Posts Tagged ‘backup’

Is it time to drop Dropbox?

May 2, 2014

ImageCondoleezza Rice’s appointment to the board of directors at Dropbox has sparked debate and fury amongst many of its users, with the most enraged pushing for a total boycott (http://www.drop-dropbox.com/).

The former US secretary of state is infamous for publicly backing the NSA’s snooping activities, which understandably does not sit well with users looking for a safe place to store their data.

From a business perspective, sure, she’s a solid candidate for the job. She’s a highly-regarded intellectual with reams of experience in the tech industry, and her long list of influential contacts will probably open a lot of doors for the company. But users don’t care about any of that.

As users, we want secure cloud storage, with a provider that we feel comfortable with – which is exactly what Dropbox has always professed to be. In response to the angry backlash they have faced over the last few weeks, CEO Drew Houston commented:

“There’s nothing more important to us than keeping your stuff safe and secure. It’s why we’ve been fighting for transparency and government surveillance reform, and why we’ve been vocal and public with our principles and values.

We should have been clearer that none of this is going to change with Dr. Rice’s appointment to our Board. Our commitment to your rights and your privacy is at the heart of every decision we make, and this will continue.”

They’ve stuck to their guns, but whether or not this statement will be enough to appease or reassure Dropbox users is yet to be seen. Unfortunately, with services like Dropbox, we only tend to find out about any snooping once a data leak makes it into the press and the damage is already done.

There aren’t many ways around it, either. Aside from paying for expensive, private cloud storage that ensures encryption of data, you don’t have much choice but to leave security in the hands of your cloud storage provider. We can’t stress how important it is to read the privacy policy for services like Dropbox to know exactly where you stand in terms of data protection. Any service provider that handles your data should be totally transparent about how it is stored and who has access to it. Our privacy policy is readily available on the BuddyBackup website, and includes details on the methods of encryption we use when transferring your data from one buddy to another as well as what access we have to it (none).

A final piece of advice would be to store any sensitive information locally rather than in the cloud, and use a service like BuddyBackup to securely back it up to a trusted friend, relative or a second PC. That way you know exactly where your data is, and who has access to it, at all times.

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

Your New Year’s resolution cheat-sheet

January 7, 2014

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New year, new you, right? It’s that time of year again where we all swear blindly that we’re going to drink less alcohol, lose 2 stone, and go to the gym AT LEAST 3 times a week. But how long does anyone actually keep these promises to themselves? Not long, apparently. It’s the 6th of January, and already the appeal of the leftover Christmas chocolates is starting to grow.

Getting fit, losing weight and being more organised all topped the list of most common New Year’s resolutions for 2014. But a study by British psychologist Richard Wiseman suggests that about 88% of us will break our resolutions at some point before the year is out. Research says that we’re trying to do too much, and our poor over-worked brains can’t cope. By overloading our pre-frontal cortex with so many rules and restrictions, we’re actually lowering our ability to self-regulate. Hence, the inflated allure of that tin of Quality Street.

So maybe we need to break things down a bit, and just keep it simple.

Get fit

For most people, going to the gym every day is unrealistic. We have work, uni, a social life, and honestly, sometimes we just can’t be bothered. And that’s OK – we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about being human. Instead of feeling guilty about not working out every day, aim to put aside about 2 hours a week for exercise. No one is too busy to find 2 hours. It doesn’t matter how you spend it – whether you fit in a 20 minute jog every day, join a class at the gym or even do a fitness DVD in your living room a couple of times a week – you’ll feel better for it.

Lose weight

As the saying goes, you get fit in the gym but you lose weight in the kitchen (or something like that). Small changes make a huge difference when it comes to food and it’s important not to deprive yourself. Starving yourself will just lead to sugar cravings and when you inevitably cave in; your body will immediately store all that sugar as fat. Swapping your daily sandwich from white bread to wholewheat, frozen yoghurt instead of ice-cream, nuts instead of crisps – all of these things will slowly start to make a difference without feeling like you’re missing out, and without any food guilt.

Be more organised

Getting organised is easier said than done, and it usually starts off well. You write lists and you swear to meet every deadline with time to spare, until the novelty wears off and you slip back into your old ways. It’s impossible to keep on top of everything, but if there’s one thing every unorganised person should do this year, it’s take control of their digital life.

There’s nothing worse than your laptop crashing and you losing everything – photos, films, that report you’ve spent a week writing. Installing a free, peer-to-peer, online backup program like BuddyBackup allows you to securely back up files to your “buddies” (anyone from friends and family, to your second PC). That way, the things that are most important to you – last semester’s projects or your financial records from 2013 – will be protected in the year ahead.

 

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

The Oculus Rift: virtual reality just got real

December 10, 2013

Oculus Rift

Virtual reality (VR) is on the brink of something pretty huge. The Oculus Rift is being dubbed the ultimate 3D gaming experience. The headset, created by virtual reality enthusiast Palmer Luckey, was designed specifically for the gaming community, but its impressive feature-set is proving far more versatile than that.

Its killer features include immersive stereoscopic 3D rendering, a massive field of view (allowing you to see up to 100 degrees around you as opposed to the 40 degrees most headsets currently offer), and ultra-low latency to allow for near-instant head tracking. You can imagine how this creates a pretty surreal experience, really putting the gamer “inside” of the game. But the benefits aren’t limited to gaming, and demand is growing in a whole host of other areas.

Take Computer Aided Design (CAD), for example. Just as with a game, the Rift allows designers to actually get inside of their designs, taking testing and development to a whole new level. Being immersed like this gives invaluable insight and the ability to fine tune at the design stage rather than building expensive prototypes.

In terms of price, the Rift is pretty reasonable when compared to existing headsets; meaning just about everyone can afford to get in on the action. The teaching profession are getting excited at the possibilities of integrating virtual reality into their lessons plans. Rather than reading about The Battle of Hastings, students can go back in time to experience it first-hand. Teachers are optimistic that by introducing technology more heavily into education, they can reignite students’ imaginations.

You can also to record your sessions and download the data to your PC, for future reference or further analysis. When we first started taking digital photos and downloading music, we had a sudden need for more storage. Now, with cloud computing, the storage possibilities are endless. As we become more dependent on all of this digital information, it’s important to remember to back it up. This is where BuddyBackup comes in.

You could back up using a third party service provider, or you could back it up for free to the people you trust the most. You don’t want to store your data with just anyone, and with BuddyBackup you don’t have to. Your “buddies” can be your closest friends, family, or even your work computer. As long as both PCs have the free software installed, your backups are stored securely. They’re fully encrypted too, so there’s no risk of anyone snooping about in your files.

Watch some of the funniest reactions to the Oculus Rift here.

 

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

Is your digital footprint stomping on your chance of career progression?

November 4, 2013

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You hear a lot these days about the dangers of hackers, cloners and spyware, and the risks they pose to your identity. But how much thought do you give to the information you voluntarily share online? Your digital footprint could pose more of a threat than you think.

We’re constantly being encouraged to be digital, to share our opinions on discussion boards, to post our photos on social media sites – but this freedom of speech can be very damaging to your personal and professional reputation. The state of California has recently introduced a law allowing teenagers to delete certain elements of their digital footprints, in the hopes of giving them a better chance of employment. But, with over a third of employers checking candidates’ social media sites during the interview process, surely it would just be better to prevent the need for damage control in the first place?

Keep track of your footprint

Search for yourself regularly online and browse the results. A lot of sites aren’t exactly forthcoming about their privacy policies – you’ll usually need to change your settings from the defaults in order to ensure your information is not searchable by anyone else. Keep on top of policy updates too, because more often than not you’ll have to opt out of new policies in order to protect your privacy.

Go through search results and remove yourself from directories and mailing lists that you may have inadvertently signed up to, as they could be storing personal information that is publicly accessible.

Use it to your advantage

Of course, the internet can be used to your advantage. You can create a positive online name for yourself that can enhance your chances of progression. Showcase your creativity by posting engaging content or interesting blog posts, so when employers search for you online, what they find are the musings of a knowledgeable and passionate employee.

Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are the perfect place to do some professional networking. You can connect with colleagues and industry peers, contribute to online discussions, and create a strong profile that will stand out from the crowd. It’s a good idea to create separate accounts for personal and business use, so the pictures from your wild night out are kept hidden.

Don’t forget about it

Privacy policies are continually changing, and new ways of sharing information online are being developed all the time. Every time you sign up for a new site, or agree to be added to a mailing list, you are adding to your digital footprint. Every few months revisit your settings, and delete anything that you wouldn’t want your employer to see.

We are completely open with our privacy policy (if you want, you can have a read of it here!), and we will always notify our users of any changes that will affect them. Protecting the privacy of your data is a big factor, especially when using a cloud-based backup service, and so we try our best to prove security is our priority.

Ultimately, digital footprints are unavoidable; most people these days have one before they’re even born. But they’re not going anywhere, and they’re not something to be feared if you keep on top of them. Capitalise on yours and turn into your own unique selling point – it could become a unique tool for career progression.

 

Author: Cassie Holmes, Buddy Backup

4G: What will it allow us to do?

October 14, 2013

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It’s hard to believe that we’ve now had 3G mobile internet in the UK for a decade. While coverage has massively improved since those early days it has still never quite lived up to its initial promise, and even now speeds are very often disappointing with 3G connections rarely exceeding 2-3Mb even in areas with strong signal. 

In 2013 that’s pretty disappointing, so it’s good news that 4G has finally arrived. The next gen mobile data standard offers a significantly better performance, with real world speeds capable of more than 20Mb (and yes, we’ve actually seen this).

Having a mobile connection that’s faster than many of us get from a fixed line service opens up some interesting possibilities. Here’s just a few of things 4G could enable us to do…

Drop the home broadband

Since 4G offers such a fast connection it opens up the possibility of moving away from a traditional fixed line broadband service.

This could have several advantages. Being portable, you could take your broadband with you wherever you go, not only use it at home. It also means you would no longer need to pay for a landline, something that many of us only keep because it’s required for broadband.

And in some areas 4G may even be faster than the services offered by BT’s links.

The two caveats are coverage (which is limited right now, but 4G should be available to 98% of the population by 2017 according to network targets) and the cost. Presently 4G remains quite expensive (£12.99 only gets you a 1GB data limit according to our comparison table), though this should fall as more competitors enter the market.

Work anywhere

The portability of high speed 4G is a major boon to many types of users. For businesses and students it means you can carry on working wherever you go (signal allowing), and anyone who likes to use their mobile internet link for entertainment purposes will find 4G is much better suited to gaming and streaming media.

Stay connected to the cloud

Online backup and file storage services, and cloud apps like Google Docs, rely upon a reliable connection to function. This is fine when you’re at home but it has been problematic over mobile broadband.

4G should improve matters. Obviously, it’s much faster so if you do want to backup or download files from cloud storage on the go you won’t be crawling along with the few megabits that 3G typically provides. That’s especially useful if you’re on a train when the connection can quickly drop off as you move between cell sites.

It’s also important to note that as part of the 4G frequency auction network providers had to agree to meet a minimum level of coverage. In some cases they are committed to supplying an indoor 4G signal to 98% of the UK’s population by 2017. So while 4G may only be available in a few locations right now we should see a huge improvement over the coming years, and eventually you may be able to rely far more upon your mobile broadband when it comes cloud storage.

Better rural broadband

Many people living in rural areas still do not have access to fast, affordable broadband. While there are plans in place to expand the coverage of fibre optic and ADSL services progress has been slow and there are still places in the UK which may be waiting a long time.

4G may be the answer. As the reach of the networks expands outside of major locations it could become available to those of you in the countryside, and will offer a far faster connection than existing ADSL or dial-up options!

 

Author Bio: Matt Powell is the editor for the broadband comparison site Broadband Genie, where you can find the latest broadband deals and information.

“Travel is only glamourous in retrospect.”

July 3, 2013

Top tips for making the most of your gap year travels

Be it because you didn’t get the grades you were hoping for, you’re struggling to get into the job market or you just want to explore the world before settling into a career; gap years can be a fantastic way to experience the world and its many cultures. If done in the right way, they can also enhance your skill set, making you more appealing to potential employers.

Follow our five top tips below to get the most out of your gap year travels.

Preparation is key

If the idea of planning each part of your trip yourself is understandably too daunting a task, there are many travel providers out there who specialise in gap year packages. They can be tailored to your needs, taking into account your budget and your preferred locations.

These organised trips can be a fantastic way to meet like-minded people, and you may even make friends who are travelling similar routes to you, with whom you can buddy-up.

Get advice

Don’t underestimate the value of experience. Talk to friends, relatives, colleagues who have already had experience travelling and get their opinions and advice. Listen to first-hand accounts and take as much from them as you can.

Like Paul Theroux said, “travel is only glamourous in retrospect”, and so hearing what people loved about their experience and what they wish they could’ve changed could be invaluable when planning your own trip.

Pack light

It is said that when preparing for a long stint of travelling you should pack everything you think you’ll need – and then halve it. The last thing you want when wandering round the streets of Bangkok, or climbing a mountain in Cambodia, is to be carrying a backpack that weighs as much as you do.

As you travel from A to B, you will gain various items and souvenirs and so it’s always a good idea to start off as light as possible.

Protect yourself and your belongings

Shop around for the best deals on health, travel and property insurance. There are many specialist providers out there who offer discounted rates for these trips. Whilst it may seem like an unnecessary cost now, you will be thankful for it if you fall ill, or your flight gets cancelled.

A way of backing up your pictures as you travel that doesn’t break the bank is by using a peer-to-peer backup service. Sites such as BuddyBackup.com offer a completely free way to save your files to a computer back at home; all you need is an internet connection at your hostel, or in an internet café, for example. You log in to the site and transfer the files instantly. No more worrying about losing the pictures of your holiday of a lifetime!

Be open-minded

Finally, I can’t stress enough the need to be open-minded as you travel. Plans are important, but enjoying yourself and embracing the cultures you will experience are equally so. Read up on local customs and cuisines and really get stuck in.

Be flexible. Things will go wrong, plans will change. Just embrace all that comes your way and truly make the most out of your experience.

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain