I did actually have a plan for what to write about this week. Two plans, even, depending on whether the VIA ARTiGO A2000 I’m supposed to be reviewing arrived. But the ARTiGO has yet to show up, and while I’ve taken a quick look at the demo and downloaded some of the sales docs for Hosted FTP, I haven’t had a chance to examine it properly. (And we won’t even go into the argument I lost with my CD drive…)
Those of you who follow the blog rather than reading the e-zine version of the Backup Reminder—which is most of you, by the stats—know that I bookmark a lot of backup-related articles in Delicious. (Which used to be del.icio.us, until Yahoo! bought them.) I don’t include these in the e-zines, because I know enough of the subscribers personally to be pretty sure you wouldn’t be that interested in a collection of headlines and links. Delicious is very handy, and I’ve written about it here before, but I mostly use it for bookmarking, not as a social network or for any other purpose.
Yesterday, however, I discovered that people can send you bookmarks within the Delicious system, because one of my fans had done so. I didn’t know I had fans until one of them sent me a bookmark. The fan was “CommVault”, and the bookmark was a New York Times story mentioning CommVault. Well, fair enough, it was relevant. My two other fans are “seagatetechnology” (wonder what business they’re in, eh?) and “Wordworker”—a fellow writer and naming consultant whom I taught to blog. I much suspect that the reason I’m being followed on Delicious.com by people in the backup industry is that I’m posting the bookmarks here on the blog—and “backup” is one of my top 10 tags, along with “podcasting.” If people start sending me links, then I’ll have even more backup tags, and even more potential blog posts—and even less time to write them, no doubt.
I also got a reader question this week, which is great—but I wasn’t able to answer it, so I’d like to post it here in the hope that someone reading this will be able to help out. Is anyone out there using Dmailer Backup? Is anyone from Dmailer reading this blog? Here’s the question, corrected for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, because I am a Natural Born Pedant and my day job is writing and editing:
Currently I have a Western Digital Passport. It came with Dmailer Sync installed. That is very nice; it works great. However…I want a backup of my data, NOT a synced copy. Meaning, if I copy a file from my PC to the Passport, then delete that file from my PC, the file should remain on the Passport. This is NOT what Dmailer sync does; it deletes the file from the passport. So I would like to use Dmailer Backup, which as far as I can tell does what I want: keeps all files on the Passport. My question is…is Dmailer Backup something that you would recommend? Is there an alternative? To switch, can I just delete the Sync and install Backup?
I’ve never actually used Dmailer myself—perhaps because Western Digital has been less generous than certain other companies with its drives, though actually the Ur-Guru has bought a good half-dozen of those little WD drives and I don’t think any of them came with Dmailer.
My colleague Lee Hopkins in Australia uses both Dmailer Sync and Dmailer Backup, but when I asked him for a review, he was up to the eyeballs in work on his PhD and couldn’t write one. I suggested that the person who asked the question contact Lee, who could probably answer the “Is it worth buying this thing?” question quickly enough by e-mail, but it did seem like it would be a good idea to add reviews of the Dmailer products to this blog.
With my backlog of backup hardware and software to write about, however, what I’d really like is for someone who’s already using Dmailer to send me a guest column (that’s sallie [at] fileslinger [dot] com).
I do want to point out to everyone, however, that if you delete a file from your PC (or Mac!) and then have only the copy on your external hard drive, it’s not a backup. While it’s by no means necessary to go into backup overkill mode the way I have (see last week’s backup diagram), a single copy of a file cannot, by definition, be a backup. I’m all for clearing out your computer’s C drive to keep it running smoothly, but make another copy of those files you’re removing if they’re important to you.
And I really would like to hear from ‘Professor’ Hopkins, when he has time, about the way he uses Dmailer Sync to keep his data synchronized across multiple computers, even though that’s not strictly backup if file deletions are replicated in real time. (Gosh, Sallie, could you make that sound more techie?) I’m planning to get myself a netbook soon, so I have a vested interest in the answer.
By next week I should have either the HostedFTP.com review or the ARTiGO A2000 review for you. There’s also a review of Memeo for Mac in the works (from a Mac user, natch). And maybe we’ll hear more about Dmailer. Plus I have a client who wants to know about the latest in drive imaging—any recommendations?
Whether or not you have any hot new hardware or software, back up.