All posts by Yev

Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide 2021

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-holiday-gift-guide-2021/

The holiday season is upon us, and here at Backblaze, we always love to see what cool, new things are out there for us to give to our friends and family. Every year, we ask our team members what gifts they’ll be giving (or treating themselves to) and share their ideas on our blog.

This year, our team’s gift ideas range from the latest in fitness trackers for the person who’s always on the go, to weighted blankets that keep you cozy, and helpful plant-rearing guides for blossoming green thumbs. Read on for some gift ideas that are sure to bring some holiday joy!

For Those Who Love Spending Time Outdoors

WHOOP

WHOOP is a fitness and health membership that offers a fitness tracker and an app that analyzes fitness, health, and sleep data as well as a way to connect with other WHOOP members. Their adjustable device can be worn with a range of garments or on their handy wristbands. And they’re stylish!

YETI Trailhead Camp Chair

Save yourself a seat wherever you are—the beach, the backyard, or the backcountry—with this lightweight camp chair.

ENO DoubleNest Printed Hammock

Don’t want to sit down after your hike? Lay down in this packable hammock instead!

Hidrate Spark 3 Smart Water Bottle

If you’re the type of person who needs to be reminded to drink water (me), this water bottle will glow when it’s time to hydrate. Luckily, it will not play obnoxious music.

And Those Who’d Rather Stay Home

Gravity Weighted Flannel Sherpa Blanket

Holiday season is also cozy season, and weighted blankets are arguably one of the best ways to enjoy it.

The New Plant Parent

If you or someone you know spent the early months of the pandemic transforming their home into a greenhouse (that also smelled of sourdough), this book provides all the houseplant tips and tricks they might need to keep their indoor garden thriving.

RENPHO Eye Massager

As many of us spend our days staring at screens that can strain our eyes over time, this eye massager is a great way to reduce tension and headaches. It even connects to your phone via Bluetooth so you can choose music to play as it works. Not to be confused with an
Oculus Quest 2.

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Strip

Every kid will want one of these to decorate their room. You can light up your house with this multicolor light strip, which you can control from your phone.

For Your Foodie Friend

Anova Precision Cooker Pro

Treat the home chef in your life to this super precise and powerful sous vide tool that’s a fan favorite with over 100 million cooks.

Hot Ones 10 Pack Sauce Kit

Everything tastes better with hot sauce, and this kit includes the full lineup from season 16 of “Hot Ones.”

Koffie Inja

This small batch coffee roaster uses sustainable and ethically-sourced coffee beans and donates 20% of their proceeds to Muttville, a San Francisco-based senior dog rescue shelter.

Games and Game-related Accessories

Nintendo Game and Watch: The Legend of Zelda

Retro game fans will enjoy this collectible game and watch that includes three Legend of Zelda games.

Legendary Edition of Curse of Strahd

Strahd is a TTRPG favorite and this edition comes with bonus encounters, finger puppets, and lots more!

Glorious Modular Mechanical Keyboard

This is the world’s first RGB, modular mechanical keyboard. It’s easily customizable and needs no setup. For when you need your clanky keys to light up!

For the Practical Person

Wemo WiFi Smart Plug

This smart plug uses your home Wi-Fi connection to let you control plugged-in devices from your phone or tablet. Neat!

Tile Combo Pack

Have a friend or family member who’s constantly losing their keys or phone (or themselves)? Help them keep track of their items with this combo pack that works with Android or Apple devices.

Fuzzy Lined Crocs

Are they the most fashionable? Maybe not. But they might be the most comfortable, especially with the warm and fuzzy liner!

Give the Gift of Backblaze

Help your friends and family back up their data with Backblaze Computer Backup. They’ll thank you for helping make sure they never lose a file again.

Happy Gift-giving From Backblaze

We hope this gift guide has helped spark some ideas for your own holiday gift-giving! Comment below to tell us what gifts you’ll be giving your friends and family this year.

The post Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide 2021 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Who Ya Gonna Call? Backblaze

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/who-ya-gonna-call-backblaze/

Halloween and its surrounding spooky season is my favorite time of the year. As the Computer Backup Steward at Backblaze, I often read people’s notes to us, which detail how we’ve helped them recover their files. As I was thinking about their experiences and our past Halloween blog posts detailing spooky data loss stories (Truly, what’s scarier than data loss?), I recalled a personal story that happened to my sister a few years ago when she was interning here at Backblaze. It reminded me that Backblaze Computer Backup doesn’t just recover people’s data, but we also help access it in times of need—which can be equally important. Like the Ghostbusters, when there’s something strange in your (data’s) neighborhood, who ya gonna call? …Backblaze, it’s Backblaze. So, on this, the Friday before Halloween, let me recount that tiny spooky tale for you today…


A long time ago, my sister Lisa was an intern with us here at Backblaze. It was just for a month, but she helped us build desks, digitized business cards (The horror!), and generally helped out around the office while getting a feel for working at a Silicon Valley tech startup. Like any good startup techie, after joining us for the summer, she started using Backblaze to back up her computer files, which makes sense because as a 19-year-old—a lot can happen to your computer.

My sister and I are really close, and we try to go on little trips together whenever possible. One of these opportunities arose in the form of a road trip from the San Francisco Bay to Los Angeles to see a comedy show. (For those curious, it was Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman recording their “Hollywood Babble-On” podcast.)

Driving down from the Bay Area to Los Angeles takes about five to six hours, sometimes longer depending on the traffic and where you’re headed. As we passed hour four, my sister turned to me and said, ”Hey, do I need my ID for this?” Cue: creepy forewarning music.

Now, this comedy show was held, oddly enough, in a comedy club (this sometimes happens when comedy is involved). An important thing to know about comedy clubs in general is that often they require people to be over 18, and are very serious about asking for ID so that underage people don’t imbibe, which makes sense—safety first.

So, yes. An ID was required, and yes she would need it, but no, she did not have it—nor her purse in general. Being an older brother is like that sometimes. I wasn’t about to turn around and drive back to San Francisco—partly because we had the show to go to that night, but also because I would get a bit of enjoyment from her having to sit outside while I enjoyed some comedy as a “lesson.” A sinister brotherly thought.

Luckily, I remembered that a few months back, my sister had to scan her passport as a PDF so that we could have a digital copy on another trip. I called up the comedy club and asked if they’d take a digital ID if we didn’t have a physical one, and while they were confused, they did say yes, so long as it was official. Good news! Once we arrived at the hotel, she logged on to Backblaze, found her backed up passport PDF, and we printed it out in the lobby. And we made it to the show on time. Happily ever after!

OK, so maybe it wasn’t really a horror story and the prospect of not making it to a comedy show may not seem scary to some people, but our family dynamic would mean that if she wasn’t able to attend and had to sit outside, she’d never have lived it down—low stakes slightly spooky (the best kind).

The post Who Ya Gonna Call? Backblaze appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Back to School, Backup for School

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/back-to-school-backup-for-school/

Students are starting to head back to the classroom all over the world and, while the timing might be the same, the way we’re thinking about school has changed a lot recently. Schoolwork and projects that previously would have been printed out and handed in have moved online along with classrooms and collaboration. The amount of flexibility this has allowed teachers, parents, students, and childcare professionals is great, but it also means that more schoolwork than ever is at risk of data loss.

As young folks are heading back to classrooms, especially those heading off to college farther afield, now is a great time to help teach the value of backing up their data.

Whether they are in person, online, or on a hybrid system, students will still be creating, collaborating, and consuming files on their computers. Setting them up with a backup service, or helping them install one can prevent them from calling you late at night in a panic after spilling Redbull or coffee on the machine they’re diligently (we’re sure) doing schoolwork on.

Backup Basics: The 3-2-1 Approach

Spilling something and frying the electronics inside of a computer is not the only way to lose data, so having an all-encompassing view to data care is important. At Backblaze, we recommend the 3-2-1 backup approach. That means keeping:

  • Three copies of your data.
  • Two copies of your data on-site but on different devices. (For example, on your computer and an external hard drive.)
  • One copy of your data off-site. (For example, in the cloud.)

Best Practices for Students

In addition to your basic 3-2-1 approach, there are a few best practices students can follow (and parents can encourage) to help them avoid scrambling to find their term paper the night before the final, including:

  • Instituting naming conventions.
  • Keeping data in a central repository.
  • Automating backups.
  • Creating archives.

Institute Naming Conventions

One common way of losing data is simply forgetting where it was created or saved, similar to misplacing a pair of keys. The easiest way to combat that is to have clear naming conventions for your folders and files and to use them consistently. Having a folder for every year of study, then semester, or quarter inside of it, then class inside of that, helps categorize data and is a great way to start building up good data hygiene.

Keep Data in a Central Repository

A typical student’s data is scattered across a variety of devices, apps, clouds, and computers—we call this “data scatter.” Even if they are using good data hygiene when naming and organizing these various locations, having a central repository—even if just for final documents—is important.

When they have their data in one centralized location, students can back it up frequently, so that even if work is lost from a collaborative place (like someone deleting a file or presentation from a shared folder), they’ll still have a copy locally and in an accessible location.

Automate Backups

Once the data is saved to the new location, the next best thing to do is make sure that there are automated backups running, so that—should anything happen to that machine or device—the data will still be accessible somewhere else (all part of the 3-2-1 strategy).

When selecting a backup tool, you want to look for something simple, affordable, and most importantly, accessible. That’s where apps like Backblaze really shine when it comes to computer backup, since they are designed to be unobtrusive, and the backed up data can be accessed anywhere in the world via web or mobile apps.

Create Archives

Creating archives is another tool in the fight to combat data loss and maintain good data hygiene. Archives differ from backups in that they tend to be permanent. Backups tend to be on a rolling basis (similar to an alarm system keeping a certain amount of video before it gets recycled—the thought being, if something happens you can recover the video for a certain period of time, but if nothing occurs it’s better to get that space back).

Archives, on the other hand, are more immutable in nature. Once you have an archive, it’s rare to remove it, unless you want to get rid of everything associated with it. There are many methods that people employ to archive their data, including having hard drives for every month or year that they create an archive for, but there are online tools as well. Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage has an Object Lock feature which allows users to upload data and have it stay there until expressly deleted by the user.

Backing Up Your Student’s Social Life

It’s probably not your top priority, but your student is likely just as concerned with backing up their social profiles and photos as they are with backing up their Econ 101 homework. Fortunately, we’ve got both covered. To help your student back up their digital social life, we put together a few handy guides:

How to Get Started

The best time to start backing up is now. If Backblaze is a good choice for your family and school-aged kiddos, there’s a few ways to get started:

  • Here’s how to set up Backblaze on your kid’s computer before they head off to college:
    • Sign up for an account, and install Backblaze on your student’s computer. You can find our guides to installing on Mac here, and on Windows here.
    • Once you have installed the software, you can select what hard drives should be backed up, set your backup schedule, or change your performance settings. For more on how to do that, you can check out our Mac Settings Overview and Windows Settings Overview.
    • You can set up payment in the Billing section under My Account when you sign in to Backblaze.
    • If your student needs to restore a file, they can follow the steps here.
  • If your kid is more of a self-starter, send them a gift code—that way you’ll cover their first year, and after that it’s on them to handle the payment and maintenance (good for those who value their independence but maybe just need a jump-start): https://backblaze.com/gift.htm.
  • Consider using a Backblaze Group! A few years ago we wrote about how our Groups feature can help families maintain their digital lives, and you can read it here. This option is great if you have many family members, or if you just want one central place to manage billing for multiple accounts.
    • If you are a Backblaze customer, simply log in to Backblaze.com, go to the Settings page, and enable Business Groups. Once done, you can navigate to the Groups Management page and get started. More information on creating a Group can be found here.
    • If you are not yet a Backblaze customer and like the Groups approach, you can create a new Backblaze account with Groups enabled here.

Just like developing good habits for anything else, a strong understanding of data, where it lives, how it can be lost, and how to save it can be an incredibly important skill to develop. As the amount of data in the world increases and it increasingly becomes the digital world’s most precious resource, maintaining it will become one of the more important habits we can instill in our younger generations!

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Announcing Backblaze Computer Backup 8.0

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/announcing-backblaze-computer-backup-8-0/

Backblaze Computer Backup 8.0 - The Performance Release

Announcing Backblaze Computer Backup 8.0! As a great philosopher once said, “8 is great”—and we couldn’t agree more. Our latest version is pretty great: It cranks up the speed—letting you upload at whatever rate your local system can attain—all while reducing stress on key elements of your computer by an order of magnitude.

Here’s what’s new for our app on your Mac and PC:

  • Performance Boost: As we’ve described in the past, thread count matters, but until today your max threading was set to 30. You now can run up to 100 threads concurrently if your system and network are up to it. From go-kart to highway speeds in one update! It’s like nitrous for uploads.
  • Smarter Gas Pedal: If you’re worried about stressing your motor, we’ve greatly improved our autothrottle, which will keep your bandwidth and system load in mind if you don’t want to.
  • Easier on the Engine: We’ve reduced the client’s load on your HDD or SSD by up to 80% by reconfiguring how reads and writes happen before encryption and upload.
  • A New Coat of Paint: Sometimes it helps to look faster, too, so we updated our brand a touch to keep up with what’s under the hood.

There’s more detail below for those who need it, but these are the major improvements. We look forward to hearing about how they work for you, your machines, and your data.

Version 8.0 in Detail

Performance Boost

If you feel the need for speed and have the bandwidth at your home or office to match, version 8.0 is going to help you get backed up a lot more quickly. We’ve increased the maximum number of threads to 100 (up from 30). That means our multi-threaded app can now perform even more backup processes in parallel. Threads have also gotten a bit more intelligent—if your maximum selection of threads would cause too much system load, we’ll use fewer threads to maintain your system’s overall performance.

Backblaze Backup settings screenshot

Optimizations

In addition to making our threading more intelligent, we’ve also taken a magnifying glass to our autothrottle feature and introduced smart throttling. If you have autothrottle enabled, and you’re using a lot of your available memory or bandwidth, we ease off until more system resources are available, helping reduce strain on the system and keeping your bandwidth clear—we’ve made that process more efficient and a lot speedier. If you don’t have autothrottle enabled, the backups will go as fast as your manual throttle and threading are set to.

We’ve also re-architected the way we handle file copies. In our previous 7.0 version of Backblaze Computer Backup, the client app running on your laptop or desktop made a copy of your file on your hard drive before uploading it. In version 8.0, this step has been removed. Now the client reads the file, encrypts it in RAM, and uploads it to the Backblaze data center. This results in better overall system performance and a reduction in strain on HDDs and SSDs on your laptops and desktops.

General Improvements

One last minor (but helpful) update we’ve made under the hood is how we handle uploads and the transmission of larger files. In version 8.0, you’ll get more information about what is getting uploaded and when. When we transfer large files, sometimes the app will appear to “hang” on uploading a part of that file, when in reality that file’s already been transmitted and we’re starting to work on the next batch of files. The UI will now reflect upload status more clearly.

And if you haven’t checked out our mobile apps, we’ve been making improvements to them (like uploading files to Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage) over the last few months as well. Learn more about them at: www.backblaze.com/mobile.html.

The Look

With our rebrand efforts in full swing, we thought it would be nice to update our icons and apps with the latest Backblaze look.

Backblaze Backup status screenshot
Backblaze Installer screenshot

You’ll notice our icons have gotten a little smoother since our latest and greatest visual identity is in full force, but we have kept the clean feel and easy UI that you’re used to.

Backblaze Computer Backup 8.0 Available: July 6th, 2021

We hope you love this new release! We will be slowly auto-updating all users in the coming weeks, but if you can’t wait and want to update now on your Mac or PC:

This version is now the default download on www.backblaze.com.

Join Us for a Webinar on July 29th at 10 a.m. Pacific

If you’d like to learn more, join us for a webinar where we’ll be going over version 8.0 features and answering questions during a live Q&A. The webinar will be available on BrightTalk (registration is required) and you can sign up by visiting the Backblaze BrightTalk channel.

The post Announcing Backblaze Computer Backup 8.0 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

The State of Backups: Who’s Most at Risk

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-state-of-backups-whos-most-at-risk/

Backup Frequency 13 Years of History

June is Backup Awareness Month and we’re now in our 13th year of working with The Harris Poll to ask a simple question: “How often do you back up all the data on your computer?” We’re always interested to see how average folks think about their data, and what they use for their primary backups. This year we also asked people about their history with data loss, and whether or not they are firmly grounded on how “the cloud” works. The results… may shock you.

How Backups Are Trending in 2021

Good news here, the results are positive! Of people who own a computer, more than ever are backing up daily, if not even more often: Our 2021 number is 11%. This is only an increase of one percentage point over last year, which may not seem like much, but does underline a positive upward trend over the years (6% in 2018, 9% in 2019, and 10% in 2020). As a computer backup provider, we’re thrilled that backups and disaster recovery are increasingly top of mind for people.

At the other end of the spectrum, 20% of those who own a computer have never backed up all the data on their systems, led by people 65 and older at 31%. It’s time to go visit the grandparents and help them back up their computers (I know I do!).

While the number of people who never back up their computers is down about 54.5% from when we first started the survey (35% in 2008 versus 20% in 2021), that still means one in five people are at risk of losing all their data should they have a computer or systems failure. That’s too much precious data at risk.

Computer Backup Frequency 2008-2021
Love seeing the daily and yearly backups continue to rise.

A Different Look

Below, we take a look at the detailed breakdown of backup frequency over the years that we’ve been conducting the survey.

Frequency of computer backups from 2008-2021

In the chart above you can see that for the most part, things are pretty stable. The “never” category remains near the all-time low it reached last year, while yearly and monthly backups hold steady.

Looking at the pie chart, it’s nice to see that over the years the mix has become more spread out as the “never” category gets whittled down.

Computer Data Backup Frequency

Overall, we take this to mean that data awareness remains at an all-time high, which is great news for people and their data.

Who Is the Mythical “Best Backup Person?”

If we were to try find a person who is likely to be a “backer upper” (we define this as a person who owns a computer and backs it up at least once a day) here are some of the characteristics we’d look for: A woman between 35-44 years of age (21% likely to backup versus 9% of those 18-34 and 6% of those 55-64), who lives in the Western United States (17% more likely to back up vs. the South and Midwest at 9% and 7%, respectively), and with a household income of over $100K (13% likely to back up their data versus those households of $50K-$74.9K which are at 6%).

Other Interesting Takeaways

Data Loss Is a Big Deal

Like we mentioned above, one in five of those who own a computer and never back up their data are at risk of losing all the data on their computer, which is problematic. Especially when you consider that of the people who own a computer:

  • 62% have lost data at some point.
  • 76% have deleted something by accident.
  • 51% have had an internal or external hard drive crash.
  • 52% have lost access to their data.
  • 61% had a security incident (with 25% of those happening within the last year).

That 61% of those who report having a security incident is astonishingly high. When you consider that the best way to protect yourself from malware and ransomware is having up-to-date backups, we’re thrilled that 11% of computer owners are backing up daily, but we still have a long way to go.

“The Cloud” Is Less Confusing Than We Thought…

This year we also asked people if they understood how “the cloud” works. It turns out that 31% of Americans don’t understand how the cloud works, which is a lower number than we had expected. One guess for why? COVID-19. As more of the world went virtual this year, people had to familiarize themselves with the cloud in a hurry, so overall awareness and understanding increased.

…But Cloud Services Continue to Confuse

While generally people say they understand “the cloud,” confusion over the protection and functionality that cloud services can provide continues to be a problem. When asked, “What is the primary method you use to back up all of the data on your computer?” 61% of those who have ever backed up all data on their computer indicated that their primary backup method was “the cloud.” However, only 9% indicated that they were using an actual cloud backup service (like Backblaze). 36% of those who have ever backed up all data pointed to their primary backup being a cloud drive service like Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive, and 17% said their primary backup method was a cloud sync service like Dropbox or iCloud.

That may be the most troubling bit of data from this year’s survey. Backup and sync services are very different in nature and should be treated as complimentary, not equivalent services. We have a great resource explaining the differences between cloud backup vs. cloud sync that you can read here.

The TL/DR is that backups should happen automatically, in the background, and shouldn’t rely on the person to take any action. They also shouldn’t be susceptible to someone removing the data from a shared or synced location. (Remember those 50% of people who lost access to their data?) Sync and cloud drive tools are great for collaboration (and we use them internally at Backblaze for just that reason) but they’re an “in addition to” tool, and shouldn’t be used in lieu of having proper backups in place.

Spread the Word…and Back Up!

You can help us get better results in next year’s survey and help us make sure that people never lose data again!

If you’re already a Backblaze customer, you can send your friends an extended trial and earn Backblaze credits for yourself with our Refer-a-Friend program.

Also, if you recall, 62% of those who own a computer had lost data, and since you’re already using Backblaze, you’re well on your way to preventing that fate for yourself. But if you want to protect yourself even further, take a look at our Extended Version History feature which increases your backup’s retention period from 30 days to one year, or forever.

If you are joining us for the first time, get started with your online backup today by partaking in a 15-day free trial. It’s risk free and you can be one of the people keeping your data safe by backing up on a daily basis!

We’ll also be hosting a webinar on June 23rd at 10am Pacifc to discuss this year’s results, backup best practices, and doing a bit of a Q&A. Please join us: Backup Best Practices and Q&A.

Survey Method:
These surveys were conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze among U.S. adults ages 18+ who own a computer in May 12-14, 2021 (n=1,870); June 1-3, 2020 (n=1,913); June 6-10, 2019 (n=1,858); June 5-7, 2018 (n=1,871); May 19-23, 2017 (n=1,954); May 13-17, 2016 (n=1,920); May 15-19, 2015 (n=2,009); June 2-4, 2014 (n=1,991); June 13–17, 2013 (n=1,952); May 31–June 4, 2012 (n=2,176); June 28–30, 2011 (n=2,209); June 3–7, 2010 (n=2,051); May 13–14, 2009 (n=2,154); and May 27–29, 2008 (n=2,723). These online surveys were not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.

The post The State of Backups: Who’s Most at Risk appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

The 2020 Top Ten(s)

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/the-2020-top-tens/

Top 10 lists! You know them. You read them! You love them? As 2020 comes to an end and we look longingly at the new year ahead of us, I wanted to take a moment and look back at what you, our blog readers, have found amusing, entertaining, and informative over this past year.

To do that, we looked at our analytics and picked out the top 10 most-viewed stories that we published in 2020. The results may not shock you, but they may entertain you, especially if you missed any of these the first time around. Without further ado, let’s jump into the results!

Top 10 Backblaze Blog Posts From 2020

      1. 2019 Hard Drive Stats. It’s not surprising to see a year-end hard drive stats post in the first position. Readers show up for these posts in a big way and this one took a look at the entirety of 2019 as a year-end wrap up.
      2. The Complete Guide to Ransomware. With huge organizations like Foxconn, Kmart, many K-12 school districts, and hospitals being targeted by ransomware in recent years—and those attacks increasing—it’s no wonder that people are seeking to understand how to protect themselves.

    Hard Drive Stats Q1 2020

      3. & 4. Q1 2020 Hard Drive Stats and Q2 2020 Hard Drive Stats. The quarterly drive stats set the stage for our popular yearly reviews and provide a “heartbeat” of how our spinning disks are doing throughout the year.
      5. A Beginner’s Guide to External Hard Drives. We took a look at some best practices for folks looking to increase their on-site storage capacity and how to make sure all that data is safe, as well. It would appear a lot of readers were onboarding new hard drives in 2020.
      6. Synology Backup Guide. Other readers already have a series of external hard drives connected to their PC, meaning the natural progression is getting a NAS system like Synology in place and making sure that it, too, is backed up.
      7. Q3 2020 Hard Drive Stats. Looking at how the stats are progressing, we find that even when some drive models have over 4,029 failures, their annualized failure rate can be below 3%—that’s scale!

    a woman thinking about how to download and backup her Google Drive

      8. Backing Up Google Drive. Far be it from us to claim that we saw the future, but when we published this post in June it was a touch ahead of its time. A few months later, Google announced the end of their unlimited storage plan and as people looked for alternatives, this resource on downloading and backing up Google Drive information became invaluable.
      9. Backblaze S3 Compatible APIs. One of our biggest Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage releases for 2020 was the Backblaze S3 Compatible APIs suite. This launch cleared the way for a ton of new partner integrations, use cases, and happy cloud storage customers.
      10. Cloud Sync Is Not Backing Up. A common misconception is that someone is backed up if they only use iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this post, we dig into the differences between cloud backup and cloud sync, why they’re both useful, and how to leverage both for maximum efficiency.

The “Up-and-coming” Top Ten

Looking at the top 10 list for 2020, we see a lot of series and subjects that are popular every year. This got us thinking, what about the stories that broke new ground? Posts that aren’t hard drive stats and yet still drew an admirable number of readers? When we removed the big hitters we found an alternative top ten that will appeal to anyone looking for some more in-depth solutions, some nice news, and answers to a few evergreen questions!

      1. What Is an Exabyte? What the heck is an exabyte anyway? We take a look at how much data that really is, and how it compares, on a cosmic level, to a gigabyte.
      2. Object vs. File vs. Block—A Cloud Storage Guide. The word “cloud” can sometimes feel amorphous. For readers just starting to look cloudwards, this post aims to help put a finer point on clouds! We take a look at the different types of cloud storage and how to most effectively use each.
      3. Duplicati + Backblaze. We love when B2 Cloud Storage gets integrated into popular apps, and Duplicati makes backing up data securely and easily from pretty much any system a piece of cake. No wonder it pairs so well with Backblaze B2!
      4. Metadata: Your File’s Hidden DNA. Metadata surrounds pretty much every digital thing we do on a day to day basis, but a lot of people don’t fully understand what it is or how it works. This post defines metadata and looks at how it helps programs keep track of the information about files for both humans and computers.

      5. Free Cloud Storage? What’s the Catch? There are a lot of “free” offers in the cloud storage marketplace positioned to help entrepreneurs get their application or website off the ground. In this post we go into some of the pitfalls that might come about when you take cloud storage providers up on an offer that might seem too good to be true.
      6. Computer Backup Version 7.0.1. We took some time at the beginning of the year to make some adjustments to our cloud backup software, improving performance and enhancing our Inherit Backup State feature to help folks avoid reuploading data if they switch computers!
      7. Exabyte Unlocked. In March, Backblaze crossed a data storage threshold that few other companies have achieved, storing over an exabyte of data for our customers, and we couldn’t be prouder.

      8. How to Wipe a Mac Hard Drive. As people get new computers and sell off their old hardware, sometimes they want to make sure that all of their data has been deleted from their computer (just make sure you have a backup first).
      9. Upgrading to an SSD. Once readers finish wiping their old drives, they often want something a bit more speedy. SSDs are dropping in price and getting more common, so this post gives you a few things to consider when upgrading.
      10. RAM vs. Storage. This post takes a look at one of the most commonly asked questions when people talk about gigabytes—“Do they mean RAM, or do they mean storage size?”—and what’s the difference between the two anyway?

We love writing about the ins and outs of our industry, infrastructure, and the business in general, so it’s always fun to look back at what resonated with you over the past year. Was your favorite blog post not listed? Let us know in the comments below what resonated with you this year!

The post The 2020 Top Ten(s) appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide 2020

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-holiday-gift-guide-2020/

The gift giving-est time of year is almost here and at Backblaze, we’re always on the lookout for cool gizmos and gadgets to get our friends and family. (Or if we’re honest, ones that we’ve been eyeing ourselves but just can’t bring ourselves to buy.)

Since this year has been so…unique, I polled my team members and asked what tools and toys they’ve been using or would love to receive. This year’s crop of gift ideas runs the gamut from egg cookers to firepits, but since we’re all spending more time at home, it’s no wonder that cooking gadgets, games, and smart home accessories were top of mind. Let’s dive in!

Food and Food-related Goodies

Instant Pot

You have a ton of gadgets already, but what if you could cook things…instantly. Or, near instantly. I personally have been eyeing one of these for months, but need to use my slow cooker a few more times before finally expediting the process!

Zojirushi Indoor Tabletop Grill

Sure, you can make things instantly with an Instant Pot, but what about grilling indoors? Zojirushi has you covered.

Wireless BBQ Thermometer

Safety first! You’re cooking a lot more at home and maybe you’re not exactly sure what shade of pink your tenderloin is supposed to be. Well…better safe than sorry!

Baking Steel

It’s kind of like a pizza stone, but made of steel! Pizza steel!

Egg Cooker

If you’re the type of person who needs eggs in a hurry and doesn’t want to fiddle with them, this little gadget is an Amazon best seller.

Mitsubishi Electric Bread Oven Toaster

This bread oven is a bit pricey, but it’s also a bread oven that can make grilled cheeses. Think of the grilled cheesiness!

Whiskey Decanter

Not all decanters are created equal. This one has a boat in the middle of it. Perfect for the sailing aficionado in your life who also happens to enjoy whiskey.

Games and Game Accessories

Reaper Miniatures Learn to Paint Kit Core Skills

Express yourself by learning to paint miniatures (and then use them to play tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons)!

Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad

Another way to get the creative juices flowing is this smartpad! You can take notes or doodle on it, and then convert your work to shareable documents.

DribbleUp

Stay active! If you have a backyard or reasonable downstairs neighbors we recommend the DribbleUp Smart Soccer Ball or Smart Basketball! These Smart Balls link to your smartphone and give you telemetry into how you’re progressing in developing your skills.

7 Wonders: Duel

Stuck at home with your significant other and are bored playing War? Enjoy the prospect of outsmarting and besting your partner in a board game? Duel is designed specifically for two players. Have at ‘em!

Zombicide: Black Plague

This game comes with miniatures that you can paint and play with—perfect for getting your skills up, and also there are zombies. Who could ask for more?

Prusa MINI+

Tired of using other people’s miniatures? Make your own! This powerful 3D printer can help you build the miniatures of your dreams, or build your own home gadgets!

Ender 3 3D Printer

If you’re curious about 3D printing but don’t want to go all-in from the beginning, this “entry level” 3D printer is a great way to get your hands dirty and give the 3D printing world a whirl!

Oculus Quest

Don’t want to build your own 3D world or want a break from the real one? Explore virtual worlds instead! You don’t need a computer, but you can plug this into your gaming rig for extra power!

Home (Sometimes Smart)

Nugget

Did someone say next-gen pillow fort? Use this modular setup to build the fort of your dreams, or just a nice random lounging area to watch TV in comfort.

HomePod mini

Smart homes are definitely top of mind nowadays and the new HomePod mini is a great entry level gadget to help dip your toe into smart homing.

Google Nest Mini

If you’re not in the Apple ecosystem and want to give smart homes a try, the Google Nest Mini is a great inexpensive option to listen to music while in the shower (speaking from personal experience).

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug

Smart plugs are a great way to turn on the lights in your house when you walk through the door and don’t like looking at pitch darkness. These tie in to your existing smart home devices, or use the app to control your plugs!

Arlo Video Doorbell

Smart doorbells are all the rage nowadays and if you aren’t keen on expensive monthly plans, this is a great entry point into the smart home security system space!

Premier Comfort Electric Mattress Pad

Now that winter is upon us (at least here in the U.S.), treat yourself to an electric mattress pad and stay toasty and cozy no matter what’s going on outside. This one’s also compatible with your smart home and plugs!

Gaiam Yoga Mat

Don’t forget to make time for yourself and get a little stretch in throughout the day. These yoga mats are affordable and durable!

Massage Gun

After working out you might feel a little sore. Massage guns are all the rage right now and they do a heck of a job getting all of your knots loosened up. The myriad of attachments will help you get into all your nooks and crannies!

For the Person Who Has Everything

Personalized AirPod Case

There are a lot of Etsy shops out there that can help you personalize things, so browse around! These AirPod cases are pretty stellar!

Baby Yoda Christmas Sweater

‘Tis the Baby Yoda season (The Child has been named!) and what better way to celebrate than buying everyone in your family matching sweaters!

Oaktown Spices

Buy local! If you have a favorite local shop, be sure to show them some love this holiday season! If you want to support some from around the country, here’s a great spice shop in Oakland, California—and their gift boxes are the cutest.

Bookshop.org

Bookstores are getting hit pretty hard right now and if your local store is closed, this online bookshop donates proceeds to local bookstores—combining the convenience of online shopping with the good feeling of buying from a local store. They can also help you locate a local bookstore that’s open near you! Some books we recommend: “The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle,” “Rhythm of War,” “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,” “The Essential Calvin and Hobbes: A Calvin and Hobbes Treasury,” “Cozy” (for kids), and “The Hike” (also for kids).

Death Star Fire Pit

OK, this thing is $2,400 but… Look at it!

Backblaze

And, of course… Backblaze.
You know it. You love it. You can gift it!

We wish you a healthy, happy, and hopeful new year! Maybe this list helped you on your gifting journey, or maybe it just added more items to your own wish list. What are you looking forward to gifting and receiving this year? Let us know in the comments below!

The post Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide 2020 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze and Big Sur: Ready When You Are!

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-and-big-sur-ready-when-you-are/

Big Sur Release for Backblaze

The new operating system from Apple, MacOS 11.0 Big Sur (a reference to a lovely stretch of California’s central coast, if you’ve never been) releases on November 12, 2020. We’ve been preparing for this release for quite some time and are glad to report that the Backblaze Computer Backup client is “Big Sur-ready.” As always, a couple of notes to keep in mind before updating to a new OS: make sure you have a good and up-to-date backup in place, and that you are running the latest Backblaze version.

Big Sur-Ready

If you’re already running the Big Sur beta, or are planning to upgrade to the latest MacOS version on day one, please make sure you are running the latest Backblaze client version. You can download and install the latest build by doing the following:

  • Perform a Check for Updates (right-click on the Backblaze icon in the Mac menu bar)
  • Or download the latest from www.backblaze.com/update.htm

Note, if You Are on MacOS 10.9 Mavericks or older: And you want to update your client before upgrading your macOS, you will need to download the latest version of Backblaze here.

Enjoy!

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You’ve Cat to Be Kitten Me…

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/youve-cat-to-be-kitten-me/

Catblaze. It started as an April Fools’ joke four years ago, but it stuck around as part of our website ever since. A few intrepid website perusers even found their way to the page and signed up for our backup service there. To be clear: There’s no actual difference between the two products except the landing page. If you bought Backblaze on Catblaze, it’s Backblaze. You received the same great service as everyone else, just with a nice cat-themed wrapper. Got it? Great!

It’s been a while since we’ve done anything with Catblaze though, and so I got to thinking… If the page is still functional, how can we make use of it again? Well, why not redirect some traffic there and see how it affects conversions?! A lot of people love cats, maybe that love could be translated to loving backing up, too?

So, that’s exactly what we did! A few weeks ago, for one day, we diverted some traffic from backblaze.com/cloud-backup.html to backblaze.com/catblaze.html to see how they performed against each other. Did anyone even notice? And if they did, did they sign up anyway? Read on to find out! The results may shock you! And other clickbait hyperbole!

Why are we doing this? Well, along with everyone else who has had to shift to remote office-ing during the pandemic, we’ve been working hard to maintain high spirits and morale here at Backblaze. While we made a lot of changes to help our team be as productive as possible while working remotely, we thought, why not get a little silly, engage in a little charitable fundraising, and also buoy the spirits of our community at large: You!

With a lot of people spending more time at home, animal adoption in urban areas increasing, and “Tiger King” being so popular on Netflix, I spent some time chatting with a friend of mine who works for the Humane Society of the United States, and asked if there were any shelters that were looking for aid. He told me that the Peninsula Humane Society—the same branch that the models for the original “Catblaze Cats” came from—could use some donations. So, as part of this experiment, we’ll be contributing to them in honor of the kittens that helped make this experiment possible!

It also happens to be National Cat Day today, so what better way to celebrate?

And Now, on to the Results!

Wow, who would have known that diverting 50% of our hard-earned traffic to an April Fools’ landing page was an interesting idea? The results may or may not surprise you, but here’s the bottom line: Sending traffic to catblaze.com resulted in a decrease in trial conversions (folks coming to our site and creating a trial account) by 15%. Which, admittedly, is better than some of us had guessed!

Let’s dive into more of those numbers, shall we? (Assuming we’re comparing Catblaze to our regular Backblaze Computer Backup landing page.)

  • Days of experiment: One.
  • Traffic diverted: 50%.
  • Percent change in conversion rate from visit to trial: 15% reduction.
  • Percent change in conversion rate from visit to purchase (skip trial): 41% reduction.
    • 69.96% (A palindrome!) of people were less likely to purchase directly from Catblaze—that’s how many fewer folks went to the “buy” page next.
  • Percent change in bounce rate: 15% improvement.
    • Percent change in visits going to the home page from Catblaze: 118%.
  • Tweets asking us what is going on: Zero.
  • Support tickets asking us, “Why the cats?”: Zero.
  • Donation to the Peninsula Humane Society: $2,000.

Lessons Learned

While we probably shouldn’t update our onboarding messaging to include a picture of our Catblaze friends, it may be worth going a bit more kitten-friendly in future illustrations and designs for our website. The fact that there was a 15% improvement in bounce rate (and 20% reduction in exit rate) meant that people were sticking around and looking at that awesome cat content, or they were very confused. The cat content was at best amusing, but at worst confusing (which is usually not what you want your customers to be feeling), and you can see that was the case because we saw the number of people going back to our homepage increase by 118%. So, while we kept people on our website, their confusion was visible in how they navigated our website.

Perhaps the most entertaining thing is that no one asked about the Catblaze website. We received no Tweets or support tickets asking us why everything was cat-themed on our website. Based on our daily traffic, and the seemingly minor reasons that people write in with support tickets, I would have sworn up and down that I’d be on social media answering questions all day—though, if I responded to folks asking about it, that may have affected the experiment—so, it’s great that it went unnoticed.

Will we be doing this again? I doubt it. The Finance department is already sending me eye roll emojis, but it was definitely an interesting experiment and taught me one important lesson: While people definitely noticed the cats, they certainly didn’t seem to mind them.

The post You’ve Cat to Be Kitten Me… appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Computer Backup Release 7.0.2

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-computer-backup-release-7-0-2/

New Backblaze version is available

We recently released an update for Backblaze Computer Backup: version 7.0.2! This release comes with improvements to our Safety Freeze feature, and some enhancements to the Mac and Windows applications. Enjoy!

What’s New for Windows & Macintosh:

  • Improvement: Safety Freeze
    • Safety Freezes exist to protect your data from corruption, but lately, they’ve been a touch over-cautious. This improvement updates Safety Freeze to reduce the amount of false-positives users experience.
  • Bug fix: Multiple hard drives listed
    • Some users experienced duplicate volume listings in the application, which led to confusion. This release addresses that issue.
  • Minor improvements to logging.

What’s New for Macintosh:

  • Bug fix: Location Services
    • This feature has been reworked to reduce the amount of pop-ups received when Locate My Computer is enabled on more recent macOS versions. This also fixed an issue where disabling Locate My Computer on the web would still result in a pop-up asking for Location Services permission.

Release Version Number:
Mac — 7.0.2.464
PC — 7.0.2.463

Availability:
Now!

Cost:
Free for Backblaze Computer Backup consumer and business customers and active trial users.

Upgrade Methods:

  • Immediately when performing a “Check for Updates” (right-click on the Backblaze icon and then select “Check for Updates”).
  • Immediately as a download from: https://secure.backblaze.com/update.htm.
  • Immediately as the default download from: www.backblaze.com.
  • Auto-update will begin rolling out in the next few weeks.

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Daily Backups Hit an All Time High

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/daily-backups-hit-an-all-time-high/

For the past twelve years we’ve commissioned an annual poll conducted by The Harris Poll asking people the simple question, “How often do you backup all the data on your computer?” and published the results here on the blog. In 2009 we decided to make this an annual event and declared June to be Backup Awareness Month.

Entering this June, we’re curious to see how the changes we’ve seen in the world since the beginning of this year have affected our behavior when it comes to backing up. This year we also asked if people understood the difference between cloud backup and cloud storage—spoiler alert: many don’t. Let’s dig into the numbers!

Are We Backing Up?

There’s good news in this year’s report! Among those who own a computer the percentage who state that they “never” back up all the data on their computer continues to decrease. Even better, the number of people backing up once a year or more frequently is increasing. Even with all that good news though, there’s still work to be done. Roughly one fifth of those who own a computer (19%) say they have “never” backed up all their data. If you add that to those who back up all the data on their computer less than once a year, that number balloons to one in three (33%).

The fact that almost one in five of those who own a computer have never backed up all the data on the computer is still alarming, as they are vulnerable to losing important documents, photos, and other files. We still have work to do to reach all those people to convince them how easy and economical it is to protect their data through regular backups.

But let’s look more closely at the data:

We love seeing that “daily” and “weekly” number increasing. Those are positive trends and more proof that simple backup solutions are causing more people to take action and protect their data.

Trending Upwards

You can see that the number of people who are backing up frequently has increased substantially over the years. As the “daily,” “weekly,” “monthly,” and “yearly” categories increase, we’d expect to see the “never” category decrease, and that’s a great sign of awareness.

Here’s a detailed look at the numbers from our surveys in 2008 through 2019.

Key Takeaways and Fun with Numbers

Every year after the poll is conducted, we sift through the poll data to see what conclusions we can draw from the results. Our pollster gives us demographics about the subjects surveyed such as the region of the U.S. where they live, level of education, household income, and whether they own a computer or not (kind of important, we think, for this poll). Here’s what stood out:

  • Almost one in five (19%) of those who own a computer have never backed up all the data on their computer. We’re making some progress, but with almost 50% of people losing data each year, we want to get that number down much further!
  • 10% of those who own a computer say they back up all the data on their computer once a day or more. That’s the highest daily backup percentage we’ve ever recorded.
  • There’s still a lot of cloud confusion out there with 41% of Americans saying they do not understand the difference between cloud backup and cloud storage. (And for even more nuance: cloud backup vs. cloud sync.)
    The age group with the highest rate of daily or more backup was the 35-44 year old group at 15%—a mix between Gen X and Millennials. (Who’d of thunk it?)
  • The Northeast region of the United States has a high rate of daily backup or more with 15% vs. 9% in the Midwest and only 8% in the West.
  • A few years back, seniors (65+) were the best at backing up, but now as a group they’ve slid back. 30% have never backed up their computer and only 8% back up once a day or more.
  • It seems the folks in the Midwest who own a computer are the most at risk to lose data, with 26% having never backed up all the data on their computer versus 18% each in the Northeast and West, and 17% in the South.
  • Want to back up more often? Think outside the box and have children. Those who are not parents of children under 18 are more likely than those who are to have never backed up all the data on their computer (23% vs. 12%). It would seem that backing up is necessary with children running around…

Past Surveys and Findings

Here are links to our previous blog posts on our annual Backup Awareness Survey:
2019 – More People Than Ever Are Backing Up
2018 – Computer Backup Awareness in 2018: Getting Better and Getting Worse
2017 – Backup Awareness Survey, Our 10th Year
2016 – Data Backup: Are You a Hero or a Zero?
2015 – Computer Backup: Pick a Card, Any Card
2014 – Seniors are the Kings of Data Backup
2013 – The Survey Says: Apathy is Winning
2012 – 10% now back up daily, 90% to go!
2011 – 94% of computer users still risk data loss
2010 – Backup Awareness Month – June 2010
2009 – June is Backup Awareness Month
2008 – In 2008 we did the survey, but did not write a blog post.

Our Backing Up Action Plan

The best way to succeed at a task that’s sometimes neglected is to make it so easy that it gets done. Fortunately, computers are good at automation and backing up can be configured to happen quietly and automatically in the background.

We believe that the reason more people are successful at backing up is that they have discovered automated backup solutions such as Backblaze Personal Backup.

Backblaze Personal Backup can be installed on a Mac or PC and in less than a couple of minutes will be on the job continuously backing up your data. In many situations, the default settings are fine so there’s nothing else to do.

If more people use solutions like Backblaze Personal Backup and automate their backups, the poll results will continue to improve, but more importantly, people will be less likely to lose their valuable photos, messages, financial records, and other important files and documents.

It will be interesting to see whether the poll results next year show even more people backing up. We hope so.

How You Can Help!

One of the things we’re trying to do is educate people on the different types of cloud services and storage options available. The links above are a great way to learn the differences so that you can choose the right solution for you. Those solutions are important considering that almost 20% of people still don’t back up their computers. We need to get that number down as far as we can!

You can also help improve the results for next year’s survey. If you’re already a Backblaze customer, you can let your friends and family know that backing up is important. You can even refer them to Backblaze using our Refer a Friend feature which allows you to invite your friends to an extended free trial of Backblaze Personal Backup. It’s perfect because they get peace of mind knowing that Backblaze is backing up their computers, and you’ll get a free month of service if they sign up with us! If you’re not a Backblaze customer, consider signing up for a free trial, and help us ensure that no one ever loses data again.

• • •

Survey Method:
These surveys were conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Backblaze among U.S.
adults ages 18+ who own a computer in June 1-3, 2020 (n=1,913), June 6-10, 2019 (n=1,858),
June 5-7, 2018 (n=1,871), May 19-23, 2017 (n=1,954), May 13-17, 2016 (n=1,920), May 15-19,
2015 (n=2,009), June 2-4, 2014 (n=1,991), June 13–17, 2013 (n=1,952), May 31–June 4, 2012
(n=2,176), June 28–30, 2011 (n=2,209), June 3–7, 2010 (n=2,051), May 13–14, 2009
(n=2,154), and May 27–29, 2008 (n=2,723). These online surveys were not based on a
probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Backblaze.

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Backblaze Cloud Backup Release 7.0.1

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-cloud-backup-release-7-0-1/

New Backblaze version is available

We’re releasing an update today for Backblaze Cloud Backup: version 7.0.1! This release comes with improvements to our Inherit Backup State feature, and some enhancements to the Mac and Windows applications.

What’s New For Windows & Macintosh:

  • Inherit Backup State
    • Has been rewritten to increase the upper thresholds for inheriting a backup state. In the past, some edge-cases existed where log files were too large to be inherited, resulting in a failure. This has now been fixed.
    • The process has also been cleaned up to remove unnecessary older files, which should result in better performance and less system resource usage.
  • .Bzvol Enhancements
    • Fixed a bug which sometimes showed duplicate volume listings in the apps, which led to confusion.
    • Fixed a bug with .Bzvol which resulted in no files appearing to be selected in some cases.
  • Minor security enhancements and improvements to logging.

Release Version Number:
Mac — 7.0.1
PC — 7.0.1

Availability:
April 9th, 2020

Cost:
Free for Backblaze Cloud Backup consumer and business customers and active trial users.
Upgrade Methods:

  • Immediately when performing a “Check for Updates” (right-click on the Backblaze icon and then select “Check for Updates”).
  • Immediately as a download from: https://secure.backblaze.com/update.htm.
  • Immediately as the default download from: www.backblaze.com.
  • Auto-update will begin rolling out in the next few weeks.

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An April 1st Post

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/an-april-1st-post/

April Fools' Retrospective

Every year around this time, the marketing department gets together to plan a strategy for April Fools—we say “strategy” because we take it seriously. And every year, some questionable ideas inevitably arise (someone invariably brings up illogical data center locations and has to be shot down). Patrick’s wife has been going on about a Cloud-Enabled Pizza Delivery joke (thanks to Lebron James’s pizza exploits at “Blaze Pizza”—nice name by the way). We’ve kindly had to let her down as well.

But this year, obviously, is different. And, given that there’s already more than enough confusion going on in the news when it comes to COVID-19, we all agreed that it was not the best time to add any more by making you wonder, “Did they really replace their Fireball service with cats?” No, this isn’t the time for April Fools posts and shenanigans, but that doesn’t mean you, our faithful blog readers, can’t have a little fun at our expense.

We’re completely focused on ensuring that our services deliver for you all, and part of that effort involves keeping up morale across our team and among you, our community.

We hope you and yours are doing well, and in lieu of spending a lot of time creating something new to help folks chuckle, we wanted to share some of our April Fools posts from years past—which we hope will help you crack a smile in case you missed them.

Andy Singing

One of the first things Andy did when he joined Backblaze was come up with an excuse to put on his Blues Brothers outfit and hum a few bars. He didn’t think this video was still online; we want to assure him that it is.

Yev Singing

Following in Andy’s tradition, I sometimes like to vocalize, though, unless you follow Critical Role (a live streamed DnD campaign), the context of my song will likely be lost upon you. But how could I promote Andy’s singing without subjecting you to my own?

Introducing Catblaze Cloud Backup

Cat storage. It writes itself. People have a ton of cat photos and videos, and they need a purpose-built repository for their computer’s curated cat content.

Introducing Furball: Rapid Content Delivery

Sure, cat data storage writes itself, but how do you migrate cat storage? What if you have too many feline photos on your computer and need to upload them quickly? Why not send us a Furball to expedite that cloud storage!

Bling 2 Cloud Storage

Sometimes people think our service is too inexpensive. We welcome them to try Bling 2 Cloud Storage. It’s the same thing as Backblaze B2, but brings the pricing in line with our competition at four times our usual price—perfection!

Storage Pods Crushed by Eagle Prime

What do you do with decommissioned, broken Storage Pods? Have a giant robot crush them of course.

DNA Storage with Backblaze Labs

We’re always on the lookout for new ways to store data efficiently. And we don’t mind repurposing our typically heads-down team at Backblaze Labs to do it. Blood drive anyone?

The REAL Story Behind Our Affordability

People have always been curious about how we can be so affordable. Well, here’s the real story.

Horse in the Office

One of our founders decided to scare people on the night time security camera alert email list with this little maneuver.

Remember Flappy Bird?

We built our own little version but sadly the fad passed before we could get it through QA and onto the app store.

We hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane with us. Please take care of yourselves and each other!

The post An April 1st Post appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Look Before You Sync: Cloud Backup Vs. Cloud Sync

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/cloud-backup-vs-cloud-sync/

Look before you Sync

Sync vs. Backup?

It’s a face-off we’re asked about a lot. But from our perspective, the “versus” should really be a “plus,” as the two are complimentary.

Having the right tool for the right job is something any contractor will tell you is imperative, and the same guiding principles apply to computer usage. Sync or backup, which to use? As it happens, using both sync (Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc…) and backup (Backblaze Computer Backup) services for your Macs and PCs is now a computing best practice. But there’s still confusion about what these services do, and that leaves some users in a vulnerable state.

We’ve been keeping track of trends and use-cases over the last few years and these misunderstandings about how to leverage the “cloud” for personal use appear to be on the rise. One common quip that often comes up in conversation is “I don’t need a backup, I’m using Dropbox.” Our usual reply is, “Oh, what tier are you paying for?” The response is almost always “No, I just use the free tier.” Which means, while they may not need to back up the data they keep inside their syncing service, the rest of the data on their computer is completely at-risk. And odds are, if you are using the free-tier of a syncing service, you have a lot of data that’s not syncing.

Since we’re in the business of protecting people from data loss, we wanted to offer a little more information about the differences and similarities of Sync and Backup, so that you can make the best, most informed decision about how to adequately protect your data using either or both service types!

What is the Cloud? Sync and Backup

The cloud is still a term that causes a lot of confusion, both about what it is and how services utilize it. Put simply, the cloud is a set of computers that someone else is managing on the customer’s behalf. These computers (typically called servers, or in Backblaze’s case, Storage Pods) typically live in large buildings known as data centers, where they are fed a constant supply of power, are kept in environmentally controlled rooms, and are connected to each other with incredibly fast networking equipment. That networking equipment also connects these data centers to the outside world, where customers can interact with the service providers inside the data centers.

The cloud is perfect for Sync and Backup services, because they both require a lot of space (in the form of servers) to store the data that is being synced or backed up, and a lot of bandwidth (all of that networking equipment) to make sure that data flows to and from the services rapidly. But, while both types of services require similar infrastructure, they are very different in how they function. Let’s take a closer look below!

When considering sync and sharing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or the slew of other options, people often assume they act as a backup solution as well. The word “cloud” only adds to this confusion, leading people to believe that all “cloud” services are doing the same thing. To help sort this out, we’ll define Sync and Backup below, as they apply to a traditional computer setup—a Mac or PC—with a bunch of apps installed and data on the hard drive.

Cloud Sync (e.g. Dropbox, iCloud Drive, OneDrive, Google Drive)
These services sync (short for “synchronize”) folders on your computer or mobile device to folders on other machines or into the cloud, allowing users to access a file, folder, or directory across different devices. What this means is that you can access a file via a sync service on your computer at home in the morning, make changes, then head to work or a friend’s house and access the same file with all those changes that were made on the other computer. You can also share that file with another user and they can make changes from their computer, which will in turn appear on yours. In either scenario the file is always synced no matter where you access it from. It’s important to note that only the files, folders, or directories you put into the sync service are synced. The rest of the data on the computer is not.
Typically these services have tiered pricing, meaning you pay for the amount of data you store with the service, or for tiers of data that you are allowed to use. If there is data loss (let’s say you share a file with someone and they simply delete it), it may be lost forever. Sometimes these services have a version history feature, meaning you’re able to recover an earlier version of your work (before your friend or coworker deleted it). Of course, only files that are in the synced folders are available to be recovered.

In some cases, relying on a syncing service as a backup can be detrimental. A recent ZDNet article—”Ransomware Victims Thought Their Backups Were Safe, They Were Wrong“—made clear that some people, who thought they were protected by their syncing service, where shocked to discover that the ransomware encrypting their computers also encrypted all of their synced files. With a backup solution (discussed below) with longer version history, these people could’ve simply rolled back to earlier backups, from before the encryptions occurred, and been back up and running with a quick restore. Where sync services ensure that a certain set of data is the same across multiple devices, backup ensures that all or most of the data on one device is backed up elsewhere. In this case “elsewhere” is the cloud.

Cloud Backup (e.g. Backblaze Computer Backup and Carbonite)
Backup services typically work automatically and in the background of a person’s computer, backing up new or changed data that is on your computer to another location. For the majority of backup services there is not much configuration involved and there is usually a fixed price (no tiering) for the service. In the event of a computer crash or data loss, all backed up files are available for recovery.
For the most part, backup services catalog and save the most recent version of all data, but many cloud backup services now offer features like extended version history, which helps recover files from past points in time. If you happen to accidentally delete or overwrite files without noticing it, or realize that an earlier version of a file is more useful than the currently saved version, you can recover that older work.
A Note on Backups: Before the cloud became an available and popular destination, the most common way to back up was primarily to a tape, a CD, or an external hard drive. As the cloud became more readily available and affordable, it quickly became the most popular offsite storage medium because it eliminated the need for manual backups by automating the process. Automation makes backing up much easier and more reliable.

Which Backup Service is Right For You?

Backblaze strongly believes in a 3-2-1 Backup Strategy. A 3-2-1 strategy means having at least three total copies of your data, two of which are local (or quickly accessible) but on different mediums (e.g. an external hard drive in addition to your computer’s local drive), and at least one copy offsite. A good way to think about this is a setup where you have data (files) on your computer, a copy of that data on a hard drive that resides somewhere not inside your computer (commonly on your desk), and another copy with a cloud backup provider.

Following data best practices is similar to investing. You want to diversify where copies of your data live to decrease the likelihood of losing your data. That is why services like Backblaze Cloud Backup are a great complement to other services, like Time Machine, iCloud, Dropbox, and even the free-tiers of cloud storage services.

What is the Difference Between Cloud Sync and Backup?

Sometimes it helps to have a real-world example, so let’s take a look at some sync setups that we see fairly frequently.

Example 1. Users have one folder on their computer that is designated for Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a similar sync tool. Users save or place data into that folder when they want the data to appear on other devices. Often, they are using the free tier of the syncing and sharing services and only have a few gigabytes of data uploaded in them. This is the most common example that we see and works great for people who simply want to have a little bit of data accessible across many of their devices.

Example 2. Users pay for a higher tier of Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc., and essentially use those services as their ‘Documents folder,’ meaning they primarily work out of that one folder. Files in that folder are available across devices, however, files outside of that folder (i.e. living on the computer’s desktop or anywhere else) are not synced or stored by those syncing and sharing services.

What both examples are missing is the backing up of any photos, movies, videos, or anything else among the rest of the data on their computer. That’s where cloud backup providers shine. They automatically back up user data with little or no setup, and no need for the dragging-and-dropping of files.

If Backblaze Computer Backup is added to this example, its application scans the hard drive(s) to find all the user’s data, regardless of where it might be stored. This means that all the user’s data is kept as a backup in the Backblaze cloud, including the data synced by sync services like Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Google Drive, or OneDrive, as long as that data resides on the computer.

Data Recovery

Beyond just where and how your data is stored, it’s important to consider how easy it is to get your data back from all of these services. With sync and share services, retrieving a lot of data, especially if you are in a high-data tier, can be cumbersome.

Generally, the sync and share services only allow customers to download files over the internet. If you are trying to download more than a couple gigabytes of data, this process can take time and can be fraught with errors. If the process of downloading from your sync and share service will take three days, one thing to consider is having to keep the computer online the entire time or risk an error if the download were to get interrupted. One thing to be wary of with syncing and sharing services is that if you are sharing your folders or directories with others, if they add or remove files from shared directories, they will also be added or removed from your computer as well.

Cloud backup services enable you to download files over the internet too and can also suffer from long download times. At Backblaze, we never want our customers to feel like we’re holding their data hostage. That is one of the reasons why we have a lot of restore options, including our Restore Return Refund policy, which allows people to restore their data via a USB hard drive and then return that drive to us for a refund. Cloud sync providers typically do not provide this capability.

One popular data recovery use case we’ve seen when a person has a lot of data to restore is for that user to download just the files that are needed immediately, and then order a USB hard drive restore for the remaining files that are not as time sensitive. The user gets all their files back in a few days and their network is spared the download charges.

The bottom line is that all of these services have merit for different use cases. For additional information, you can see a comparison of online backup and cloud storage services on this webpage.

Have questions about which is best for you? Sound off in the comments below!

•  •  •

Note: This post was updated from May 28, 2019.

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50 Billion Restores and Counting

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/50-billion-restores-and-counting/

Backblaze Over 50 Billion Served

50,000,000,000—that’s a large number. It also happens to be the milestone that we crossed (on February 5th, 2020 at 14:47 UTC) for files restored from our Computer Backup service! Back in 2016, Backblaze hit 20 Billion files restored for our customers. It took us almost 9 years to get to that number, and only another 4 years to more than double it (and that’s not even including all the Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage files that get accessed and downloaded every day).

50 Billion is a giant number, but it’s not just a number to us. It’s baby pictures, first step videos, PhD theses, long lost tax forms from years past, powerpoint presentations, digitized family albums, art projects, documents and writing, manuscripts, book outlines, and all manner of memories. We love that we’ve built a sustainable business around restoring people’s files which they may have thought were lost forever.

The last time we wrote about a restore milestone we went in and took a look at a typical month in the life of our restore system. Lets revisit that and take a look at the stats for January 2020, with a few new ones thrown in:

January 2020 Stats:

  • 28,841 Total Restores
  • 1,119,500,858 (1.1 Billion) Total Files Restored
  • 2.17 Petabytes of Data Restored
  • 3 Terabytes per hour—equivalent to a good sized external hard drive
  • 48 Gigabytes per minute—about one 4K UHD Blu-Ray movie
  • 810 Megabytes per second—just over one CD’s worth of data

Restores By Operating System:

  • 49.08% were Mac
  • 50.92% were Windows

Of all January 2020 restores:

  • 97.82% were Zip
  • 1.63% were USB HD
  • 0.54% were USB Flash Drive

The Average Amount of Files Per Restore:

  • 29,927 files – Zip
  • 518,756.23 – USB HD
  • 232,711.93 files – USB Flash Drive

The Average Size Of a Restore:

  • 42.16 GB – Zip
  • 2,081.42 GB – USB HD
  • 131.95 GB – USB Flash Drive

Total Data Restored:

  • Bytes: 2,169,762,976,872,020
  • Kilobytes: 2,169,762,976,872.02
  • Megabytes: 2,169,762,976.87
  • Gigabytes: 2,169,762.98
  • Terabytes: 2,169.76
  • Petabytes: 2.17

Based on ZIP restores:

Range in GB % of Restores
< 1 43.65%
1 – 10 19.38%
10 – 25 11.90%
25 – 50 8.90%
50 – 75 2.98%
75 – 100 1.92%
100 – 200 4.80%
200 – 300 2.38%
300 – 400 1.60%
400 – 500 1.41%
> 500 1.06%

We started Backblaze with a goal of preventing data loss, and we’re now recovering over 2 Petabytes of data per month, which is a stat that we are, to say the least, very proud of. To put that into perspective, it took us 2 ½ years to reach 2 Petabytes of customer data under management. Now we’re helping our customers restore that amount of data on a monthly basis.

We want to thank our Backblaze customers, and remind folks of how easy it is to restore data with us. You can download it for free via the web, recover your files via a USB Hard Drive or Flash Key, and use our Mobile apps to access your data on iOS and Android! To learn more, visit our restore webpage. If you want to test a restore, try this easy web guide:

Web Guide for Restoring Data

Do you have a great story of Backblaze helping you recover data? We’d love to hear it and possibly highlight it in a future blog post. Just comment below with the story of how Backblaze helped you get your data back! Need an example? Here’s a great one.

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Drive Stats Update

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/drive-stats-update/

An Update Before our Quarterly Drive Stats Report

Regular Hard Drive Stats readers will recall that our blog post about Q3 2019 explained that we planned to take a closer look at some drive failures we were seeing at the time and report back when we knew more. Well, we’ve been monitoring the situation since then and wanted to update you on where things stand. Despite the fact that Hard Drive Stats for 2019 are just around the corner, we decided to share this information with you as soon as we could, rather than waiting for the next post. In summary, this year (and going into the next year) we expect to see higher failure rates in some of our hard drives and we will be migrating some drives to newer models. Below, we’ll discuss what’s going on, what we’re doing about it, and why customers shouldn’t worry.

So What’s Up?

In a recent blog post, we interviewed our Director of Supply Chain, Ariel Ellis, about how we purchase and qualify hard drives to be deployed in our data centers. The TL/DR is that our qualification process is robust. Nevertheless, for all providers of scale in the cloud storage industry, trends that are hard to project during testing can emerge over time after drives are used in production batches of dozens of petabytes, or more, at a time.

What we’re seeing in our fleet right now is a higher-than-typical failure rate among some of our 12TB Seagate drives. It’s customary for hard drive manufacturers like Seagate, when working with data centers and cloud service providers, to ensure successful deployment of large-scale drive fleets, and as such we’re working closely with them to analyze the drives and their performance. This analysis usually includes things like testing new drive platforms in real workload environments, providing telemetry tools to predict failures, performing ongoing custom adjustments, and employing firmware development and replacement units (RMAs). Customer data durability is paramount for both Backblaze and Seagate, so as we analyze root causes and implications we’re also working together on a migration effort to replace these particular drives in our data centers. In the short term, failure rates for a subset of our drives may increase, but we have processes in place to adjust for that fluctuation.

Running a cloud business is complex, so it’s very helpful to have a partner like Seagate who can help us to react quickly and bring their expertise in drive deployment to bear in aiding our migration efforts. It’s worth noting that situations like this are not uncommon in our industry and often go unnoticed by the end-users of the services, as most cloud providers do not inform customers or the public when they experience issues like what we’re describing. Backblaze, on the other hand, is a bit more open than most companies in the industry.

We’re in a unique position because of the Hard Drive Stats that we publish, which is why we felt it was important to let folks know about the upcoming changes ahead of time. At the end of the day, we think this openness is helpful for everyone, especially our customers.

Looking Forward

In the near term, we expect to see moderately increased failure rates for this specific subset of 12TB drives, but as we complete the drive migration, we project our fleet’s failure rates will restore to historical norms. Meanwhile, it will be business as usual. We’ll continue to provide the most reliable, affordable, and easy-to-use cloud storage and computer backup available, and we’ll continue to provide our Hard Drive Stats for you every quarter.

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2019—A Year in Review

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/2019-a-year-in-review/

2019 Year in Review

2019 was a great year at Backblaze and we want to thank all of our friends, family, customers, and blog readers (why aren’t you customers yet?) for making it one to remember! If you’re worried you missed anything good or you’re just looking for some reading material over your break, we’ve got your back: read below to catch up on the good, the better, and the ridiculous here at Backblaze.

What’s New?

We were hard at work and thrilled to get a lot of interesting updates and features out the door this year, including:

Backblaze Version 6.0: Our “Larger Longer Faster Better” release saw the introduction of larger recovery hard drives, the ability to save backed up data directly to B2 Cloud Storage, a “keep restores longer” functionality that allowed already created restores to be archived into B2, network management and speed improvements for the Backblaze App for Mac and PC, a mobile app overhaul for iOS and Android, and the introduction of SSO with Google. Phew!

Backblaze Cloud Backup v6.0: Larger Longer Faster Better

The Blog Itself: We’d been hard at work on a blog redesign through the beginning of the year, and were ready to unveil the final product in April. This post covered everything that was new (faster load times, archives, post suggestions, better tagging, etc…) and gave a nice breakdown of all the changes.

B2 Copy File APIs: One of the more requested features for B2 Cloud Storage launched in May of this year. This new API allowed people to copy files, which unlocked the ability to rename and re-organize those files inside of their B2 buckets.

EU Data Center: We launched our first data center outside of the United States, firing up an EU Region based out of Amsterdam.

Backblaze Version 7.0: Version history and beyond! One of our most anticipated releases, extended Version History allowed computer backup users to upgrade the retention period of their backups and alleviated the need to continuously plug in external drives—a pain point we heard about a lot before this release!

Backblaze 7.0 — Version History And Beyond

Behind The Scenes

Taking a page from last year’s post, we wanted to highlight some of the articles where we took a look at ourselves in the mirror and dove deep into some of the internal goings on at Backblaze:

Storage Pod Museum: One of the things we’re most proud of is our storage pods, which enable us to store your data affordably, and pass the savings on. This post looks back at all of our different designs throughout the years.

Reddit AmA: Fielding questions from strangers can be pretty nerve-wracking, but we embraced the chaos and took some questions on Reddit. We highlight some of the questions that were asked and go over how we found ourselves on reddit to begin with.

Backblaze Opens Up About the Cloud on Reddit -- Gleb, Adam, Yev, Natasha, Brian
Left to right: Gleb, Adam, Yev, Natasha, Brian.

Who We Are & What We Do: A short post highlighting a video we made to help us continue hiring some of the best minds in their fields.

How We Got To Europe: A series of blog posts (Getting Ready to Go to Europe, The Logistics of Finding the Right Data Center, and Making the Data Center Choice) following us on our path of selecting our first European Data Center.

Raising Prices Is Hard: Not all news is good, and in this post we discuss how we approached our first-ever price increase, and why we had to put it off for over a year at the last minute.

New Faces

Last year we hired 34 people, and this year we’ve outdone ourselves and hired 48! Please help us welcome: Amanda, Brad, Crystal, Shaneika, Mark, Dan, Keith, Nirmal, Malay, Toren, Robert, Zach, Allen, Vincent, Michael H., Julie, Anu, Kim, Nicole, Christine, Queenie, Alex G., Art, Lisa, Cody, Patrick, Fabian, Elton, Matthew, Gloria, Dash, Griffin, Udara, Pavi, Sutton, Jeremy, Michael F., Jordan, Robert, Madeline, Eric, Kerry, Judith, Jonathan, John, Alex Z., Angelica, Foone, and Anna!

If you want to join our team, don’t worry – we still have a lot of openings, and more on the horizon! Keep up to date on our careers page!

Random Fun?

Not everything has to be serious—we know how to have a good time!

The Backblaze Furball: If you need to get all of your cat photos back in one fell swoop, we have you covered.

Catbox with floppy disks standing up in the litter

No, Thank You!: We take a look at some of the nice notes that we’ve received from satisfied customers over the years.

Interview From Storage Pod Pickup Day: While the actual giveaway process turned out to be much more complicated than expected, the pickup day itself went well, and we got to meet lots of fans—one even brought us cookies!

The Life and Times of a Backblaze Hard Drive: It’s not easy spinning at break-neck speed. This is a colorful tale of what our hard drives live through every day.

The Greenest Member of Our Support Team: Casey, or KC, or Casey2 (since we had one already when he joined) our head of support left for the land of Utah, but The Child he left behind is strong…

Our Newest Support Tech, KC3

Backing Up The Death Star: We take a look at the back up philosophies of the Jedi Counsel, Empire, and First Order and what might have been…(minor spoilers for the films leading up to Rise of Skywalker).

Numbers

There’s always a ton of numbers swirling around and here’s a few that we thought were interesting!

9% – The number of people who were backing up their files at least once a day according to our annual backup survey. In 2018, that number was 6%—we love seeing that trending upwards!

48,300,000,000+ – The number of files that Backblaze has recovered for our customers (both Personal Backup and Business Backup) since we started counting in 2011 (we only started keeping track 3 years after launching the service).

1,038,333,133 – The number of files that Backblaze restored in November of 2019 for our Personal and Business Backup customers. And that’s not including the amount of files that were transacted in B2 Cloud Storage. That’s purely the number of files that we’ve recovered on the back up side of our business. And that number makes us feel good!

115,151 – Spinning hard drives in our data center (boot drives included).

2,220 – Storage Pods in use today, using our Backblaze Vault architecture.

rows of storage pods in a data center

Looking Towards 2020

Foresight is never 2020, but we’re very excited about what we have in store for next year. 2019 was a fantastic year, and we’re looking forward to continuing our trajectory going into the next decade.

The post 2019—A Year in Review appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Introducing: Backblaze Mobile 5.0 with B2 Support

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/introducing-backblaze-mobile-5-0-with-b2-support/

An image showing the user interface for Backblaze Mobile 5.0 with B2 Support

We’re updating our iOS and Android apps! Starting today, B2 users will be able to access data stored in B2 Cloud Storage through Backblaze Mobile. For years, our mobile apps have allowed our personal users to access all of their backed up data on the go. With version 5.0, we’re now enabling the same access for B2 users to do the same!

What’s New in Backblaze Mobile 5.0

B2 Access

B2 Cloud Storage support has been added. If you have B2 enabled on your Backblaze account, you can now access your B2 buckets, browse files inside the buckets, and download them to your mobile device. Once downloaded, you can view, work with, and share them like you would any other file on your mobile device or tablet.

Three screenshots on smartphones showing a new user interface for Backblaze Mobile 5.0

Reducing Limits

Whether it’s a video that you want to show off, or a large presentation—you can now download it to your device without worrying about most file sizes. The only things to keep in mind are the available space on your device and your mobile data charges if you’re not on a WiFi connection! The file size limits have been bumped up to 5GB for your Personal Backup data, and uncapped if you are downloading B2 Cloud Storage files.

Smoother Experience

We’ve improved the apps, making them more performant and efficient—whether you’re using a brand new phone or a hand-me-down. We’ve also updated the apps to provide a better experience on tablets and larger devices—including updating the preview screen to make things even easier.
A screenshot of a tablet showing the Backblaze Mobile 5.0 user interface
A screenshot of a tablet showing the Backblaze Mobile 5.0 user interface

Available Now

To get the latest and greatest Backblaze Mobile experience, update your apps or download them from your local app stores today on Google Play or the App Store.

The post Introducing: Backblaze Mobile 5.0 with B2 Support appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide — 2019

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/backblaze-holiday-gift-guide-2019/

Backblaze 2019 Gift Guide with a picture of a holiday fireplace
Gift giving time is rapidly approaching and we at Backblaze are always interested to see what cool new things we can give our loved ones. This year we’ve rounded up a ton of games, watches, and streaming devices. Whether you’re planning for countless family gatherings over the coming months, or are just participating in the Reddit Gift exchange—these are sure to delight!

Watches

HDD Watch (A blast from the past…)
This was in our 2014 holiday gift guide, but we wanted to revisit it because it’s left the crowd-funding space and is now readily available for purchase. We love this watch for obvious reasons.

A watch that looks like a hard drive
Garmin Venu
We have a lot of athletes at the Backblaze office and this watch is becoming a favorite of theirs. If you want smart-watch capabilities, but with a fitness-first approach, this is a great watch to get started with. It’s ambidextrous, so both iOS and Android users can enjoy it.
A Garmin Venu
Apple Watch 5
It’s hard to mention watches without talking about the Apple Watch 5. The latest version of the Apple Watch is feature-rich and the go-to for Apple fans. It’s faster, it has more storage space, but the most revolutionary improvement from this version? It actually functions as a watch with the new always-on display. Crazy.
An Apple Watch Series 5
Fossil Hybrid
This is the watch for everyone out there who misses their Pebble. I had each iteration of the Pebble and this looks like something that could have been the “next step”—but with analog watch hands. The cool thing is, they move away when you’re reading messages, which is pretty slick!
A Fossil Hybrid watch

Random Fun

Dinosaur Fossil Lego
You’re into Lego and dinosaurs? Look no further.
A Dinosaur Lego set
Aero Plant
If you don’t have a backyard but want to flex your green thumb, this is a great way to start your own indoor garden. This is perfect for folks in dense urban areas (like the Bay) with tiny apartments!
An Aero Plant

Luggage

Scooter Luggage
Do you travel a lot? Need to zip through airports quickly? This luggage-scooter combo has you covered. We can’t speak for the quality, but the idea of watching someone zip along on their luggage makes us giggle.
Scooter Luggage
Luggage Scooters also come in bougie kid sizes as well!

Kid's Scooter Luggage

Scooting too much work? Ride it!
If you can’t be bothered to scoot yourself forward, you can even get a riding piece of luggage. Granted this is still being crowd-funded so your mileage may vary, but this luggage can also follow you around like a well-known bassinet in a popular Disney+ show!

A woman riding a Naucrate rolling bag

Smarten Up Your TV

Chromecast Ultra
The Chromecast Ultra is a great way to get 4K content from your phone, tablet, or computer onto your TV. All you need is the Chrome browser and this dongle, and you’re good to go. A side-benefit of this is that you can have party guests queue up their own favorite music. Though, that might be a downside as well…
A Chromecast Ultra dongle
Roku Ultra 4K
A great benefit of the Roku is that you can plug your headphones (3.5mm) into the remote and watch TV all night long without bothering your partner.

A Roku Ultra 4K
Fire Stick 4K
This is the easiest way to bring Smart TV capabilities with you when you’re on the go. A few years ago when I traveled more often, I would toss one of these into my suitcase to make hotel-room viewing less of a drag.
A Fire Stick 4K

Board Games (bored games)
Tip: Go to your local game store for these!

Terraforming Mars
The Backblaze folks play this game at least once a week in the office. It’s one of the better designed games we’ve had a chance to play in recent memory—we highly recommend it! Don’t miss the expansions offered, they add a lot to the game. We highly recommend playing with the Prelude and Colonies expansions!

A Terraforming Mars game in progress
Dune
We haven’t had a chance to dive into this game as frequently as we’d like, but we have it in the office and it’s on standby for when we’re done Terraforming Mars. Early indicators are that it’s a very well designed game and we are excited to dive deeper into it. The spice must flow!

A Dune board game in progress
Dutch Blitz
Family trips are made better by having a deck of cards or an easily transportable card game in your suitcase. Dutch Blitz is easy to learn and fun to play, though it does require some lightning quick reflexes from time to time!

A Dutch Blitz game in progress
Firefly Fluxx
Fluxx is a game that’s been around for a while, and we have both Math Fluxx and Firefly Fluxx in the office, both of which we enjoy playing from time to time. The rules are simple, but ever-changing, which makes for some dynamic game-play that can range from 5 to 25 minutes!

A Firefly Fluxx game in progress
Monopoly Deal
Similar to Dutch Blitz, this is a great card game to bring with you when you’re traveling. It’s simple, has the same elements of Monopoly that you know and love, but only takes about 20 minutes instead of the table-flipping 4-hour Monopoly marathons that you grew up with.

A Monopoly Deal game in progress
Dungeons and Dragons
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention D&D! It’s never too early to start or teach your children how to play. D&D is having a bit of a resurgence and it’s an incredible way to teach creativity, problem solving, math, and interpersonal skills. If you’re just starting out and the thought of creating your own adventure is too daunting, check out Dungeon Masters Guild for some smaller modules that you can use to dip your toes in! If you do buy the handbooks, we recommend showing your local game store some love and purchasing it there!

A Dungeon and Dragons Player's Handbook

For That One Friend

What do you get the person who has everything? The ability to make their own stuff! The Prusa Mini should keep them occupied for a while—and might result in them making some gifts for you as a thanks!
A Prusa Mini 3D printer


And, of course… Backblaze
You know it. You love it. Now gift it!

Give Backblaze Backup

We hope that some of these ideas spark a little joy or creativity in your gift buying this season. We wish you the best! What are you most looking forward to your loved ones (or enemies?) unwrapping this year?

The post Backblaze Holiday Gift Guide — 2019 appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.

Planned Maintenance (Monday October 21st, 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. Pacific)

Post Syndicated from Yev original https://www.backblaze.com/blog/planned-maintenance-monday-october-21st-5-p-m-7-p-m-pacific/

Maintenance

In order to increase system-wide performance, we’ve undertaken a journey to upgrade some of our core infrastructure. We are scheduling maintenance between 5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, October 21st, and likely during the same time period on Monday, October 28th.

Unfortunately this work needs to be done before our regular maintenance which typically occurs on Thursdays from 2 p.m. — 4 p.m. Pacific.

During this time a small subset of users may be affected by the following:

  • Logging in to www.backblaze.com
  • Creating Backup restores and B2 Cloud Storage Snapshots
  • Starting to download newly created restores (restores already downloading should continue)
  • Uploading to Computer Backup (Personal and Business) will pause (data will continue to be scanned and uploads will resume automatically after the maintenance)
  • Accessing and downloading data via the Backblaze Mobile Apps
  • B2 Cloud Storage users may not be able to upload files or authorize accounts (if upload authorization was already given, those uploads will continue)
  • B2 Cloud Storage users may not be able to create, delete, or update buckets during the maintenance window

Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage will continue to serve files. Not all Backblaze customers will be affected during the following maintenance window, but if you are experiencing issues, you are likely in the subset of users affected.

All Backblaze services are expected to resume once maintenance is complete.

We will be updating this post with information as we go through the system maintenance, as well as updating our Twitter feed for more information.

The post Planned Maintenance (Monday October 21st, 5 p.m. — 7 p.m. Pacific) appeared first on Backblaze Blog | Cloud Storage & Cloud Backup.