Backups. First, if you aren't backing up your computer, do so now!
I think most people realize that they ought to back up, but don't actually do anything about it until they get burned by a hard drive failure.
Then there are the really stupid, like me, who get burned by hard drive failure, and still
don't get a real backup system set up.
Several years ago, I had a hard drive die on me. I thought I had been good, and had everything I cared about duplicated somewhere else. But when I finally had things up and running again, I discovered I'd lost about a years worth of photography. And while any sane person would immediately take steps to insure that never happened again, I didn't.
In my defense, I did eventually set up a system to duplicate all my photos. I created a duplicate copy of all my photos on a separate hard drive. Since then, every time I copy pictures off my camera, I copied them to both my main drive and to the separate drive. The problem with this, is that I then went on to work on the pictures on my main drive. So, while I had a back up of all my originals, any subsequent work was in just one place.
In the past month or so, I've hand 3 hard drives fail on me (in sequence). Thankfully they didn't fail catastrophically, and I was able to recover everything. So this time, I've gone and done the sane thing, and now I backup everything
My first thought about backing things up was to buy a drobo
. While a drobo can be used as an on-site, robust backup device, it's an expensive solution, and it doesn't directly help get a copy of your backup off-site. I'd occasionally considered swapping space with a friend, so we'd each have an off-site backup at the others house, but I have over 80 GB of photos, and add 1GB or more at a time. That's a lot of data to try to upload over the net.
A while ago, while idly thinking about backups, I stumbled across this post
about backups. And it made perfect sense to me.
So, here's what I've done. I went out a bought 2 1TB hard drives and a USB SATA hard drive dock. Then I formatted one as "TM1" and set it up as a time machine disk (I'm running OS X 10.5). After that completed an entire backup, I ejected the disk, formatted the 2nd one as "TM2", and told time machine to backup to that disk. Then I brought TM1 into work.
This morning, I brought TM2 into work, and I'll bring TM1 home. Hopefully time machine will be able to deal with this, and wont have to start from scratch when I plug TM1 back into my machine. We'll find out tonight.
Go, back up your computer now.