You’ll hear writers say that writing is a lonely business. I’ve said it. But Google+ may be changing that. Last night, I attended my first “writers hangout” hosted by Jason Sanford. It started at 9pm and went on for close to two-and-a-half hours, following some basic rules that Mary Robinette Kowal suggested earlier in the week. In a nutshell:
- We meet at the designated time and pop into the Hangout.
- We chat for 15 minutes.
- We write for 45 minutes.
- Repeat steps 2-3.
It was a great experience. With the video and voice capabilities of a hangout, we could see each other while we were chatting, and also while we were writing. During the writing, the sounds become like pleasant white noise. It is motivating. Everyone else is writing and you want to write, too. Best of all, you get to hangout with such cool people. There were as many as 10 people in the hangout last night: Jason Sanford, Mary Robinette Kowal, Juliette Wade, John DeNardo, Paolo Bacigalupi, Janet Harriet, Patrick Thurnstrom, Adam Callaway, Brian Dalton, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Shaun Duke, and Scott Roberts.
Also, one of Mary’s puppets made an occasional appearance.
I joined the session at 9, stepped out at 9:30 to take part in an SF Signal Podcast (about which I’ll have more to say later), and came back when it was done. All told, I managed to write some 1,600 words and did so in a sympathetic environment with folks from all over the place. It was great, and I will absolutely be doing this again.
Many thanks to Jason Sanford for hosting the Hangout.
I have been using IDrive since the fall of 2009 as a means for securely backing up all of my data, and while I’ve posted about it before, I’ve never really done so in detail. But it is worth blogging about because it is, in my mind, the perfect solution for data backups*.
When people talk about backups, they are usually only talking about half of a solution. It is one thing to make sure the data on your computer is backed up. It is quite another to be able to quickly and easily restore that data. IDrive is a complete solution, one that makes restoring data as easy as backing it up.
IDrive is a cloud-backup solution. That is, it backs up your data, whether you are on a Macintosh or Windows computer, to the Internet. It does so in a secure fashion, and your files are accessible to you from anywhere you have Internet access. Like most backup systems, IDrive typically will do a full backup of your computer (or the files that you select) and then subsequent backups are incremental, backing up only those files that have changed.
We have all heard stories–if not experienced for ourselves–the frustration, if not pain, of losing data. My biggest loss came a month or two before I started using IDrive. The hard disk on my MacBook died. I was backing up to an external disk, but it wasn’t a completely automated backup and I did lose some data that I wasn’t able to recreate, most importantly some photos from a trip to Europe. After the loss, I went about looking for the best possible solution for backing up data. Being an application developer by day, and working in a large company, I had some notion of what worked and what didn’t, what people tended to complain about and what they liked. My set of requirements looked something like this: