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Monday, March 23, 2009

Office essentials: a beautiful back-up process and a cute cat

A major incident was averted last week when Terry's Mac died. Had we been forced to buy him a new one (it would have been his second in 18 months) to ensure our project workflow wasn't interrupted and a book didn't miss a print deadline, we would not have been very happy. Fortunately Apple came to the rescue, had repairs sped up and the local business Office Everything who did the job gave him a loaner while they fixed his MacBook Pro. The fact that Terry has his (and my) back-ups organized so beautifully meant he could continue working on the borrowed Mac while he waited for his to be repaired. You can read about what happened and how he manages his back-ups here.

Me? I'm not a professional photographer like Terry, I don't shoot for books and magazines (just my little blog, and memory), so I don't have hundreds of thousands of images to manage to deliver to publishers, so my back-up process is a lot more simple. Equally as important is my workspace. Thanks to my uncle and aunt, whose place we're currently holed up at writing these books, we have a big desk, a cosy and comfortable office (their library), and a cute cat curled up next to us.


Sandy O'Sullivan said...

This is so funny. At the exact time I was reading this, I was writing the whole 'backup everything' discussion on the site I'm preparing for the site. You know I'm a mac girl, but I haven't really loved TimeMachine... it assumes a constantly stable netaccess and mine comes and goes (as do I). I wish it did about five things that it doesn't do.

But it's got me to thinking a LOT about travel and equipment and things like net access and phone access and all of that. I really hope that gets sorted in an international way (and by international I mean my whole US/Canada/Aus spaces that I work), because funnily enough the US is horrible for consistent net access as a visitor. Having said that... I would love to know if anyone has any experiences of strategies that they've used. If I used, say, my iphone to the capacity that I use it in Aus, it would cost my research budget about 2000 dollars a month, and it can't afford that... it's kind of crazy.

And I do want to say that I think Office Everything are fantastic... that's an unusual place to go to that level of service provision, good on them.

And... gorgeous cat!

Lara Dunston said...

Hey there

We have no experience of the Canada/US so I can't help you there... I can try and find someone who can though... I'm sure there are bloggers around.

We find Australia pretty hellish for both mobile/net access... the net is crazily slow at my aunt's here and I can't send any largish files or attachments at all, and yet Optus claim it's perfect, running at the fastest speed, the highest rate or whatever it is they call it here... we can't get over these 'packages' where you have to pay to use a certain amount of data per month.

The mobile calls are ridiculously expensive... we have had to use Telstra because it's the only system that works in the rural areas and outback, and even then only in towns. It's just insane. Hopefully they'll sort it out some day.

Is Office Everything a franchise, is it? We didn't realise. It's owned by a local couple here and Terry said they were just fantastic. When we contacted Apple HQ's PR/Media Relations, that's where they sent us - they're the local Apple distributors and repairers - they had 2 weeks worth of work ahead of Terry's, so we were glad they did ours immediately, but it's unfortunate for the others who were waiting. Although I don't know how many of them had books going to the printers... :(

It is a very cute cat! Makes sitting at a desk all day so much more pleasant. There are another 4 cats and a dozen dogs I think...!

Sandy O'Sullivan said...

I think I've nutted out how I am going to do it, for both the US tour and also for subsequent stuff (I have about six months of US and Canada travel next year). I have a Telstra Next G dongle thingie for my computer - I dunno what it costs, the Institute has a bit of a deal with them, so it's cheaper I know... but yeah, and the phone stuff is okay (but expensive)... but for my real outback travel, I tend to use the dongle for net access and then use skype (paid version) for phone calls, cos its cheaper and sort of portable. I am thinking I will do the same in the US since WIFI IS in a lot of places, its just a bit odd talking to a computer in a coffee shop and a little bit of me disapproves of that kind of behaviour. It's a super interesting problem, this one of phones and internet across countries... I can really say that there is no cheap way to do it, but the distance between cheap and expensive is so huge that, in fact, it is a major opportunity for a company.... and I can't fully understand why nobody has exploited it, and I've done enough research to know that they haven't. You'd think that AT&T or T-Mobile or one of the other WIFI players would have it down, but no... not at all, you basically have to sign up to their program (and be an actual American) to get that kind of access... which I find fascinating. What I find amazing about it, is that basically they offer (available) wifi free for their subscribers (who can subscribe at a really low rate in some cases). And I'd happily pay 100 a month for casual use... or, you know, probably more. And we are only talking about a dongle-less wifi...

Oh I hear you on the download costs, it's bizarre! Australia really has to sort that. At home I have two options: my virgin broadband (which is dreadful) or the telstra dongle... and neither are up to much... and I live in a city, you know?