You Only Lose Your Hard Drive Once

Computer Backup Options

VZW Disclosure

When was the last time you backed up your phone and computer? If you opened up your computer and couldn’t access your hard drive would you panic and freak out or calmly remind yourself that you have everything on a backup? If you turned on your phone to find it has mysteriously reset itself, would you crumble to the ground in tears or head back to your computer to reload a recent backup? computer backup options

Few of us would be calm about it. Most of us would start wracking our brains to determine what’s been backed up and where that backup is located. If Facebook and Twitter updates are reviewed, hard drive crashing happens more often than we think. Yet, most of us don’t think it will happen to us.computer backup options

I’m here to tell you it does. And when it does, there’s a level of panic most of us don’t know how to stop from completely taking over. Even if there is a backup, somehow our minds don’t automatically go there.computer backup options

So when I plugged in my Drobo external drive and I couldn’t see the drives it took several deep breaths not to totally freak out. I thought I was doing the right thing and having a backup. I thought I was smart to have this super high-tech drive to backup my computer, tablets, and phones. I have 6 Terabytes of storage. I have enough space to backup my entire neighborhood and still have space for a few other friends.

But these days, having just one backup isn’t enough. Redundancy is an important word in all of this. Today we need to take similar precautions as any small business. Because if one day all our photos are gone, we’ll probably hyperventilate and freak out simultaneously. What are the options though? Do we entrust our files to some random company or this thing called “the cloud” or a drive that sits on our desk or we store in a fireproof safe. And what do each of these really offer to us?

External Hard Drive – With 1T external hard drives available for under $70 this option is easy. I have a “pro-level” storage and backup solution, a Drobo. But it’s not for everyday access, it really is a true data redundancy system. And it sits on my desk, unconnected. (At least I’ve done a few backups, right?) Owning an external drive and using it are not one and the same. Evidently, we need to take steps to set up a schedule to connect it to our computer and transfer the files. The magical backup fairies don’t seem to be real. Sure, we can set up reminders, but how many times have you dismissed these reminders because they become annoying.computer backup options

Cloud Backup – There are so many options out there, it’s hard to know which ones are good. It’s only after realizing that my external hard drive was inaccessible that I thought about this option. Fortunately, a very good friend on mine runs an IT company and suggested Backblaze off-site backups. I figured that if it’s good enough for his company and clients then it’s good enough for me. And at $5 a month it’s a no-brainer. It does take a while to do the initial backup of your entire system, but it’s necessary.computer backup options

Cloud Storage – You’ve heard of Dropbox, Skydrive, and Box, right? Or perhaps you have iCloud or Verizon Cloud. These are cloud storage options, not really backups. While they’re relatively safe, these don’t really have the built-in redundancies and protocols to protect your data. These are great options, but with the amount of space you’ll need for ALL your files it can get expensive. One great way to use these cloud storage options is with a service called IFTTT (which stands for If This Then That). With IFTTT you can automate some of your storage and backup needs. For example, you can create a recipe that will send your photos from Instagram to Dropbox or Google Drive or Evernote. In general, though, cloud storage is not a viable option for a true backup.computer backup options

There are many different things you may want to back up besides your photos and documents. You may want to back up your applications or even your entire system. Those things get very large and can take quite a bit of time. But, it’s something to consider.computer backup options

When it comes to backing up your information, redundancy is key. Having multiple backups is important too. For me, when my external drive “crashed” I knew that CycleGuy had another backup on another external drive. While it wasn’t recent and only had about 90% of my files and photos, it prevented the total meltdown upon realizing I have over 30,000 photos in iPhoto. And for most of us, losing our photos is probably one of the most difficult things we’d have to come to terms with when dealing with a drive crashing or becoming inaccessible.

Keep in mind that as technology changes, you may need to change your backups. I have CDs with photos going back to the late 1990s. I also have Zip disks and 3.5″ floppy disks, both of which have “important” information on them but are totally worthless to me. Yet, I still have them.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Insider team. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Sara

Kitchen Time Saving Tips [CLOSED]

Hi There! Today in the Horizon Dairy Health Families community I have a discussion about kitchen time savers. I’ve embedded the discussion below and would love for you to join in. Together with Horizon and The Blog Frog I’ll be giving away a fun Horizon Dairy prize pack to one of my readers who is also part of the Horizon Dairy Healthy Families community. If you’re already part of the community, leave me a comment here on my blog letting me know. If you’re not, please consider joining because I’m sure you have a lot of valuable insight to share as well as will find it to be a very helpful community. After you join, leave me a comment that you joined so you can enter the giveaway too.

.

FOR ENTRY INTO GIVEAWAY: Please leave a comment below, on this blog post.

The Promotion is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, and the District of Columbia (excluding Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories) who are eighteen (18) years of age or older at time of Promotion registration. For more details view the Official Rules.

 

Disclosure: I am a compensated Community Leader in the Horizon Dairy Healthy Families community. This post reflects my views and opinions and was not reviewed or edited by a third party. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sara

CardMobili – Organize and Manage Loyalty Cards

I don’t know about you, but my keychain looks like I’m the super of a large complex. Only, instead of keys it’s all those little plastic loyalty and membership cards. And that doesn’t include the stack of them in my purse for all those places that don’t even have the keychain cards. Funny thing is, I have 22 loyalty cards on my keychain but only 2 keys.

In addition to all the loyalty cards for the various stores, I have several membership cards too. You know, library, rental car, airline frequent flyer card, hotel cards. You name a place and I probably have a card. Bet you do too! They may be tiny pieces of plastic but they hold our access to great deals! But sometimes I don’t want to look like Schneider from One Day At A Time (yes, I’m dating myself!). I want to grab that cute purse and be stylish. Not with loyalty-card-a-palooza keychain, though!

And, do you think I can get CycleGuy to remember all these cards? No way! He has enough to carry his debit card and ID, much less grocery cards and who knows what all else.

Enter CardMobili, an online website and smartphone app to help organize and manage all those loyalty and membership cards. I have an iPhone so I downloaded the CardMobili app directly from iTunes on my phone. It took about 3 minutes.

I actually set up my account online because for me it’s easier to type. And for CardMobili you will need to wait for a confirmation email before your account is activated. The email is almost instantaneous.

I found it easier to add all my cards from the their website. I had quite a few and I’m a better typer on the computer than I am on my phone. It was pretty quick. Although, I would like to have an alphabetical listing of the cards rather than having to type in the store name and hope it matches or scroll through all of the cards. It would be much faster to just click on ‘S’ and find Safeway rather than typing it in the search box or scrolling through, page by page. I’d also like for it to know which cards I use most and have those at the top. Maybe as more people use it they’ll add that feature.

I added the personal iPhone PIN feature to my app.  It was easy to set up and requires a 4 digit numeral and will ask for you to confirm it on set-up. Now, when I launch the app I enter my PIN and I’m in. It adds a few seconds, but for my peace of mind it’s worth it.

You’re supposed to be able to scan the barcode that is loaded into the app. So off I went to test this out. My library card wouldn’t scan but that could have been my issue in not setting it up correctly or their system not being able to read this type of barcode. I was able to scan at CVS which was pretty cool. Now I may actually use the loyalty cards I’ve got stashed away!

I know you’ll like the convenience of this app, so head over to CardMobili and set up an account.  If you want to do it from your phone, check out the free CardMobili app on iTunes.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Cardmobili is free to sign up and use.
  • The mobile app is available for iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry and other JAVA phones.
  • Anyone can add loyalty, shopper, library or membership cards to their account
  • User can share cards with family & friends
  • At the store, just show your card’s barcode/number (my not always work)
  • Users can tell Facebook friends about cards they are adding to their account & share offers they know about.
  • There is a 4-digit optional PIN feature on the iPhone & JAVA app
DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post written by me as part of a Team Inexpensively tour, but all opinions are 100% mine.
Sara

Where Did I Get All This Stuff?


I think my house is normal size. It’s about 3,000 square feet. OK, that’s HUGE! What am I doing with all this space? It’s just me, CycleGuy and BabyGirl. Sure, we used to have a dog. But Janers was a Jack Russell Terrier and small. But this is what we bought. Probably so we can put all our ‘stuff’ somewhere.

My first house was 1,900 square feet and seemed giant compared to the 1,000 square foot patio home CycleGuy and I rented. That first house was pretty sparse for quite some time. But after a piece here, a rug there, guest room furniture so Bubbie could visit it did start to fill up. Then we moved.

Off to Ohio and yet another house. This time a 2-story house with a basement. That house seemed downright gigantic! Partly because the master was on the main level so we didn’t spend a lot of time upstairs. All the rooms were furnished and everything was in its place. But we rarely used half of it.  Fast forward to our move back to Arizona.

Our house in Arizona is about the same size as the Ohio house but doesn’t have a basement. Not that we kept a ton of stuff down there anyway. But, evidently we kept plenty which now has to be stored in the garage. We have a 3-car garage mainly so we could have storage. It’s starting to look very full. Boxes upon boxes upon boxes of paperwork that I have to keep for work. Tax documents. Sports equipment, my stockpile of household items and so much more. And that’s just the garage!

As I spent the last week in the Bay Area looking for a place for CycleGuy and realizing that when BabyGirl and I move up there that there is no way we’ll be moving in to a house anywhere near the size we have now. We’ll definitely need to downsize quite a bit. And then it hit me. Where will I put all the ‘stuff’? Which led me to then wonder how I have amassed all this ‘stuff’.  Seriously, where did all this stuff (and junk!) come from?  And why do I have it in my house?

I’m not a hoarder. About 3 times a year CycleGuy and I go on our cleaning spree and thin out the junk, uh, I mean valuable stuff. I’m always amazed at how much we toss. And yet, it never looks like we’ve touched a thing. We do this every 4 or so months, so where does it all come from? It’s like it multiplies while I sleep.

I don’t shop a lot, so I know I’m not adding a lot to the growing amount of things I have. I purge! Bags to the local donation spot, some to the trash heap, other things given to friends or passed along. Still, it looks like I’ve done nothing and all these things are making their way back in to my house.

Maybe I’m just used to seeing it that I just think I have a ton of stuff. Yes, I know BabyGirl has a lot of toys and craft stuff and books and dolls and there are many incarnations of school materials. Truthfully, I wonder where all this stuff came from. If I sit down and focus I can detail how most things came about being in my house. Maybe the better question is why do I keep all this stuff.

I recently had a friend who moved back and rented a small place and kept most of her belongings in storage for the past year. Upon taking her things out of storage a few weeks ago as she moved in to a bigger place, she was excited to see all of stuff again. At the same time she realized that things which used to mean so much to her and would never part with weren’t more than just things. Maybe some sentimental value, but mostly just things. Widgets. Fungible items that were just taking up space.  When you live without your stuff for a year you realize what you do and do not need.

I can’t imagine living without all the stuff in my house. But the reality is that I probably could get rid of most things and not miss them.

Would you miss your things if you had to get rid of them? Which things can’t you live without?

Sara

When Is It Time To Declutter?

Awhile back I wrote a post about things we save and hide away, never to use the because the time isn’t right. This evening I had a few of my blog-world friends over and as I was putting things out I was realizing that I have so many things I never use – cups, platters, bowls, chairs. Then, as CycleGuy was helping me wash and put things away I was handing him some glasses and asked him why we don’t use them everyday.

It’s not like they are super fancy or crystal or anything like that. They’re regular drinking glasses. He just looked at me and said ‘Because you’re saving them for some reason’. He didn’t say it in a mean or rude way. He was just matter of fact. And he was right.

I have all kinds of things hidden up in the pantry and cupboards and even in the closets, just waiting for the right occasion. We used to entertain a lot more, but when you have a young child it changes up your schedule. And, well, our friends also have young kids too so they wouldn’t come anyway. Or, that’s how I saw it and thus rationalized my actions.

Why do we have things we don’t use? I often think of my friends who live in New York whose entire apartment would fit in my living room and wonder if they have stuff they don’t use. But, I wouldn’t think so. When you have 500 square feet you don’t really have a lot of room for ‘stuff I only use one a year or even less’. Maybe they share with their friends? How else could they live without eleventy billion serving platters or glasses or table cloths?

Some days I want to move solely for the fact that I’d have to get rid of things. BabyGirl’s French teacher is moving this weekend into a larger home and we got to talking about how excited she was to finally have all her stuff out of storage. It’s been in storage about a year. At the same time she wonders what in there she really needs since she’s lived without it for an entire year.

I know I have stuff I haven’t used in a year. At what point do I just get rid of it? If I could get rid of (as in sell for cash!) some of this stuff, I might have enough money to do something cool and worthwhile.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has stuff filling her house that doesn’t get used, so, tell me, why do you keep your stuff instead of getting rid of it. Maybe you have good reasons and I’ll just co-opt them as my own. Ok?

Sara