The only people affected are the ones who use it
There is a slim chance that you've never run nor heard of Apple's Disk Utility application. That chance decreases the longer you've had a Mac as this little app is the answer to so many issues. It's where you format new hard drives, create disk images, and where you used to be able to repair permissions if you needed to. If your Mac is doing something odd, you could run Disk Utility and have it poke about your hard drive, looking for possible problems, and often fixing them too. If you have many hard drives, such as in a RAID backup system, you lived in Disk Utility -- or you used to. Apple has radically remodelled Disk Utility in OS X El Capitan and that's got people steaming.
Apple's word processor likes to hide its best features
Pages is the anti-Microsoft Word. Where Word has every single conceivable feature going -- and quite a lot of them work, even! -- it does rather show them to you. Despite the promise of the Ribbon making it easier to find what you want, Word users still have to hunt through buttons and icons that they'll never need to know, nor care about. In contrast, Pages does less, and looks like it does a gigantic amount less. We've had people ask us about swapping to Word because Pages doesn't do X or Y -- when it does.
Secure your important data with Backblaze for just $25 for one year
Sometimes, MacNN finds a deal that is too big or important to go into our usual deal lists, and is deserving enough to be highlighted in its own Big Deals post. This time, we are focusing on one offer from our own MacNN Deals store for Backblaze, a backup service that makes it easy to safely protect your important documents and files online.
Keep your files secure with these MacNN Deals for backups
Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing some of the offers available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today's quartet of offers all help with protecting your data, including two ways to easily backup your data to cloud storage, make sure your local backups are performed securely, and to easily archive files on multiple drives.
Temporary backups can be saved to other devices, Apple filing suggests
Apple has come up with a way to use multiple iPhones as a "secure ad hoc data backup," in case the primary device is damaged or destroyed. The patent application, recently published but initially filed by Apple in February last year, suggests that in the event of poor or no data connectivity, the user's data could be temporarily transferred to one or more devices owned by friends, with the peer-to-peer connection being used to store backup data.
You can never be too rich, too beautiful, or have too many backups
Today's Pointers column is about backups, but maybe a different kind than you're doing. Yes, it appears to have taken us nerds about 20 years to convince you non-nerds that backing up your data to some kind of automated system like Apple's Time Machine is something you should be doing (though I am constantly astonished at how many people still haven't even gotten that far), but now we want to take the next step: a second -- but this time, "off-site" -- backup. This doesn't negate the value of your local, connected backup in any way, but it can go even further in protecting your data and someday saving your bacon.
Yes, William, it is a series.
Yeah, I'm the guy that both made William take off his watch for a week, and made him do this column, My Stupid Fault, first. We all have tech tales of woe for sure -- the really special ones we've done to ourselves by accident or by incompetence. Mine is something I keep coming back to, time after time, after time -- and once, it almost caused a problem with Cold War-era national defense. Today, I bring you the second installment of My Stupid Fault -- a series of three tech failures at the worst possible time, with a common solution.
Carbon Copy Cloner vs SuperDuper! vs ChronoSync
This is a rubbish smackdown. Where's the drama? Where's the bit where one of these backup utilities gets voted off the island? Here's the thing, though: over the last month or so, we've reviewed three very powerful applications that broadly do the same thing. They all back up your data to external hard disks, and they all create ways that you can startup your Mac again even if your internal drive dies on you. Carbon Copy Cloner, SuperDuper, and ChronoSync are surely the leading applications in this, and they are certainly needed. We just wouldn't be doing our job if we didn't pitch them against each other to help you pick one.
Apple's Backup just gets on with it, until it doesn't
Apple's Time Machine and the Time Capsule I bought to use it on are the best things I've ever purchased that I've immediately forgotten, and didn't even realize I was using. I'm not sure what I did to backup anything before that came along, but I do have a big, big box of neatly-labelled floppy discs in my office, and no way to use them. Well, that's not quite true: I have used a couple as coasters for my tea mug. It's startling to think that I have several years of data on those discs that are effectively lost to me -- I could get them back with a concerted effort, and spending some money -- whereas in theory I now have multiple years of data available to me in an instant.
Users, even power users, are often lackadaisical about this vital duty
Earlier this year, staff writer and long-time Windows user Malcolm Owen returned to the Mac following a five-year absence. Back to the Mac is a series of posts where he charts his progress in introducing Apple to his computing environment again. In this installment, Malcolm works out how to back up the Mini.
It's been some time since I first bought the Mac mini, and recent events have caused me to think about setting up some sort of backup scheme for it. I know it is bad form to not back up a computer from when you first get it, but I've been thinking about how best to do it, bearing in mind my existing backup systems.
Extremely powerful and comprehensive backup solution
Roll up your sleeves, get a coffee, and watch ChronoSync backup your hard drives. Or alternatively, roll your sleeves back down and nip out to lunch, because you're not needed here: ChronoSync has it covered -- and you can look in on it remotely, with the companion apps ChronoAgent and InterConneX. This is surely the most comprehensive disk backup and management application we've seen, and possibly that nature ever intended. That does mean it's complex, but you're not going to turn to this if all you've used so far is Apple's Time Machine.
Comprehensive backup and booting solution for Macs
Apple did a great thing in bringing Time Machine to the rest of us: it made backups a more familiar idea, and it made them far easier to understand as well. Something that is easy and familiar is something that you're going to do, and Apple was right that we really, really needed to back up our work. Now Apple is more focused on cloud storage than it is hard drives -- and there are several cloud backup services -- but the humble hard disk has a lot of advantages. It also has SuperDuper 2.7.5, which is a capable, albeit slightly technical, application for copying your data, and for creating a hard drive that you can run your Mac from in emergencies.
Cartridge designed to slot into Hi-Rely's arrays, or stand-alone
Highly Reliable Systems has announced the immediate availability of its new 2.5-inch MPac-G2 RAID backup media at the XChange Solution Provider event in Dallas, Texas. High-Rely's portable second-generation MPac enclosure features an integrated RAID-0/1/JBOD controller, with field-accessible USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0Gb/s connections.
Keep your contact list safe across devices, exportable to platforms
It's not uncommon for users to have multiple devices in their household. Many people have a smartphone, tablet, and at least one computer. Keeping track of contacts can be a hassle if a user frequently changes devices, or adds contacts on one device and not another. Even with the help of iCloud, contacts are too important not to have a separate backup, particularly if users need to move contacts between platforms. With Quick Backup Contacts, users can create those backup files easily.
Backup-oriented cloud service offers unmatched prices, options
There are a lot of cloud services out there, and nearly all of them can be used for backing up key files and folders. A few dedicated services are focused on backing up nearly everything the user has, and thus offer large quantities of space needed for the task, but are expensive and slow. Others, like Dropbox, offer far less space but allow instant access to files across a range of devices. IDrive appears to have hit on a good middle ground: offer lots of space at a very reasonable sum, while providing a lot of configuration options, full data encryption, instant sync, multi-platform support, and even alternate ways of getting the data uploaded in the first place. Is it right for you? Find out in our review.
Copy utility software makes dumping pictures, footage to drive, backup easier
Dealing with the aftermath of a day of recording video or snapping photos can be time-consuming. Videos and photos are often spread across different memory cards and storage devices, all of which require attention to transfer to editing stations and backup locations. Offload from Red Giant looks to make that a little easier. Like many of Red Giant's other pieces of software, Offload is built with videographers and photographers in mind. It makes it easier to transfer a bunch of files in one action, rather than taking two or more.
Cross-platform backup solution brought to Mac for first time
Data protection company Acronis has announced the availability of Acronis True Image for Mac. The backup and imaging package offers full system image backup and recovery, both locally and to the Acronis cloud; recovery of a complete OS X image, or just the specific files or folders required; smart backup scheduling, including automatic backups, and advanced Parallels Desktop support.
New product will allow for up to 185TB in one cartridge
Sony is rolling out a new digital tape format intended for large-scale backups that can hold a massive 148 gigabits per square inch. Increasing the data density of the tape will ultimately lead to tape cartridges with a capacity of 185TB. The format will be detailed on May 4 in conjunction with IBM. Using a new manufacturing process, the tape uses a magnetic particle size of 7.7nm, which allows for the data density which is nearly 74 times that of the LTO-6 tape format introduced in 2012.
Adds Mavericks support, overhauls UI, fixes bugs
The Mac-centric online backup service DollyDrive has updated its Mac application to version 2.0, bringing Mavericks support and an entirely new user interface to the program, which acts as an interface to the DollyDrive cloud-based service. The company, named after the first cloned sheep, offers automatic and encrypted backup of user files to a minimum 10GB space (free) up to multiple terabytes of space if required.
Penny-per-gigabyte storage has long retrieval lead times
Amazon has added a new tier to its cloud services. Amazon Glacier is being marketed as cloud-based backup storage for enterprise with considerably lower storage costs than the similar Simple Storage Service, however it lacks the immediate file retrieval found in S3. Instead, a job submission for files must be submitted and can take hours to process, as well as suffer a charge for backup retrieval.
Allows for easy social media backup from Facebook, Flickr
With the intent of simplifying users' backup needs, hard drive purveyor Seagate has announced the Backup Plus line of storage. Available in either desktop or portable versions, the drives and the associated Seagate Dashboard software package are capable of not only backing up local data and media, but also making a local copy of photos and content stored on social media, such as Facebook or Flickr, with more services promised for the future.
Already compatible with forthcoming OS X 10.8
Freeridecoding has updated its backup and syncing utility SmartBackup to version 3.3, which offers general improvements as well as a sleek, iOS-inspired new look for the user interface. The program is aimed as a more-configurable and intelligent alternative to Apple's own Time Machine software, which eschews customization in favor of simplification. The new version is also already compatible with OS X 10.8, Mountain Lion, which is coming later this summer.
Can use dual USB 3 port for up to 10Gb per second
HighPoint Technologies has launched two new Mac and PC compatible external storage solutions using USB 3.0 for a theoretical speed of up to 5Gb per second per port, or 10Gb per second total possible throughput in the dual-bay, "toaster" design RocketStor Smart Backup and RocketStore Smart RAID. The units can accommodate two SATA standard-size HDD and SSDs up to 6Gb per second in speed and can work with add-on USB 3 PCI-E cards.
Online storage and iPad mounting setup
iDrive has launched a new version of its mobile app that allows users to access an online storage account and share files while on the go. The dedicated iOS app has been updated with native iPad support, and now allows users to backup contacts, photos, videos and more over a WiFi or 3G connection. In addition, several enhancements have been made to improve performance. A free 5GB account is offered to all customers, while 150GB and 500GB plans are available for $5 and $15 per month respectively. Alternatively, business plans range from 50GB up to 1TB with priority customer support starting at $10 per month.
Works with Mac, Windows, Android, iOS
Trend Micro has launched its own cloud-based subscription backup and sync service called SafeSync, featuring browser-based management and compatibility with Macs, Windows PCs, Android and iOS devices. The service, which offers various levels of storage starting at 20GB up to 100GB, offers both automatic sync as well as drag-and-drop manual syncing. The new SafeSync now supports Mac OS X Lion with native 64-bit support for 10.5 and higher.
Now creates bootable backup clone drives faster
Although Apple's own Time Machine is a good and easy-to-use solution for doing backups of user data, there are tasks it cannot do -- such as create a bootable external drive -- which are sometimes vital for troubleshooting, boot drive maintenance or other kinds of data restoration. Tri-Edre has timed the introduction its latest version of Clone X 4, which is now compatible with both Lion and Snow Leopard, to the introduction of Lion -- allowing users an easy way to clone their existing Snow Leopard installs before upgrading.
Backup app runs scripts, supports volume sync
Intego has launched new backup software for the Mac, Intego Backup Express 1.0. The app will back up specific or all files from a User Folder, as well as other disks and volumes where the user has the proper permissions, and can be used to keep folders or volumes in sync across two Macs. The program supports user-created backup scripts, incremental and versioned backups, and exclusions for files, folders and file-types among other features.
MyService 3TB upgrade for iMac/Mac Pro
Backblaze has announced its plans to offer a 10 percent discount to anyone looking to switch services following Mozy's removal of its unlimited plan. Earlier this week, Mozy released a statement to its customers claiming that due to industry requirements it could no longer afford to offer an unlimited plan, but current unlimited subscriptions would be upheld until their expiration. In response, Backblaze released its own report that it would continue to offer an unlimited storage option with unthrottled bandwidth at a reduced price for customers looking to switch. Anyone can receive the discount by using the coupon code "byemozy" with their purchase.
Defrag and Clone for PowerPC and Intel Macs
Stellar Data Recovery of New Jersey launched two new Mac utility programs at Macworld 2011 to add to their hard drive recovery repertoire. Stellar Disk Defrag allows the creation of a bootable DVD so users can defragment and optimize drives running Mac OS X 10.4 or later, while Stellar Drive Clone creates a bootable backup or disk image of an entire hard drive or volume, making it easy to troubleshoot or restore the main drive and helping to prevent data loss.
Beta not promising iPad any security protections
Symantec has released details of its upcoming Norton 360 app for the iPad. The service allows users to back-up data online, including documents, music, photos and videos. Users will be able to access the data and share it with others via URL links. Norton has yet to confirm if users will be able to play video, view photos or listen to music directly from the app interface. The utility also appears to lack protection tools for viruses or other security threats.
Performance enhancements, new features
App4mac has announced updates to its project management app, Projector, as well as the online backup utility, Twin. Projector provides tools for keeping track of tasks and calculating project costs. The latest version has been completely rewritten in Objective C 2.0 for improved performance and enhanced 64-bit support. The update also features a redesigned user interface and a new engine optimized for both small and large projects.
Supports online and offline backup
Dare to be Creative has released the first version of Parachute, a new backup utility. Users can schedule multiple backup tasks, automated to run in hourly, daily, weekly or monthly cycles. As with most such apps, backups can be saved to network volumes and external hard disks. Content can also be copied to USB flash drives, and various online destinations.
New archiving option
Group Logic has announced a partnership with Symantec in developing a file system archival (FSA) scheme for Mac-based organizations. The arrangement combines Symantec's Enterprise Vault with Group Logic's ArchiveConnect, and promises to reduce storage costs as much as 60 percent.
App complements standard desktop-based service
Dropbox has released an application for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to access or manage content from their Dropbox accounts. From the mobile interface, users can view or download files, take photos or videos and upload them to the Dropbox, share links to files, or sync downloaded files to keep the desktop and mobile systems up-to-date.
Back-up software also adds CROs, new reporting
Arkeia has launched Arkeia Network Backup 8.1, an update to its cross-platform backup software. Version 8.1 brings Snow Leopard compatibility and Custom Restore Objects (CROs) that give system admins the ability to assign restoration rights, enabling end users to restore their own systems. With CROs in place, users can recover a volume without requiring IT workers and without the delays of waiting for assistance.
67TB of storage for $7900
Backblaze is in the business of providing online backup service and, by extension, wound up in the hardware business. Upset with the high cost of storage devices, the company designed and built it's own 67TB storage modules for about $7867 (materials alone) each. Now, CEO Gleb Budman says Backblaze is giving away the design, hoping the open approach will lead to improvements or inspire a separate company to build the boxes so Backblaze doesn't have to.
SuperDuper v2.6 ships
Shirt Pocket has released SuperDuper 2.6, an update of its Mac OS X system recovery software. The primary changes in version 2.6 is Snow Leopard compatibility; however, it also offers "Backup on connect," which enables a user to automatically configure the software to backup to a drive any time it is connected.
KeyCue 4.5 ($27) helps users to make better use of keyboard shortcuts that different applications provide. After holding down the Command key for a set period of time KeyCue opens and displays a table of all currently available menu shortcuts. Version 4.5 adds support for Snow Leopard and QuickKey shortcuts. The latest version of the software also includes a fix that correctly displays arrow keys as dashed arrows and distinguishes keys on the numeric keypad by using brackets. Several other miscellaneous errors have also been fixed with the update. [Download - 1.1MB]
1U TeraStation III NAS
Buffalo Technology on Tuesday announced its latest storage product, the rackmount TeraStation III, aimed at small- to medium-size businesses. The network device is built on the same platform as the company's standalone TeraStation III, with support for hot swapping, replication, NFS, Active Directory and Time Machine backup. Users can configure the drives in RAID arrays or apply disk encryption for sensitive data.
Kroll Data Recovery Portal
Kroll Ontrack has unveiled a new Apple-based Data Recovery Portal. The service recovers lost or damaged data for operating systems, servers, applications, files, and iPhones and iPods. The portal is specifically targeted at Apple Service Providers, permitting customers to retrieve information from anywhere in the world.
Retrospect 8.1 update
EMC has released Retrospect 8.1 for the Mac, which now runs on PowerPC systems. The new version also includes minor interface improvements, and performance increases for Intel Mac users of up to 15 percent over version 8, and 30 to 35 percent over v6.1.
Password Repository 2.10 ($30) allows users to save and manage all of their passwords inside an encrypted document. The information is all stored within a table that can be sorted. Passwords can also be labeled with custom sets of colors to help users sort related items. The latest release includes an enhanced import function which can import data with a varying number of fields and layouts. The update also includes improved management of categories and several bug fixes. [Download - 1.7MB]
BRU Server 2.0 released
The Tolis Group has released v2.0 of its BRU Server. The application is used to backup data stored on Mac, Windows, Linux and Solaris networks. The latest version features a new user interface, and client-level backup and restore functions that can be initiated by users, negating the need for administrator involvement. Version 2.0 also has an optional Encryption Module add-on, for encrypted backups using archival hardware.
WindowSets, Get Backup
Senuti 1.1 ($18) is a utility that can be used to transfers songs from an iPod to a computer. The software searches the iPod for music and then allows users to select music to transfer. When transferring files users can select to automatically import the songs to iTunes or to just copy them to a folder. Senuti also features support for transferring entire playlists. The update has added support for the iPhone 3.0 firmware. [Download - 11.8MB]
SpiderOak backup software
SpiderOak has announced that its new online backup service is now available. The system is claimed to utilize different technology than other common backup services, such as Dropbox, and provides a single tool that consolidates backup, synchronization, sharing, remote access and storage functions. Instead of requiring users to put files into a folder to be replicated on other devices, SpiderOak enables groups of folders to be uploaded from any networked computers or external drives without modifying the folder structure. The backup also boasts file protection for synced or non-synced content, eliminating unnecessary transfers by keeping backup and sync functions separate.
iSkysoft ships DVD-Library
iSkysoft has released the full version of DVD-Library software, used to backup movies to a Mac or portable hard disk as separate ISO images. Files retain a DVD's content protection and digital quality, but can be still be watched on a computer. The DVD Boxes feature adds a cover image, disc information and custom organization.
CheckIt 2 ships
Smith Micro has announced CheckIt 2, a new program meant to optimize a Mac's performance. The title combines five utilities into a single package, including TechTool Platinum, Spring Cleaning, EMC Retrospect Express, Executive Sync and StuffIt Standard. Users can diagnose and fix hard drive issues, manage file clutter, backup content and compress files to save space. Functions unrelated to performance include file encryption and synchronization.
ArchiveMac 1.2 ($25) allows users to backup large files to CD, DVD or Blu-Ray disks. If the contents of a backup are larger than what can be stored on one disk the software can split the data across multiple discs which are then patched together when restored. The archive discs are burned in a way that allows them to be restored on any Mac, Windows or Linux computer without the need for any additional software. Version 1.2 has improved the process of burning discs by allowing discs in a set to be skipped and adding support for burning multiple copies of a disc. [Download - 4.8MB]
Twin 1.0 beta released
app4mac has released a beta version of a new online backup application, Twin 1.0. The program is compatible with several formats, including FTP, Amazon S3, MobileMe and others. It also offers 256-bit AES encryption, and backup to external drives should a computer be offline.
Backblaze for Mac
Backblaze has opened its $5-per-month backup service to Macs, touting simplicity and automatic support for external hard drives. The service is said to use military-grade encryption, and offer emergency overnight back-ups on USB hard drives or DVDs. In a field crowded with competitors such as Mozy, Carbonite and iDrive, Backblaze is banking on its "effortless" client, which backs up critical files whenever it detects an active Internet connection. All files are selected automatically, except for the operating system, applications, temporary files and any over 4GB.