bullet proof backups

I'm sure this has been posted before, but it's easy to ignore backups and the consequences are not worth the risks of not constantly having a good backup solution. Here are the steps I go through to create a good backup of my computer system. (It helps me sleep better at night:)

1. Setup a backup program that keeps an on-going timed backup of all of you files. For Macs Time Machine is a good option. However, there are plenty of good applications that do similar backups. I use Time Machine for my personal backup at my house. The files get written to a Network Attached Storage (NAS) that is constantly on. The nice thing about this setup is that my backups start every time I connect my computer to my home network. I don't have to think about plugging in a drive. I also get a notification if something starts to go wrong.

2. Create an offsite backup that is at another location than your normal backup. This for disaster recovery in case of fire, flood, theft etc... You may be able to use a second drive at work and create a second Time Machine backup. I use a program called Crashplan that backs up to their cloud service. There are other cloud backup services as well. I like Crashplan as it keeps a backup from the beginning of the backup, so if your backup is 4 years old you could go back 4 years and retrieve lost files. I have gone back nearly a year to get a file from backups. It can be a life/time saver.

3. Create a local bootable clone of the entire system. This is so you can quickly recreate your system in case something like a hard drive fails. I use a program called Carbon Copy Cloner to clone my system, but there are other cloning programs as well. I've set up a rule that clones my computer every time I connect a specific drive to my computer. The point of failure is that I have to remember to connect the drive.

4. Lastly review your backups. Log into each program occasionally and verify that it is actually backing up and is not generating any error. If any of the backups are having problems, fix the problems right away. I also go the extra step of occasionally grabbing a few files from my backup as a way to test the system. If you can boot to your clone and pull files from your backup, then you should be safe.

Best of 2015 from iMORE

As you all know, I have relied on iMore this year for their great insight and professional reporting on all things tech and Apple. If you are at all interested in these things as well (and you must be if you are here at the Envsion Design blog), I highly recommend giving their year end reviews a look. Just in case you missed something grand this year and want to spend some of the gift cards you received for the Holidays on something techie... And you you know you do ;-) 


Click  here  to jump to the iMore awards page

Click here to jump to the iMore awards page

Ps... As I am creating this post from my new iPad Pro, I might have to agree with their pick of the iPad Pro as the device of the year. 

New malware exploits fully patched Adobe Flash....Again.

A new malware targeting fully patched versions of Adobe's Flash Player has been found being exploited in the wild. The malware, being called part of the Pawn Storm campaign, was first discovered by security firm Trend Micro and has since been confirmed by Adobe. Users only need to visit a site hosting malicious flash content to be infected. Once infected the attackers can gain root access to the infected computer, which allows them unfettered access to the computer system. Adobe said that they are working on a patch, but that it wouldn't available until next week sometime. In the meantime, to protect yourself, you should either disable flash in the browser or use a flash blocking plugin in your browser. You can read more about this here, here and here.

Security issues still haunt all browsers.

All four major browsers were compromised at this year's Pwn20wn competition at the CanSecWest security conference. Critical bugs were also found in Windows and Adobe's Flash and Acrobat Reader programs. Here's how the bug count stacked up for the two days of the contest:
Windows: 5
Internet Explorer: 4
Google Chrome: 1
Apple Safari: 2
Mozilla Firefox: 3
Adobe Flash: 3
Adobe Acrobat Reader: 3
Even though Chrome only had one flaw that was found, that flaw, combined with a Windows exploit, led to full access of the system. You can read more about this here and here or click the video above.

Tip of the Day: Safari Favorites and Firefox Tabs

If you are a Safari user, you can easily flip through your favorites by holding the Command key and pressing 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.... at the same time. Doing this will load the favorite link 1, 2, 3, 4 etc... into the current browser window. This works from the left to the right, so the favorite link furthest to the left is considered position 1.

This same method works to switch tabs in Firefox. If you have multiple tabs opened, you can switch tabs by pressing Command and then the number of the tab you want to go to. Tab 1 is the one furthest to the left. I'm not sure what happens if you have more than 10 tabs opened at the same time.

To scroll through Safari tabs you must hold the Command + Shift + press ] or [ at the same time. The will select either the next tab to left or right.