Category Archives: Tech

Crashplan – My Favorite Backup System

Yesterday I had an amazing customer service experience. My backup app’s status said “0GB completed” and I subsequently freaked out a bit. I’m using Crashplan and this was on a computer that’s been acting a bit tired lately. I immediately went to their website and (after looking in the help section) was able to chat with a live person. The most amazing part of this is that I didn’t even have to log in. It made no difference whether I was a paying customer or not, Crashplan wanted to help me with their software. Their free to use software with live chat support. Just thought I’d repeat that to let the awesome sink in.

Crashplan is an all-in-one backup service. You can keep your data safe in three ways: on the cloud, locally, and on your friends’ computers. Crashplan does it all, and on pretty much any OS you might run. The software encrypts all of your data before sending it anywhere, so no matter where you back up to, you know it’s secure. I don’t currently use the cloud service they offer, but only for a lack of desire for more monthly payments. I can definitely see myself using it in the future though. I’ve used the app for about four months now, and I’ve actually had to put it to use twice to fully recover my laptop. The Crashplan program is really simple to use for restoration. It keeps all files including old versions and even saves a copy of all deleted files. Never again will I lose a file! When you go to restore, the app lets you choose whether to put the file in its original location or save it to the desktop. You can also select any old version (of which it keeps many) and keep or change the file’s permissions.

My setup is based around the tower I built and its two hard drives. The 1.5TB extra drive I have is big enough for all the backups I need. Crashplan fully backs up three machines for me. My main tower and my laptop, which are both running Ubuntu Linux, as well as my wife Kenzie‘s Macbook. One of my favorite features of Crashplan is that it eliminates duplicate file storage behind the scenes.  If I have the same photo in two places on my computer, the app will show show the file twice just as you’d expect, but Crashplan knows that they’re made of the same data. It only saves these bits of info once, which cuts down massively on how much space your backups take up. It’s also extremely efficient at keeping old copies of files by only storing the changes that were made.

The only downside I can see to Crashplan is the reliance on the company itself. The service requires logging in, which means I’m relying on Crashplan staying active. Honestly I don’t see them going anywhere, especially because their corporate-level clients are ultra huge. However, I have to point it out because I’ve thought of it from time to time. Perhaps I should do a manual backup every month or so just to keep everything perfectly safe.

All in all I’d recommend the app (and the cloud service if you’re in the market for paid cloud storage) to anyone looking for an easy backup solution. It’s free and has saved me from one OS corruption and a hard drive failure in the short time I’ve used it. If you have any questions about my experience please feel free to ask.

I have no affiliation whatsoever with Crashplan or any associated company. I am simply sharing my experience with a service/application that I really like to use!

My First SSD

Last month my trusty laptop started showing signs of a failing hard drive. It had to happen sometime; this thing is not new. It’s an Acer Aspire 5732z that was given to me by my mom when she got a Macbook. I got it right at the time that I was learning about Linux and how to dual boot, so it saw more than a few reformats while I played around. The hard drive may be a few years old, but I’m sure it was me messing with it so much that hastened its demise. Ubuntu was taking much longer to boot up and I started getting system errors popping up here and there. After that came the scary moment that I could no longer save any files. After booting up, Ubuntu switched itself to read-only mode once it found a disk sector that was corrupted. I wasn’t concerned about my data because I have a great backup system, but it was still a sad moment. It meant a fair amount of reinstalls and reconfiguration. It also meant shelling out cash I hadn’t wanted to spend on a replacement part.Crucial M500 Model Solid State Drive SSD 120GB Hardware

After a bit of research, my choice of hard drive was the Crucial M500 120GB. Since I don’t need much space on my laptop, I knew I could get an SSD small enough to fit in my budget. It was an instant upgrade to an old laptop. A way to breathe new life into this older hardware and make it last me a good bit longer. The install was incredibly easy too. Just two small screws to remove the panel and right inside was the HDD in a cradle. The old one slid right out and I just transferred the cradle to the new drive. Took all of five minutes and I was ready to reinstall.

This time around I was much more comfortable with Linux, so I left out Windows and installed Ubuntu 13.04 alone. Done and done. I’ve been playing with it for about a month now and it really feels like a new machine. It boots up super fast and opens programs in no time. I couldn’t be happier with this upgrade and with SSD’s in general. When I built my gaming rig a couple of years ago, the price/GB was just too high. Now though I’m thinking my next acquisition has to be an SSD to run my games on. That box is already a beast, but with an SSD it would be on a whole new level of awesome!