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Author Topic: Backup your backup  (Read 800 times)

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Online Rivers

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Backup your backup
« on: April 25, 2018, 05:50:58 AM »
but that little USB drive contains just sooo much great stuff

Just a word to the wise... make sure you have at least one back up of the drive. I lost a USB flash drive just this week and it cost me a lot of time. They are extremely prone to irrecoverable data corruption.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Third Man / Paramount Box Set Sale
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2018, 09:41:39 AM »
Just a word to the wise... make sure you have at least one back up of the drive. I lost a USB flash drive just this week and it cost me a lot of time. They are extremely prone to irrecoverable data corruption.

Ain't that the truth. We all  know how to backup our files, folders, drives, etc., but doing it on a regular basis is another matter. Sometime ago I stumbled on DSyncronize, which is a simple free program that works for me:

http://dimio.altervista.org/eng/dsynchronize/dsynchronize.html

There are plenty of other utilities like it out there, but its simplicity is what appeals to me.

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2018, 12:02:06 PM »
This is a good topic for the Unwound Third so I'll split it off to there.

The reason I lost a lot of time over a USB stick was having to reformat the hard drive on my macbook due to long-existing minor corruption in the system partition. This was causing no real problems until attempting to install the new macOS High Sierra, which puked when it saw the bad SSD and wouldn't unmount the drive.

I tried everything I could google to fix it without disturbing the 6 years of apps and data sitting on it but no dice, time to initialize the disk. Did some cleanup prep, more backups, and made a bootable version of Sierra and High Sierra on USB flash drives.

I keep mission critical stuff replicated on iCloud and use automated Time Machine for hourly incremental backups to a Synology NAS with terabytes of space on it, fabulous. So I'm all set. To cut a long story short, I blitzed the drive (scary) and successfully reinstalled the OS from the Sierra USB stick. I had a brand new macOS Sierra m/c with nothing on it but Apple apps. Checked I could get to iCloud files and the NAS Time Machine backups, AOK

Time to run the installer on the second USB stick to get it to High Sierra. Phut! Completely unreadable. No problem, I'll just grab the installer from the Time Machine backup, thinks I. But... Time Machine doesn't back up installer files since they're so big. I learned something the hard way.

Next frustration was right on cue, our internet connection started running at about 12% of its normal speed. It's slow at the best of times since we're rural but 0.5 Mbps is ridiculous. When I started downloading High Sierra from the App Store estimated completion times were like 2 or 3 days...

Next day I was telling Cheryl about the High Sierra USB stick crash and the still-running download from the App Store. She says "No problem, I've got the installer on my machine". Phew. So I cancel the download, she puts the installer on the NAS, I grab it and run it. 40 minutes later my mac's at High Sierra without a squeak of protest.

Now I just have to reinstall Office 365, Adobe Illustrator + Photoshop + Light Room + Acro Reader, Sketchup... onwards and upwards.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 12:25:46 PM by Rivers »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2018, 01:52:44 PM »
Several years ago (perhaps closer to ten--I searched and couldn't find anything) I believe I posted something about DiskWarrior, a program my son uses:

https://www.alsoft.com/DiskWarrior/

He said it was the best and had to use it several times to whip things back into shape on the ol' HDD. It might be worth checking out.

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2018, 02:29:51 PM »
That looks like a useful tool to have handy for both crisis situations and for regular maintenance and monitoring. The error I was getting when running Disk Utility > First Aid indicated corruption. I did not see that one listed on their website of system errors it can handle. I think I was probably doomed to initializing it. Now it's all done, bar reinstalling apps, I feel pretty good about it. Touch wood.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2018, 02:30:57 PM by Rivers »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2018, 04:00:25 PM »
Now that the crisis passed... (Famous last words...) --But seriously, now might be the time to give the DW tech support people a call and describe the problems while they are fresh in your mind. --And ask if DW could have saved you some time and trouble. They've probably heard it all by now and just might give you honest and accurate information about whether or not their product would have been useful in your specific circumstances. It wouldn't hurt to ask.

I don't know what it costs these days, but it was somewhat pricey when my son first bought it. I thought it was a video game given the name, but he set me straight.


Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2018, 04:53:55 AM »
DW is $120 from their site.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2018, 03:34:13 PM »
That sounds about right. I think my son paid $99, but that was perhaps close to ten years ago. $120 is not exactly small change, but if it saves you  the time and headaches involved in rebuilding your system from the ground up, then it's worth it.

I'm on the PC side and use Acronis TI to create backup images of my HDD as well as clone my primary drives so I can just pop in a spare if one goes south on me. It's like what Dave Barry said when asked why he always packs a couple of spare aquarium filters whenever he summits Everest: "Better to have 'em and not need 'em than to need 'em and not have 'em."  ;)

Offline DerZauberer

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 09:57:09 AM »
Here's my process:
1) Paranoid me keeps all his data on a NAS drive with RAID to prevent against hardware failure.
2) This NAS is then regularly - about every three months, I don't gather that much new data really - backed up onto external USB hard drives.
3) I copy the actual files - using a program to mirror, but the actual usable files are on the external drive (=no backup archive, it's MP3s and JPGs, etc.)
4) Each of those hard drives is then copied again.
5) One backup I keep, the other backup lives in my dad's house.
6) For anything short-term, I rely on DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud.
7) 100% separation between work stuff and private stuff.

In my case, I'm not worried about the system as such, if that needs to be rebuilt so be it. I'm worried about 20+ years of digital music collecting and tons of photos and videos. I have had a laptop die on me, I have had a NAS harddisk die on me, I have had a backup drive sitting for too long and being corrupted... I have always had a relatively recent backup.
"The blues is not a plaything like some people think they are." - Son House

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 01:40:24 PM »
Definitely a good strategy and plan for data preservation, DerZauberer. Being aware that the backup hardware (HDD) can age out and fail, and that keeping one's backups only in one location--"keeping all your cookies in one jar"--doesn't provide adequate protection, is great advice as well. Thanks for the thoughtful post.


Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2018, 05:50:03 AM »
Exemplary data backup strategy you have there, DerZauberer. I need to get an offsite physical backup schedule in place. If we had more bandwidth available here I'd just shove everything up to the cloud.

It's worth considering how you're going to restore apps as well. This can be tricky depending on their history, and/or the documentation you have on them.

Mac apps downloaded from the the app store are a breeze to reinstall, just log in and they're sitting there ready to download. Sketchup etc was likewise grab and go from the web.

Since I use the cloud subscription version of Adobe Illustrator, restoring it wasn't a problem, just had to remember my Adobe CC sign-on and download it again. MS Office was also an easy re-download from the Office 365 site, just log-in and go.

Legacy apps are where problems arise. Lightroom 5 I had to find the box it came in and re-enter the key/serial number. Photoshop CS6 I'm still stuck on at this point, being unable to find the original box, but I mostly just use Lightroom for tweaking photos these days.

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2018, 05:38:07 PM »
Unbelievably, considering we live way out beyond the black stump, they're running fiber optic cable up our road as we speak. I need an emoticon for "shaking my head in gleeful disbelief".

Maybe Frontier got tired of us reporting outages / slowdowns and stirring up the neighbors to do the same and figured it would be more cost effective to just run several miles of fiber optic cable. I'll believe it when I see it, in other words 30 Mbps here we come... maybe. If it happens we'll be loyal customers for life. Scheduled cutover September 19th

Offline harriet

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2018, 01:40:38 AM »
Congratulations, Rivers.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2018, 08:42:43 AM »
Here in Shoreline, WA, we have Frontier as well. Over the years I've had to contact tech support numerous times, usually for disconnects but also for slowdowns. Tech support can range from virtually useless to better than excellent. Our service is over the telephone landline, so the problems have almost always been with the DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) router upstream. The local hub is about 1/2 mile up the road, so it's usually just a matter of having the field technician re-configuring or replacing the DSLAM router.

One of the most knowledgeable tech support people I spoke with (the fellow was retired military with a tech background in the service) said that basically the problem is trying to run 2018 technology over 1950s and 1960s infrastructure (the decades when most of the phone lines were installed or last replaced). Some lines date back to the 30s and 40s--and even earlier. He said that the original lines were solid and built to last, and given the nature of landline phone technology--and the fact that people are dropping their landline service in favor of cell (mobile) only service--, the incentive to rebuild equipment that still serves its original intended purpose just wasn't there.

Enter the demands of high speed internet. He went on to say that the internet has gone from primarily text and some graphics to where high def video and audio are by default part of the home page of many websites. Add in streaming media content by multiple users at one residence along with subscriber saturation in one geographical area and you have system overload. It's amazing that anything works at all in some places.

He said that the strategy was to rebuild and upgrade the infrastructure using the latest technology, both as circumstances dictate and as an overall plan, but that obviously it all can't be done at once. 

Subscriber saturation and system overload probably aren't problems where you live, but Frontier might have just looked at things and decided that a rebuild was required and fiber optic cable was the best choice. The labor cost is about the same so why not use fiber optic?

(BTW, if you haven't read it, Michael Lewis' Flash Boys has a few interesting stories about fiber optic cable being run as part as a dedicated trading line in an area of the financial sector where every nanosecond counts big time.)

So as Harriet says, Congratulations! Welcome to the early 21st century!

(I'm going back to a couple of tin cans and a tight string--or if that doesn't work, maybe semaphore.) And years ago when AT&T called and tried to sell me a fancy long distance plan, I declined but told the poor unsuspecting soul that I would be interested in the service that the second "T" in AT&T stood for. Needless to say, it was no longer offered.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 08:46:05 AM by Stuart »

Offline eric

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2018, 12:22:05 PM »
I am old enough that I have sent telegrams  ::)

I'm not sure things have improved much since then, except I can now listen to lots of country blues online, and gripe about politicians face-to-face with my Brit cousin in the style of Statler and Waldorf.
--
Eric

Offline harriet

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2018, 12:27:26 PM »
From a 2014 cable internet woe -attached below.

"Trying to choose between A and B for wireless alternative device to add to my collection. Must be reliable."

I think I favored Option B at the time ...

H
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 12:32:57 PM by harriet »

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #16 on: August 27, 2018, 12:51:54 PM »
I am old enough that I have sent telegrams  ::)

Me too. The taxi office where I used to drive was also the Western Union office, so the drivers would deliver the telegrams. The machine was a big freestanding job, about three feet tall--maybe taller--with a typewriter style keyboard and a typewriter style "printer" that printed out the 'grams on a roll of yellow paper. And was it ever noisy when a 'gram would come in. If I was dispatching or talking on the phone, I could hear nothing but the teletype. Fortunately, it didn't take long to print out the 'grams.

It was still in use the last year I drove, 1978. If I ever get back there and can remember, I'll ask what happened to it.

It's probably a good topic for a Blues song, but also something any sane person would steer clear of.  ;D

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2018, 05:23:38 PM »
Thanks for the congratulations folks. Keep us in your "thoughts and prayers" that it actually happens :P

Stuart, you hit the bullseye. From what we can determine talking to techs and managers, yes the culprit is the DSLAM, located in a village a few miles away. It seems it has one bad port. We theorize that new customers do not get assigned the bad port, an existing group of subscribers gets moved to it until the complaints start. It's like DSL roulette. When the line drops or slows down, and the logs start filling up with reconnects, you know you landed on port 'n', again.

I guess they got tired of spinning the wheel. Our account is a business one so we supposedly have an SLA. While they don't always meet the terms of it, we get a bit more leverage when calling in faults.

Offline harriet

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #18 on: August 28, 2018, 05:44:38 AM »
I remember when I worked as a commercial illustrator and had to make deadlines, deliver files through the internet and things would go wrong, so am glad to hear alot of that uncertainty may be resolved.


Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2019, 05:53:03 AM »
Update on our rural fibre optic (FIOS) install. Frontier scheduled it initially for September 2018, but there was no way they were going to be ready to do it, as I surmised at the time. We finally got connected two days ago.

I understand it was made possible under the rural internet initiative introduced under Obama, God I miss that man.

I was expecting they would use the existing DSL copper pair from the road to the house, about 400 feet, converting the FIOS signal to DSL (and vice versa) at the street. But no... I was very pleasantly surprised when the tech ran a new fiber cable all the way to the house, poked it through the wall into a little protocol converter box that converts it to hi-speed ethernet, which just plugs into the new router.

So we went from less than 3 Mbps DSL to 50 Mbps download, 60 Mbps upload on FIOS. We can go faster if we pay for more speed; we elected to start with the basic plan. Frontier did a great job on the install. Now we're trying to figure out what to do with all this bandwidth.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2019, 10:17:17 AM »
Congrats on getting a more functional internet hook-up, Rivers!  Knowing your tech interests and expertise, you must really have felt hamstrung the past couple of years by your system's limitations.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2019, 12:21:35 PM »
Yep, congrats on having Frontier cable you up to a higher level of connectivity.

Now we're trying to figure out what to do with all this bandwidth.

Well, as the old saying goes, "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

As I've mentioned previously, we're all pretty much limited by the slowest link in the existing infrastructure until it is replaced. It sounds like you are wired all the way through.

I have Frontier just north of Seattle and we're limited to 6 Mbps even though there's a fiber optic line running down the middle of Aurora Ave/Highway 99 about 100 feet or so from our dump. A friend in West Lafayette, IN has Frontier at home and is limited to 1 Mbps--a real example of the slow link in the chain putting a damper on things.

So enjoy enjoy the luxury of not having to watch a spinning circle while you wait for the next part of the video to download to your box. I'm envious.

Offline lindy

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2019, 02:12:33 PM »
Personal curiosity question for you Frontiers(wo)men from a city boy ...

Do you still have to deal with duopolies--that is, are you still limited to choosing between only two service providers? Or did they get rid of that idiotic rule?

L

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2019, 02:37:25 PM »
Where we're sitting, smack dab in the middle of Nowheresville, upstate NY, just happens to be close to a major fiber optic backbone that runs loosely between Boston and Chicago. Complete fluke, we had no idea until Cheryl dug up some network maps for a contracting gig and started asking questions.

Among a few things I don't understand yet are the fast upload speeds. With every internet connection I've ever tested the download speed was much faster than the upload. That's reversed with this FIOS setup. Which is curious, and intriguing.

Lindy, I'm not aware of that daft rule, I suspect it's long gone. Being rural we're not exactly overcome with choices. I love Frontier's service, the techs out here are great people.

Offline Stuart

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2019, 03:09:47 PM »
Why way up here in Shoreline RFD Cousin Lindy, we have to choose between Frontier and Comcast. I chose Frontier because it comes over the landline, and like the phone, when the power goes out, it doesn't--just plug a 12 volt battery pack into the modem (made mine from parts sourced at Radio Shack--Remember that outfit?), crank up the ol' laptop and I'm ready to log on to Weenie Campbell! And if the battery pack starts to rundown, I can always run a line from the battery in one of the vehicles. With Comcast, when the power or cable goes out, everything can go out, so it's best not to put all of your cookies in one jar.

Like Rivers, I give the Frontier field techs nothing but high marks. One of them gave me his cell number and told me just to call him--and don't bother calling Frontier tech support. If he can't correct the problem within his domain, he'll call the tech people upstream. That way I eliminate any unnecessary intermediate steps--and don't have to wait on hold.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2019, 08:45:41 AM by Stuart »

Online Rivers

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Re: Backup your backup
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2019, 04:07:18 PM »
Like Rivers, I give the Frontier field techs nothing but high marks. One of them gave me his cell number and told me just to call him--and don't bother calling Frontier tech support. If he can't correct the problem within his domain, he'll call the tech people upstream. That way I eliminate any unnecessary intermediate steps--and don't have to wait on hold.

Same here, we're on a first name basis with many of them. They always do their darndest to get things going despite limitations in the DSL infrastructure (no more!) and have constantly exceeded expectations. They're our neighbors after all, everyone knows everyone out in the country, eventually.

Just drove home from the store, saw a big plume of smoke and diverted to see what was happening. Massive house fire a mile from us, burning to the ground, worst I've ever seen. Road was thick with fire trucks and other responders. I hope nobody was inside.

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