I’ve been podcasting for nearly 3 years now at Indie Launchpad and the constant bane of my existence is the creation of show notes. What sounds like a relatively simple thing, usually results in lots of cut and paste, and errors aplenty. My show notes consist of 3 sections, the usual preamble, the core body of bands featured with their review and web page links and my Technorati tags. I’ve been meaning to knock up a show note creator for a while, but just haven;t got around to it, but I thought I’d at least try to write a little utility that would enable me to create Technorati tags without having to mess with HTML. The Technorati Tag Creator is the result. Sorry at present it’s only for Windows users, though a Linux and Mac version may come in the future.
This is a very simple program. Just enter each tag separated by a new line, i.e.
and then click on the [Create Tags] button. The tags are then ready on your clipboard for pasting. The program itself is only 25KB, yes I mean kilobytes. I find it funny that the installable version is over 3 times larger, but have stuck with this, so you get your nice shortcuts, etc.
If you are curious why this program is so small, I shall let you into a secret…. but that’s a whole other post.
Once upon a time, according to Stan Laurel, “you could lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead”. Er, maybe that not the saying I’m after. Oh, yeah it’s, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. You can kind of transpose that to backups. You can tell people to perform backups for their prized photos, documents, files, etc, but unless it’s a no brainer they are not going to do it, save for the rare few.
It’s not that people don’t worry about losing their valuable data. It’s just that backing up is about as fun as watching paint dry. I used to be really bad about doing my own backups, but started to get serious with stuff like documents and programming source code. Unfortunately when it comes to photos, videos, etc, apart from doing a direct copy on an additional removable drive, I didn’t do anything for offsite backups. The reason for this is that I had around 190 gigabytes of stuff that needed to be backed up, but there was not real cost efficient way of doing this.
Recently I toyed with Amazon’s web services, particularly their S3 storage service. However once I did the math, it looked like it was going to cost me around $30 per month, and that’s just a starting price. With each additional gigabyte costing 15 cents, it’s soon going to get more and more expensive. I do love Amazon however and use it in conjunction with Jungle Disk, enabling every machine I own to have a shared virtual disk drive, something I find invaluable.
I’ve seen a few other services, one in particular was xDrive, which I’ve toyed with numerous times over the years. It’s currently owned by AOL though maybe for not much longer, as AOL seems keen on divesting themselves of companies they purchased in the dot com boom. Unfortunately though the xDrive client software has never been very good and in fact given numerous computers of mine indigestion. They do however have a free 5 gigabyte version of the service for you to try. Recently they released a Adobe Air desktop client, which seems to work much more reliably.
All through my investigating, I tried several other services, but kept hearing one above all others, Mozy. They too have a free 2 gigabyte service, so I gave that a trial run and was very impressed. The client software was easy to set up and over the course of a week, worked faultlessly.
The thing that really clinched it for me, was their full service offered unlimited storage for a monthly fee of $4.95 , so with nearly 200 gigabytes of stuff that needed a safe home, I was in. The first run admittedly took a while, now that’s not a while as in hours. Nor is it days. The first backup took nearly 2 months. I can’t imagine what my ISP must have thought , but as subsequent runs only backup changed or new files, the backup up is soon complete. The client software basically allows you to select folders and files to watch for, which means that as I download photos from my digital camera and video, as long as I put the files in the correct directories, everything is backed up, when the next backup is initiated, in my case, I have it schedules for the early hours of every day.
Depending on what you have needing to be backed up, you can either use the free service, which as I mentioned gives you 2 gigabytes of storage. This is great if you are a student and want to backup your schools classwork. In fact my nephew will be using this service soon, as his brand new Mac Book has recently suffered a hard drive crash, which fortunately resulted in just a couple of files being lost, but reiterates what could have happened , should he have been much further into his course. So fairly small files, like word processing or spreadsheet documents and programming source code, are ideal candidates for the free service. If you want to back up your music, photo or video collection, it’s unlikely you are going to squeeze that into the free service, unless you only upload a few files at a time. That being said, for just under 5 dollars a month it’s amazing the level of reassurance it provides.
I’ve restored files a few times from my backups, a) just to ensure it works and b) because I needed a file that was older than the one currently on my computer. Mozy however is not an archiving solution, you only get one version, albeit the latest version stored on the Mozy server. With now over 200 gigabytes stored on Mozy, I have no doubt there are going to be fairly interesting issues arise should I find my self needing to restore them back again. I can either restore them via the client software, from the web or the service I will probably choose via DVD. This is not going to be cheap however. Mozy charge $0.50 per gigabyte, $30 for processing and will charge your credit card for FedEx shipping, so in my case I will be looking at something in excess of $120 + shipping. The way I look at it though, if I need to make use of this service, something awful has happened, and spending $120+ is going to be the least of my worries.