9) CobianBackup Continues to Impress

I believe we first mentioned Cobiansoft’s CobianBackup in 2009. But even today, it still continues to impress. For the purchase price (zero), it will do just about as a great a job as anything at helping you prepare for disaster. It supports FTP backup, runs as an application or as a service (consuming very few system resources in the latter mode), can compress or not compress, encrypt or not encrypt — it’s your call.

Remember, most computers have moving parts. If they don’t move, some of them likely warm up. It’s not a question of IF you’ll someday experience data loss due to some kind of failure. It’s WHEN. Backing up is a bit like buying fire insurance: The moment you realize you wished you had it, it’s too late to get it. Begin a vigilant and routine backup policy today so, when it happens, you can smile, and say, “Brigada told me I should prepare for this.” :-)

9) Goodbye SpiderOak; Hello SOS Online Backup

Some time ago, I bragged about the encryption at However, after using the service for 7 or 8 months and experiencing constant file bloat, I think I’ll switch from Spider Oak to another product. SpiderOak just seems rather confused, in my opinion, about versioning. New versions of the same file are constantly being backed up as new files. By contrast, in products like
SOS Online Backup, which is also secured at the point of backup on my own laptop…

new versions are NOT counted as separate files in one’s file size maximum. (Though SOS does say they count the BIGGEST version of the file.) They save all versions, forever, but they don’t count multiple versions toward my limit.

SOS has also won the PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice for 4 years straight, for whatever that’s worth. Highly recommended.

9) Seamless Archive/Backup (Especially for Ubuntu Users)

Are you one of the 20 million people who use Ubuntu Linux every day? If so, you might truly enjoy this solution for backup and/or file archiving…

The same Brigada reader wrote, “You can do the same thing with Dropbox. Just get a good software package to manage the backup. I wrote my own (that uploads to the Ubuntu cloud), but there are plenty of available alternatives. My software package does this:

1) Compress home directory (from ~60 gigs to 3 gigs)
2) Encrypt compressed files
3) Compare encrypted, compressed files with those in the cloud directory
4) Update any that don’t match

The whole process takes ~2 minutes each night, then I’m always backed up and I never have to think about it. I actually set it to back up to the Ubuntu cloud and Dropbox, that way I always have two copies. The encryption is virtually unbreakable without my key.” Cool. You can probably do that in your spare time too, right? (Thanks for the tip, Chris!)

5) Update on Megasite

Last edition, we mentioned that a worker from the Muslim world had informed us about a promising site for online file storage and backup. We asked for your feedback and some of you responded — and it wasn’t all positive. We thought it would be important to mention the existence of articles like this one:

As you can see, there are some issues with this site, so we thought we should make sure you knew about them — “buyer beware.” We’ll keep a close eye on this start-up. Just FYI…

6) New Online File Archive Site Seems Most Promising

This past week, a worker in the Muslim world told us about…

a new online file storage and backup site. They’re offering 50GB for free, all encrypted at 2048 bit. Apparently, it’s an easy-to-use interface, with an affordable pro version. Some have said it might be the “fastest growing startup in Internet history.” Others have reportedly observed that it’s currently the “busiest NZ URL” and that they already have several hundred thousand users after just days. (Thanks to that anonymous contributor.)

11) Searching for a Good Deal on a Dropbox Substitute?

Greg, our I.T. guy at Team Expansion, recently recommended we look at After we profiled it in a recent Brigada edition, several participants voiced encouraging words. One, an onsite worker from North Africa, pointed out that one can use “hurricanesafe” as a promo to get an EXTRA 5 GB FREE, or use “spring” as the promo to get a 25% discount for paid service. Cool updates. What have you thought so far about Spideroak? Check it out at…

11) Using DropBox? You Might Prefer SpiderOak? —

Like most people, I’ve been a casual user of DropBox for some time. I never liked the apparent lack of security, but it was the best we had. Until now. This past week, our I.T. guy at Team Expansion (thanks Greg!) suggested I try

With SpiderOak, your data is protected with “end-to-end encryption” — meaning that not even the techs or suits at SpiderOak can see your data. It’s ALL encrypted… from them moment it leaves your computer until your shared file arrives on your recipient’s hard drive. There’s a free level (2 gigs I believe), but the paid level won’t break your bank and even the back-up service is worth it, in and of itself. My laptop contained about 60 gig of user files (i.e., non-executables) and, granted, it took SpiderOak about a week or 10 days to finally back up everything, but now, on a daily basis, it keeps up… and not only is my data backed up 24/7 now, but in addition, I can share a file with someone in an instant (without emailing it). I just share a “link” with a password, either built-in, or shared separately. There’s a business service too. Learn more about it at…

And if you decide to subscribe, it would be helpful, but not necessary, if you used this link:

(Note: This last link will “wrap.” If you have trouble copying it and pasting it into your browser, just log on to Brigada today online and find this same item posted there. We’ll make sure the link works on our site. Thanks.)

They’ll give you an extra gig for life just for using that link, and they’ll give Brigada an extra gig for life as well.

12) The BackPage: Using an SD card in that camera or slate of yours? —

I do. My slate has an internal solid state hard drive, but it only holds 64 gig. So I’ve been using a 32 gig SD card (as a “D:” drive) for my “data” hard drive and the original hard disk for my executables — the “C:” drive, as it were. But the other day, our I.T. guy pointed out that SD cards have a known life-span. Granted it’s somewhere around 1 million writes — but think about it. That’s not one million writes for one pixel. That’s one million for the card as a whole — so, seeing as how the boot sector gets addressed all the time — Yikes.

Bottom line: Join me in backing up *often*.

Line *under* the bottom line: If your (or my) SD card gets hosed, here are some products that might help you (us) recover data. All are Win/Mac compatible.


Photorecovery: There’s a demo version at


or purchase at US$39.95. Windows 2000 or higher.


SanDisk RescuePro: at


Trial version. Price: US$40. Windows and Mac OSX.


File Rescue Plus: at


Free demo. Price: US$29.95. Windows Vista, XP etc.


PhotoRescue: at


Trial version. Price: US$29. Windows and Mac OSX.


ImageRecall 2: at


demo version or US$39.95. Windows.


MediaRECOVER: at


Demo version. Price: US$29.95. Windows and Mac OSX.


Read more:


These and more came courtesy


(Note: This link will wrap. If you have trouble copying-and-pasting it and reassembling it in the “URL” box of your browser, just find this item at our online location, where you’ll be able to click and go.)

4) Backing Up Your Files in “the Cloud” —

I’ve never been a big fan of backing up on line. My laptop has a 300 Gig drive that’s packed with info. Not only does it take a long time to backup over the Internet, but I also want to get to my info when I want to get to it, not just when the Internet is available. In addition, I’ve always wondered if these services can scan their data and produce some kind of report, even if it’s only a *general* report. To me, it’s creepy thinking that some midnight security guy could be scanning through my files while he eats his ham sandwich.

At the same time, I recognize that the “Cloud Computing” concept has finally brought easier back-up services to the masses. If this kind of service can work for you, then probably … backing up online is perhaps better than not backing up at all (as long as the midnight snack guy isn’t some Middle-Eastern spy :-) ). The New York Times recently featured a great review on these services. Find it at…

(Thanks to Lissa for finding this New York Times item all the way over in Uganda.)

2) Dropbox: a Wonderful, Free, Collaboration (and Backup!) Tool —

Dropbox was mentioned on Brigada in 2010/09/05 under a submission about Virtual Filing Cabinet (PC only). Dropbox (Mac and PC) is indeed a great collaboration tool, but it is also a great free backup system for up to 2G+ of your data. Keep current projects in your private Dropbox folder, and every change you save to disk also gets stored on-line with a time-stamp. (Only the current version counts against your space limit!) If your computer dies or disappears, you will probably have a more recent version of your critical files than might be on your regular backup. And this on-line version history is also invaluable when you need to look back or revert to a previous version. For collaboration you can apparently specify individuals to have shared access to a specific folder, and each participant’s computer will stay synchronized with the latest changes regardless of who makes them (previous versions also remain available online). You can also “publish” items (like my draft of this submission at this link):

Referrals bump both parties free data limit (by .25G up to 8G). To get started with such a bump, visit the web comments for this item and use the most recent referral link posted there to sign up for Dropbox, then post your own referral link to let someone return the favor. Once you reach the referral benefit limit, please also note this in the web comments so further referrals aren’t wasted on you. Until another referral is listed in the Brigada comments, you can use Robby’s (Robby was the contributor of this item):

(We couldn’t agree more, Robby. We’ve heard only positive feedback on Dropbox and we can’t figure out why more people aren’t using it. Great innovation that just works!)

11) The Back Page: What if Your Fan Broke Down Right now?

syncbackThat’s what happened to my laptop last week: The dreaded “Fan Error.” Just because of the apparent weariness of one $5 fan part, the entire Thinkpad grinds to a screeching halt. Fortunately, I had been using a simple tool, described earlier here in Brigada, entitled, Syncback. See the freeware version at…

Or compare features with the “SE” version (which costs $30) at…

Fortunately, the program had my back covered. In contrast to certain other times in my life, when everything was at risk, SyncBack had been hard at work each night, preparing me for just such a possible disaster. My laptop is still in Atlanta in the repair facility tonight, but I’m working from all backed-up files, still delivering you this Brigada Today on time.

What if *your* fan collapsed tonight — or any other moving part in your laptop. Has something covered your back? If not, it’s only a matter of time. As we’ve said before, there are two kinds of computer users: Those who have already lost data at one time or another — and those who *will*. Please… stop leaving it to chance. Get a solution today… and back up your hard work.

In other news… It’s nearly Christmas. In honor of backups, we present tonight another retro throwback piece of Brigada, first featured in the Dec. 16th, 2001 edition, courtesy Brigada participant, “Mark.” (Thank you Mark, wherever you are tonight!) To see the artwork correctly, make sure you view using a fixed type, such as “Courier New.”















































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