Last week our family was among the many evacuated from our homes because of the San Diego area wildfires. We grabbed what we could and ran to our cars.
For most of three days we were unable to get back home to see what the fires did to our neighborhood. We stayed with family and friends and missed the launch of Mac OS X Leopard. Fortunately, we’re well and our house suffered minor damage.
When the police and fire crews came through the neighborhood telling residents to evacuate, we grabbed what we could, including an extra hard drive that was recently backed up, my husband’s newly acquired MacBook Pro. I carried the baby and a box of important papers we had planned to put into a safe.
With all the noise about Leopard’s new features for Mac users, it’s hard to overlook the premise behind Time Machine, Leopard’s somewhat automated backup system. Most computer users, Mac or Windows, do not have a solid, dependable backup routine.
It’s something we need, and Apple knows it, hence Time Machine. What makes this feature so unique is the simplicity and the expense. Time Machine is simple. It’s not as good a backup system as using SuperDuper!, but it’s built in and should save files. Where? Time Machine requires a second hard drive.
For Mac mini and iMac and MacBook and MacBook Pro users, that means an external Firewire or USB hard drive is required for Time Machine to back up all your Mac’s files.
How important are your files and how quickly can you get them out of the house during an emergency?
Today’s digital life means digital files of value. We have about 10,000 photos in iPhoto, over 2,500 songs in iTunes, hours and hours of movies of the baby, not to mention a double truckload of documents that would be impossible to recreate after a disaster.
The value of the external hard drive which stores all those valuable files cannot be overlooked, and Leopard’s Time Machine requires an extra hard drive, preferably a large, large one. When the wildfires came near our neighborhood in San Diego, we took the time to get prepared, backed up everything on every Mac in the house. With a Mac notebook, leaving home with everything is easy. Grab it and run.
I grabbed one of the external Firewire drives on my iMac and put it into the box we carried to the car during the evacuation. Our files were with us, and that’s better than leaving them in a home in a burning neighborhood.
Oh, about the wildfires. We were out of our house for four days, though my husband went back home Saturday after the fires has passed. Our home received some minor damage on a fence, and one wall of the house on the canyon side of the fence. Our neighbor’s home to the left was undamaged except for the same shared fence. She’s a Mac user. Our neighbor to the right had more extensive fire damage—fence, patio, and part of the back of the house. He’s a Windows user.
See? Macs are safer.
Will Leopard’s Time Machine be the backup tool you use to save your files in the case of an emergency? Do you have a backup plan?