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Doubling Down on USB Flash Drive Restores


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2014 is upon us and in keeping with our January tradition of giving little New Year’s gifts to our customers, we’re increasing the maximum size of our USB flash drive restores from 64GB to 128GB! That means that for the same $99, we’ll overnight you up to a 128GB restore flash drive containing your data, and you get to keep the flash drive.

Here are a couple of things you should know. First, once the USB flash drive is formatted, you can store up to 110 Gigabytes of data on a drive. Second, if the amount of data you select to restore will fit on a 64GB drive (53GB of data) that’s what we’ll send you. In any case, the USB flash drive restore is a great option if you need to restore up to 110GB of data and you don’t want to use your bandwidth downloading the files.

Of course, you can always download your data for free using a web browser. Here’s a quick reminder of your options to restore the data you backed up with Backblaze:

  • Web Browser – For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser to download the files. This is good for small amounts of data, typically 1GB or less as the web browser itself is prone to timeouts and errors.
  • Backblaze Downloader – For free, you select the files/folders you want to restore using your web browser and then download and use the Backblaze Downloader to stream and checkpoint the data download. This is similar to apps like iTunes and Netflix in how data is downloaded. Be aware that larger amounts of data will consume lots of network bandwidth and will take time.
  • USB Flash Drive – For $99, you select up to 110GB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on a 64GB or 128GB USB flash drive. We send it to you next day express so you get your data fast and you get to keep the drive.
  • USB External Hard Drive – For $189, you select up to 3TB of files/folders you want to restore and get your files on an external USB hard drive large enough to hold your data, up to a 3TB drive. We send it to you next day express so you get your data fast and you get to keep the drive.

Thank you for a great 2013 and here’s to an even better 2014.



Comcast Secure Backup & Share shut down


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Comcast, the largest high-speed Internet provider in the U.S. with over 20 million subscribers, launched an online backup service called Secure Backup & Share in 2010 through a partnership with Mozy.

This Thanksgiving weekend, Dec 1, 2013, Comcast Secure Backup & Share is shutting down and deleting all customer data.

Comcast Secure Backup & Share offered:
* 2 GB for free
* 50 GB plan for $5/mo
* 200 GB for $10/mo

The first question is, “Why are they shutting the service down?”
It’s unclear and they don’t say. However, when Comcast announced this partnership in 2010, Mozy had a strong focus on consumers. Since its acquisition by EMC, Mozy has been moving away from consumers to focus on enterprise sales.

Perhaps this contract has expired and Mozy decided to continue defocusing on consumers by not renewing the contract?

Alternatively, or additionally, in Feb 2011 Mozy cancelled their unlimited service, saying the cost of storage was growing too quickly and that it was inevitable that all online backup companies would have to discontinue their unlimited offerings. We disagreed, explaining why our cost of storage would enable us to continue, and re-committed Backblaze to unlimited online backup.

Canceling their unlimited plan and switching to a 50 GB plan for $6/month upset many of their users.

Thus, perhaps Comcast found that customers strongly preferred the unlimited storage model so as not to have to worry about usage caps or surprise charges?

Or perhaps the contract from Mozy became increasingly expensive as Mozy’s underlying cost of storage was too high?

And the second question of course is, “What should all those customers do to backup the data on their computers?”
Obviously, we think the answer is customers should sign up with Backblaze.

Signing up with Backblaze enables customers to:
1. Still keep backing up their data for $5/month.
2. Get completely unlimited storage instead of 50 GB.
3. Have all data automatically backed up.

Did you ever use Secure Backup & Share?
Have other theories on why it may be shutting down?



Western Digital Warning Customers of Data Loss with Apple Mavericks


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Apple customers upgrading to OS X 10.9 Mavericks are complaining in droves about data loss on their Western Digital hard drives. WD has acknowledged the issue today in an email to its customers and is working to determine the root cause and a solution.

Western Digital recommendation
At this point, WD is recommending customers either:
* Hold off upgrading to Mavericks, or, if they have already upgraded,
* Uninstall WD software

To be clear, if you are fully backed up with Backblaze, you are safe.
You will be able to restore the data lost from your WD drive. If that happens to you, please immediately prepare a free download restore or order a USB hard drive or flash drive with your data. Before you prepare your restore, review the Backblaze file list for the WD drive you are restoring. If necessary, you can roll back time with Backblaze to before you installed Mavericks.

More detail on the cause
While it is not completely clear from WD or Apple the set of circumstances causing the data loss, WD at this point believes it is an issue between Mavericks and Western Digital’s WD Drive Manager, WD Raid Manager and WD SmartWare software applications.

In reading through the threads on the WD forums and Apple forums, it seems this has happened primarily to users that have chosen to setup their drive as RAID 0 or RAID 1. The experience for the user is that the drive appears to reset, simply become called MyBook, claim the partition is damaged, with all data gone. However, this is not yet definitive and the recommendation of not upgrading or uninstalling the WD software is the best plan for the “safe rather than sorry” approach.

Consider sharing this with friends who plan to, or have, upgraded to Mavericks.



MobileMe’s Complimentary iCloud Storage Is Shutting Down


Apple announced the closure of MobileMe on July 1st, 2012, hoping that its users would flock to the newly announced iCloud service. As part of the push to enhance iCloud usage, MobileMe users were given a complimentary 20GB iCloud storage plan if they moved over to the new service. Those plans are now expiring, and customers will need to either reduce the amount of data they store to below the free 5GB limit, or pay for the difference, which for that same 20GB of data, would be $40/year (the largest tier of 50GB is available for $100/year).

A lot of people frequently ask us what the difference between Backblaze and iCloud is, and should they use one or the other, or both. So here’s a quick rundown of what iCloud can and cannot do.

iCloud and Backblaze Comparison

What iCloud can do for you:
• Sync content from your various devices. This includes, contacts, calendars, iTunes, and the 1,000 most recent photos on your Macs, PCs, or iOS devices.
• Sync supported documents like iOS apps, some Mac apps, but not all apps are supported by iCloud, like Word for example.
• Back up most of your iOS device including: device settings, app data, iMessages, and ringtones (more information).

What iCloud cannot do for you:
• Back up content. Calendars, and contacts can by synced, but they are not backed up. Meaning there is no revision history, or the ability to restore from a previous version, should an error occur. Once syncing occurs, the changes are permanent.
• Back up anything from your Mac or Windows computer.
• Back up documents that are not supported by iCloud
• Provide unlimited back up. The current prices are: 5GB/free, 20GB for $40/year, or 50GB for $100/year.

Syncing and back up are not synonyms. Backblaze and iCloud are actually complimentary services:

• Use iCloud to keep your calendars, contacts, reminders, iTunes store music and most recent photos in sync between your various iOS devices and computers.
• Use iCloud to back up your iOS devices and iOS application settings
• Use Backblaze to back up everything on your Mac and PC including data that you sync from your iOS devices and iCloud enabled computers.
• Use Backblaze to have an unlimited backup of all the data on your iOS devices. Even if you keep your iCloud set to only accept 5GB of data, if you manually sync your device to your computer, Backblaze will back up that data as well.

Simply put, iCloud is an iOS device backup and content sync program. If you need that content backed up and also your Mac and PC backed up, Backblaze is the right service for you!



The Survey Says: Apathy is Winning


Why is Yev so sad? Is it because Backup Awareness month is nearly over? No. You see we just got back the results from our annual State of User Data Backup survey and the results made him sad. Let me explain. Each year for the past 6 years we’ve asked the folks at Harris Interactive to conduct this survey for us. Each time they reach out to thousands of people and ask them a simple question: “How often do you back up all the data on your computer?”

We sponsor this survey each June, in concert with Backup Awareness Month. While more and more people sign up each day with Backblaze to back up the precious memories and important files stashed away on their PCs and Macs, the survey is completely blind to that fact. The survey takers reach out across the US to grab a cross section of users from all regions of the country, in ages from 18 to 80+, across different social economic ranges, different educational backgrounds and more. The results are tabulated and sent to us.

For 2013, only 71.17% of the people surveyed have ever backed up their computer as compared to 2012 in which 71.21% of people reported doing the same. Basically that’s no change, nada. So how often do people back up their systems? Here’s a comparison of 2012 versus 2013. Not much change, is there?

“But, my data isn’t valuable enough to back up everyday.”

Some people tell us that they don’t need to back up everyday, for them once a week or even once a month is fine. At that point they back up their computer, usually manually, to an external hard drive or a USB stick and they’re happy. But nearly half of the people surveyed, accumulate 6 or more months worth of photos, videos, documents, spreadsheets, etc., before they back up their computer. Think for a minute about the files on your computer that you added or changed in the last six months. What would you lose if they were gone, forever?

The 10%

Reality check time. I would guess that since you are reading this blog you are a Backblaze customer. So we are, as they say, preaching to the choir. If Harris Interactive called you, you would happily say that you not only backup daily, you back up continuously and automatically with Backblaze. You are part of the 10% and we thank you.

But we know that over 50% of you are Backblaze customers because either you or someone you know lost data first. The truth is that in this digital age, many of the memories we cherish and the other important information we store can be lost in the blink of an eye.

Tell us what you think

As one of the 10% of the people who back up their systems regularly, what do you think of our survey results. Do only 10% of the people you know back up their computers daily or more often? Is it more than 10%? Less than 10%. Tell us what you think. You can comment below, tweet, post, email, whatever. Yev, our Social Marketing guru loves to hear from our customers, here’s your chance to make him smile.



Flickr Announces 1TB of Photo Storage.
Awesome!


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Big news in the technology industry this week as Yahoo’s board authorized the purchase of Tumblr, and Flickr announced 1 terabyte of photo storage. One terabyte of storage. That’s a lot of photos. By their estimates over 500,000 of them, maybe even more, depending on the resolution and quality. We think this is great! Having your pictures in more than one spot is a great idea, and one that we whole-heartedly recommend. That’s why we started the Backblaze online backup service, to make sure all of the photos, videos, documents, and memories you’ve accumulated along the way are backed up and ready for you, should anything happen to your computer.

The Flickr news is great for folks that have a lot of pictures and want a place to store them, but what about the other data? You may not think about it too much, but the documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, and videos you’ve accumulated throughout the years is just as important as the photos you’ve taken. For that, we’d like to recommend ourselves!

What do we offer? Well Backblaze is:

Unlimited – We’ll take all of your user generated data, no matter how much you have!

Unthrottled – Have a great internet connection? Awesome! We won’t hamper your upload speeds.

Uncomplicated – Get started in under 5 minutes. Just create an account, download the trial, and go!

Unexpensive – That’s not a word, but for $5/month per computer, we figured we could make it fit the “un-scheme”, plus that’s the most you can pay!

Want to use Flickr, or a service like it, and Backblaze together? Fantastic! The more places you have your data, the better off you are in case of data loss on your machine. Plus, folks tend to upload less than 1% of all the photos they take to various services; we’ll back up all of them! A good backup strategy is a lot like a good investment strategy, diversification is good!



As Seen on Ellen


Sometimes when you first hear an idea you think, “OK, that’s crazy.” That’s what happened when our PR folks came to us in marketing with the idea of having Backblaze be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It was a crazy idea.

For those of you who know Backblaze, we have grown from a gleam in our founders’ eye to a profitable, reasonably well known company in the Online Backup business. We didn’t spend our money on TV commercials, radio ads and the like, we relied on making a great product, and having our customers tell their family and friends about us. So when someone said, “you can be on Ellen,” you can understand why we thought they might be a bit of a loon.

It was just before Christmas when we were first approached with the idea of having Backblaze be on Ellen. We weren’t ready. We were approached again just before Valentine’s Day, then again before Mother’s Day. Each time we’d talk through it and each time we’d get closer to saying yes. But we still said no. This was a really big deal. Was it the right thing for Backblaze to do? Could we handle the new demand without compromising service to our existing customers? What would happen if nothing happened?

We talked around this for months. Our PR folks continued to nudge and slowly the rest of us in marketing got comfortable with the idea. It could work, we could do it, and it would be amazing.

So we said yes.

Contracts were signed, emails were sent, and we were on our way. A couple of Backblaze folks went down to Burbank to watch the filming (more on that in another post).

So here we are, Backblaze is on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Watch the video, enjoy the show, and remember to tell your friends and relatives about Backblaze, after all, that’s what we’re all about.

 


Award Winning Online Backup


A few weeks ago we told you we had been selected as a finalist for the 2013 SIIA Software CODiE Awards in the Best Cloud Storage and Back Up Solution category. We were very proud of being selected as a finalist, that was really cool.

Well guess what, WE WON! So, we are no longer a finalist, instead we are the winner! You can read all about the CODiE Awards on the SIIA website. Winning the award was awesome enough, but then they gave us the trophy you see above – is that cool or what? We’ve been admiring it for days and taking turns taking it home to show off. OK, so maybe only I took it home, but it is still an awesome trophy.

So we’d like to say Thank You to the SIIA and its members for naming us as the 2013 Best Cloud Storage and Back Up Solution winner. We will do our best to live up to the high standards they have set for being selected as a CODiE Awards winner.