How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)

Very Awesome “How To Play Piano” Video Tutorials From Andrew Furmanczyk

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug

Bechstein Firmenschriftzug (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Caught a music bug like mine?  Why not try to pick up some basic piano lessons for free from Andrew Furmanczyk by watching his “How to play piano” video tutorials.  For your convenience, I created a playlist for all of his “How to play piano” video tutorials, and you can watch them all right after the break.  Enjoy!!!

HitBliss Is So Familiar But Yet So Strange, Because You Can Watch Ads To Earn Cash To Pay For Digital Contents

Digital contents are cheap, because everywhere you look there are some more.  This is why some people are cutting their traditional TV cord and opting for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and the likes.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that everyone can afford any digital content whenever.  Let say, subscribing to too many cheap services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, or other similar type of services can push up the monthly spending by a lot.  Perhaps, this is why HitBliss is here to alleviate some of us from spending too much on digital contents.

What?  According to Forbes “Watch Ads, Get Paid: Is This The Future Of Ad-Supported Content?” article, you and I can easily watch a new movie — that is available for online rental — for free if you and I are willing to watch few ads here and there.  Perhaps, you insist that this is nothing new, because you can just do the same thing on Hulu.  Nonetheless, I think HitBliss is onto something new.  Basically, if I’m not wrong you can earn HitBliss cash by watching video ads, and the cash you earned can be accrued to pay for digital contents.  I’m not sure if this is HitBliss virtual currency or real cash.  Nonetheless, since HitBliss allows you to earn cash to pay for digital contents, it’s different from Hulu in many ways.  Let see, if I’m not wrong, with HitBliss cash you might be able to pay for digital contents other than just movies.

How would HitBliss operate?  A guess work on my part, I think HitBliss shakes hand with digital content partners to license those hot digital contents, streams or distributes digital contents to end users, collects the digital content costs from advertisers who got their commercials aired to the end users, and eventually separates the digital content license fees from profits to make sure there would be money to pay up to digital content partners.  In a way, it feels like HitBliss just modernizes the traditional TV/ads model and more.  And more in a sense that HitBliss allows the end users to pay for whatever digital contents with the money they earn from HitBliss.  And more in a sense that advertisers now will know that they will always have the right audiences for their advertisements.  How?  According to Forbes, HitBliss will annoy end users with frequent interruptions to make sure that the end users are actually watching the advertisements and not just turning on the display and walk away.  Furthermore, HitBliss might personalize the advertisements to tailor the advertisements that fit the taste of each end user.  How might HitBliss going about to do that?  I guess HitBliss can collect end user data such as digital content purchasing behavior, digital surveys, and so on.  If HitBliss is able to tailor such ads for different groups, I can see that the advertisers will love to see how their ads perform specifically for specific audiences to maximize their advertising effectiveness and minimize the advertising budget (i.e., save costs).

Will HitBliss business model work?  I think it’s a guess work since nobody has yet seen how this business model performs ever before.  Nonetheless, I’ve a feeling that HitBliss is onto something quite interesting.  Let say, if HitBliss is able to license enough digital contents to distribute to end users and executing superbly in delivering core services, I can see that HitBliss might be making it big.  Then there is also a question about will today, online end users want to expose themselves to online ads so they can get free digital contents such as free movies?  So far, Hulu Plus is doing OK with forcefully showing ads even though end users are already paid up for the service.  Maybe, HitBliss will find its business model will be OK too.  Anyhow, I think HitBliss might be something big and people like us will have another choice to go to for consuming awesome digital contents, affordably.  So let see folks, because time will tell.

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Traditional Advertising Over The Traditional Airwaves Is Broken! The Internet Broke It!

Advertising

Advertising (Photo credit: Wrote)

Writing in a haste, because I got place to go.  Nonetheless, hopefully this post won’t end up as a mess of incoherency and full of grammar errors.  Anyhow, I like to think that the traditional, on air advertising model is broken.  Traditional, on air advertising model?  You know, those advertisements that you’re being bombarded with while listening to car radio or watching TV at home and so on.  So, why is it broken?  It is broken because of only one word, and this word is Internet.

Yep, the Internet has been gradually training people to be impatient and inclined toward on demand.  People’s attention span have gotten shorter than before for the culture of the Internet is all about getting to the information fast even though the information might be inaccurate or unpleasant or expensive or all of the above.  So, it’s not hard for me to see that people rather have a more benign, concise, and quiet form of advertising nowadays.  The ads on the right or left hand side of a webpage, if done with moderation, are certainly more benign and quiet than the typical in your face or ear, loud commercials that you often hear or see on the airwaves of radio and TV.  This is why I think as time goes on, the Internet dictates advertising to be creative and less intrusive, and people will continue to have none of the traditional form of advertising model.  If the traditional form of advertising model cannot be changed, people will not have any of it.  Furthermore, people are willing to cut the cord for more of on demand type of experience.  Just this sort of behavior alone can foretell that people do not appreciate to be force feeding with those loud and in your ear or face type of commercials.

What I had written above is my personal opinion on how modern people, the information age generation kind of people, might react to the traditional advertising model.  This traditional advertising model is the model that is still being used on TV and radio of today.  For an example, after watching few minutes of a show or news, commercials then be aired forcefully and loudly.  Even some Internet video services are still deploying this traditional advertising model, but with more clever methods (e.g., allowing people to skip the commercials randomly, keeping commercials short and exciting, etc…).  Obviously, there are enough people who might like to watch good commercials, but as the traditional advertising messages being traditional, these messages won’t have the options of staying benign, concise, and quiet… people might rather have the more boring but benign, concise, and quiet advertising messages that proliferate across the Web.  In a sense, this is what I feel toward today advertising form factors, but I can be wrong about this since I have zero experience in advertising business.  Still, I think my personal opinion has merit since I’m too a consumer who is being bombarded with traditional advertising messages over car radio and home TV.  What do you think?  (Not having time to proofread this, but I’m going to publish this anyway.  Will revisit this post in a day or two to proofread it.)

Stupidest Idea Among Stupidest Ideas Of Our Time: Pay Up When Linking Or Else… You Will Get Sue?

world wide web

world wide web (Photo credit: alles-schlumpf)

I think newspaper is a dinosaur form of spreading news, because it’s not relevant to how our today world works.  Today world, we do not need to use newspaper to get our news, because we have our news in digital forms.  Nonetheless, the same organizations that once made it big in newspaper world are now also the ones that churn out the news in the digital world.  The digital world isn’t the same as the world that newspaper came from, because everyone can make news.  This is why newspaper organizations who are responsible for some really informative news find it hard to make the same amount of revenue as before.  There simply just too many fishes in the ocean now, and just about any fish can have the presentation of the big fish.  Competition is good for news consumers (readers) though!

With the advances of Google search, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Skype, and so much more, it’s hard to not notice that news, collectively, is now can be in many forms.  Just about any news form in this digital world of ours, as long there are big audiences for such a form, news can become viral and spread throughout the society easily.  We can also simply call this as the Web!  The Web is basically consisting of all sorts of things, and news, collectively, is only a small part of the web.  For an example, another small part of the web is shopping online.  So, when I saw BusinessInsider broke “Irish Newspapers Want To Pass A Law That Would Mean Anyone Who Links To Their Articles Would Have To Pay” story, I told myself that I do not want to read the article as the title is already clear as day.

In my opinion, it’s insane for the Irish Newspapers to even fantasize about charging for people linking to their news articles.  I should not even waste my little energy to dabble on this particular topic, because it’s so stupid, beyond idiocy, for someone to think that it’s OK to charge someone for linking to his or her story.  Like I said, news, collectively, is only a small part of the Web.  What about other parts of the web that attentively want to link to never ever ending streams of links?  Furthermore, linking is a tradition which the Web cannot do without.  So, if there will ever be a law in the world, not Ireland since Ireland is only a part of the world, that passes to allow some people to sue others for not paying when linking, the Web will be broken immediately, if not gradually.  No one wants to link to anything, and the Web will become a broken web.  The Web itself needs not to be called the Web anymore if no one is linking to anyone else’s stories for fearing of being sued.  What a boring place this will be if this ever happens to the Web!

Luckily, Ireland isn’t ruling the world, therefore let hope Ireland knows its place and not passing this very stupid idea into law.  I don’t see how this will work out well for Ireland, because Ireland cannot impose its laws onto other nations.  Other nations will continue to allow web links to be used as how web links should be used, that is to be linked by other web links.  Will someone in Ireland start to go to United Nations just to sue another person in another nation for linking to his or her story?

If one day, our digital world morphs into the way the Ireland newspapers have imagined and wanted, even Google will go out of business.  Google’s search business is all about linking to various parts of the Web so regular folks can use Google Search to search for whatever.  If Google has to start to pay for every link, besides the humongous money/revenue outflow problem, Google has to also worry about the humongous, cumbersome administrative tasks in regarding to who Google needs to pay to and how long Google needs to pay in order for Google Search to function properly.  And so on…  I do think you get the gist!  Without Google Search or Bing, do you think the Web is navigable?  Sure, it might be navigable, but not to the extent of how we would enjoy with Google Search, Bing, and other search engines out there.

If someone starts to pass laws that impose on some of us to pay for linking to someone’s stories, I would prefer not to participate in such a lame Web!  Economic parts of the world that rely on the Web to function might have a hard time of bringing home the bacon if a broken Web is the way to go. Here I waste my little energy to write this article to vent my frustration of hearing such a stupidest idea that is being proposed in Ireland, because it’s very dangerous and stupid idea, if let it grows an inch, it might endanger the survival of the Web.  I bet most people think the Web is not perfect, but it’s definitely awesome as it is.  Of course, it can be improved in more constructive ways, but Ireland newspapers way is not constructive at all.  I say, let link freely and more, and no one should be imposed upon by laws to be forced into paying for web linking.  No one stops anybody in demanding for paying up to have the ability to link to certain stories, but that’s business kind of thing and not some sort of laws that impose upon everyone, senselessly.

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