TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Book Review: "Take Control of Mac OS X Backups," "Take Control of Easy Backup in Leopard"

Volume Number: 24 (2008)
Issue Number: 08
Column Tag: Book Review

Book Review: "Take Control of Mac OS X Backups," "Take Control of Easy Backup in Leopard"

Two backup titles in the "Take Control of" series

by Edward Marczak

Introduction

The Take Control of series of electronic books has become a staple for many computer users-typically those just beginning a particular topic. Two titles from Joe Kissell, Take Control of Mac OS X Backups and Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard also fall into the beginner to mid-level category. That's not a slight at the subject matter: Joe knows his audience and leads them through the topics at hand skillfully.

Take Control of Mac OS X Backups is the heftier, deeper work, suitable for single users with a fair amount of data to back up through people running a home or small-office LAN needing to backup multiple data sources. Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard, as the title implies, is aimed more at the home user with one or two machines to independently back up and primarily focuses on deciding if Time Machine is the right tool for the job.

Both titles are released in print and as e-books, delivered as a PDF that you download. The e-books have the advantage of being Able to be updated as the author updates the material. It also makes it easy to search and carry with you.

Take Control of Mac OS X Backups

The first book in this review is the 178-page Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, version 2.1 (yes, as an e-book, it gets a version, and you're entitled to updates). It's the older and denser of the two titles, and consists of 7 core chapters with 5 appendices and a glossary. To quote the author in the early Readme chapter, "I've written this book primarily for people who need to back up either a single computer or a small network—not for system administrators who need to back up dozens or hundreds of machines." That said, the first core chapter, "Decide on a Basic Backup Strategy" gives excellent advice to anyone getting into the details of backup. This chapter immediately dispels the myth that there's any silver bullet for backup that takes planning and vigilance away from the administrator.

The first core chapter also quickly makes the reader aware of the various processes-and the differences between them-that are referred to as "back up:" duplicating, archiving and synchronizing. From there, readers are put through the paces of identifying special situations: the photographer, the video or audio artist, etc. Each has special and different backup needs compared to someone that performs research and creates documents using a Word processor. Overall, readers are asked to think about their backup scenario and understand that it is unique. This chapter also contains sections on backing up while traveling and handling Windows files and partitions (for those of you Boot Camp users).

The next chapter, "Choose Your Hardware," leads you through deciding on which medium-or mediums-you will use as your backup targets. As this version of the book was produced in mid-to-late 2007, I was surprised to see any mention of Iomega in the text at all (do our younger readers even know who Iomega is?). The remainder of the chapter is perfectly reasonable, helping users through the myriad of choices in this arena. These choices include flash drives, through hard drives up to remote storage options.

Hardware is useless without the software that will copy the data to those targets. The "Choose Your Software" chapter is another 'thinking' chapter in that it really makes you think about what's important in a backup application for your situation. There are specific programs mentioned, but the emphasis is really on features to look for in backup software. The options listed range from do-it-yourself UNIX command line options, to old-guard standards like Retrospect up to newcomers like Crashplan. Software choices are paired with specific hardware options as described.

The final chapter before the appendices helps the reader put it all together. Configuring parts of the OS, configuring the backup targets and readying the software. One point I disagree with in this chapter is the advice to avoid File Vault. I've personally been using File Vault to protect my home directory for a long time and have never had an issue. Not to say that Mr. Kissell's note that corruption can rend a File Vault archive unusable; that is true. More to the point, this is the perfect combination: when using File Vault, you need to have a backup plan! Perfect combination. Full disk encryption products hadn't been announced at all at the time of version 2.1's writing, however, there are now three products (one shipping and two on the way) that will fully encrypt a boot drive on an Intel Mac, obviating the need for File Vault altogether. This will ultimately be the best bet, but for now, File Vault is a good option, but one should absolutely have a backup plan when using it. On a high point, the chapter does talk about media management and restoring just as much as backing up in the first place.

There's even more to the book, but I'll leave that for you to find. The books is well worth the $15 purchase price, and Joe Kissell himself tells me that he's hard at work on updates that include up to date status on backing up in Leopard. Purchasing the e-book now allows you to update to new versions as they're released. Also, currently, purchasing this title also gives you Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard. Find out more at the web site for the book: http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/backup-macosx.html.

Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard

In appropriate contrast to Take Control of Mac OS X Backups, which addresses multiple machines and small network backups, Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard is as simple the title would lead you to believe. This is the book you give to a switcher or someone entirely new to computers. It's intended for a home user who deals primarily with one machine and wants or needs a backup in place quickly and easily. Its roughly 78 pages are direct and useful. This review covers version 1.0 of the e-book title and I'm told Joe is hard at work on updates to this title, which owners will be entitled to download when available.

While similar in structure to Take Control of Backups in OS X, all of the options presented are simplified. For example, the book only deals with external hard disks as targets for backups. No tape, no LAN-based backup, and so on. This is entirely appropriate, of course.

Most importantly, like the other title in this group, Take Control of Easy Backups in Leopard makes the reader think about their set up. The "easy" tag in the title is not a substitute for 'sloppy' or 'corner-cutting.' Concepts like off-site backups and the importance of rotating backup media are discussed here, too.

From this point, the reader is guided through preparation of backup targets and a backup scheme. The bulk of the book then focuses on Time Machine as a backup program. Again, this is completely appropriate given the audience the title is targeted at ("easy," remember?). Other utilities are lightly touched on, followed by a chapter on restoring your backups for "When Disaster Strikes" (the title of the chapter on restoring).

This book alone comes in at $10—just right for the audience it serves. Find out more at the page for the e-book at http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/leopard-easy-backup.html.

Conclusion

Both titles are a good value: the information is always practical, and the e-books are updated as new information comes to light (read: as Apple fixes bugs and updates their software and functionality changes). After having read either of these titles, a trepidatious new user will feel more comfortable, in control and knowledgeable. Although intended for beginners in the respective 'small' categories - small business network or home user with a single computer - I've met IT staff in larger organizations that could learn a thing or two about backup from Take Control of Backups in OS X. Most importantly, these titles make you think about backup in your specific situation. The Take Control web site offers sample chapters, so, if you're still not convinced, go download a sample and check it out for yourself.


Ed Marczak is the Executive Editor for MacTech Magazine, and has been lucky enough to have ridden the computing and technology wave from early on. From teletype computing to MVS to Netware to modern OS X, his interest was piqued. He has also been fortunate enough to come into contact with some of the best minds in the business. Ed spends his non-compute time with his wife and two daughters.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Together 3.7 - Store and organize all of...
Together helps you organize your Mac, giving you the ability to store, edit and preview your files in a single clean, uncluttered interface. Features Smart storage. With simple drag-and-drop... Read more
EtreCheck 3.1.4 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Postbox 5.0.9 - Powerful and flexible em...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.5.16 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.827 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
VueScan 9.5.61 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Postbox 5.0.9 - Powerful and flexible em...
Postbox is a new email application that helps you organize your work life and get stuff done. It has all the elegance and simplicity of Apple Mail, but with more power and flexibility to manage even... Read more
VueScan 9.5.61 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
DiskCatalogMaker 6.5.16 - Catalog your d...
DiskCatalogMaker is a simple disk management tool which catalogs disks. Simple, light-weight, and fast. Finder-like intuitive look and feel. Super-fast search algorithm. Can compress catalog data... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.827 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Great zombie games in the spirit of Dead...
Dead Rising 4 arrives tomorrow, giving enthusiasts a fresh chance to take selfies with zombies and get up to other ridiculous end-of-the-world shenanigans. To really get into the spirit of things, we've gone and gathered the best zombie games that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Advanced tips a...
Amateur Surgeon 4 is still tackling the competition at the top of the App Store charts, so if you haven't tried it out yet, you should probably do that right away. If you've been at it for a while, though, perhaps you're ready to start expanding... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon 4 Guide: Become the worl...
It's time to wield your trusty pizza cutter again, as Amateur Surgeon has returned with a whole fresh set of challenges (and some old, familiar ones, too). Starting anew isn't easy, especially when all you have at your disposal is a lighter, the... | Read more »
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire (Ga...
Le Parker: Sous Chef Extraordinaire 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Telltale Games really is working on a Gu...
Telltale Games' next episodic adventure is indeed Guardians of the Galaxy. A document tied to the voice actors strike suggested that the project was in the work, but now we have direct confirmation following an announcement at the Game Awards that... | Read more »
Amateur Surgeon returns to iOS and Andro...
Amateur Surgeon and its two sequels disappeared from the App Store some time and it was sad days for all. But now, just in time for the holidays, the Adult Swim favorite makes its joyous return in the shape of Amateur Surgeon 4, a remake with... | Read more »
The best board games on mobile
Sometimes you need to ditch all of the high speed, high action games in favor of something a little more traditional. If you don't feel like parting ways from your mobile device, though, there are still plenty of ways to get that old-school fix.... | Read more »
The best Facebook Messenger Instant Game...
Facebook's new Instant Games is now here, meaning you can play games with your friends directly via Facebook. It's a fun new way to connect with friends, of course, but it's also proving to be a solid gaming experience in its own right, with a... | Read more »
You can now play game's on Facebook...
Facebook launched its new Instant Games platform in an exciting new attempt to engage its user base. As a result, you can now play a number of different games directly through Facebook Messenger. All of these games run with HTML5, meaning you play... | Read more »
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney (Games)
Apollo Justice Ace Attorney 1.00.00 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.00.00 (iTunes) Description: Court Is Back In Session Star as rookie defense attorney, Apollo Justice, as he visits crime scenes,... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Monday roundup of Holiday Mac sales: Up to $3...
Take up to $300 off MSRP on the price of a new Apple Mac at B&H Photo today as part of their Holiday sale. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Touch Bar MacBook Pros are in... Read more
12-inch WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for up t...
B&H Photo has 12″ WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for up to $50 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $749 $50 off MSRP... Read more
9-inch Apple WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $20-$...
B&H Photo has 9.7″ Apple WiFi iPad Pros on sale for $20-$50 off MSRP, each including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 9″ Space Gray 256GB WiFi iPad Pro: $779.95 $20 off MSRP... Read more
Holiday sale: Apple MacBook Airs available fo...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $899 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/... Read more
13-inch Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro in stock...
Amazon has the new 2016 13″ 2.9GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLVP2LL/A) in stock today and on sale for $1749 including free shipping. That’s $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price... Read more
Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac Offers 25 Singl...
Parallels has launched Parallels Toolbox 1.3 for Mac, an upgrade that adds five new utilities to the stand-alone application which was released in August and is available exclusively online at http... Read more
OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini Ultra-Portabl...
OWC has introduced the new OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini, a powerful yet ultra-portable dual-drive RAID solution. The new Mercury Elite Pro Dual mini packs phenomenal performance into a small... Read more
Clearance 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros availab...
B&H Photo has clearance 2015 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros available for up to $200 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $... Read more
Roundup of 2016 13-inch 2.0GHz MacBook Pro sa...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for $50-$100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MLL42LL/A): $1449 $... Read more
New 13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in...
Adorama has the new 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar, MLL42LL/A) in stock for $1499 including a free 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax... Read more

Jobs Board

Lead *Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple (...
# Lead Apple Solutions Consultant Job Number: 53586123 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States Posted: Nov. 28, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Lead ASC Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Plano,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Kansas...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Chicago...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Hardware Design Validation Engineer - *Apple...
The Apple Watch team is looking for a Hardware Design Validation Engineer. This person will be part of the Apple Watch hardware team with responsibilities for Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.