Storage Wares: Software, hardware options for backing up data
As part of an effort to address the foibles and pitfalls of today's technology, I've been taking a look at some common questions about modern gadgets. Last time around I talked TV. Maybe, just maybe, you went ahead and upgraded to that giant, glowing behemoth of a set -- now where to put it?
It might help to clear some space by upgrading that physical music collection to an entirely digital one. But how?
Let's talk storage. We'll start small -- pocket-sized small.
Smartphones are one of today's many must-have gadgets. A phone, camera, planner, fitness tracker and more, all rolled into one conveniently small package, smartphones have become an almost ubiquitous accessory. But with so many of us storing more and more data on phones, it's important to back that data up -- phones are easily lost, stolen and damaged.
To draw from real life, my girlfriend recently had a smart phone firmware update go wrong, resulting in a loss of all her photographs. Fortunately, she had backups on her laptop.
This sort of issue is, thankfully, easily avoided. Apple's iPhones can be backed up through the company's popular iTunes software -- iTunes often will prompt users to do so. The process is quick and easy.
Android users wanting to back up their phones have a slightly harder task ahead, but it's still simple enough. Settings can be backed up under "privacy" on the phone itself, while music and photos can be stored on any computer with a simple drag and drop method once the phone has been plugged in via a USB port (you know, the flat little adapters that never go in right on the first try).
But how, you might wonder, can you back up all those old music CDs? Well it's easy enough to bring your Billy Joel discography (or what have you) into the digital age.
The technology to burn CDs is hardly a new one, but one some folks understandably have trouble with, given the number of different software programs that handle it. But in this case, we're just talking about moving those files to a digital format. Once again, iTunes has your back and will prompt users about adding music files from a CD to their iTunes playlists.
Folks who don't like Apple products can easily move the files over manually, copying them into files on their computer's hard drive to the music player of their choice.
Of course if you're storing lots of music, or any other precious files, it's always wise to back those files up too. There are several options for this, the easiest -- but most limited -- being a flash or thumb drive. These small, portable drives are everywhere these days and obviously handy -- but are limited in capacity. For large collections of files, an external hard drive is what you want. These can be found online or at local retailers, usually at affordable prices ($100 to $200 dollar for a typical external drive) and are still quite portable.
There's also "the cloud." Storing items online is certainly a viable option, although it means your files won't be accessible without an Internet connection.
I'll talk more about cloud computing in the next installment of Byte Size, but in the meantime you can send more of your tech questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
or find me on Twitter at @TWebb_TMT.
Every week, nerd-in-chief and gaming guru Travis Webb takes a look at the latest, greatest -- and geekiest -- in technology, gaming all things nerdy.