Friday, 22 February, 2008

Backup without hassles

Everyone knows they have to back up their work. Nearly everyone has lost some data from drive or computer failure. Almost no one makes backups, or at least not often enough to make a difference. And when you really need a backup, the latest one is usually the only one of value. And mostly if its over a week old, its useless.

I've been in this as well and have somehow managed to find one possible solution. This is 'a' solution not 'the' solution. And I've been using it for a few months now.

Lacie Silverkeeper

It ships with every LaCie hard disk on a CD. But you can download it at the link above. And its free.

Very simple to use. Just decide which folder should be backed up. To where it has to be backed up - usually a Firewire or USB hard disk. And make a schedule for the back up. Mine is 9 am every day. Yes, every single day.

On the first day, it takes a while because all the stuff on the folder you specify is copied to the target. The next day and thereafter, only files that have changed are copied and overwritten. Overwritten, remember.

Files you delete from the folder you're backing up are deleted off the backup as well. So the backup is always an exact clone of the original. You can change this delete behaviour with one setting 'Never remove files'. I've done that. And you can specify excluded items. So I've marked 'Documents' for backup, but excluded 'Final Cut Pro Documents' from the backup.

You can decide to make multiple copies. So it you set that to 5, Silverkeeper will back up and make a new set each day, but keep 5 sets, deleting the next oldest one in rotation. I've not used this option.

Besides backing up data, a good backup solution should also help in restoring backed up data. I had occasion to test that. When I upgraded my MacBook Pro to Leopard I did 'Erase and Install'. So I lost everything - photos, music, videos, documents, Mail, FCP projects.

After Leopard installed, I just connected my backup drive and copied the backup folders in their appropriate places, and had my old MacBook back. I chose to do this manually as I wanted to pick and choose what I wanted back. Great way to get rid of clutter. But there's also a restore option that does this for you.

Very simply, LaCie Silverkeeper works. At their site LaCie say it works with Tiger up to 10.4.11, but not with Leopard. I'm using it with Leopard on my laptop. Seems to work. But then Leopard has Time Machine. I've yet to try that.

Silverkeeper only works on a Mac. For Windows, there's 1-Click also free and from LaCie. This too is on the CD that comes with every laCie drive.

Western Digital also ship backup software with their drives. I tried it
once, but I must confess I didn't give it much time since I was already using Silverkeeper and it worked for me.

Again, backup is important, everyone knows that. With Silverkeeper, the excuses to not backup just reduced by one.

Now to look for a great software to remove duplicates all over one's hard disk...

Sunday, 17 February, 2008

Anything Under The Sun - autsun.com

Anything Under The Sun and the link is
www.autsun.com

A new online shopping site based in New Delhi, India. My film maker friend Dev Benegal, who's from Delhi, but spent a larger part of his life in Mumbai, recently pointed it out to me.

Autsun.com, have a rather nice variety of things. I've checked out only the computer and electronics portion, but that is growing. That's because, what makes this site different is that if you don't see what you want, you can recommend it along with a preferred price. And they try to get it and offer it for your price.

I wanted to see a Canon HV-20 - fast becoming a cult camcorder in the indie film circuit - so I recommended it. And they now have it. Available in India, free shipping anywhere in India, the Canon HV-20 for just Indian Rupees 70,000.00.

A lot of people will Google the HV-20 and come across prices like US$ 800, even 750. But hey, that's for the NTSC version. The PAL version is US$ 1200 at least and that's before taxes. Add Indian Customs Duty and it gets to 70k anyway.

Earlier, my friend Dev recommended autsun.com a Western Digital MyBook Studio Edition 1 Tb hard disk, and they now have it there. 1 Tb for under Rs 16,000 or so. Great for video editing and backups. It has Firewire 800, USB, eSATA and is small.

Autsun also sell iMacs, MacBooks and other such.

Another interesting item is the Sony HC 96 camcorder. autsun.com is the only place I've come accross this camcorder. No Croma, no Sony showroom, no Vijay Sales. No one has the HC 96.

What's special about the Sony HC 96 is that it is the only DV camcorder left that has DV in and out. The other models like the HC 36, 26, 38, 28 whatever, all have analog out, DV out, but no DV in. And no analog in DV out. What's called 'analog in, DV-passthrough'.

And since the HC-96 is a Sony it will play back miniDV and DVCam tapes. Canon, Panasonic, and JVC will not play back DVCam. So if you need a good capture deck for DV/DVCam for film editing, and have the ability to capture live from a analog source into your MacBook on location (like a video assist) then the HC 96 is the only current camcorder that can do it. And as far as I can tell, only autsun has it.

I just realized that don't know these guys from Adam (or Eve) and have not yet bought anything from them, but I'm still recommending them. So please speak to them, do your research, and make your own choices.