Sunday, October 08, 2006

Useful features of simplest S3 interfaces: I'll add to this list as time permits.

Jungle Disk:

  • On one S3 account, create different sub-accounts by using a different bucket name for each.
  • Mirror and automatic backup functionality is coming in the next version.
  • Easy setup, straighforward to use.
  • UPDATE: Automatic backup now in beta (December 15, 2006)!!!
  • Easy setup and usage
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Online file access (currently causes slightly less secure file transfers)
  • Online file sharing can be turned on or off
S3 Backup
  • Still in beta, but looks promising for ease-of use

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What are all these icons?

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pennies a year for the average user to save AND QUICKLY RECOVER important files? It's ALREADY HAPPENING.

I'm updating this blogpost: David Pogue's New York Times article about using online backup services has convinced me the main players in online backup are now a better deal than when I originally wrote about S3 (original article follows) when you have 40+ gigabytes to backup, and if you have only small amounts. S3 is still a great deal for the 5-30 gigabyte range.

Here are the main players as outlined by Pogue:

Here's my original blog about the S3 service:
It took me a few seconds to save all my most important files yesterday. The cost? 5 cents. And it's so
secure and reliable, uses this same service to manage their website files around the world!

While losing files when something goes wrong with your computer (because they're not backed up well enough) is the worst computer problem for most people,
almost as important is to be able to get files you've backed up QUICKLY. You want to keep working--you need those files today! What good is a backup when it takes the average user hours or days or lots of $$ to get the files back?

If all your files were stored on the internet somewhere, you could just reconnect (on another computer, at work, an internet cafe, Kinko's, a friend's house, etc.) and keep working on the file. Or send it to someone. But until recently it's been too expensive.

But now there's online storage that is super-secure, super-safe, and super-fast .. and super-cheap. For simplicity of understanding, here's a summary of what you get if you back up 200Mb of files for one year:

Here's what you could store for 40 cents a year:
  • 3,000 Microsoft Word Files (figured by looking at 100's of my own files)
  • 5 1/2 hours of video (700 pixels wide mpg)
  • 1,000 photos big enough to be the background image on your computer desktop
  • 400 large high quality photos from a super megapixel digital camera.
It's 4 cents to copy them into storage, and 3 cents a month to save them. I've been using Windows XP and the Jungle Disk interface to backup my data onto Amazon's S3 service. S3 is the key to this. It's the same service giant companies with huge storage needs use. And you can run Jungle Disk from as many computers and locations as you'd like.

Beside Jungle Disk, there are many other interfaces available --- another one that could be even easier to use is sync2s3. There is even an online backup interface called filicio. All any of the interfaces does is connect you to the S3 backup service so you can save your files there.

If you want to try it out, sign up for s3, (typically you would choose to have an account debited monthly) check your email for your two passwords, download an interface (Jungle Disk, filicio and sync2s3 all seem like good choices) and copy or drag-and-drop files you want backed up to the web folder created by the interface (or I think with sync2s3 you can use their interface to select files to backup, and filicio is online, and allows file sharing with others--but only if you want it).

Let me know what you think---is this a good way to backup data? (For credibility, read what Gordon Mohr recently said about this service--2nd post on the page)

I think this is perfect for those of us who are the "go-to" person for technical support for our families and friends. Get the people we support backed up and make everyone's life better. When they go down we could even access their files remotely for them.

People are starting to write about this around the web. Here's a few links:

Cheap, reliable, secure off-site storage
Why I Started Using Amazon S3

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