Dropbox Family Plan

I’ve been a loyal Dropbox user since 2010 and have now incorporated it into our family’s workflow. I started using the free version mainly for myself, over the past years I upgraded to the Pro version and added my account to all devices in the family. Here is an overview of the workflow.

Dropbox Diagram

As you can see most of the devices are connected to 1 dropbox account, right now the Pro price is $9.99 USD per 1TB per month. Our family is using about 24% of the capacity, and we are only adding about 60GB per year.

The way we have set it up is mainly for images, this way either one of us can take a picture and it’s uploaded to Dropbox. I can use images from either phone to add to the blog or share in social media.

Notice that I also do a backup of the whole system to a local hard drive, just in case.

I am sure there are other ways to do this, but I am happy with our current set up. Except for the following and maybe they are deal breakers for you:

  1. You have to trust your family members, they will have the power to delete files, you can undo anything within 30 days, but still you have to trust them.
  2. To share in social media a picture my wife took on her phone, I have to download the image to my phone before I can use it. Dropbox is smart not to upload it again, but if you are trying to get a lot of images, it takes time. A video, a lot more.
  3. When I hit the 1TB mark the next level up is $15 / month with unlimited data.
  4. I don’t consider Dropbox a backup solution, mainly because it mirrors deletes. Right now I have a local backup, but there is room for improvement.

I have in the back of my mind some possible upgrades to this workflow:

  1. I know I need an offsite backup solution, I really like Amazon’s Glacier service and at some point I want to embrace it.
  2. Phones are essential part of our digital life, I do have the phone backed up to Apple’s servers every night, but I might have to give in and add iCloud Photo to have a second line of defense to my images and to easily navigate past images.
  3. I have to upgrade my home computer, the drive is only 500GB and I want that machine to have at least everything on Dropbox. Hopefully this year I will build an HTPC.

As always, let me know your thoughts, I especially want to know your family workflow.

Backing up in WordPress

So I have been doing this blog for now 2 years, wow time flies, and I have been doing regular backups, and all of them manually.  So I open up my host’s cpanel and downloaded the database backups, then I would go to the each site’s wp-admin and created an xml file.  Sometimes I would also do a backup of the child-themes I’m using.  I have gotten quite fast at it even, probably 15 minutes max, if the connection is fast.

A few days back I started to think, there has to be a better way.  I saw several options, but were paid.  I really didn’t want to pay another $5/month for something that I could do for 15min every week; then I saw an article on wpbegginer.com – How to Create a Complete WordPress Backup for Free with BackWPup So today, I gave it a go  I tried it with the smallest installation I had, 10 minutes later I had configured and ran the backup.  I moved to the other sites, and I had it.  So try out BackWPup.

I backup the database, the child-theme & the xml export, every week to my Dropbox; just like I did before, but now I don’t spend 15 minutes everyweek, plus it always happens.  I just get an email telling me that it went through.  I wasted 26 hours doing this for the past 2 years, in 15 minutes I’m set for the future.


A day without my computer

So I forgot my computer today at my home. What was I to do. My wife had driven me to work, so there was no way to get home. So I decided to do an experiment, see if my backup solution was adequate. I borrowed an old machine from IT, and logged on.

1) All work files are stored on a server, here in my office. So all current documents were readily available.
2) Email I have 2 account. One is on an exchange server, and current email is stored on the server. I do a weekly backup, and stored both locally, on an external disk, remotely. I didn’t have the local copy so I went and used the one on the external disk. My other account is on gmail, so I didn’t have to do anything, webmail rocks.
3) Some files that I only had on my laptop, had not yet been backed up, so I turned to my faithful MOZY backup. I went to the online service, logged in and did a web restore. I selected the files that I needed and in a few minutes I had them.
4) My local backup was even good to listen to some music during the day.

In the end, I realized that my laptop is not more than a thick client, only used for processing, but not storage. If I were to loose my laptop I would lose my configurations, but not my important files. Although I realized today, that I should include my desktop in the backup. I had to search the web for some files that I had downloaded recently. So tomorrow a few clicks and Mozy will go at it.

BTW, and so excited that I won a full year free with Mozy, they rock!