Backup Systems

I've been asked by several of my non-technical friends how I back up my computer & files. Here's a quick rundown.

Backblaze (referral link) - I would probably consider this my most important backup software. There is a desktop client for Mac and Windows, as well native mobile clients for iOS and Android. The price is $5/month or $50/year for unlimited data. This includes external hard drives. Yes, you read that right. You can download any of your files from the last 30 days from a browser, or should catastrophe strike, a flash or external drive will be send to you for an additional fee.

Dropbox (referral link) - this is a common backup system many people already know about. I place most of my documents there as well as my photos. I have had an account for years, but now the only reason I really keep it around is for photos. RAW takes up quite a bit of space. You get a free month if you use my referral link. Alternatives: box.net

Time Machine - this is built-in for OS X users (it does require an external drive). I recommend it for disaster recovery more than anything else. If your machine dies, get a new one and hook it to your external hard drive and restore.

Others - I am not currently using these, but are worth considering as alternatives or additions to the above. SuperDuper, Carbon Copy Cloner, BitTorrent Sync

Nerd-type backup systems

Github - or some damn offsite source repository. This shouldn't need to be explained.

rsync - a standard linux utility to sync directories between two machines. Once I get a server, I'll probably rsync files from it (or vice-versa) to my laptop to get under the Backblaze backup.

Back That Azz Up by Juvenile

Stadium

To provide some background to this rant, please watch this clip if you are not a viewer of HBO's Last Week Tonight. It's from an episode in July in regard to stadiums.

This my meager attempt to express my frustration about (my/our) tax dollars going towards a for-profit privately held entity in the form of a new football stadium. A few issues I have...

  1. Why this entity? There are plenty of privately held companies, large and small, that provide value, economic and otherwise, to the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri. More so entities that may actually provide some cultural or educational value. I am not against professional football existing in St. Louis, I just do not understand why public tax dollars need to fund it. Yes, I am aware other large companies compete for tax incentives and financing deals, but I am against those as well. Entities exist to make money. Period. I for one, don't feel like lending my helping hand to Stan Kroenke and his estimated net worth of $6.3 billion.

  2. Why can't Personal Seat Licenses cover what would otherwise be the public's share? Under current plans, $160 million is slated to come from PSLs. Why not let that also encompass the $201 million in bonds from the state and the city of St. Louis? It seems reasonable to be to have the people who really want to enjoy the stadium and a professional football league to be the ones to pay for it.

  3. Top Tier Stadium? I find this requirement for their stadiums to be utter bullshit. If every team demanded this (with probably exclusion of the Green Bay Packers, since they are owned by the community of Green Bay), each would have power to threaten to relocate within the terms of the contract. It's not sustainable for cities, nor should it be something that they hamstring themselves with. And if teams can require stadiums to be top-tier, I think taxpayers should be able to require the teams to be top-tier as well. How about we require the Rams to finish in first or second place in the NFC each year, otherwise maybe they should pay a fine? By the way, Kroenke has done a masterful job with the timing of this plan. The state, city and county are still collectively paying $24 million per year through 2021. Loss aversion is a great tactic since we taxpayers are still on the hook for another $144 million of the current stadium.

  4. Alternative destinations for $201 million? How about St. Louis city's public schools? Why not a Metro-link expansion? More funding to organizations that are helping companies relocate and stay in St. Louis? All of these options seem better to me than $201 million for an organization that is just going to do this again when we are approaching the end of the next contract.

I don't claim to have the answers, but want to make sure everyone is considering the questions.

Set It Off by Audioslave
Dance With the Devil by Breaking Benjamin
Point #1 by Chevelle
The Mirror by Dream Theater
Guilty by Gravity Kills
Madness by Muse
Take the Power Back by Rage Against the Machine
Settle for Nothing by Rage Against the Machine
Know Your Enemy by Rage Against the Machine
Wake Up by Rage Against the Machine
Second Chance by Shinedown
New Beginning by Stir
Again and Again by Taproot

Nothing

"It occurred to me that the problem with doing nothing is not knowing when you're finished." — Plum Island by Nelson Demille.

I have been trying over the years to come to an understanding of the right balance for my side projects. Too many weeknights are filled with "I should work on side project X tonight"... along with the following night, and the night after that. It often does not happen.

I feel like I am finally starting to learn to set aside a minimum number of nights to work, and give myself the other time to just relax, watch tv, read, etc. The road here has been long and winding. In my youth I lacked discipline. Now sometimes I feel like I may have too much, or maybe I'm not living up to my own expectations of discipline. Either way, it's self-defeating. Balance is needed.

Drive is something that I think is invaluable. As Justine Musk said "be obsessed, be obsessed, be obsessed" if you really want extreme success. One thing I think that is left out is that you can be obsessed, have the drive, and plenty of skills, but part of the equation of the extremely successful is luck. Timing, your real social network (not Facebook, et al.), access to resources ($/time) are huge when it comes to being an extreme success.

We must remember the reasons why we are doing the things we do. For people like me, who have side projects or things they enjoy doing in their spare time, it must be balanced with taking some time away from those things.

As my wife Sam told me this weekend, "sometimes the best thing you can do is nothing."

Nothing's Wrong by Stir
Settle for Nothing by Rage Against the Machine
Nothing Left to Say/Rocks by Imagine Dragons
Nothing Left to Say by Staind
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
Nothing by The Script
Money for Nothing by Dire Straits
Something from Nothing by Foo Fighters
Next to Nothing by Breaking Benjamin
Nothing is Everything by Tonic

Step One

This is step one in starting my personal site. I have a self-imposed duty to face my fears. And writing is one of them... especially publicly. In my youth, I didn't enjoy reading for many years and especially abhorred writing. My high school senior English teacher once told me that I argued far better than I wrote. It's probably still true. The aspect that I've come to discover as ridiculous is that there is nearly no reason for this. It always feel like when I'm talking, words often just flow. But with writing, there is this mental block that for some reason gives me pause. Maybe it's on permanent record, my perfectionism, or its unfiltered dissemination.

Facing your fears is time well spent in my opinion. Going through life having fear is just a massive waste of energy and brain power. It can make you catatonic. Keep you from experiencing vast new things. It's like having blinders on or a cast on a limb that isn't broken.

Around 2008 I had several ideas for iOS apps. I didn't know Objective C or even C. And my trepidation kept me from even starting to learn Objective C. Why? I am not entirely sure. Maybe it was something I perceived as difficult. Maybe I thought I couldn't finish. Maybe my app wouldn't be good. Good enough for me at least. Regardless, I didn't take the plunge until a few years later and effectively forced myself into this gratifying world by attending a iOS class. Money was now on the line. Flight, hotel, the works.

It worked. I at least took the leap and started doing tutorials and small little apps in my spare time. I tried, unsuccessfully, to get my employer to let me spend my work time building an iOS app for them. Too much time went by, but I finally had enough. I needed to publish an app.

I was an oft-passenger on the St. Louis MetroLink and getting the schedule on my iPhone was terrible. Fumbling though their (at the time) terrible site or storing off a PDF that was far from mobile friendly, I had enough. An app that cleanly listed stations, trains, and times. That's it. I finally launched Metro-Time on the App Store in 2013.

A few weeks ago @LutherBaker mentioned to me about one of our co-workers taking part in an incentive pool with some other bloggers. There was a weekly ante in an attempt to keep themselves writing. Small stakes, but money is on the line nonetheless. After some internal mulling and discussion with @LutherBaker and @TheKnlght, we decided to do the same. After @TeamNeem's pool dissolved, she has now joined ours as well.

But post isn't about incentive pools or Metro-Time. It's about me facing my fear, setting aside perfectionism, and telling that tiny voice of fear in my head to shut the hell up.

One is done.

-AR

One Angel by Stir
One Man Army by Our Lady Peace
One Mic by Nas
One by U2
Cluster One by Pink FloydOne More Astronaut by I Mother Earth
One Thing by Finger Eleven
One Slip by Pink Floyd