There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to my online backups, and that’s Arq Backup. For several years, I’ve been using Crashplan for all the Macs in my house. It was hard to beat the price of the Crashplan family plan, but my subscription expires in the next few months, and it doesn’t look like I’ll be renewing it. Instead, I’m switching to a combination of Arq Backup and Amazon Cloud Drive.
Tag: Backup (page 1 of 3)
In our last post I wrote about the 3-2-1 backup rule, a backup method that builds in a few layers of redundancy, so that you have peace of mind knowing that your backups are safe. I have a system in place with my iMac that has served me pretty well. Depending on your interpretation, it doesn’t strictly follow the 3-2-1 backup rule.
Hard drives die. You want to make sure that you have a system in place to back up your data in the event that one of your drives bites the bullet. One way to do so, and to give yourself a few safety nets, is by following the 3-2-1 backup rule.
Ask any computer expert, and she will stress the need for not only local backups, but offsite backups as well. One option to get offsite backups is to use an online service. For many years, I was a happy subscriber to Carbonite. As the number of computers in my household grew, however, I needed a more economical solution. My wife and I each had a desktop and laptop, and I also ran a Windows virtual machine on one of my Macs. That made five systems that I needed to backup. After a bit of research, I settled on CrashPlan, and haven’t looked back. Not only is the CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited plan a good choice for a family with many computers, but CrashPlan might also be a good choice for you if you don’t want to pay anything at all.
If you have invested yourself into Google+ at all, you will be happy to know that, whether you stick with the service or not, there is an easy way to get a copy of all of your data (profile, contacts and circles, your stream, Picasa pics — even Buzz and +1s). It’s called Takeout, and it’s built right into your Google+ settings as a part of Google’s “Data Liberation Front.”
There’s no tricks to it, no caveats, and no amount of hacking genius required. It’s all a matter of a few points and clicks and a bit of hard drive space. Here’s how to do it:
There are two ways to get started:
1.) Head to this link to visit the Takeout page directly
2.) Go to Google+ settings (little gear, top right corner of the page) and select Data Liberation
If you choose the second option, you can either click on one of the services to jump to the services selection page, or can click the “Download your data” button to get to the Takeout page. Once on the Takeout page, you can click create archive to backup everything. You will find the archive available under the Downloads page, available by a three-button menu at the top of the page.
If you wish to be selective about what data you want to back up, then you want the Choose Services page (via step two or the three-button menu). Here, you can select one or all of the Google+ related services mentioned previously and create a custom archive. I suggest you head here, anyway, as this section of Takeout shows you not only the size of the archive, but the percentage each service takes up in the total download (this information is mostly available on the Downloads page as well).
The services will download as the following file-types:
- Picasa Web Albums photos: .zip
- Profile Data: .json
- Stream data: .zip
- Buzz data: .zip
- Circles and Contacts: .zip
Photos are organized by Album or Post Date, and Contacts are individual .vcf files that are organized by Circles. Your Stream data is delivered as a functional, standalone website complete with comments, images, as well as anything you have reshared.
Overall, I find Takeout to be fairly impressive as a means of manual backups or to walk away from Google+ with all of your data. The compression rate is pretty good, as well — Over 3,000 pictures in Picasa (I imported my Facebook photos, and have uploaded many more taken with my iPhone) and the total download size was under 500mb. Not bad at all!
Note: There was once small inconsistency in file size information for my photos. The Choose Sevices section said the download would be 778MB, while the downloads page said 449.8MB.
Have you used Takeout? What are your impressions? What do you think of Google’s Data Liberation initiative?