Backblaze – Effortless Backups for Mac OS X and Windows PC

I’ve been listening to the Accidental Tech Podcast and The Talk Show for sometime now and one recurring sponsor, Backblaze, caught my attention.

Backups are boring and nobody likes doing them.  But, when disaster strikes, everyone wishes they had one.  And that is where Backblaze comes in.  Backblaze, with it’s great team of people, including some ex-Apple employees, is an elegant backup solution that takes minutes to setup and gives you the piece of mind that lets you sleep at night.

Installation and Setup

Blackblaze works with Mac OS X 10.5 and later, Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32 & 64-bit), Windows 7 (32 & 64-bit), and Windows 8.  You download and install a small client application on your computer.  After the easy installation processes, it’s time to configure your backup.  You simply select which hard drive(s) you want to back up, select any folders that you want to exclude from the backup, and set your backup schedule.

For me, I’m backing up my MacBook’s main hard drive.  I’ve excluded my iTunes movies folder because I can redownload most content from Apple.  I want to make sure that I always have the most current version of my documents backed up all of the time, so I selected the default back up schedule of “Continuously (Recommended)”.  If your installation is anything like mine, you’ve spent about 10-15 minutes setting up the software.

What I really liked about the client installation is that is a real native application for Mac OS X.  It’s not a warmed over Java application that runs equally poorly on all of the support platforms.  I also appreciate that the developers have made this a “real” Mac application – one with the same look and feel that makes you believe that the application belongs on your computer.

Be Productive, We Got This

But you might be thinking, “Ya, but I have a lot of data.  This is gonna cost an arm and a leg.”  Here’s another thing that sets Backblaze apart from other online backup solutions: They will back up all of your data.  All of it.  Got 500MB? No problem.  Got 2TB?  No problem.  You just pay your monthly flat rate fee and Backblaze will back up all of your data.  The software throttles the data streaming back to their data center so get to you keep working the same way you always have.  Continuous backups run in the background keeping your data safe.  Based on my ISP upstream connection and the amount of data I have, my initial backup has been estimated to run about 42 days.  (I don’t keep my Mac on 24×7.  Your milage will vary.  When I last checked, the initial backup is projected to be completed in 22 days.)

With Backblaze, backups really are a “no brainer” and once the software is setup and running, you can forget about it and just do what you do best.

Hassle Free Recovery

When disaster does strike, you won’t have to worry about getting your data back because Backblaze makes recovery super easy.  If you accidentally deleted a folder, overwrote that important document or photo, or had a hard drive crash? Getting your data back is easy.  Login to the Backblaze website and select the computer that had the file.  Backblaze gives you four options for recovering your data: Single file download, multi-document .zip file download, restored data on a USB flash drive, or restored data on a USB hard drive.  The first two options are free, the flash drive option is $99 with a 53GB file maximum, and the hard drive option costs $189 for up to 3TB of data.

To help with your data recovery, the web UI data restore console allows you to navigate the folder structure on your hard drive or search for files/folders.  Have an iPhone?  Don’t forget to download the Backblaze iOS app.  With it, you can download individual files right to your iOS device.  That’s really handy if you need to look up some information that is back at home or the office when you’re out or at a customer site.

It’s aways a drag when a hard drive or computer dies.  But there is nothing more infuriating when the data loss is due to a stolen computer.  If you enable the feature, Backblaze has a Locate My Computer feature that can be used to locate your computer based on it’s network connection.  It’s a nice little bonus at no additional charge.

Plan Pricing

The personal plan that I selected is $5/month, but you can get down as low as $3.96/month if you pre-pay for two years of service up front. You can change your subscription plan at any time.  Business plans are $50/year per computer.

Conclusion

No body likes to run backups on their computer.  With Backblaze, backups are super simple and easy to setup.  When you need to, Backblaze makes it easy to get your data back a hassle free process.  If there is only one software service you buy this year, make it Backblaze.  You’ll be glad you did.

Geeks Rejoice! Windows 8 Does Have a Run Command

Microsoft Windows 8 has gotten a lot of exposure in the past month with 40 million customers upgrading to the new OS.

Geeks will be happy to know that the “Run” command and command line tools are alive and well in Windows 8.

To access the Run command, press the Windows key + R on your keyboard.

To access the command line interface, affectionately referred to as the DOS prompt, type ‘cmd’ in the Open field of the Run command and then click the OK button.

Once the DOS window appears, type the command ‘ver’ and press enter to see the version and build number associated with your installation of Windows 8.

To close the DOS windows, type the command ‘exit’ and press enter or simply click the red X dismiss button.

Add Windows Media Center to Windows 8 Pro

Microsoft’s Windows Media Center has been around in various Windows editions since Windows PX Media Center Edition and Windows 8 is no different.

There are only four versions of Windows 8, but if you upgrade to the Windows 8 Pro edition, you can also purchase the Media Center pack.  As an added bonus to early adopters, Microsoft is giving the Media Center Pack for free until the end of January, 2013.

According to Microsoft’s website:

“Windows 8 Media Center Pack is available at no charge for a limited time only through this promotional page on Windows.com. If you obtain Windows 8 Media Center Pack through any other location fees might apply. Offer valid from October 26, 2012, until January 31, 2013, and is limited to one product key per email address. You qualify for this promotion if your PC is running Windows 8 Pro. Additional hardware may be required to watch and record live TV. You must provide a valid email address to receive your Windows 8 Media Center Pack product key. Your product key must be activated no later than January 31, 2013. Microsoft will only contact you at the email address you provide to send you your product key and to remind you when the activation period for your product key is ending.”

To claim your Media Center Pack for Windows 8 Pro, check out Microsoft’s Windows website.

Microsoft Windows 8 Editions

In my last post, I was talking about upgrading to Windows 8 Professional.  As you might expect from a company like Microsoft, there are more than one version of Windows 8.  Turns out, there are in fact, four editions of Windows 8.  They are:

  • Windows RT
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8 Professional
  • Windows 8 Enterprise
Windows RT is intended for the low-end Microsoft Surface tablet, which is on sale now.  Windows 8, and Windows 8 Pro is intended for desktops, laptops, and the Microsoft Surface Pro that will go on sale early in 2013.  Windows 8 Enterprise is intended for large corporations and is not available to the general public.
Windows RT is an interesting addition to this mix.  Unlike all of the other versions of Windows, Window RT can’t run regular Windows applications that you can run on your every day PC.  Devices that run Windows RT, like the Surface, can only run applications that are designed specifically for Windows RT.  (Think about it like the difference between Apple’s Mac OS X and iOS operating systems.)
If you wish to learn more about the different versions of Windows, check out Dummies.com.

Microsoft Unveils Office 2013 Suite

Today, Microsoft took the wraps off of the next version of their personal and professional productivity suite, Office 2013.

If you are the adventurous type, and just happen to be running Windows 7 or a review release of Windows 8, you can sign up to try out Office 365, a new cloud-based version of Office starting today.

To learn more about Office 2013, hit up the Microsoft Office 2013 website.

What Do You Call a Pre-Beta Beta? Silly Rabbit, It’s an Alpha Release

Is Microsoft looking to repeat their Windows Vista mistakes with Windows 8?

WinRumors writes:

“Microsoft’s 2012 CES will be full of Windows 8 according to company insiders. Microsoft is expected to deliver a beta copy of the next-generation operating system at its BUILD developer conference in September this year. Microsoft should be ready to deliver a second test copy of Windows 8 to the public at CES 2012. Ballmer will likely demo a number of ARM and Intel based Windows 8 tablets that will hit the market later in 2012 when Windows 8 is generally available.”

No, that doesn’t sound like they are rushing things at all.  Question: What do you call a September beta release before a January 2012 beta release?  Answer: An alpha release.

In an unrelated note, Microsoft has hired a “content coach” for Mr. Ballmer’s 2012 CES keynote address.  Is Microsoft suffering from “Steve envy?”

[Via WinRumors…]