable that comes with Macbooks is small and is used to hook to an external monitor. By adding more length to them, you can have better cable management. One option that we found to be ideal was the Nomad Kevlar cable which offers enough length to do what you want while giving you more space to work with.

          Buy Nomad Kevlar USB-C Cable here.

          Screen Cleaning Your Laptop To See What You’re Doing

          Dust, particles and splotches are to be expected on laptop screens after a while. While you can work around these, sometimes they can obscure your vision at times. The same can apply to all devices these days.

          The only problem with many solutions on the market is that they can damage screens. Fortunately, we found a screen cleaning solution that doesn’t harm screens. ScreenDr Professional screen cleaning kit comes with a spray that’s safe for screens and an antimicrobial microfiber cloth to ensure you make the most of the spray.

          Buy ScreenDr Professional Screen Cleaning Kit here.

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          Card Reader That Speeds Up Photo Transfer Time

            If you’re looking for a standalone card reader for your work, getting a device designed for photo transferring and reading is essential. One of the best macbook accessories in this category we found was the Vanja card reader.

            This one is able to read SD and MicroSD cards while also transferring the pictures to a computer with ease thanks to its USB-C and USB 2.0 port options. It’s also small making it easy to carry around and is cheap to buy making it a great choice to pick up if you deal with plenty of pictures.

            Buy Vanja Card Reader here.

            Protective Sleeves To Protect Your Laptop From Harm

            For those who are travelling the last thing that you want is your laptop to get damaged for whatever reason. Even though you’re not likely to drop it as frequently as your phone, having a sleeve for a laptop to be in can save you time.

            One sleeve that we found interesting was the Native Union sleeves. They are made of tear-resistant material with genuine leather accents. Its interior is soft as well preventing scratches from your laptop. It also offers a pocket area where you can store cables and other macbook accessories easily.

            Buy Native Union’s laptop sleeve here.

            Car Charger For Charging On The Go

              For the person always driving around, a car charger is always a helpful tool to have when you’re on the go. The one from Anker is particularly helpful in a number of ways. Not only can this charge your macbook, but it also has an additional port for you to charge your phone if needed.

              It’s not the fastest charger out there when compared to the Macbook Pro adapter but it’s the highest in the market with an output power of 30 watts. For comparison, the second-fastest charging connector offers an output of 18 watts. Aside from that the charger has an illuminated LED ring for you to see it and the connectors late at night. It also has a function that ensures devices don’t experience surges or overheating from the charger itself.

              Buy Anker PowerDrive car charger here.

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              USB-C to USB-A Adapter Grants Access To Older Models

              If your older macbook still works but has files you want that you didn’t back up that you want this makes it easier to access them. It also allows you to access devices that have USB-A slots only. This can save you a lot of time if you are moving between older and newer devices.

              Buy Thunderbolt Adapter here.

              A Hardshell Case For Added Protection

              A sleeve is good for travel, but when you’re using it, having an extra layer of protection can be nice. Beyond that this hardshell case can also serve as additional protection from scratches and bumps too.

              Buy Incase Textured Hardshell case here.

              Alternative Sleeve For Those With Tighter Budgets But Want Protection

                If you are looking for an appropriate laptop sleeve but aren’t looking to spend too much, AmazonBasics brands are a good alternative. Their sleeves are elegant and still offer good protection from scratches as well. It also has a few pockets for small essentials too.

                Buy AmazonBasics laptop sleeve here.

                A Hub That Accommodates Several Ports At Once

                We’ve already mentioned a port before being a huge time saver thanks to it having various ports for different devices. This one is a great alternative as while it doesn’t offer as many USB-C ports, it offers more variety. Paired up with the design being the same color as the MacBook Air, it offers two USB-C connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and SD and microSD card readers.

                Buy Satechi Type C Pro Hub here.

                Earbuds To Deal With Fewer Headphone Cords

                  Cords are a common problem when boosting productivity at the desk and one way to mitigate them is to go wireless. If you are thinking about that, one option to consider is the Soundcore earbuds. These are cheaper than the traditional AirPods from Apple which can save you money.

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                  Furthermore, they deliver great sound and are connected via Bluetooth. The beauty of these earbuds is they can also cancel sound despite them being so compact. They also offer touch control allowing you to pause, play, skip music and answer calls.

                  Buy Soundcore Wireless Earphones here.

                  Desktop Stand To Save Desk Space

                    Desk space is another crucial part of productivity as things can get in the way and obstruct your work. In cases where you don’t need your laptop at the moment, having a stand where you can set it aside can be helpful.

                    In those situations, we recommend the Twelve South Book Arc. This neat Macbook accessor can save a tonne of space since it requires you to close your laptop in order to insert it into the stand. It also keeps it elevated from the surface which can protect it from spills

                    Buy Twelve South BookArc desktop stand here.

                    A Comfortable And Easy To Use Mouse For Faster Working Speed

                    The last of the macbook accessories we’ll talk about is a proper mouse. Logitech offers fantastic mouses and their Logitech MX Master 3 is one of the greatest wireless mouses out there. It’s ergonomic design, customizable buttons and insanely precise movement is fantastic. It also comes with a scrolling wheel for precise scrolling.

                    The battery power can last for months between charges and like all Logitech devices, it comes with a USB-C connector for charging.

                    Buy Logitech MX Master 3 Wireless Mouse here.

                    Bottom Line

                    There are many macbook accessories out there to improve your workflow. Taking the time to do research and invest in some of the best ones though will save you plenty of time, money and energy in the long term. At the same time, all of these accessories can help you with specific needs for whatever you are doing.

                    Featured photo credit: Viktor Ritsvall via unsplash.com

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