So why am I telling you this? Van Yoder interviewed me about the FileSlinger™ Backup Blog back in October of 2005, and there’s a very short section about it in the book (pages 186-7). I don’t have to go back and listen to the recording to know that the quote attributed to me is a fairly drastic paraphrase, but that’s okay.
At the time of that interview, the Backup Blog was only 10 months old, though I’d been writing the reminder newsletter for a couple of years already. It had gotten a mention in the May 2005 San Francisco Chronicle, in an article about local business blogs.
Two years down the line, I’d say that “slightly” is definitely the word to append in front of “famous” where the Backup Blog is concerned. Having it certainly gets me more readers than are subscribed to the e-zine, and it has attracted the attention of software manufacturers (who offer me products to review), hardware manufacturers (who occasionally give me spiffy hard drives), and content aggregators like the newly formed TechDispenser and its sponsoring partner Adify. I will not be retiring on those ad buys, nor on AdSense. (I have yet to make enough money from that to collect a single payment.)
While many tech bloggers write about backups periodically, I’m the only person I know who actually writes an “all backups, all the time” blog/e-zine. That makes it fairly easy to stand out.
On the other hand, I’m never going to get more than “slightly” famous even in the small and specialized realm of data backups. That’s partly because I’m not a real expert in the field, but mostly because I’m not passionate enough about the subject to put in the effort required to build the list, increase the number of comments, get more links from other bloggers, and so on and so forth.
Of course I care about my data, and my clients’ data. I don’t want anyone to lose anything they could have saved with a decent backup system. And I like computers and don’t mind checking out new hardware and software. But I’m not a hard-core backup geek, really. If I didn’t have to crank this reminder out every week, I probably wouldn’t stay current on the latest developments in SOHO and consumer backup and storage options.
On the other hand, if I didn’t have this reminder to write every week, I might be less scrupulous about doing my own backups. (Though now that I have 5 different automated file backup programs, that’s not such a worry.) And I might not hear about products and services that would work better for me than something I used in the past.
But sometimes I wish someone else would decide s/he really, passionately wanted to write about backups, because whenever I’ve thought of discontinuing the Backup Blog in favor of writing on other subjects closer to where my real business is, I get stopped by the thought “If I don’t do it, who will?”
Eventually I will resolve this dilemma one way or another. Either something will happen to ensure that it’s worth it to me to keep writing, or something will happen to prove to me that I need to put my time and energy into something else.
But whether or not I continue with my “slightly famous” blog, it’s important for all of us to be more than slightly backed up. Maybe five different file backup systems is overkill—and maybe it isn’t. None of the backup software I use (Mozy, Karen’s Replicator, SyncBack Free, FreeAgent Sync, and the Maxtor Shared Storage backup) cost me any money, but data recovery costs a fortune.
Oh, and for anyone who’s wondering, I like the FreeAgent Go drive much better now that I’ve turned off that annoying light, and it seems to be functioning perfectly. I reformatted the old X drive to remove the data so that I could recycle it. Wouldn’t you know, it behaved perfectly throughout the entire reformatting process. This makes me more suspicious than ever that the problem is really with the connections in the case and not with the drive itself, but it’s a chance I can’t afford to take, so I’ll hand it over to the Alameda County Computer Resource Center to reuse or recycle as they see fit.
Unless, of course, one of you wants it, risks notwithstanding.