I’m working on my speeches for the Goto conferences later this month, in Copenhagen and Århus, and I’m using Keynote, and it’s the first time in a long time that my work lives primarily just on this physical computer in front of me, and it’s making me nervous and unhappy.

News flash: along with the is-the-browser-done-for keynote, I’m going to do a tech talk on the privacy/crypto stuff I’ve been fooling with since leaving Google. But that means two different 45-minute talks.

Other things I work on:

  • My blog, which has two lives, on my laptop and at tbray.org; sync is ultra-low-tech via scp, but whatever.

  • Pictures, which I keep copies of on two computers via rsync.

  • Any code I’m working on, which gets checked into git often enough.

  • Documents and drafts and so on, which are almost always Google docs.

I think that about covers it. And as long as I’m here at home, Apple’s Time Machine is doing a pretty good job of protecting me from bitrot, theft, and so on.

But next week I’m going to get on a freaking plane and go a third of the way around the world, and I’m sure I’m going to still be working on these speeches, and their only meaningful existence is gonna be on this Mac’s SSD.

Yeah, I’ll remember to put ’em on a USB key every so often. But, damn, it’s just so obviously the wrong way to do things.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: Anthony Williams (Sep 19 2014, at 15:34)

Will you have internet access on your travels? If so, then there are numerous cloud backup services that seamlessly backup your files.

My favourite is SpiderOak (http://www.spideroak.com), which I use on all my computers. It backs everything up, including keeping a full history of files as they change. This has saved me several times when I've overwritten a file by mistake.

They operate a zero-knowledge system where the data is encrypted on your computer, and they don't know the key.

If you sign up with the referral link below you will get extra storage:



From: Robert (Sep 19 2014, at 16:48)

Couldn't you check the presentations into Git also? I'm assuming you have a private repo.

Or: Instead of a USB key, could you sync data from the laptop to the phone? I have GoodReader on my iDevices and could easily copy a file there if I needed to.


From: Paul Ramsey (Sep 19 2014, at 16:51)

Dropbox? Whenever I'm doing conference prep all the speaking notes and keynotes live on Dropbox. In case of computer destruction/theft, I know I can still get at them there. Doesn't help w/ being on the plane, but odds of total system destruction there seem low (unless the whole plane goes down, in which case you have larger things to worry about).


From: Gordon Haff (Sep 19 2014, at 19:26)

You might also consider something like Backblaze or Carbonite. I like the fact that it's both offsite backup and that's it's a completely different backup mechanism from what I use onsite. It feels like cheap insurance.

I also use Time Machine as well as doing semi-manual dumps to various places from time to time. (Plus whatever natural protection having copies of photos on places like flickr provides me.)

On the one hand, I have a lot of layers of protection. On the other hand, I still feel awfully vulnerable whenever I lose a disk or something else goes wrong.

But when traveling, yeah, I basically save any key working stuff to USB from time to time. That seems the best fallback for something bad happening at an inconvenient time.


From: Ray Baxter (Sep 20 2014, at 00:36)

Keynote syncs seamlessly to iCloud, but Dropbox would work just as well.


From: Gavin B. (Sep 20 2014, at 00:49)

Laptop fragility is one thing - network fragility is another.

At a recent W3C workshop in Rome the poor guy before me (from MS) had tested to perfection his online demo just before for our session.

Then the hall filled up and, guess what, the WiFi congested with all new users. I was glad my demo was entirely client side!


From: Cole Maclean (Sep 20 2014, at 04:33)

As others have mentioned, cloud backup is pretty easy these days. I'm a big Arq + S3 fan personally.


From: David Smith (Sep 20 2014, at 06:48)

How about an rsync.net account?

Still requires an Internet connection, of course, but if you're away from home/office everything will except for flaky things like external hds, thumb drives, cards, etc. Portable offline backup begs for a belt-and-suspenders approach, I'd suggest, with two or more of the above.


From: bil (Sep 20 2014, at 15:20)

Since network access is clearly the issue, and I'm assuming you're worried about backups, I recommend using a sync program to back up to a 128 Gig PNY StorEDGE 128GB Flash Memory Expansion Module (P-MEMEXP128U1-EF). That can stay in the mac. If you get two, you can keep one out of the mac, which is even better. Low profile, you don't have to remember to put the key in. ~$130 on giant online sellers.


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