Current state of my backups

It’s good to have backups. It’s even better to document the backup and recovery procedure, and to test the backups regularly. Here’s where I am in terms of backups and what I’m working on next.

Current state - backups

2013-10-31 What do I want or need to store on my backup drives


The biggest weaknesses I need to work on are:

  • Testing my image backups without risking my main computer – maybe a different drive.
  • Setting up offsite backups, probably handled by swapping encrypted drives and keeping one stored at HackLab
  • Cloning my backup VM into a development VM with proper version control and committing, so I can easily copy changes over

I’ve grabbed files from my backup a few times, and I’m so glad I had them. I wish I’d been better at keeping financial statements and things like that from earlier. I have Ledger records but no electronic statements from 2009. I’ve gotten much better at saving statements every month, so now they’re part of my regular archives. Working on it!

  • Sebastian

    Sacha, are your backups being done automatically? I read somewhere that not only does one backup equal none backup (as you pointed out), but also a true backup should be automated. In that regard, have you looked at duplicati (, a free, open source (LGPL licenced) backup tool that can work with lots of cloud backup services and protocols and stores the backup in AES-256 encrypted archives?

    • … so automatic that I’ve forgotten to list it here. =) Yes, I’m now experimenting with Duplicati as a way of backing up some of my files over SCP.

  • Copy to survive :) Why not to just use old-plain rsync with cron-jobs?

    • Incremental backups that keep old copies of changed files are good for my working documents. Dropbox keeps backups as well. =)

      • Sure. I do incremental backups of my notes and wikis, but not movies ;) Does Dropbox have internal functionality of keeping backups?

  • Karl

    Hi Sasha!

    How do you backup your data that resides in the cloud? Most people do think that their cloud data will stay there forever. Many facts prove that point being wrong.

    A tipp: I backup cloud data mostly with Memacs: which gets data from a set of data sources (cloud, phone, …) and integrates it into Org-mode. Maybe you are interested in trying it for a couple of Memacs modules …

    • I don’t care as much about my Twitter archive or other social media updates, so I’m fine with letting them disappear if something happens. I back up my Flickr images with photosync, which is also a handy way to upload photos. Dropbox gets backed up the usual way. I don’t care too much about my e-mail. Anything important gets posted on my blog or stored elsewhere, and I’ve been backing up my Evernote database too.

  • Hi Sacha! Long time! I would like to talk some time regarding this, and a few other things, like ledger, drush, and EmacsVimWiki data integration over Dropbox, accounting and computation of risk. I have some thoughts how to do these things, and would like to talk.

    • If you e-mail me your detailed thoughts, I might be able to share what I think about it, and maybe you can suggest some times that might work for you if we need to have a follow-up discussion. Emacs-related stuff might be good to bring up at the next hangout ( ).

      • Specifically, we are building this system: (click “Theory” to see the 13 min. and “Practice” (12 min.) explanation of what we are building). As you see, inside the system we can record time spent, and others can pay for our time. So, my first question is about modern accounting. I assume you still use ledger, know its file format quite well, and know what kind of information you would need to have to do accounting for real business activity. If so, I would like to ask you to tell me, what information you would like to see. E.g., would you like to be able to download all the transactions from our system in ledger file format? If so, how ideally it should be formatted?

        Regarding backups. I think I should automate bacups of my data. What are your recommendations? I am planning to use btsync ( ), but not sure if this is the best option. Should I use rsync instead?

        Regarding Wiki exchange. You are writing Emacs wiki, using OrgMode. It seems you are using it to produce your content on-line. I am currently using VimWiki. I like to write, and share as well. If I want to share something with public, we have a command :VimWiki2HTML, which automatically renders the VimWiki into HTML. However, sometimes you want to share only specific page fragments with specific friends. In that case, one would want to have folder shared with specific friends, and then, automatically copy-paste only the parts that you want to share. I had described the problem here ( ). Do you have similar problems about sharing, if so, what’s your solution? (e.g., I have a problem, that when I write a diary, I want to share specific fragments of text of a day with specific people :), without having to manually send out e-mails.).

        • Hmm, I’m not particularly interested in using other people’s systems for stuff like that for a number of reasons: I like the ability to evolve my own interfaces, I trust the longevity of my personal systems more than I trust third parties, I don’t particularly need the social aspects, etc. I’m probably not the best person to ask for an opinion on your project. Good luck, though!

          I don’t particularly need fine-grained sharing with people. If there are any notes I need to share privately, I’ve been fine with using Dropbox, Google Drive, or Evernote.

          • What about the first question? :)