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

Apple GarageBand 10.1 - Complete recordi...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.7 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
OS X Server 4.1.3 - For OS X 10.10 Yosem...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
pwSafe 4.1 - Secure password management...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
Kodi 15.0.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Coda 2.5.11 - One-window Web development...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few surprises... Read more
Bookends 12.5.7 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Access the power of Bookends directly from Mellel, Nisus Writer Pro, or MS Word (... Read more
Maya 2016 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.2.3 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
MacFamilyTree 7.5.2 - Create and explore...
MacFamilyTree gives genealogy a facelift: it's modern, interactive, incredibly fast, and easy to use. We're convinced that generations of chroniclers would have loved to trade in their genealogy... Read more

Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back... | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! *** “Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some... | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
TapMon Battle (Games)
TapMon Battle 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's time to battle!Tap! Tap! Tap! Try tap a egg to hatch a Tapmon!Do a battle with another tapmons using your hatched tapmons! *... | Read more »
Alchemic Dungeons (Games)
Alchemic Dungeons 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ### Release Event! ### 2.99$->0.99$ for limited time! ### Roguelike Role Playing Game! ### Alchemic Dungeons is roguelike... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Best Buy has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Apple Refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
Seagate Backup Plus Drives Feature 200GB of C...
Seagate Technology plc has announced that its Backup Plus family of external storage offerings will now include 200GB of OneDrive cloud storage, a major added value, and the addition of Lyve’s photo... Read more
Canon PIXMA MG3620 Wireless Inkjet All-in-One...
Canon U.S.A., Inc. has announced the PIXMA MG3620 Wireless (1) Inkjet All-in-One (AIO) printer for high-quality photo and document printing. Built with convenience in mind for the everyday home user... Read more
July 4th Holiday Weekend 13-inch MacBook Pro...
Save up to $150 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ Retina MacBook Pro at the following resellers this weekend. Shipping is free with each model: 2.7GHz/128GB MSRP $1299 2.7GHz/... Read more
27-inch 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149, sav...
Best Buy has the 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac on sale for $2149.99. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders only, in-store prices may vary. Their price is $... Read more
Apple now offering refurbished 2015 11-inch...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished 2015 11″ MacBook Airs as well as 13″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $180 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-... Read more
15-inch 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for...
Amazon.com has the 15″ 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $2274 including free shipping. Their price is $225 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
Finally Safe To Upgrade To Yosemite’?
The reason I’ve held back from upgrading my MacBook Air from OS X 10.9 Mavericks to 10.10 Yosemite for nearly a year isn’t just procrastination. Among other bugs reported, there have been persistent... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Music Producer - Apple (United State...
**Job Summary** Apple Music seeks a Producer to help shepherd some of the most important content and editorial initiatives within the music app, with a particular focus Read more
Editor, *Apple* News - Apple (United States...
**Job Summary** Editor, Apple News The Apple News team is looking for passionate, knowledgeable editors to help identify and deliver the best in breaking national, Read more
*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
Engineering Project Manager - *Apple* Searc...
**Job Summary** Apple 's new Spotlight Suggestions service provides fast, relevant search results from the Inte et in Spotlight and Safari on iOS and OS X. We are looking Read more
Business Development Manager - *Apple* Pay...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is seeking an experienced relationship manager to support the ongoing management of partners for the Apple Pay platform. This position will Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.