Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Back-a-who? Back-a-wha?

I run my own e-mail, web, and IRC servers at my house on a cute little G4 Mac mini running OS X Server. I know there's GMail, and a zillion different places to host web pages, but I'm a stubborn holdout from the days when it was easier to get a permanent net connection than it was to get those services configured just the way you want them. For example, I run an IMAP server, which isn't so easy to find from a provider. All that's not what this story is about though.

Last Saturday, the hard drive died in my server. Of course, I didn't have a backup. Let me tell you, there's nothing like a failure to make you get religion about backups. Not only did I reconstruct the server, I also finally started setting up proper backups on all my machines, which I've almost finished with. I was lucky in that I didn't lose much data, but I'll never get that days and a half back.

I said I was doing "proper" backups, which isn't quite true. I'm doing image backups, not archival backups, and I'm not storing them offsite. Doing some quick back-of-the-envelope math, I have about 2.5TB of hard drive capacity scattered over several machines. That's a lot of data to back up, especially if you're going to do it right, with off-site archival backups. So, for now, I'll just bask in the somewhat incomplete sense of security I get from having something that's clearly better than nothing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Thousand Words, More or Less

There was a brush fire across the street from my house today. It was a small blaze, 20 acres, but that doesn't matter when you're the one standing on the sidewalk, wondering if you're about to have to pick up the cat and flee while the sum total of your worldly possessions undergoes a violent transformation to ash. That didn't happen, thanks to the efforts of 115 awesome firefighters. Here's the newspaper version, some video Becky shot, and some photos from me and Bruce. The pictures tell the story much better than I can describe it. It's hard to understand what it's like to be that close to a fire from just hearing about it. I would be just as happy, though, if I had never learned that first-hand. I hope I never learn what it's like for my house to actually burn.