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Save the Data with “Take Control of Mac OS X Backups”

Some things you never want to see backed up: for example, your plumbing or rush-hour traffic. But when it comes to the gigabytes of irreplaceable data that you keep on your Mac—pictures, music, mail, financial information, contacts, calendars, spreadsheets, and more—the lack of a backup can give you a case of digital amnesia from which it can be impossible to recover. The sad technological truth is that no piece of hardware is exempt from breakdown, theft, or disaster. Without a good, reliable, timely backup, there may be nothing that stands between digital bliss and the digital abyss. That’s why backup guru Joe Kissell has worked hard to create the comprehensive fifth edition of his “Take Control of Mac OS X Backups,” available now for $15.

In the 228-page ebook, Joe takes you beyond the limited security of turning on Time Machine or copying a few files to CD as he explains how to pick the best strategy to meet a variety of backup needs. He not only helps you with what to do about backups, but explains the hows and whys of what you are doing. You’ll find an at-a-glance comparison of different backup strategies (low-cost, easy, safest), along with advice for backing up digital photos and massive video projects, and you’ll benefit from Joe’s time-tested recommendations for setting up, testing, maintaining, and restoring backups.

Although Joe’s advice will help you start backing up right away, reading the full ebook will teach you to:

  • Design a reliable backup system. Learn how to develop a backup system that is not only thorough, ensuring that data is safe, but also easy to manage.

  • Talk like an expert. Understand terms like versioned backups, push and pull backups, duplicates, server, client, incremental, differential, hard link, metadata, mirroring, and snapshot.

  • Shop for hardware. Discover the pros and cons of different backup media options such as hard drives (with USB, FireWire, or eSATA interfaces—and with or without full-disk encryption), flash drives, tape drives, RAIDs, Drobo storage devices, CDs and DVDs, Time Capsules, and NAS and SAN devices.

  • Choose backup software. Learn about 14 key features and find overviews of 12 noteworthy backup products (an online appendix covers nearly 100 options). You’ll also get Joe’s personal recommendations to help you sort through the possibilities.

  • Make backups. No matter what backup software is used, Joe provides a conceptual walk-through of the entire process, offering basic information for people who have never made a backup before and savvy, real-world suggestions for making the backup process as easy as possible. He also provides specific steps for working with Time Machine.

  • Recover lost data from a backup. Find out how to recover your data successfully in the event of a hard disk crash or other calamity.

The ebook also includes an appendix aimed at people who want to create their own backups using Unix on the Mac command line, and it explains how to back up a Windows volume for those who run Windows on a Mac.

Now that the holidays are over, chances are that the amount of data you have on your Mac has increased, thanks to family photos and videos, high score files for new games, end-of-year financial records, and more. If you don’t already have a solid backup strategy, Joe’s new ebook is just what you need to meet the New Year’s resolution of protecting your precious bits in 2011.

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