Why aren’t you backing up your data?
In a statistic I’m making up, millions of people lose their most valuable data every day due to a hard drive failure! Oh no! Don’t be a made up statistic!
For most people that valuable data is pictures and videos. The interesting thing is that a lot of people actually think they’re backing up their data by moving it to an external hard drive but the truth is that they’re really not. Having your data in 2 places is a backup but notice I said move not copy.
What happens when that external hard drive fails? Trust me, it will.
What happens when your house burns down? Less likely sure, but likely enough that you keep insurance on your home just in case right? Insurance will probably replace the damaged external drive but will it replace the pictures and videos? Not possible.
What if a water pipe breaks and damages the external drive? What if you accidentally spill your coffee on it?
Maybe you do make a copy of your pictures and have two copies, one on your laptop and one on the external drive. How many of the above scenarios would still cause you to lose everything?
I’m rambling a bit but surely you get the point: “backing up” to the external drive sitting right next to your computer is a fragile backup solution at best.
Yeah, yeah, so now what? Well, the best solution is to continue what you’re doing but add in an automated off-site backup as well. “Automated” and “off-site” are the key words here. Automated ensures that it happens without you forgetting (which you will) and off-site ensures that none of the scenarios above cause you to lose your data forever.
Most off-site solutions work basically the same way. You install a small piece of backup software on your computer, tell the software what folders or drives you want backed up and what time of day you want the backup to happen and boom, sleep better.
There are several good off-site backup solutions out there and all of them have a fairly menial monthly fee (relative to the value of your data). I don’t want this to sound like an ad but the service I trust with my data is called Backblaze.
Backblaze is $5 a month for unlimited data which is pretty damn reasonable if you ask me.
Your initial backup will take a while because you’re likely backing up gigabytes worth of birthday parties and Christmas get-togethers but after that it’ll only backup the differences.
Do yourself a favor and think about your backup solution and how valuable your data is to you. You’re likely not doing enough as you should.
Garth Brooks: Blame It All On My Roots box set Review
I’m a Garth Brooks fan so I was excited to hear about his new box set (the link is to Walmart and they have the best price because it’s an “exclusive”) of not only his greatest hits but also cover songs of the music that influenced his own music. The majority of the cover songs are favorite songs of mine as well so it was a no-brainer purchase for me.
After listening to all 6 CDs worth of music I can say it was a solid purchase that I would highly recommend to any Garth Brooks fan. I do have a couple other observations though…
What I found interesting about the cover songs is that most are not cover songs with his own spin. He tries to match the songs almost exactly, both musically and with some of the vocals. That’s not to say he does a bad job necessarily, I just think I would have preferred his own take on each particular song. One of the things this highlights is the fact that, while he’s no slouch when it comes to singing, the singers of a lot of the original songs are considered by many (probably even Garth himself) to be some of the greatest singers of all time. It doesn’t highlight that he’s a bad singer but that those singers are/were so much better than he is.
I actually kind of wish the songs on the CDs were the full versions of the acoustic, guitar-only versions he performs at The Wynn in his Vegas show which is what is on the DVDs that are also in the box set.
As a country singer, his songs highlight his own vocals in a much more complimentary way (duh, right?). Which is obviously why he’s topped the charts so many times. Again, he’s not a bad singer, quite the contrary, especially when listening to his songs, but some of those singers are just on another level and I feel these covers re-enforce that.
I hope none of that sounds nit-picky because I’m thoroughly enjoying the music and I don’t want to take away from the fact that it really is a great set.
One more thing… CDs? Really?!?! I’d much rather have purchased the set through iTunes. I know Garth is a little anti-iTunes but come on man, get with the program!
Amazon could easily show the value of a Prime membership
When you go to the Amazon Prime page it shows you all the benefits you get from paying $79 a year but I’m curious… If I log in, and all of my previous orders are in their database, couldn’t they simply show how much money I could have saved broken down by year? I bet they’d have a higher conversion rate.
They don’t make them like they used to
I stumbled upon my dad’s old camera the other day. My step-mom said to take it and find out what I could get for it (my dad died almost 3 years ago).
I knew he had an SLR but knew nothing else beyond that. After doing some research, it turns out the camera is a Canon AE-1 Program. Not impressed? Ken Rockwell would be:
The AE-1 Program is so highly regarded because it represents a high point of camera development. The AE-1 has every feature needed for great photos, and none of the junk features that have been added in the past couple of decades that makes most modern cameras unusable unless you carry — and read — a 300-page manual.
It was a very popular camera in the ‘80’s so its value today is relatively low since so many people are also finding them hidden away after years of collecting dust. That doesn’t matter though. Between reading what Mr. Rockwell said and considering the fact that most of the pictures I remember taken of me in my tighty whiteys and cowboy boots were taken with this camera, there’s no way in hell I’m selling it. Bonus, it not only has the 50mm lens that came with the body, it also has a 28mm wide and a 70-200mm tele lens!
After deciding to keep it I took Ken’s advice and ordered some Fuju Velvia 50, Fuji 400 and a fresh battery. I also plan to get the photos digitally scanned when I get them developed so I can share and archive them more easily.
I’m pretty excited about this camera. I couldn’t have found it at a better time. We’ve had our Nikon D3100 for almost 2 years and recently my photography interest has really piqued. The Canon will be a hobby camera for me because for a novice photographer like myself, the modern advantages of my D3100 far outweigh the nostalgia and intrigue of this Canon.
For instance, my D3100 has autofocus, continuous shooting mode, can instantly show me the shot I just took on its built in screen to make sure I got the shot, etc. All of that basically ensures I won’t miss shots of my kids which is extremely important to me. The AE-1P has none of those features therefore I simply wouldn’t trust myself to get the shot in a make or break situation. It’s also surprisingly heavy compared to my D3100. But, that heft is clearly due to the build quality. It feels like a tank compared to my D3100. As the title says, they don’t make them like they used to…
As soon as I get the film in the mail, take some shots and get them developed (another bonus of modern day digital, no development necessary!) I’ll gladly, good or bad, share the results on my Flickr page.
For now, here’s a picture of my new toy:
Trail Mix (Gorp) Recipe
Almonds are one of those super foods. It’s why you always find them in a typical pre-made bag of trail mix at your local grocery store. One problem: I’m allergic to almonds. Bummer right? So, over the years I’ve had to experiment with my own trail mix blends. I think I’ve recently perfected my recipe so here it is. Now go mix your own and find a trail to eat it on!
Brad’s Perfected Trail Mix
- 1 can of whole cashews*
- 1 bag Pretzel M&Ms
- 1 bag chocolate yogurt covered raisins
- 1 bag Planters Spice Nuts & Cajun Sticks
*Substitute cashews for almonds if you’re not allergic. I also prefer chocolate yogurt covered raisins but some people prefer the white yogurt instead.
Put all 4 items into a large zip-top bag, mix thoroughly, find a great trail, enjoy.
Replacing Google Reader with Feed Wrangler
I used Google Reader as my RSS sync service for years. At first I was just reading all my RSS feeds on the Google Reader website but after the phenomenal Reeder app came out I rarely looked at the Google Reader site again and instead its sole purpose was to act as my sync “backend”.
Like everybody else, when Google announced they were shutting down Reader I started watching various developers and companies rush to fill the impending void.
I’m happy to say they came through. There are now tons of great options for everybody.
David Smith was one of the developers I was watching after he “pre-announced” his secret project Feed Wrangler. Once he finished building it though I was on the fence. Even though he also made an accompanying iPhone app (iTunes link), it wasn’t Reeder (sorry David!), and making the leap from free to $19 for reading my RSS feeds wasn’t too appealing.
Two things convinced me to go with Feed Wrangler though:
- David built in solid service with a 3rd party API
- Paying for a service makes you the customer whereas with a free service (especially one from Google) the customer is actually the paying advertisers, not you
The first one allowed Reeder to add support for Feed Wrangler and that makes me happy. The second one will not only allow David to operate a sustainable business and feed his family, it will allow me to be his customer instead of an advertiser. As someone who has a desire to one day change his career to independent development, it’s money well spent that makes me feel good. That’s what it’s all about.