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25 Days of Gadgets - Day 22

December 22, 2008 - Dave Hecei
We all know that backing up your Mac is very important. Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks it is so important that they made it a major feature in the latest version of the Mac operating system, OS X 10.5 Leopard. They call it Time Machine and what it does is use an extra hard drive to backup all your important data.

If you have a tower style Mac, you should be able to just add another bare drive inside your computer case. If you have an all-in-one style Mac, an iMac, or a laptop, the MacBook or PowerBook, then you will want to use an external hard drive. Macs can use a drive with either Firewire or USB 2.0, but I find that Firewire is a bit faster and more reliable. External drives with just USB 2.0 are more common and less expensive.

There are a couple companies that still make Firewire drives, one name that you may recognize is Iomega. The Iomega Ultramax 500GB would make a great backup drive for your Mac, whether you are using Time Machine or other backup strategies. The drive even comes already formatted for the Mac, most drives are setup for the Windows file format.

The Ultramax 500GB is fairly small and the metal case is styled like the Apple Mac Pro tower. It has both Firewire 400 and USB 2.0 ports allowing you can choose your connection method. It has a stand so it can either sit on your desk or stand up vertically saving desk space.

The Iomega Ultramax 500GB external hard drive is ideal for anyone who needs extra storage space, or those who want to backup the computers. Street price on the 500GB model is around $130.

Remember, backups are important. It’s not if your hard drive fails, it’s when your hard drive fails, because it will fail some day.

If you are running Leopard, plugging in the Ultramax will cause a popup box to appear asking you if you want to use the drive for Time Machine. If you choose to do so, your Mac will backup your data to the new drive. This initial backup can take several hours, depending on the amount of data you have on your Mac. After this initial copying is done, Time Machine will backup your Mac at intervals, copying only the files that have changed. Time Machine’s backup is a version backup. An example of this would be if you were writing a report over several days. Each time you make changes to the document you are essentially making a different version of it. Time Machine will save each version allowing you to go back and retrieve a past version, even if you have overwritten the file.


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