Back up your Mac [Updated]

Anyone who knows me knows I’m seriously paranoid when it comes to backups. I have two duplicates of my hard drive that I rotate out monthly and store off-site and have mission critical files backed up daily online. I even have priceless photos stored on DVD on two continents in case one continent sinks.

Now, I have Mozy, the snazzy new client for Mac OS X. Apparently it’s good enough for GE who have recently contracted with the company to provide point and click backup for 300,000+ employees and good enough for Tim Draper to invest into.

Mozy gives you unlimited online backup space for $4.95/month. Which means about 120GB for me…ymmv.

They’ve taken the easy to use quickpicks philosophy introduced by Apple’s Backup and added Retrospect’s incremental backup process- which means after a full backup, only the files that change are uploaded- and also it constantly polls your system for new/changed files and then uploads those automatically. All this means you have an off-site copy of all your files (music, photos, email attachments, etc.)

If I don’t see any serious glitches (it *is* still in beta), I will definitely be signing up for the service.

[Update May 22nd]

I have now parted with $54 for 1 yr of the service. Mozy has been quietly backing up my system happily and efficiently. I’ve spot-checked and done a few delete/restores. Seems to be doing what it should do… Highly recommended.

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Competitive Advantage- Nature or Nurture

I’m a long-time fan of Hamel and Prahalad’s Competing for the Future. They go into great detail about how deep competitive advantage is built over years, by developing and building a company’s core competence. Apple is a great example, Google is another.

As a venture investor, we look for “barriers to entry”, or “sustainable competitive advantage”. But how do young companies develop strong competitive advantage? Even if a company has patents, strong commercial contracts or exclusive arrangements, etc, competitive advantage is a multi-layered onion. Classic strategy dictates that “running fast” isn’t a defensible position either…but that’s an approach that most web companies take (also known as first mover advantage) and the rewards can be great (think YouTube).

What most investors are reluctant to admit is that the companies they invested into were rarely the companies that were successful, e.g. the investment changed to such an extent before exit that the “initial” business is rarely the one that is truly successful.

This is a pattern I’m seeing increasingly with many of our investments- the killer app isn’t evident in the early days. There are indications of what looks like a good investment, but the world moves on and new, vastly more exciting opportunities present themselves (or the opportunity doesn’t materialize and the company goes bust).

It seems to me that successful companies are part nature, part nurture, part luck (like everything in venture).

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Joost on Mac OS X

I received my Joost email inviting me to download the Mac version of their software. I’m not going to cover Joost to the degree that Ars Technica have. I’ve had some problems with the app connecting to the network, but aside from that my first impressions are really positive.

One tip for Mac users: Joost works with your Apple remote control.

Apple Remote Control keys:

Plus                  Increase sound volume

Minus                 Decrease sound volume

Back                  Jump to previous programme

Back (long press)     Jump to previous channnel

Forward               Jump to next programme

Forward (long press)  Jump to next channel

Play                  Play/Pause

Play (long press)     Show/Hide info

Menu                  Go to My Channels

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24 Hours with Google Desktop for Mac

I downloaded Google Desktop for mac last night with great enthusiasm. I’ve uninstalled it less than 24 hrs later. I found that the software made my hard drive grind constantly and was taxing my Macbook more than I would have liked. (I’m using a Macbook Pro, 10.4.9, 2Ghz Intel Duo, 1GB RAM)

John Gruber at Daring Fireball walks you through what Google Desktop installs and raises some questions around what and where that happens. Good for a read if you’ve installed or are thinking about installing Google Desktop for Mac OS X.

For me, I’ll wait for a revised version before re-installing. The performance hit was too distracting…

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