Last week while we were in Pasadena visiting family members (mine), the Ur-Guru and I drove out to Palm Desert to the corporate offices of Spare Backup, Inc. Long-time readers of this blog may remember that I covered Spare’s online backup service/software about a year ago, and also (DISCLOSURE) that they’re a client of mine. (They weren’t a client yet at the time I wrote the review.) The reason for the trek across the desert was to talk about future projects. Naturally I can’t discuss those on the blog, but I’m happy to talk about the part of the visit that wasn’t confidential.
First, as you might guess from its name, Palm Desert is hot. I’m told that it’s actually bearable several months out of the year, but July is not one of those months. It was 110°F, and I learned something new about my car: the clutch squeaks at high temperatures. This of course made for added peace of mind when attempting to locate an essentially unmarked building on a street with an unusual numbering system.
We arrived on the same day BackupReview.info gave Spare Backup’s flagship product 4.5 out of 5 stars, which meant everyone was in a good mood, but also on the same day as the first investor conference call, which meant the CEO was distracted.
While we were there admiring the artistic silver-toned lighting fixtures and the slick blue broken-glass table in the executive conference room, however, we got to see some demonstrations, including a look at the back end of Spare’s enterprise backup product (the one I wrote the white paper about last year); a preview of Spare Room, the file synchronization, sharing, and collaboration suite that’s available in beta for Spare Backup’s current online backup customers; and some early tests of Spare Mobile on Android and Windows Mobile phones. (Though I’m not a smartphone user myself, I found the mobile application fascinating.)
After the initial demos in the QA lab, CTO Darryl Adams showed us his special demo in the working conference room, involving two laptops, a camera, and a wireless printer. He took a photo and sent it to the first laptop, where it was automatically backed up. Photos backed up to “the cloud” as part of Spare Backup’s system become part of Spare Room. Previously set commands synced that photo to the second laptop, which also set it as the desktop wallpaper. (Looking at the photo below, would you want it for your wallpaper?) Finally, the photo was sent to the printer.
It was a pretty neat demonstration, and the only hitch seemed to be getting the wi-fi to work in order to get started. Darryl says that his wife uses that sync feature to send him photos of their two-year-old on a daily basis—though without the added command to print.
It will be interesting to see how the final version of Spare Room stacks up against its assorted competitors. Spare’s great claim to fame has always been ease of use , and both Spare Mobile and Spare Room seem likely to carry through on that promise. (This is the backup service for people who don’t know what files are, and where someone once called the help desk to say “Your software broke my toaster.”)
We enjoyed the trip up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway while waiting for the rush-hour traffic to lighten up so we could return to Pasadena (CEO Cery Perle recommends it to all Spare Backup’s visitors), but it’s good to be back in a more forgiving climate—one where the clutch doesn’t squeak.