Strategies in honor of World Backup Day! March 31st, 2016
Today, March 31st, 2016, is WORLD BACKUP DAY!!!
Many of you in both my live and online classes have heard me, very strongly, tell you to BACKUP your data! As I’ve mentioned before, the only time you miss having a backup is when you need it and don’t have it.
I always recommend more than one method of backup, just to be safe. Hard drive space has become very reasonably inexpensive, and cloud space can often be had for FREE (my 2nd favorite price, as I often say) ?
Some strategies you might mix and match:
- A CLONED backup of your system, or just your startup drive. Cloning is creating an exact replica of your hard drive (please note, for this discussion, I’m not referring to “Disk Imaging”, which creates what is essentially a zipped file of your cloned hard drive, but doesn’t use the suffix .zip). You need a hard drive with space that matches the size of the drive you’re backing up for this. As for software, Windows users have the options of Macrium Reflect Free, Paragon Backup and Recovery (Advanced) Free , Acronis True Image 2016 (not free), and several others. I do a weekly clone of my startup drive, so that in the case of disaster, my system is only one week behind. However, please note that I do the next strategy daily.
For Mac users, there’s DejaVu, Carbon Copy Cloner, Super Duper!, Data Backup, along with many others . Note that there no longer seems to be much FREE cloning software for Mac, but that’s because the MacOS has Time Machine built in – we’ll discuss that momentarily. With any application you choose, I recommend getting one with the following features:
- Exact duplicate clone capabilities
- Creation of a bootable backup (contains the files necessary to start from and use the backup drive, should your original drive go “bad”)
- Duplication of the startup drives “Recovery Drive” feature (I know Carbon Copy Cloner does this on the Mac, but am unsure what does in the Windows world)
- The ability to SCHEDULE your backups on a regular basis – so that you don’t have to remember to do them – your system does it automatically.
- A duplicate backup of all my “Work” drives, which includes my USER FOLDER from my startup drive. I do this nightly, scheduled with the same backup software I use for my weekly backup of the startup drive. Every night, the drives (or folders) that contain my daily changes are duplicated to a secondary drive. Note that my user folder is in there, so if I ever need to reinstall from my cloned drive back to a new hard drive, I can also move my user folder into place, and my emails and documents, etc. are up to date. On this drive, I don’t duplicate my startup drive. Since I have several drives in my computer, I need quite a large capacity drive for this backup. However, since it only changes the file that have been changed that day, the backup process is quite quick.
- Mac users may also take advantage of the MacOS built in “Time Machine”. This requires quite a lot of storage space, but it does an hourly (give or take) backup of all changes made to your system. The advantage of this is that you can store and restore files from many months back, in case a file gets corrupted, accidentally deleted, or just plain messed up. The DISadvantage to this is that the drive is not bootable (you can’t start your computer from it), so there’s downtime if you must replace your original hard drive, while Time Machine copies your files back to the drive.
- ONLINE backup into the “cloud” is also a great option. Some systems automatically upload your files to their cloud, but you may need to pay for the service. Please note that these will NOT backup your system files, so an Operating System reinstallation would be required). But, your work files will be saved offsite, which is always safe. Nowadays, there are what seem to be a Zillion choices out there for this service. One popular service is Carbonite, and another is Backblaze, there’s also iDrive, CrashPlan, Pogoplug (I love this option, because it also offers a hardware “personal cloud”)….. I could go on for days on this. Some of these plans offer a free option for a small amount of space. In addition, there are FREE:
- Dropbox – 2GB – file size limit 10GB
- Box.com – 50GB – file size limit 250MB
- OneDrive Windows – 5GB – file size limit 10GB – or 1TB with an Office 365 plan
- Google Drive – 15GB – file size limit – varies – but up to 5TB for non-converted files
- Verizon Cloud – 5GB – 1200KB from phone
- Amazon Cloud (w/ Prime) – 5GB for video and files, unlimited for photos – file size limit 2GB
- Copy.com – 15GB no max file size limit
- hubiC – 25GB Free – got 30GB with code
Oh, and DON’T FORGET TO BACKUP YOUR CELL PHONE PHOTOS AND VIDEOS. Use a cloud to do automatic uploads, use iTunes, or whatever software you have to get those photos on your harddrive and back THOSE up. I’ve seen such sadness when someone loses their phone, corrupts the data, accidentally resets the phone… PLEASE remember that those photos will not be easy to recover, if they’re recoverable at all.
In my line of work, there’s been a lot of money to be made by people having NOT backed up their data – please save yourself the money of data recovery, the heartache of lost files and work. Find a strategy that suits you and remember to BACK UP!!!
Oh, and if you ever do need to have data recovered, I do recommend DriveSavers, in Novato, CA. Their “cleanroom” work is the best in the business. If you ever need a discount, please feel free to use my code DS16297.
****Broken hard drive image, courtesy of DriveSaversDataRecovery.com
Nik Collection – Photoshop Plugins FREE to Everyone! March 24th, 2016
Today, Google announced that their excellent Photoshop Plugin “The Nik Collection” is going to be free to everybody.
This excellent collection includes: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine – professional level controls to refine your images. I’ve been using it for several years (along with some other plugin sets) for efficient control over my effects, sharpening, noise removal and more.
For those of us who use Photoshop on a regular basis, getting this (previously $149) plugin for FREE is a boon!
Check out their post at: https://plus.google.com/+NikCollection/posts/AFGsG2Di7EK
Really Interesting and Informative Typography Article March 20th, 2016
As almost all of my students know, I’m a bit of a type geek. So, imagine how fulfilled my inner geek feels, when I find blog post about Typefaces, Type Structure, Type families, Type anatomy, and Type Classification, the use of Type in Paragraphs, Typographic Terms like kerning and spacing, Page Layout and Type, and so much more!
Although this article is written with a focus on software development, the article is about DESIGN. Knowing what you’re using, and why. As I always say “in design, you can always break the rules, but first you have to know what the rules are!”
I seriously recommend this article to all my design students, my motion graphics students, my still image students, and anyone else who feels that Type is more than just a way to make a word show up.
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Fabulous Photoshop Format Focused Pharticle March 6th, 2016
As a Photoshop geek since version 2.5 of the program (before they even invented Layers), this discussion of the inner workings of how a Photoshop .psd file retains it’s backwards compatibility, along with it’s potential and power is of massive fascination to any Photoshop geek.
Upon first looking at the article, I was brought back to a simpler and easier time, with the help of the first image – Photoshop, as it looked when layers were still almost brand new in Photoshop 4 (version 3 actually first introduced them). There’s a fun retro-splashscreen quiz (for those of us with memories of Photoshop going WAY back – image G was the first one with which I worked), reference to a really interesting commentary by a programmer from 2009, about his utter hatred of the .psd technology (which, by the way, is what gives us ALL the power we have now), and some technical background on what really makes up a .psd file.
As Photoshop users and designers, we really don’t need to know any of this. For us, it just works, and we’re grateful for the power it gives us. But for me, it makes me happy I’m not a programmer working with Photoshop files from a coding perspective!
Just for fun, I’m including the splashscreen from Photoshop CC2015, and what the interface looks like, now!