Global Tech Buzz: Backup Reminder

When was the last time you did a backup?

I got a reminder of that this week when my MacBook Pro hard drive started to fail and the gang at the Apple Store wanted to do a full hard disk replacement.

While I take most of my videos and pictures and put them in the cloud, I didnt have a full backup. I went home, and ran Time Machine on an external drive, and now I’m good to go.

Having a backup is VITAL. And you can’t just burn something to a disc, or put something on an external drive – you need to have multiple copies in multiple locations to be truly backed up.

By having multiple copies in multiple locations, you’re protecting against your media or hardware becoming obsolete. You’re protecting against your backup service being compromised or going out of business. You’re protecting against theft or destruction at home.

The most important things we want to save are images, videos, and some documents. You can do most of that for free.

IN THE CLOUD:
There are many free options to back things up in the cloud. You can toss your photos on Facebook, Flickr, or Picasa. You could put your videos on YouTube, or Vimeo.

If you’re worried about privacy, you can password protect your images, or restrict who views them.

When it comes to pay services, you can use a service like Carbonite which works in the background to make continuous backups of your system over the internet. You could also expand your storage space on a service like Dropbox which gives you instant access to your files in multiple locations from the cloud.

When it comes to documents, I do everything in Google Docs. My email, and my documents are through Google. Despite losing my computer (since Thursday!), I was still able to do all my writing, and research because my notes were saved to Google Docs, giving me access to my files on my iPhone, iPad, or my wife’s PC (ewww).

Here’s a long list of other online services you can use for backup.

EXTERNAL:
You can burn important files to disc, or an external memory key, or even a hard drive, but remember to not have them sitting next to your computer. If someone steals your computer, they’ll grab everything on that desk, that includes your backups. So keep it in another part of the house, or better yet, another building. Have a couple of external disks you swap from work or home, so you always keep them apart.

You can get 1TB of storage for around $100, that should be plenty to do any sort of backing up you need. Apple’s Time Machine program does backing up automatically, Windows has backup wizards too.

If you need a reminder to have multiple backups, in multiple locations, watch this video about how Toy Story 2 was saved after the movie file was corrupted, and they discovered the on site backup had been failing for 2 months. The movie was rescued only because the Technical Director had another backup – at home.

TV’s Strength Is The Second Screen

TV numbers aren’t shrinking.

It counteracts conventional wisdom, that tv should have it’s revenue grow in an era of time shifting, PVRs, piracy and streaming. But it’s true.

To be fair, we’ve been able to time shift (with a VCR) since the 70s, even though the PVR makes it easier, 95% of television is still watched within 24hrs of the first broadcast.

#HASHTAG #THIS

The reason?  Social.  The second screen is driving television viewing. The little “bug” in the lower right corner of tv shows no longer is just for the logo of the broadcaster, hashtags are showing up to drive the backchannel conversation online.  #glee, #thebachelor, #thevoice, and more are popping up during all the big shows.

The second screen, (phones, tablets, laptops), that people so often watch alongside the programs is turning television into must see / must chat tv.  The hashtags are encouraging people to join the live back channel conversation about the program.  Cat-calling outfits on The Bachelor, loving the music on Glee or cheering on contestants on The Voice or American Idol online is an integral part of the tv experience.

Where generations used to have “water cooler” chats about Seinfeld, Friends, Dynasty and others, the “water cooler” is now a second screen with a conversation involving millions.

By pushing the hashtags and encouraging the back channel, broadcasters have a legitimate defence against the PVR that would have people fast forwarding through commercials.

While you can engage in the hashtag conversation on social networks, some are creating specific apps to drive engagement.

ENTERTAINMENT APPS

citytvipad.jpgCityTV’s Social Stream app is all things Bachelor with threaded conversations pushed out to twitter and facebook but gathered inside a smooth experience.

There is a great argument put forth that every network website and app should flip into “second screens” for each program.  Gathering the conversation and creating hype and enthusiasm for the back channel will drive the front channel experience.  Not only is there a chance to monetize the second screen, you’re driving numbers to the live experience of the first screen where the real gravy is made.

Into Now from Yahoo! is trying to do that sort of thing for the networks. It recognzes your program based on ambient audio in the room (think Shazam but for tv) and then links you in to all things social related to that program.

Get Glue is a similar app, where you “check in” as you would on FourSquare and can then track friends and the social web to see who is watching, listening and talking about entertainment.  Bonus for Get Glue users are spanky little stickers you can collect.

SPORTS

It’s not just entertainment that is driving second screen engagement.  Sports is something that is a MUST to watch live and all you have to do is witness the explosion of hashtags during the Super Bowl to realize that the conversation can continue after a commercial is over.

In fact, in some cases the #hashtag replaced last year’s Facebook page address, but the good old corporate dot com had a big return.

An entire Social Media Command Center was created for the game in Indianapolis. More than 40 people were in the center monitoring the social networks to drive conversations, answer fan questions and raise the level of engagement.

In an ESPN interview with the Raidious CEO, Jackson stated “We saw a way Indianapolis could take things to next level in terms of how we use social media to deliver a great visitor experience. If they’re online talking about anything about this [Super Bowl experience], we’re able to determine that and respond to them.”

The second screen was effectively employed by those not even broadcasting the game.  SportsNet tapped into the power of Fantasy Football by having fans sign up to pick rosters of players to compete against friends.  The engagement was kicked up when fans were allowed to adjust their rosters each quarter based on performance.  A live game, with real online engagement.

POLITICS

And it’s just getting started. There were more than 700 000 tweets during Obama‘s State of the Union address.  GOP debates have been rabidly commented and hashtagged on Twitter.  As the presidential campaign pushes forth through the rest of the year expect the conversation to heat up online and for broadcasters to try and own that conversation.

IT’S CALLED THE BACK CHANNEL FOR A REASON

There’s just one wish I have for this rise of the second screen – that it stay on the second screen.  It’s great if broadcasters can create hubs for the conversation to be aggregated, but when they start reading tweets on air, they lose context.

The conversation is fast and flippant in the back channel.  It’s a very valuable tool that can add humour, call bs and cheer on the program – but it shouldnt be part of the program. 

I can sift through the tweets on my own, if I can just get them to slow down. (video is real time of the #thevoice hashtag after the Super Bowl)

CES 2012 Celebrity Preview

CES may stand for Consumer Electronics Show, but when the biggest trade show of the year hits Las Vegas, standing out in the crowd can be tough – enter the celebrities, making this the Celebrity Electronics Show.

CES 2011 saw visits from Rick Fox, The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga. This year’s show promises to bring a big star spotlight and thousands of screaming girls who love gadgets. Look out everyone, Justin Bieber is on the guest list for CES 2012.

Here’s the full rundown of celebrities, athletes and musicians scheduled to appear at CES 2012 and which booth you can spot them:

MUSICIANS

LL Cool J
Boomdizzle CNET/CBS Interactive Booth (LVCC, South Hall Lobby) Tuesday, January 10

50 Cent
SMS Audio (LVCC, South Hall, #20818)
3-4 p.m. Tuesday, January 10
12-12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3-4 p.m. Wednesday January 11
3-4 p.m. Thursday, January 12

Justin Bieber
Robotics TechZone (LVCC South Hall ground level #21964) 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, January 11

CELEBRITIES

Jillian Michaels
Sports and Fitness TechZone (N256, North Hall) 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 10

Eliza Dushku
Live on air with Spike TV 12:30-1: 45 p.m. Tuesday, January 10

Jabawockeez
Qualcomm’s keynote on Tuesday, January 10

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi
Zeikos/iHip (LVCC, South Hall, #21920) 2-4p.m.Tuesday, January 10

Seth Green
Shodogg at Showstoppers Tuesday, January 10

Wayne Brady and Greg Grunberg
OnStar’s Tweet House sessions on Wednesday, January 11

ATHLETES

Alistair Overeem
Qualcomm (LVCC, South Hall, #30313)
2 p.m. Tuesday, January 10
2 p.m. Wednesday, January 11
12 p.m. Thursday, January 12

Robert Horry
Haier America (LVCC, Central Hall, #9826) 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, January 10

John Salley
Haier America (LVCC, Central Hall, #9826) 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 11

Dennis Rodman
Paltalk (LVCC, South Hall, #26915) 2-3:30 p.m. Thursday, January 12

2011 Future Shop Boxing Day Sale App / Flyer

Yes, Virginia, even on Boxing Daythere is an app for that.

Once again, Future Shop‘s Boxing Day Sale will happen on Christmas Eve at 8p EST.  This year, you won’t be tethered to a computer while the rest of the family is gathering, you can get everything done on your smart phone.

So if you’re wanting to take advantage of sick savings, get the Future Shop iPhone app and become familiar with how it works so you can elbow your way through the online crowds with ease.  If you’re not on an iPhone, no worries – FutureShop.ca‘s mobile site has just been rejigged for a better experience.

Here are some of the pro tips to get you ready for Boxing Day:

Familiarize yourself with the site/app. Open an online shopping account and do a test run so you can see how the system works.  You can abort the purchase right before the end, but o through to make sure you have all the info the site needs.  There’s a great breakdown of the Future Shop app with screenshots and tips and complete directions.

Charge your batteries, check your signal. Make sure your phone is fully charged and you’re either on a strong WiFi network or you have full bars from wherever it is you’re going to be doing your shopping.

Get social.  If you’re on Twitter or Facebook, follow or like the Future Shop accounts to get more inside advice and help on the fly.

Have a list. Check it twice.  A lot of the Boxing Day flyers have already been released.  Price compare, find your best deal and read the reviews of the items to make sure it’s what you want.

How big is the Future Shop Boxing Day Sale?  Check out these appetizers:

  • Denon 945 watt 7.2 Multi-Zone Receiver, $449.99 (Savings of $550). Web only
  • Monster Turbine Pro in-ear headphones, $99.99 (Savings of $300). Web only
  • Frigidaire Front Load Laundry Pair (white), $599.98 (savings of $400)
  • Bosch Built-In Dishwasher, $499.99 (savings of $450)
  • BlueAnt S4 Speakerphone (voice activated), $59.99 (savings of $60)
  • BlackBerry 16GB PlayBook with Wi-Fi, $199.99 (savings of $200)
  • HP 15.6″ AMD Dual Core C-50 Laptop, $299.99 (savings of $100)
  • Canon Rebel T3 Camera Bundle, $699.99 (savings of $350)
  • Monster Beats Studio By Dr. Dre Headphones, $229.99 (savings of $120)
  • Panasonic 60″ 1080p 600Hz Plasma Smart TV (TCP60S30), $999.99 (savings of $500)
  • LG 55″ LV4400 LED TV, $999.99 (savings of $250)
  • Sharp 42″ LCD TV (LC42D69), $399.99 (savings of $150)
  • Energy Reference Connoisseur 4-Way Tower Speakers (RC-70) – Black, pair, $999.99 (savings of $1,500)
  • Pioneer 7.2 Channel Network Receiver (VSX-1326-K), $749.99 (savings of $750)

You can see the full flyer online today.

If the thought of Boxing Day shopping on Christmas Eve doesn’t really getting you excited, you can still go old school.  Future Shop stores, in most provinces, open at 6a on Monday.

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.