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 Powerstrap.co.uk



If you followed my other (tiny) tutorial on creating a mediacenter then you should now have your PC linked to your TV.

If youre a fan of Singstar and similar games for the consoles, then you may like this… An open source (free) karaoke game for your pc!

[QUOTE]A free and open source karaoke game inspired by the Singstar™ game available on the Playstation®. It allows up to six players to sing along with music using microphones in order to score points, depending on the pitch of the voice and the rhythm of singing[/QUOTE]

Download

Windows

UltraStar Deluxe Installer (10 MB) (If you´re not sure, use this one):
With possibility to download 40 songs and some additional themes

UltraStar Deluxe ZIP (22MB) – With three songs and additional themes
UltraStar Deluxe ZIP Lite (13,6MB) – without songs and extra themes

Linux / Mac OS X

There is no pre build package available yet, but this version is known to work well in Wine – a tutorial can be found in the USDX Wiki here.

Links of interest

Linux getting started guide – Forum thread
Linux compiling guide – Wiki

Mac OS X Snapshot version – Forum thread with dmg file
Mac OS X the actual progress
– Forum thread
Mac OS X working UltraStar – Eddie (the author) has joined our team, this his old project (NonDeluxe!)

Additional Content

Themes – More Eyecandy :)

Plug ins – For more game modes in the party mode

Songs – Different songs either released under Creative Commons licenses or where the project obtained the permission to distribute them





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