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Lasers, Forklifts, and the Backblaze B


Backblaze had a large presence at Macworld 2014 this year, and we had a great time at the show. We love going to Macworld and spreading the good word about online backup. We spoke with lots of interesting people, met with tons of Backblaze users, and even got some of them on film. One of the questions that we kept getting though was, “Where did we get that big B?”

B-Pod-2Based on my napkin drawing, Andy’s blueprints that we sent to our vendors.

The B started as a fluke. Initially we wanted to have a small presence at Macworld this year. Last year we were in the Appalooza section and this year we wanted to have a little modest booth where we could film some of our Backblaze fans and spread the word about online backup.

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The bare pieces start coming together.

A few weeks before the show, a large space opened up and we were given the opportunity to occupy it. We debated for a few days about whether or not it was a good idea to go that big, but ultimately we decided to go for it. After all, how often do you get a chance at a primo spot on the Macworld floor? But then we were faced with a problem. With large booths come large responsibilities. What were we going to do with all that new-found space?

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The B starts to take shape.

We started brainstorming in the office, but the best idea came from our CEOs wife, Katia. Gleb came in to the office and said, “Katia thinks it would be pretty cool if we built a giant B out of our Storage Pods”. This got the wheels turning and we decided that we were going to try and pull it off, with two weeks to go before the show.

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Getting ready for a paint job.

I immediately started down the path of working with our existing pod builders to see if it would be possible to build 18 chassis (by my estimation) and set them up in a way that would resemble a big letter B, for Backblaze. I drew it on a napkin, Andy made a schematic (seen above) and we sent it to our vendors.

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Looks good in red! – Click here for a video of the painting process.

It quickly became apparent that our existing vendors weren’t going to be able to get it done in time without affecting our regular Storage Pod deliveries, so we had to think quickly and come up with a new place to get our Storage Pods bent in to shape.

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Taking delivery of the B.

Our savior came in the form Ally Bocchieri, who found us Exact Corp, a farming equipment manufacturer. A weird choice? Not really! We needed metal bent. They bend metal. We had a two week deadline. They promised they could deliver on time. Perfect!

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Unloading the 300lb B is a team effort, Backblaze CEO Gleb helps push.

I had a little request of them as well. We’ve never actually seen what it looks like when our Storage Pods were assembled, and while these pods are for display only and will never go in to production, I asked Exact to take a few pictures of the pods being assembled, and just like the B, they delivered. A big thank you to Exact, who not only delivered the B ahead of schedule, but also provided the documentation of its construction which helped make this our most memorable Macworld ever! Enjoy the photos below and live the life of the Backblaze B.

2014-03-25 15.16.43Our newly allotted blank space.

2014-03-25 15.19.43One of the scarier unloading moments.

2014-03-27 10.14.43The final resting space.

2014-03-27 10.15.05What people saw when they walked on to the show floor. Great placement!

2014-03-29 18.02.20The Backblaze show team – (From Top Right – Tasha, Sona, Damon, Dave, Nathan, Gregory, Andy, Natalie, Yev and Chris – Not pictured: Gleb, Brian, Zack, Anna, Monika, James, and Ken)

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Data center Dave starts taking apart the B for transportation out of Macworld.

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The B comes apart.

2014-03-29 19.17.58Loading the B on pallets for the return trip.

2014-03-30 14.06.25Luckily, the pieces made the journey home safe and sound.

backblaze-b-pod-officeThe B’s fabulous new home at the Backblaze office.

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Anthony: Technical Support Technician


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A couple of months ago we highlighted Nathan who had just joined our support team. Nathan mentioned he knew Anthony, who was quiet, smart, technically savvy and looking for work. We added Anthony to the list of candidates vying for an open technical support position. Interviews ensued and after multiple rounds, Anthony had elevated himself above the competition to the top of the list. He accepted our offer and joins Backblaze as a member of the Backblaze support team.

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Maryland but moved to the California when I was very young. I lived in Los Angeles for a few years and then moved to the Mountain View where I currently live. I’ve been here for almost 12 years now.

Why did you move here?
My mom was a Civil Engineer in the Air Force for about 20 years. We had to move around a little bit because of that.

Where else have you worked?
I’ve worked at a food startup in San Francisco, the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum, and the Merced County Fairgrounds.

Where did you go to school?
I went to school at UC Merced and studied Cultural Anthropology. I really enjoyed my time there because since the university is so new, I had a great opportunity to be a trailblazer and help solidify a foundation for newer generation of UC Merced students and community.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
I know I have to travel someday because I’ve never left the country (I know, I should!). Seattle was really nice. I really like the feel of the place, the people are nice, and I LOVE the weather.

Welcome to Backblaze Anthony.

 



Welcome Aaron: Systems Administrator


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Maybe we should say “Welcome Back Aaron”. You see, Aaron is a native Californian, from Sacramento, who moved to Austin Texas a few years ago. As much as Aaron liked living in “The Live Music Capital of the World” or “Silicon Hills”, he is really excited to be back home where he’ll be working in our Sacramento Data Center.

Where else have you worked?
In Austin I was at Spiceworks, but prior to that I’ve also worked in a start-up and a few other tech companies. I eat, breathe and sleep IT, so both my personal and professional lives tend to have a heavy technology aspect.

How did you get into IT?
I’ve been interested in computers ever since I was “old enough” to play DOS games on our 286 and was furiously typing BASIC games copied from pages in magazines. Later, I disassembled the family computer to learn how it worked and it didn’t quite go back together… At that point I wasn’t allowed on the new family computer, but did have the previous one for tinkering.

Favorite hobby – that’s not IT?
It’s hard to name a single hobby, I enjoy cycling (both road and mountain), radio control trucks and video games. Most weekends I can be found doing one of those activities, ideally a couple of them.

Where do you go to think?
Into the land of music. A pair of headphones, playing nearly any genre of music at a low volume, and I’m in my own world. Friends have joked that they’ll tap me on the shoulder if we are evacuating because I am able to become so focused with music in the background.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
I first heard about Backblaze when the pod 1.0 design was released in the blog. I thought it was amazing that a company would share their hardware design so openly and I’ve visited the blog since. I really enjoyed the posts about drive farming and the drive reliability statistics.

Why did you move back to California?
I moved back to California to be closer to family and of course to join Backblaze! The actual move to NorCal involved a 26’ rental truck towing my car on a trailer with a cat riding shotgun. Fantastic experience and I gained perspective on the challenges faced by professional truck drivers, but for me it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime solo moving adventure.

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(Editor: Wouldn’t it be wicked funny if we opened our next data center in Austin?)

 



Work for Backblaze at Macworld


blog-macworld-2014-comebyYou love Backblaze. You’ve woken up in the middle of the night asking yourself, “Self, why is it that I’m not working at Backblaze, I love those guys!” Well, here’s your chance!

Backblaze has a big presence at Macworld (March 27-29th) this year and we want someone to come spend a day with us at the Backblaze booth, front and center. Have a devotion to Backblaze? Want to help spread the word about online backup? Want to rub shoulders with Gleb, Yev, Andy, and some other Backblazers? Well listen up, here’s your chance!

How to Enter the Contest

  1. Create a video, 1 minute or less that tells us one or more of the following;
    • Why you want to work the booth
    • Why you love Backblaze
    • Have a good backup story? Let’s hear it!
    • Give us your best “Backblaze Pitch”
    • Personality is key!
  2. Send a link to the video to macbooth@backblaze.com by Midnight March 17, 2014. PLEASE, include your full name and send it from a good email address so we can contact you.

What We’ll Do

We’ll choose up to 5 finalists from the list of entries and then post them on our blog along with a poll, so that you fine folks can help us choose the winner. Once we have it on the blog, we’ll open up voting for a few days (this is when you work your social media magic and spread the word) and at the end of that time, we’ll see who has the most votes, and we’ll crown a winner!

What Do You Get

The winner will receive:

  1. A Macworld pass for you and your 4 closest friends!
  2. Lunch for you on the day that you’ll be joining us at Macworld!
  3. A Backblaze t-shirt!
  4. $250 for helping work the booth on the show floor!
  5. The ability to post or tweet yourself in action working the booth – selfies are encouraged…

What Will Your Duties Be

If chosen you’ll need to do the following:

  1. Choose when you want to work at the Backblaze Booth:
    – Thursday, 10:30am – 5:00pm, or
    – Friday, 10:30am – 5:00pm, or
    – Saturday, 9:30am – 4:00pm
  2. Show up at your scheduled date and time with your “A Game” – you’ll be chatting with the public and potential Backblaze customers.
  3. Be cheery and respectful – otherwise, we might ask you to leave…and that would be a bummer.

Rules of the Contest

  1. While anyone can enter, you are solely responsible for any expenses getting to and from the Moscone Center. We will not pay to fly anyone to California for the event or put them up at a hotel or pay your Muni fair or anything like that.
  2. Backblaze reserves the exclusive right to select the winner and our judgment is final.
  3. As a winner, you will receive a check for $250 from Backblaze. You will be required to complete a W-9 and you are responsible for all federal, state and local taxes.

 



Backblaze + Pebble


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Backblaze and Pebble? Talk about worlds colliding. I (Yev) love the Pebble, and I’ve been wearing one ever since my “Kickstarter Edition” watch shipped last year. More recently I’ve upgraded to the shiny and new Pebble Steel. Anyway, I’m also the social media guy at Backblaze, so I’m constantly monitoring the social-sphere for any mentions of our company.

My original Pebble, and my new one, not yet set up.My original Pebble and its replacement, not even set up yet.

A few days ago, this came across my screen: http://joe.sh/using-pebble-control-mac. Ever since the Pebble came out last year people have been teaching and writing programs for it, but I never thought that it would ever be linked to Backblaze in any way. Joseph Schmitt was able to use Pebble Apps and the Keyboard Maestro program to control his Mac mini server and iTunes. On top of that, he’s also able to use his Pebble to pause and resume his backups with Backblaze. Genius!

So thank you Joe, for coming up with an awesome new way for me to use my Pebble and for mentioning Backblaze in your post. Hopefully folks come up with some fun new uses for the Pebble, especially now that 2.0 Pebble App has shipped for Android! Have any fun ideas? Post them below!



Welcome Matt: Sacramento Here I Come…


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We’d like to welcome Matt to our Operations team as a Data Center Technician. He’s our first employee to work day-in/day-out in our “new” Sacramento data center. Of course other Backblaze folks will visit and help him out on a regular basis so he won’t get too lonely. After all we don’t want him roaming the aisles talking to Storage Pods, do we? Besides only our resident “Pod Whisperer” Sean is allowed to talk to the Pods… Welcome Matt.

Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Northern California, Davis to be exact. I lived in Michigan for two years as a child and was super happy to be back in California. I love living in the Sacramento-area since it’s about 2-hours from pretty much any climate you want: the coast, the wine country, Tahoe, etc.

What attracted you to Backblaze?
I really liked the idea of working for a company with an open and supportive environment – somewhere I can learn and grow.

Where else have you worked?
Most recently I was doing IT work for California State University, Sacramento

Tell us how you currently backup your photos, music, data, etc. on your home computer?
I’m embarrassed to say I don’t regularly do backups; I do occasional manual backups of our laptops to my desktop which has multiple hard drives and is kind of an all-purpose project box for myself. Obviously I’m going to change this bad habit.

Favorite place you’ve traveled?
I love the laid-back tropical atmosphere of Hawaii. My wife and I honeymooned on Kauai and Kona (“the big island”) and really want to go to Maui for our 5th anniversary.

[Editors note: Matt is working diligently on his admitted "bad habit" of not doing regular backups. He's installed Backblaze on his work system and plans to install Backblaze at home soon - baby steps, Matt, baby steps.]

 



The Oscar SHOULD go to…


One of the hottest topics of the Backblaze office is what movies are out and should we go see them. Well, it’s almost time for the Oscars and we’re excited to see who is going to win in each of the categories.

In our hearts though, we believe there should be one more Oscar category:
Best Data Loss Scenes.

Below are our favorite contenders of all time:


This great clip from “Star Trek DS9″ highlights the importance of backups!


In the movie “Fireproof”, they aren’t to kind to their PCs.


Superman takes on the dastardly computer in “Superman 3″. It doesn’t end well for the computer.
Continue reading…



Dragging a Desktop Through The Snow


Wow. People dragged their computers through the snow to get Backblaze.

Backblaze was at RootsTech a few weeks ago in sunny Salt Lake City and one of the things we did at the show was offer to install Backblaze on any computer that conference goers wanted to bring in. Even though Backblaze is easy to install, we had a lot of interest, and there was a line for installations throughout the entire show. When we asked folks to bring in their computers, we thought there would be a lot of people with laptops. We certainly didn’t expect people to bring their desktops in to the convention center.

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A future Backblaze customer brings in his iMac for the royal Backblaze treatment.

There’s something to be said for these individuals. Braving the wintery Utah weather to go home, disconnect and pack up their desktop computers, and then bring them back to the Backblaze booth at the show. We’re not saying it was uphill both ways, but it certainly was snowing.

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An entire desktop is brought in, and a large monitor as well. They are determined.

People always say, “I’ll do it tomorrow!” Most commonly they’re talking about starting a work-out regimen, a diet, or a chore that they really don’t want to do. Unfortunately, when it comes back up, tomorrow might be too late! These folks recognized the need to have a good backup strategy and went out of their way to make sure that all of their computers were protected, not just the lightweight laptops they were carrying around!