Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
I spent a fair amount of holiday time trying to figure out how to share and backup the important files on our various home computers. The solution I settled on was geeky bordering on goofy:
For documents I use Subversion. On each computer, each user's files are kept in a directory that is under Subversion source code control. Since nobody else in the family knows about Subversion (yet), I have to visit each computer periodically and commit any new files or changes. I had hoped that approach would work for all of my files, but Subversion on the Slug is way too sluggish when it comes to big files.
So, for photos and other big binary files I use the Slug as a simple file-server. I make sure my photos and videos are organized into directories that are roughly DVD-size directories (i.e. about 8GB) and I periodically copy them to the Slug and make DVDs for off-site storage.
And finally, for full backups I use disk "cloning" software. Every month or so I use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a full-disk backup our two Mac laptops to a USB drive.
Sounds like a total pain in the ass doesn't it? But a growing number of folks have multiple computers and piles of photos and videos to backup, so my problems are far from unique. That's why I think Windows Home Server is going to be a hit.
It's a server appliance with no monitor or keyboard. You just plug it into your home network, put it in a corner and it solve all of your PC backup problems. It quietly makes full-disk image backups of each of your Windows PCs and it gives you a place to share files with other folks at home and over the net. It's of no use to me since most of my home computers run some form of UNIX, but 95% of the world is hooked on Windows -- they're gonna want this thing. Check out Paul Thurrott's Windows Home Server Preview for more details.