Computer evacuation: backupsΒΆ

Tags: python, personal

I’ve got a new job, so that means a new laptop. Which means evacuating the current one. Which means it is an excellent moment to review my backup planning.

Good backups mean reliable restoring.

I mean, what’s the difference between my current laptop transferring peacefully to its new owner and some bravo that kicks me bloody and robs me of my laptop? Backup-wise nothing. Except perhaps that you typed “do_my_backup.sh” just one more time before right before handing it over.

So my backup should be OK all the time. So I should be able to grab a new laptop and install everything (from backup) just fine. So here’s my review:

  • I’ve got a CD with my GPG and SSH keys. And my brother has one, too, in case my house burns down.
  • All my (python) code is in a version control system. Stored remotely. You’ll need multiple warheads to take all that out.
  • All my custom small scripts are in a version control system. Just an “svn co” or “bzr co” away.
  • My documents/ folder with not-too-important docs is backed up downstairs. The important ones are in a vcs, again. Hm. I thought I backed that one up remotely, too. Well, that’s one thing I’m gonna do on my new laptop.
  • The important documents and bought PDF books are in a vcs of course.

Some pain points:

  • My music. In CDs downstairs. In mp3 on my laptop and a backup on the PC downstairs. That’s a bit too close for comfort. I made a DVD backup last year, so most of it is safely 80km away. Now where did I put that... With my parents or my brother... :-)

    Music: backing that up remotely... I would really have to check if my server (in the UK, so that’s a safe distance from Nieuwegein) has enough room for that. My ADSL connection sure would not be even remotely happy.

    A DVD backup seems the most practical solution for now. But I’m contemplating ripping it all as flac instead of mp3/ogg/whatever. That worsens the situation dramatically gigabyte-wise. Anybody got a solution for that?

  • My photos. I’m pretty much current with giving stars (1-5) to my photos in iphoto. And geotagging them and such. All the 4-5 stars get uploaded to my smugmug account, which counts as a proper backup. And the 3-stars get backed up there as well (only hidden from regular viewers). The 1-2 stars get zapped.

    So: remote backup (though it is a one-way street at the moment). And a local backup downstairs.

  • My movies. Extracted DVDs and videos made with my simple camera. The DVDs are only on my laptop and backed up downstairs. The self-made videos are also on smugmug, so that’s safe again. Note that I’m using smugmug’s smugvault so that my videos are also stored in the original format.

So: I can use some extra hints on backing up those many-gigabyte video/photo/music files. For the rest I’m pretty much set.

Houses being demolished in Delft.  What if your laptop were still inside?
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About me

My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.

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