As any IT expert will tell you, if your data doesn’t exist in at least 3 locations it doesn’t exit at all. Which is a good strategy to live by if you value the things you store on your computer. 

Now, backups can be a complicated and mundane task, having to remember to put DVD’sCD’s in the drive and running scheduled backup tasks can be a bore. However, don’t doubt just how important these can be. I have lost count the amount of times I have been saved by a backup of some description.
Unsurprisingly enough they don’t actually have to be such a task, and there are ways and means around making it almost completely automated. Ensuring you sleep well at night, knowing your data is safe from hardware failure or accidental loss.
I am in the process of converting my friends and family (who seem to believe their laptopPC hard drives are indestructible) from their current ‘no backup’ method to a complete solution. So I decided it was about time I put something together, that even the least tech savvy person can understand.
First of all, it’s always good to have your data stored on a second removable media device, something like an external hard drive or USB pen is good for this. You can pick up Terabyte hard drives now from almost anywhere for as little as £60. To put this into context I am a heavy user of computers and have thousands of music and picture files. I am barely even filling half of my hard drive with backups! So a terabyte will more then suffice the average household.
Network attached storage devices are a good option, but can be costly. You can generally only get wired solutions for £150. However using an external hard drive along with an Iomega iConnect can provide you with a wireless Nas solution for less then £130.
Once you have sourced your hard drive, and hooked it up to your PC you will need some backup software. Products such as Norton Ghost not only backup your data, but can also take complete images of your PC in its current state. Which makes reinstalling a breeze! Obviously if you’re lucky enough to use a Mac, then the built in ‘Time Machine‘ will detect the external hard drive or Nas unit and backup to it. 
However, using this method is not fool proof, and will require manual connection of the drive and the loss of your computer whilst it does it’s thing. No matter how fast your PC is, your backup will be governed by the volume of data you have and the speed of data transfer.
Your second option, perhaps the most obvious one is to use a backup application such as Norton Ghost to burn data to DVD’s or CD’s. Again, this can be a slow and painful process.
Which is where my third and personal favourite solution comes in. Cloud based backups… Which essentially are web based backups of your files and media!
Using applications such as Microsoft’s Live Mesh you can create synchronised folders, so as soon as you make a change or save a document it’s automatically and seamlessly backed up to the web. Without you doing a thing, and without even disturbing you. I am a big fan of mesh – if not just because it’s so easy to use but for the fact you can use it to ‘sync’ files between several computers. So not only is it a backup solution, but it could be used for teamwork on files etc. 
Once you data has synced to your mesh desktop, you are then also able to access it from anywhere. 
I currently have several mesh accounts for the devices around my home. Even my parents use Mesh to backup their computers. It’s so simple, there’s no excuse not to use it!
So what are you waiting for? Get backing up!

PowerstrapWhilst at today’s Gadget Show Live I took the opportunity to replace my previous portable power pack. My previous being the trusty Ted Baker battery pack, which unfortunatly is unable to charge my iPhone 3GS.

I managed to get me hands on a Powerstrap. As seen on five’s Gadget Show, and obviously at Gadget Show Live.

The Powerstrap is a portable battery charger built into a wrist strap. The wrist strap is made up of a soft foam, and features LED lights to indicate the current charge held by the power strap.

The strap had a single micro USB port on the site which is both the input and output for charging. Inside the strap is a 1500mAH Li-ion battery which is charged through the mini USB port via either a pclaptop or power USB adapter.

Once charged it can then be used to provide approximately 1.5 full charges to an Apple iPhone, and varying levels to other battery based devices depending on the draw required.

On the underside of the strap is a metal clasp and loop, sporting the Powerstrap logo. The strap is no heavier then a normal sports watch, but is a little chunkier. The strap also comes with a collection of cable adapters to provide support to many devices, and a ‘curly’ cable to plug into the strap. The strap has many possible uses, not just phones. But cameras, games consoles, games controllers and anything else you can get a USB cable for.

Being strapped to your wrist means you can quite happily play your games console without having to sit 2 feet away for a power socket. Perfect for the beach or pool side!

This is certainly going to save valuable pocket space and prevent scratches on my tech from sharing a pocket with a bulky battery.

The power strap is available to purchase from: Amazon at £38.99, you can find more information at Powerstrap’s homepage

TechLinkDuring my recent visit to the big city that is London, I decided I would treat my MacBook Pro to a bit of a clean. Obviously it’s kept in tip top condition, but as with all displays and heavily used keyboards it was still showing signs of use. So off I went to the Apple Store – formally known as my second home.. I had a hunt around, checked out all of their offerings (of which there is many) and decided the TechLink solution was by far the best.

The TechLink package contains spray and tools to clean both the keyboard and the screen, in these natty little bottle holders you get a bottle of cleaning fluid, a soft sponge and retractable dusting brush.
The keyboard cleaner is perfectly designed to slide over your keyboard keys with specific cut outs to clean between your keyboard keys. Leaving no spec of dustdirt safe!
The screen cleaner’s sponge is soft to touch and very deep, perfect for carefully running over your precious Mac’s display.
The bottles contain very subtle cleaning products, free from harshabrasive chemicals. The monitor cleaner is safe for use on all LCD, LED and plasma based monitors. Making it not only perfect for laptops but televisions as well.
Both cleaning products have an anti-bacterial formula, leaving both your keyboard and monitor bacteria free. The cleaners housing’s also contain a slide out anti static dust brush for a keep sweep away of any dust particles. They are also both ergonomically designed for both right handed and left handed use!
They retail at £29.95 from the Apple Store, these are now a key part of my mobile solution and fit perfectly into the pockets of my Knomo Stirling messenger case

Now available from Apple Store GB

If you’re like me you will be constantly worrying about your MacBook and what you would do if someone stole it. That’s where Orbicule’s Undercover comes in.

Over the many years of laptop thefts there has been many variations on the ‘phone home’ technology. One of the most early applications I can remember was called ‘ET Phone Home’ which literally dialled a preset telephone number every few hours from your computer. If the line was engaged then the app new it was still at home and all was well.. However with technology moving on the way it is doing, relying on the machines modem now would be madness.
Applications like Undercover use local wireless network access points and IP Address geo-locating to pin point your devices location with up to a 10 meter accuracy, but also cover the modem and bluetooth for any tethered connections!
However, now there are so many applications like this on the market, developers are always looking for that little bit extra. Undercover not only reports back to Orbicules online tracking website, but is capable of taking screenshots of the PC, taking shots from built in webcams, faking hardware failure and displaying messages on the screen offering finders fee’s etc.
Orbicule are confident that they will help local law enforcement find your stolen MacBook, so much so that they offer a money back guarantee if they don’t! So really, you have nothing to loose! $49/£31.75 is a small price to pay in my eyes.
If your worried about privacy and would rather not have an application reporting back your location constantly then Undercover is ideal, as it only starts reporting once you have notified Orbicule that it has been stolen!
Orbicule also offer an iPhone variant, so you can feel assured in the knowledge all of your tech is covered.

Since the first release of TomTom’s navigation software and hardware I have been a massive fan. Installing the software on nearly every Windows mobile device I have owned. Since progressing unto an iPhone it seemed to make sense to check out the market and see what else was on offer.

I looked at TomTom for the iPhone, but was put off with the price tag. Reviews on iTunes suggested additional hardware would be required. 
Which is where CoPilot took over, CoPilot Live 8 is available on the iTunes store for £29.99 and includes a lot of features which are optional extra’s if you was to purchase the TomTom package.
One main appealing feature being the ‘clearer guidance at junctions’ feature. I have seen TomTom’s offering of this recently – and wasn’t that impressed. I have not yet had the opportunity to properly test the feature on CoPilot due to work commitments. However, no doubt it will be used heavily when I go to London next week.
CoPilot even claims to keep providing faultless directions when travelling through tunnels. Which I know from experience is something TomTom does not do well! One other big feature I love is the way you can control your iPod music without having to quit the CoPilot application. Which makes this plus my music collection and my iTrip the perfect companion for long journeys.
Some of CoPilots other features are:
  • Turn after turn indicator – makes driving more predictable, as you get to see not only the next turn on your journey, but also the one after that!
  • Speed Limit Alerts – Which makes one less thing to worry about on the unknown roads
  • 3D Landmarks – Make’s the maps and directions look a little more like what you can see out of your window
  • Brand Name POI’s – find those commonly known brands in and around your location and destination
  • Full-featured walking mode – for those places your car just cannot reach
  • Photo Navigation – navigate to the geo-tagged location of one of your phone memories pictures
  • Fuel Prices – Don’t just search for a fuel station, search for the cheapest!
  • and many many more!
You can find the full feature list over at CoPilot’s website
CoPilot is available from the iTunes Store however, this should be download via iTunes on your PCMac to prevent issues during download.
But what about TomTom Home? Well CoPilot has an equivalent, CoPilot Live Central offers all of the features you would expect to see in a sat nav’s docking station control app. 
CoPilot is compatible with a massive list of devices, not just the iPhone – if you are wondering if your device is compatible head over to there compatibility matrix.

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