Backup Your Data

How Important is your Data?

Backup Tape Drive

Backup Tape Drive

If you are reading this blog post, you have some form of data. Your data comes in various forms: photos and videos of your family and friends, assignments for school or work, saved printouts in pdf format of important transactions, scans of receipts of purchases.   That last one is really important now that almost all retailers use cheap paper and printers that cause your receipts to fade to blank within weeks.

Simple Solutions

A simple option that will work for many people is to put your files on Dropbox, Google Plus or some similar cloud based solution. The advantage here is that the setup is simple.  Of course, do not rely on only this option.  If the company disappears or accidentally loses your data, you will find yourself out of luck. These services will also keep around files that you deleted (and older versions) for a certain amount of time or number of transactions.

The other issue with these options is that your private data is visible to that company and anyone or government that wants access to that data.

There are ways to encrypt your data before it is backed up so that you effectively are backing up “noise” to the cloud. That will be another post for another day. If you want a good reference about how to secure your Dropbox account, please check out this and other excellent blog posts at How-To-Geek.

My Current Setup (Working Files)

I use Dropbox and Google Drive for various files but mostly for data I want to share easily with others.

For my personal data that I need to have access to on multiple computers (and mobile devices) I have two setups for two types of data:

  • the often changed data and small files
  • large files and projects that do not change so often

The first set is stored on my own git repository on one of my personal Linux servers.  Git allows me to track/store all changes to the files so I can roll back to older versions if necessary. Git also makes synchronizing changes to my files across various computers easy which is important since I use four separate computers for my work on a daily basis.

Git really is not a good option for large files so I have them in another setup that I simply mirror/synchronize across my systems using rsync over ssh between the machines.

My Current Setup (System Backup)

I have protection with redundant copies between my working machines but I also keep two sets of backups of my main workstation/server. Over the years I have tried various systems but recently I settled on rsnapshot.

This system is very simple to configure, it does imaging backups of my system with the following schedule:

  • every 4 hours giving six rolling versions over the previous 24 hours
  • every day giving me access to the previous 7 days of file version
  • weekly which I have setup to maintain the previous 4 weekly versions
  • monthly and keeping the previous 12 months
  • yearly and planned to keep 10 versions of yearly snapshots.

Since this is imaging backups,  the total space used is only the size of one copy of each file and any saved previous versions of those files that have changed.

And of course to avoid disaster of a single site with those backups on the same machine’s I also have a second configuration to a backup drive set (RAID 1 redundant which is the same setup as my main storage) that I run weekly.

Plus I have another backup I run every semester or so and store in another location. Yeah, I’m paranoid.

Image Credit

Click the image by Robert Jacek Tomczak for full credit.

Your Turn

Are you backing your data up? Was this helpful? Let me know.


Oh yeah, I should be Blogging more

Reflections in November



So for various reasons I decided to move back to hosting instead of my self-hosted WordPress installation.

The export/import migration chewed up many of my images which forced me to review each post for broken images and patch them up.

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Remembering Kristen Nygaard

Remembering Pioneers

I find myself in Vancouver at SIGGRAPH 2014. This was the same location of my first conference back at OOPSLA 1992. I was still an undergraduate student in Computer Science at the University of Victoria, Bjorn Freeman-Benson was my professor of a topic course in Object-Oriented Programming and had invited us to be volunteers at some conference in Vancouver.  Little did I know that this would lead to me volunteering with OOPSLA, SIGPLAN and the ACM from 1994 through 2007 as a member of the conference organizing committee.

Strange how one small event leads to so much in life. I could write volumes about how OOPSLA has impacted mine.

Simula 67

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Big Five Workout

Summer is a Time for Shift

Time for a workout but first some reflection on summer.

I very rarely teach very the summer. The main reason is that I really like to use this time to reflect and plan for the next academic year. I have a bunch of posts in the queue on teaching which I need to get out soon. My shift to coaching other teachers in Flipped Learning and technology in education over the last six months really restricted the time I wanted to use for posting

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F is for Flexible Environment

Pillars of Flipped Learning

Flipped Learning Network LogoThe Flipped Learning Network (FLN) announced a formal definition of the term “Flipped Learning” back in March, you should go read that definition on their site here.

You may choose to agree with parts and have disagreements with other parts of the definition but I think it is important that the FLN set out this definition to give us talking points and a concrete document to point people to

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First Steps with Flipped Professional Development

Flipped Professional Development

This week I started a course on Flipped Learning for about 70 teachers in the RZO (Rectoria Zona Occidente) as part of their professional development program. This course is given online in a format that is an experiment for myself and the teachers in the course.

I’ve never done a course like this and this is the first time that I am teaching to people that I can’t reach out and physically touch in the classroom. There are in fact two colleagues from Campus Guadalajara in the course so I have some direct feedback which I think will help me.

My Fears

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Why I Teach April 2014 Edition

What it means to Teach

What it means to Teach and LearnThis morning I received a message from a student which made my day.

Happy birthday Ken! And thanks for what you do every day for students and education. I follow you on Twitter (I am a quiet twitter) and I admire the passion with which you promote this new style of education. You are certainly one of the best teachers I had in my school days. Regards!

This is why I teach. I have the ability to impact the way students learn and prepare for life-long learning. In fact lately I’ve been trying to have a larger impact by sharing my experiences and ideas with other teachers.

Of course, I learn from my students and colleagues at least as much as they learn from me.

Photo Credit

Original photo courtesy of theashutosh@flickr



Some words on learning

Formative assess
Teaching through discovery
Passion for learning

- Ken Bauer

Haiku Road - Learning


Flipped Mastery Classes

I’m finishing up my 4th semester of applying a flipped classroom and with some encouragement from my peers I decided to “take it to the next level” this semester. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams call this the Flipped Mastery Method.

This semester my classes have a list of topics that each student needs to demonstrate their mastery in. The format for showing their mastery is completely open and graded on an OSU (Outstanding, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory) scale.

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Focus on the Goal

focus courtesy

Click image for original source.

Trying to Focus

We are getting into the heart of our semester here at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Guadalajara and the students are writing their “first partial” exams this week and next. I mentioned on Facebook that my writing dropped off while trying to kick off two of my main projects for this year.

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