published Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Jenkins: Back up your computer files for peace of mind

TECH TALK


by Donnie Jenkins

Regular readers know that I am very predictable in stressing certain subjects, such as backing up files and regular PC maintenance.

One of my most common “rants” is a reminder to never fully trust or rely on online-only or web-specific services, generically known as cloud offerings. By this I mean that we should always have a local copy of our important e-mails, data and so on.

By backing up locally we get the best of both worlds, the convenience of online offerings and a secure way to restore any data that might be lost or destroyed for some reason.

I was reminded of this earlier this week when Google Gmail suffered a severe outage affecting a large number of users. It appeared at first to be a total disaster for some, but at the time of this writing it seems that any lost e-mails and data will be able to be restored for most users. This is good news for those who had no backup of any kind, but it does reinforce the need to be prepared for such calamities, especially for businesses that live and breathe by their data retention.

n There has been a lot of coverage on the upcoming Apple Lion operating system or OS, due probably around summer or shortly thereafter. This release will be unique as it promises the most fundamental changes in Apple’s Mac OS in years.

One of its more likely features will be a move to more closely align the Mac with the iPhone approach, attempting to make downloading applications as simple on one as on the other. It will be interesting to see if Apple succeeds here, primarily because it is already apparent they want to radically alter how we use computers and mobile devices.

n Speaking of Apple, here’s a story you can bet the company wishes would disappear: the dreaded so-called “AntennaGate”. This refers to reception problems that occur when the iPhone 4 is held in a certain way.

Several online sources are reporting that the recently released Verizon iPhone 4 appears to have the same issue here as does the model from AT&T. One source from the United Kingdom even reports that buying a case won’t help, although I couldn’t find independent verification of this.

n There was much online chatter this week due to the fact that the Facebook based movie “The Social Network” only won three Oscars at the Academy Awards. I think it speaks highly of the movie that it won any at all, and that a “geeky” creation such as a social network can gather that much attention.

n Businessinsider.com recently ran an article on author Amanda Hocking. This lady has used the Amazon Kindle Store publishing platform to make a small fortune by pricing her stories reasonably and appealing to a huge audience.

This exemplifies my favorite aspect of the Internet, what is commonly called disruptive technology. As a writer and musician I am always glad to find any tool that empowers us to gain followers and spread the word.

I get a lot of e-mails asking advice or guidance on how to publish books or other content online. For publishing, the Kindle Store is excellent for digital e-books and Lulu is great for hard-copy books. Also consider blogging with the free Wordpress platform and hooking it up to Facebook and Twitter to promote your work.

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