After not having used the service for quite a while, the other day I uploaded a set of photos to Flickr again. I wanted to publish those pictures on my blog in a size smaller than the originals.
I felt that the way Flickr creates various sizes of each uploaded photo came in handy. Also, I found it practical to select a subset of a large amount of photos I’d shot, edit their metadata, privacy and licensing, organize them and have a backup in the cloud as a bonus.
My flow goes something like this: I take photos, video and audio files using various devices. I collect them on an external hard drive and make regular backups of that hard drive to two other hard drives in different locations.
Text files and office-like documents I sync across multiple computers using Dropbox, a service for which I’m sure the NSA is very thankful. That works well, tho I know I should probably consider some other synchronization solution, e.g. to sync with the hosted server that runs my WordPress blog. One downside of Dropbox is that it offers too little space for all my photos, video and audio.
As far as backups of this WordPress site are concerned, my hosting provider offers an option to automate backups via FTP to a server in a different location. That’s happening once a day.
Add to the mix email, GoogleDocs, blog comments, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social media streams, and the picture becomes rather complex.
How to economically organize, backup and sync all those data so that they are safe, secure, organized and easily accessible from any device?
Back to Flickr. I like the way Flickr lets me organize photos on-line. It would be cool to find a tool that lets me do the same off-line and synchronizes with Flickr while I sleep. But I don’t want to have to have all my photos on my PC because they don’t fit.
The same applies to the apps mentioned in this TechMynd story. Desktop Flickr Organizer kinda spoke to me but appears to be no longer supported. Cross-platform compatibility and support are some of the challenges in figuring out which solution to commit to.
On LifeHacker, Gina Trapani compiled ‘Free Tools to Back Up Your Online Accounts‘. While some of them might work, they seem to involve separate processes for each on-line service. But it did remind me that I really need to start backing up my tweets before I hit 3,200. (3,051 at the moment)
Backupify seems like a strong concept for backing up and restoring social media accounts, but it has the same problem of limited storage as Dropbox does.
How to make sense of it all? Is it possible to create a unified solution for all these data backup needs?
(Image: Creative Commons Attribution: Zanastardust)
[UPDATE, 12.06.2012: 'The Best Way to Backup Your Mac and MacBook Pro', an article by John Henshaw, offers some suggestions that seem valid not only for Mac users. In particular, Backblaze sounds interesting as it promises to back up unlimited data from a single computer for $5 a month, encrypted. In combination with a NAS system for automated non-cloud backups (see Nuuska's comment below), and Backupify for social media and Gmail, this is starting to sound like a plan. On Dropbox I'm currently paying $99 per year for a Pro 50 account.
Later that evening: While nearly all I hear about NAS is Synology, this reviewon PCmag.com makes a rather interesting case for iTwin. At $99, two "USB keys" allow for encrypted file access between two computers over the Internet. Two questions:
- It works out of the box on Windows and Mac, but is there a way to make it work on Linux/Ubuntu as well?
- Is this only about file access, or is it also an inexpensive and secure way to enable remote file backup? Can you leave one USB key on your "home base" computer and another on a "remote" computer connected to the Net, and will the two computers sync all files in the dedicated folder whenever changes occur - much like Dropbox does in the cloud - and whenever both are on-line? What happens if the remote computer is switched off an on?]