One word on Retrospect 1.3 – powerful. My impression of Retrospect after using it for a while is that it can handle anything you throw at it terms of backup conditions. It may not be the fastest (though I don’t know what is, offhand) and it may not have the best interface (though it’s pretty good), but as far as features go, nothing tops Retrospect.
Two words on backups – do them. I know you don’t do them as often as you should. You can’t hide secrets like that very well. Unfortunately, it isn’t usually a good time to tell that to people who have just lost everything on a hard disk. I’ve observed that people often consider a hard disk a member of the family and view its passing with similar grief.
Three words on archives – think about them. Yeah, I know you don’t think that you will ever need that stupid file again, but my mother works as an archivist and she says that you will. How’s that for citing an expert? Seriously, an archive helps to clear up disk space on your tiny (or so it seems most of the time) hard drive without losing the files for good. Besides, even if you truly never want to see the file again, you never can tell when your supervisor will – being unpredictable is often part of being a supervisor.
Those three paragraphs don’t begin to do Retrospect justice, but they should give you an idea of what Retrospect is about. It is a true archiving program that now has options to do "plain old backups and restores." Retrospect has an incredibly powerful file selection mechanism and remembers what you have done in the past. It has good compression capabilities that can reduce the size of your archive by 50% or more and can run automatically in the background. What more could one ask for, other than a backup administrator to make sure everything runs correctly?