Welcome to my mad life!

See my artworks in my professional artist site: http://www.artatheart.com.au/ and the blog is at http://artatheartoz.blogspot.com/. To check out my upcoming eBook on Art Success, go to http://www.artsuccess.info/ (it's a blog too). To see my life as a CAD Consultant and AutoCAD programmer/trainer, go to http://www.cadsource.com.au/ and the blog, with heaps of tips and tricks, is at http://cadsourceinternational.blogspot.com/. To try out our favourite food allergy recipes that are actually quite delicious, visit http://www.eatwellanyway.com/. Enjoy!


mad busy funster professional artist painter teacher author technologist mathematician CAD consultant entrepreneur investor gluten-free animal-loving nature-loving joy&serenity-seeking Ironman triathlete

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Backups, Notes, Tablets and Dragons

An author friend of mine recently told me that he had lost all the files he had been working on over the Christmas holidays, when one of his computers had a failure and his USB drive became corrupted while working with it on a second machine.

What surprised me to hear was that the USB drive was holding the only copy he had of all his latest writing. In the process he lost a major work, plus hundreds of articles that were sitting waiting to be used.

What I do with my most important files is to have them in three places: on the C: drive I am working on, plus two external backup drives, solid brand ones such as Seagate or Western Digital, one in an off-site fire-proof safe and one always plugged in to the machine for regular automatic weekly backups. The two backup drives are switched over monthly. That way I always have at least two copies of each file, so that if a drive dies I am only a few days out of information (since the last automatic weekly backup). In the worst case scenario if there is a fire or theft and my two current desktop drives are lost, then I have the backup in the fireproof safe, which may be on average 2 weeks out of date (at worst 1 month).

I have a backup drive for each machine, and automatic backups set to Thu at 5pm on all machines. (you can also set the backups to daily if you want).

I never rely on little USB drives for the master copy of my data as I personally believe they are too unreliable, and are too easily lost. They are so cheap, I worry about the quality control of the factories churning them out in some of those countries. I just use them for temporary backups or temporary transfers between machines.

I have set up the Windows automatic backup on my Windows 7 machines so it backs up every Thurs at 5pm. I investigated the software under Windows 7 operating system and it is very good for both backups and retrieval, as well as being able to browse your backed up files and only retrieve a single file etc, so we’ve standardised on that now. I was previously using PDF 995 but I no longer use that since the Microsoft backup seems very good now.

Our accounting system books is manually backed up to a USB drive at the end of each mass entry session by the bookkeeper, as well as the standard backups.

My precious photos are not deleted from my camera until there is at least two copies on my drives somewhere.

If you need to work on several machines then there is a fantastic piece of software that I discovered recently that they have added into the Microsoft Office Suite called OneNote. It’s a bit like Word except you can paste almost anything into it, like pictures, screenshots, web pages, web links, even whole files, anything. It’s fantastic for authors, researchers, creatives, anyone.

The reason I mention it is that it has an amazing feature that it will synchronise between several machines. I have one set of Notebooks, and I can open them up on any machine (so long as they are networked) and they automatically synchronise with the latest version that I modified on another machine. The synchronising works even if the machines are disconnected (offline) from each other. Each machine keeps its own copy so that you can work on just one or the other and let them synchronise later any time you like.

OneNote is my number one favourite piece of software these days, I use it far more than Word, Excel, anything. It has decreased the piles of paper all over my desk and the best thing is I can find things much faster than I ever used to be able to with the swamp of paper, because it has a great search facility. Best of all, everything is being backed up - so one less thing to think about if there is a fire or flood!

I’m currently synchronising a set of notebooks for work, play, tech tips, writing, art and everything, across 3 machines – my big desktop, my laptop tablet PC, and my little mini netbook that I do most of my daily writing in. Check it out! It comes with the Microsoft Home Office pack that you can buy for an amazingly low price for several licenses. I originally got onto OneNote because I do lots of handwriting scribbling on my tablet PC. So now I don’t need to have a pad of paper at my desk all the time – just my tablet PC!

Also my hubby has just installed Dragon Naturally Speaking (because he hates typing) and it looks amazingly good. You just speak the words and the typing appears on the screen. In any program you might be using, such as Word, Outlook etc. It's very fast.


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