Category Archives: Technik

Technik, Computer, Apple und Wissenschaft.

Let’s talk about my backup strategy

I am someone you would probably call a geek. Nearly everything I have created in my life is digital: computer programs, websites, designs, articles, scientific papers and photographs. All bits and bytes. Nevertheless I only started thinking about a backup strategy quite recently.

When Mac OS X introduced Time Machine in 2007 I first started to create backups on an external hard drive on a regular basis. Before that I would only occasionally backup some important folders. Having Time Machine is a great improvement, compared to having no backup at all. But there are many cases of data loss that would also mean loosing my backup. A fire, a flood (less likely since I live on the fourth floor) or a thief could destroy or steal my digital legacy.

My backup strategy improved unintentionally with the rise of cloud services. Most of my documents are now stored in my Dropbox folder, which does not only upload them to a server, but also creates a version history. This lets me retrieve older versions of a file. My emails reside on Gmail and I can barely remember the times when I had to delete emails from the server anymore. Google gives me enough space to be able to access years of personal and professional communication from every internet-enabled device.

All code I write is on Github or my own Git server. Even if my apartment should burn down, I could get up the next morning, buy a new computer and resume working. Since some months I even store some important configuration files in a public Github repository. I use iTunes Match to be able to retrieve my music from Apples servers any time I want to. Music I buy from Amazon or other online music stores is stored in my Dropbox folder.

However, there are files which are only stored on my own hardware in my apartment. Many gigabytes of photographs sit on my hard drive without any good backup. This makes me nervous. I tried multiple times to find a good solution for this problem. Backblaze seemed like a great solution, but uploading files was too slow to get over 100 GB of images into the cloud. Another service I tried is Bitcasa. I managed to get all my files up there, but downloading them takes ages and the service is too new to trust them with my backups.

Amazon S3 seems like a perfect solution for my problem. It’s fast and I trust Amazon to be around for some more years. However, it would cost me currently approximately $15 per month to store my 155 GB backup on S3. This is too expensive for me. Gladly Amazon introduced a new service this summer called Glacier. It is targeted for archiving large amounts of data for a very long time. Storing 155 GB on Glacier costs only $1.5 per month. Downloading these files is more expensive, but since I hope that I never have to, I am absolutely ok with paying $20 to fetch all my data.

Glacier is like all Amazon Web Services not a consumer product and therefore Amazon does not offer an interface to create and upload backups. But there is Arq from Haystack Software. Arq offers a great interface to backup for data to either S3 or Glacier. Arq costs $29 and if you don’t already have a backup in the cloud (or no backup at all) you should consider investing a little bit of money and time to setup a good backup strategy. Just in case.

Price of 1 gigabyte over time →

Daniel Parker:

Price of 1 gigabyte of storage over time:
1981 $300,000
1987 $50,000
1990 $10,000
1994 $1,000
1997 $100
2000 $10
2004 $1
2012 $0.10

Without these price drops technology would not improve that much. In 2000 the storage of an iPad Mini would have costed $160. That’s half of what an iPad costs.

Why is there a program called Evolution in CE? →

Ubuntu Christian Edition Forum:

I am rather upset by the inclusion this program called Evolution in Ubuntu CE. I am unfamiliar with what this program does, but I find the word to be offensive to myself and other Christians. Would it be possible to rename Evolution or not include it as a default package? I do my best to raise my children in a household that preaches the word of God, and I find it rather dubious that Ubuntu CE should include a program that so directly contradicts the word of God.

I laughed really hard.

Introducing the Source Filmmaker →

The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is the movie-making tool built and used by us here at Valve to make movies inside the Source game engine. Because the SFM uses the same assets as the game, anything that exists in the game can be used in the movie, and vice versa. By utilizing the hardware rendering power of a modern gaming PC, the SFM allows storytellers to work in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get environment so they can iterate in the context of what it will feel like for the final audience.

This is pretty awesome.

Graphing Calculator Story →

Ron Avitzur:

Why did Greg and I do something so ludicrous as sneaking into an eight-billion-dollar corporation to do volunteer work? Apple was having financial troubles then, so we joked that we were volunteering for a nonprofit organization. In reality, our motivation was complex. Partly, the PowerPC was an awesome machine, and we wanted to show off what could be done with it; in the Spinal Tap idiom, we said, “OK, this one goes to eleven.” Partly, we were thinking of the storytelling value. Partly, it was a macho computer guy thing – we had never shipped a million copies of software before.√جª¬ø√جª¬ø Mostly, Greg and I felt that creating quality educational software was a public service. We were doing it to help kids learn math. Public schools are too poor to buy software, so the most effective way to deliver it is to install it at the factory.

Ron Avitzur and Greg Robbins were fired by Apple but they continued to show up and finished their product. It was later shipped with the PowerPC version of Mac OS.

Apple’s Secret →

Sounds plausible.

It costs just $1.36 to charge an iPad for a year →

The annual cost to charge an iPad is just $1.36, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit research and development group funded by electric utilities.

By comparison, a 60-watt compact fluorescent bulb costs $1.61, a desktop PC adds up to $28.21 and a refrigerator runs you $65.72.

Surface vs. iPad: Microsoft’s Getting Rusty Stealing from Apple →

Microsoft’s Surface presentation compared to Apple’s iPad presentation.

The worlds fastest 13″ MacBook Pro

The world fastest 13" MacBook Pro (1/2)

If you read my weblog or my Twitter stream you may already knew that I won, according to Hardwrk, the worlds fastest MacBook Pro. Last monday I received it and I love it. A full restart only takes three seconds and Photoshop is up and running in under two seconds. Even compiling LaTeX is not a pain in the ass anymore. Everything else is also super fast. Whenever I have to do something on my old MacBook Pro (mostly move some files to the cloud or the new MBP) I fall asleep because it is so fucking slow. Thank you Hardwrk, I think I will be really happy with this for a very long time.

The world fastest 13" MacBook Pro (2/2)

The worlds fastest 13" MacBook Pro Stats (1/2)
The worlds fastest 13" MacBook Pro Stats (2/2)

Inside Apple HQ

Here's to the crazy ones

Apple Gazette has 75 photos from the inside of Apple HQ.