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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

10.4.3 update; Getting into “that backup habit”

macosxhints - 10.4: OS X 10.4.3 update released

MacOSXHints covers a few of the 500+ 10.4.3 updates that are worth not missing. Two that popped out for me:

  • If you use Mail, you can now set your own font family and size for the mailbox list. My message list and mailbox list are finally in the same font!
  • Also in Mail, when you forward or reply to a message, they got rid of some of the extra blank lines (though they left the one at the top, above the quoted text)

I'll take all the Mail.app updates I can get. Now will someone please make MailEnhancer work again!

Paranoia, Part I

I have, I must admit, become one of those people who waits a week before running OS X updates. I used to be "that excited guy" until I learned a) new cuts of Safari almost always break one or more of my (and Pimp My Safari's) must-have plugins (Saft, SafariStand, PithHelmet); b) there's nearly always at least one deal-killer booger that sends me into two days of hair-pulling kernel panics, restarts, font removals, DiskWarrior runs etc. (Yes, thanks, I actually have modded almost every aspect of my setup in incredibly haphazard ways.)

As ever, kids: do yourself a favor and run a Safety Backup using SuperDuper. If anything goes kerflooey, you can do a perfect rollback to the snapshot of your disk before updating, then you're back to work with almost zero downtime. Seriously, just get in the SuperDuper habit just in general.

Paranoia, Part II

A propos of nothing, here's my current backup and SuperDuper schedule:

  • Nightly updated/new syncs to external drive #1 (Brandine: 200GB) via psyncx:
    • Preferences
    • iTunes Library
    • Work
    • Sites
    • Desktop
    • Documents
  • SuperDuper rotation to external drive #2 (Cletus: 250GB)
    • Weekly DMG Update - Update a mirror of my disk, every Friday night
    • Monthly 1 DMG Update - Update a 2nd mirror of my disk, 1st of the month
    • Monthly 15 DMG Update - Update a 3rd mirror of my disk, 15th of the month
    • Safety - Whenever I start feeling itchy (like today), I'll burn a clone of my disk overnight. No particular reason other than superstition. Never know when it might save your ass.

My next, extraordinarily paranoid move; buy a 2nd 250GB external, clone from the current backup drive, and rotate offsite every other month.

Crazy? You bet. Just remember Merlin's Two Immutable Laws of Data Paranoia™:

  1. Hit Save every paragraph, and every time you think of it.
  2. Backup as often as you can afford to lose everything.

Actually, you know what? Go backup now. Just burn your Documents onto a DVD or zip up your Preferences and Gmail them to yourself. All this talk is making me really nervous.

Ed Byrne's picture

I've a question about how...

I've a question about how accurate your (Merlina and all the commenters!) are.

Full mirrors, sync'ing and incremental backups are fine BUT what about file system changes (moving files between folders and deleting files), how do your backup programs stack up here?

For sure, having the data is the most important thing. But if you're going to backup 43folders style, you want your most recent data structure preserved as well, and the files you deleted, deleted in backup too.

UNLESS you made a mistake deleting a file, in which case your backup is your only recourse. So, ideally you could set your software to backup everything and modify the backup drives file structure to match yours WITHOUT re-copying your entire drive everytime (incremental-ish) and with a setting for ONLY DELETE FILES FROM BACKUP THAT WE'RE REMOVED FROM LOCAL PC over x days/weeks ago.

Anyone got a system like this, or near it? I'd love to get a more simple, automated backup system than the one Merlin describes, AND a more accurate one. Having too many backups is just confusing and clutter - the opposite of GTD!

Thanks in advance to any respondents ;-)




An Oblique Strategy:
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