A big lockdown walk – and backups

My wife had her first COVID vaccination this morning, and I went out at the same time to take Scully on a walk while my wife went to the clinic. I decided on a longer walk to get some fresh air and exercise – during this COVID lockdown in which exercise is one of the valid reasons for being out of home.

I walked a couple of suburbs over to the Italian bakery that I like. It’s a bit under 3 km away, according to my Strava tracking. It was close to midday, so I stopped in for a pie for lunch. There was some confusion as I asked if they had the roast chicken pie and the lady said they only had curry chicken left. So I asked for a curry chicken pie and a beef pie, and she said no they only had curry chicken. I could see maybe 30 pies spread over two shelves of the pie warmer, thinking that normally the chicken pies would be on one shelf and the beef pies on another shelf – so I’d naturally assumed they must have had some beef ones in there.

Okay then. I asked for a chicken curry pie and a sausage roll. The lady said they were out off sausage rolls, despite the fact that I could also see three of them right there. I was a little lost for words as I looked blankly between her and the pie warmer. It was only then that she said that most of the pies and all the sausage rolls had been sold, they were just waiting to be picked up by customers.

With comprehension finally dawning, I realised I’d need something else to make up my lunch. I looked at some sweet options, but I hadn’t wanted to get anything sweet. Then the lady suggested the pizza slices! So I went with a curry chicken pie and a slice of potato and rosemary pizza. While bakeries in Australia virtually all sell meat pies, it’s very rare for them to sell pizza. It’s only because this bakery is extremely Italian that they do pizza as well.

Anyway, I enjoyed my lunch, sitting on a nearby bench with Scully. We saw someone walk by with a standard poodle, deep black like her, and about 5 times as tall! The contrast was pretty amusing. Back home I did a bunch of maintenance tasks on my computer and with various bookkeeping stuff that needed to be done. I squeezed in a bit of comic writing as well.

Oh, and I looked into some offsite backup options for keeping my files safe. One possibility I looked into was iCloud. I haven’t been using iCloud to store my Desktop and Documents from my Mac, because I have way too much stuff for the free file storage limit. I noticed that Apple offers 2 TB of iCloud storage for a not-unreasonable monthly cost, which would be enough to copy all of my roughly 1.3 TB of documents, photos, and videos. It should be as simple as subscribing to the monthly payment plan, and checking the box on my machine’s iCloud storage preferences marked “Desktop & Documents Folders”…

But some research indicates that:

  • My current Documents folder (without photos and videos) is 113 GB.
  • The typical upload speed on my broadband access is 19 Mbps.
  • This means it would take at least 13 hours to upload(!).
  • When you check the box to store “Desktop & Documents Folders” on iCloud, it just starts uploading everything, chewing up as much bandwidth as possible, until it’s done. And there’s no way to manage it by splitting it up into smaller sections or scheduling chunks to be uploaded at some slower speed.

Now, I could work around this by manually moving chunks of documents to another location temporarily, to give me some chunking control of the uploads at least. But I don’t know what this will do to my local incremental backups of my entire machine… I don’t want to suddenly have duplicates of 100 GB of files in my backups. Not to mention that if I want to put all my photos into iCloud, that’s another 1.2 terabytes (or 140 hours) of uploading…

So… I think iCloud will need to stay as just a method to share the relatively fewer documents that I really want to access on my iPad or phone, and I’ll have to look at some other solution as an actual offsite backup. To be clear, I have a full local backup system in place. I just want to add the extra protection of an offsite backup. I’ll either have to look into other cloud solutions or, possibly more likely at this point, just buy another 5 TB drive, do a second local backup, and give the drive a place to live away from home somewhere (a friend or relative’s place), where I can retrieve it every week or two to update the backup.

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