Tag Archives: backup

PTJ 304: Singing Backup

On this week’s episode, El Kaiser and J.D. work through the recent headlines — the good, the bad and the completely horrible — and offer a few tips for backing up personal content you’ve posted on social media. Because it’s not like any of those free services can be trusted to DO IT FOR YOU. Spin up PTJ 304 right here!

Public Service Announcement: Protect Your Social Media Content

PTJ 77: Desert Daze and the Cold Life

We’re refreshed, rested and ready for more shenanigans in 2014!  J.D. gives us some helpful hints for what to do with all those holiday snapshots cluttering up your smartphone. We may be a week into the new year but that doesn’t stop El Kaiser from  revealing what he considers the top Tech Term of 2013.  Lots of news from Las Vegas as the annual international Consumer Electronics Show opened this week. Samsung announces a new line of PRO models of its popular Galaxy Tab tablets; Panasonic announces a 7-inch addition to its Toughpad family of ruggedized tablets; Google partners with several automobile manufacturers to provide infotainment systems for their new car models;  Intel has a new mini-computer called Edison; plus Bluetooth toothbrushes smart TVs and appliances and some fun wearable tech from ThinkGeek.com.

(Hopefully) Helpful Hint: Photo Offloads

Have you ever looked at your phone’s usage settings and realized you don’t have that much room left on it? Unless you’ve got expansion-card options, you’re probably going to want to dump unused apps and other old files to free up space. So what takes up a lot of space on many smartphones today? Photos and videos — especially on newer models with better cameras that take higher-resolution photos and HD video.

Now, some people like to keep a lot of pictures on their phones – it’s the digital equivalent of the plastic wallet sleeve full of kid, family and vacation photos. Still, there are others who don’t need to have a ton of pictures on hand at all times and some people are just too lazy to clear things off, especially if they don’t want to go through deleting images one-by-one to keep the really good stuff.

Need a quick way to deal with gigabytes of photos? Just copy them all to your computer and then whack them from the phone. Once they’re imported to the desktop or laptop, you can lean back and look at a bigger screen as you weed through the images you want to keep and delete the duds. You can keep an archive of the saved photos on the computer, as well as that computer’s backup disc or drive.

imagecaptureJust plug the phone into the computer with the cable it came with and let the computer offer to import them all at once. Most operating systems recognize a smartphone as a camera and then treat it like any other camera with a variation of the same question — “Hey, do you want me to import all these photos and them delete them for you?” Windows does this (even Windows 8), as do photo programs that run on Windows like Picasa and Adobe Photoshop Elements. Mac versions of those programs, as well as iPhoto, Image Capture or Aperture do the same thing.

Once you copy all the photos off the phone, you can delete them from the handset and have gigabytes more space to fill up with new photos. From the computer, it’s also pretty easy to upload all your favorites to Flickr or another photo-sharing site — where you can still get to them from your phone, without having to give up local storage space.

If you simply want to keep the photos on the phone but do want keep them backed up, you’ve got plenty of online backup options. For example, Google+ has an auto-backup feature for photos and Apple has iCloud Photo Stream for people with iOS devices. Dropbox has a Camera Upload feature and you can also fine photographer-friendly backup apps like MyShoebox out there.

So remember, if you want to free up space on your phone, check to see how many pictures you’re got squirreled away on there. If your mobile photos number in the hundreds, consider moving them off the phone and to the safety of the computer or online archive. And even if you have plenty of room on your phone, back up your photos anyway. A picture is worth a thousand words, but if you lose your phone and the only copies of your favorite mobile snaps, your own vocabulary may suddenly be reduced to a couple of really bad words.

Crash! Boom! *Bah!*

It may be fresh out of the box, but assume right now that your hard drive is going to crash and take all your files with you. It may be 10 days or 10 years from now, but odds are, that drive is going to fail at some point. You should be prepared for this inevitability by having some sort of a data backup plan in place.

Why do hard drives fail? There are several reasons, from mechanical parts burning out to electronics issues. Even solid-state drives have been known to fail. So if your hard drive fails, what do you do? (Besides, you know, cursing and stomping.)

If you haven’t backed up and you totally need that stuff on that drive, you have a couple of options. You may want to start by taking the computer to a repair shop and having a technician remove the drive and try to revive it. If the demise was due to a logical failure, a repair shop can sometimes insert the drive into a new enclosure or a hard drive dock connected to another computer and pull the data off to a new machine — where it can be burned to a disc and put back in your eternally grateful hands. Disk repair software (like DiskWarrior) may help get files back sometimes, too.

If the drive went out in a flaming blaze of clicking and grinding glory and the hardware shop can’t revive it, you may need to resort to a data recovery service to salvage your files. DriveSavers is the big nationally known outfit here, and most cities have local services as well. Just be prepared to pay some big bucks because data recovery is usually way more expensive than that backup drive you never bought.

However, if you were backing up all along, you can have the technician swap out your deceased drive for a new one so you can restore all your files to the computer from the backup system. Apple’s free Time Machine software in Mac OS X makes this particularly easy. Windows 7 has its own backup software, and there are plenty of Windows backup programs that simplify things as well. If you’re feeling particularly do-it-yourself, you can also buy the new hard drive from a parts site or a storage-and-recovery shop, install it yourself, reinstall your operating system and files and pick up where you left off.

Because backup hard drives can also fail, some people are going the belt-and-suspenders route and now backing up to the cloud or burning comprehensive sets of DVDs to archive their most important files as well. No matter how you do it, though, just do it: Get a backup system in place and let it go to work. If you do ever suffer a fatal hard-drive crash, your photos, documents and music will be safe and maybe you can even recycle the dead drive into a little bit of tick-tock art.