Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Ways To Back-Up Your Computer & Online Work

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I don’t consider myself too much of a “worry-wart,” but I figure I’ve spent a lot of time into developing my website, many materials stored in my computer,  and my various blogs and, even though I have a lot of confidence in the webhosts and my computer hardware, anything can happen.  And given that possibility, it doesn’t hurt to “play it safe.”

I particularly like these services that provide automatic back-up for all my work.  I don’t have to even think about it, and just receive daily, or even more often, reports from them confirming that my materials have been backed-up. I’m sure that there are others, though, so please leave your suggestions in the comments section of this post.

One is Mozy, which backs-up everything on my computer. And I’ve barely used half of the capacity you get for a free account. And it costs peanuts to upgrade, if necessary.

For my blogs, I use Blog Backupr.

For Twitter, I use Google Reader to subscribe to the RSS feed of my Twitter account.  

There’s also another different kind of back-up site called BackupURL.

BackupURL lets you enter a website address and then it immediate creates a backup copy of the site with it’s own url address. All the links remain live, and when I tried it with my website I was pleasantly surprised to find that it actually copied all the pages of my site and not just the one page address I had entered.

It’s different from the other online back-up programs in that they will create a copy of a site that you can access and then “re-launch” if you lose all your data, and you have to register for them. Those also automatically update new addition.

BackupUrl sort of “takes a picture in time” and makes it immediately accessible. If you want to update it, you have to enter the site address again and get a new url address for that updated site.

It could definitely come in handy for me since very infrequently my website (with 9,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners) might go off-line temporarily. Having a back-url will be useful because students could just use that instead.

Packrati.us could be useful. It follows your Twitter feed, and then bookmarks any url address you tweet to your delicious account.

Dropbox seems to have been around for awhile, but it’s new to me, and I like it a lot. You download the application, and it lets you easily move any of your computer files into it. As you make changes in the documents, it immediately and automatically registers them at Dropbox (and at any of your other computers where you installed the application) and you can access them at anytime either at the Dropbox site or at any of those other computers. Everything is always “in synch” automatically. This will be a big help to me at school, where I will now be able to access tons of the files I have at home related to different classes, and won’t have to worry about flash drives — either at school or if I’m traveling with my laptop. Dropbox also lets you share any of the files publicly, too.

I suspect there are probably a number of similar apps out there (I know Dropio is good for file-sharing) , but I really like how easy it is to use Dropbox. You get 2GB of storage for free, and then have to pay after that, but that’s plenty of space for me. I uploaded a ton of files — everything for all of my classes, plus everything for all the books I’ve written and the ones I’m working on, and I’ve only used 8% of the alloted space. A little more back-up of files always can bring some peace of mind, too. Mozy is great for backing-up EVERYTHING, but it’s only designed to replace lost data.

Feedback, of course, is always welcome.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

7 Comments

  1. Good post, I’ve been finding DropBox to be user friendly and reliable. I haven’t used it long enough to get a feel for it over time, but it is worth looking at.

  2. I just got hit by my first computer virus and I can tell you it is a pain to get everything up and running again. I’ve spent hours just reformatting and reloading all my programs. All my links are gone and I never want to do this again.

    I wish I had read your post before this all happened. I am going to check out these sites and I will let you know what worked out.

    Great post. Keep them coming.

    jim

  3. Thanks for sharing this. In the past few months the number of files I have seems to have increased enormously (I’m thinking Gizmo mixed with water -if you recall 1980s movies), particularly web-related stuff, and I was actually beginning to think seriously that I needed to find a way of backing up the info in some more dynamic way than a memory stick.

  4. Thanks for those tipps.

    Some questions worth asking, though: if a service like Blog Backupr or BackupUrl is free – who are the people running it? How do they fund their business? For how long will they be able to maintain a free service (which obviously costs them money?) and what happens when they realise they can’t make any money from it?

    For backup of important files, I prefer paid services or local backup on an external dirve because when I backup I want to be sure I can restore that stuff again without relying on a web startup which might or might not be around anymore when something crashes.

    One example of such a “disaster” is the social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia which basically went down in a technical failure taking with them ALL their users’ data: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma.gnolia

    For blogs, if you host with a provider, they should be able to tell you how their servers are backed up. If you host yourself on websapce, the provider for that should also be able to tell you that. If they don’t have a backup plan at hand, they’re not professional.

  5. Backup of files is very important. I use Sugarsync for my laptop (and then can access those files anywhere). My wife also uses Sugarsync which saved her when her hard drive crashed. I also use MS SyncToy to sync my directories to a backup, remote hard drive.

    I use GDocBackup to backup my Google Documents and once a week I backup (export) my Google data (bookmarks, blogs, sites, and more).

    Here’s some more info on backup and cloud storage – http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com/2010/01/cloud-file-storage-sync-backup.html

  6. packrati.us is very nice, using it for @zoomicon on twitter, copying my links to delicious.com/birbilis and I’m very happy with it

  7. Pingback: Back Up People! « modern midwifery

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