I do not have a comprehensive backup strategy. I keep reading well-reasoned arguments for at least 3 complete (bootable) backups, scratching my head, and saying, "Yeah, if I had a couple thousand unused, I could do that." Yes, I know drives are cheap, but I have 3 important systems to back up, and 4 more where perhaps a dozen files matter combined. Between the important systems, I'd need about 600gb usable, and Joe thinks you need 3 bootable backups, and I'm a strong believer in keeping the backups permanently away from the originals (not on a rotating cycle, but never-the-twain-shall-meet time -- what else is broadband for?).

http://www.takecontrolbooks.com/backup-macosx.html

Unfortunately, whenever I kick off an rsync job to update my remote backups (one set, not 3), Amy complains every day because Internet access is so slow. I think I have throttled it back enough to be unintrusive, but I just don't remember, and (especially at an unobtrusive fraction of our 384kbps DSL uplink), it just takes so dang long.

http://rsync.samba.org/

But I'm not too worried, because 95%+ of my important data is in Eudora on my iPod (yes, I know iPods die -- I've killed more than my fair share, along with Zip disks, Orb disks, and even a 2.5" FireWire drive), and I use Synchronize Plus X to back up my iPod to my primary home and work machines automatically, every time I plug it in. This is a great feature of Synchronize, which mitigates my annoyance with their licensing.

Every morning when I get to work, I dock the iPod; Synchronize sees it, launches Eudora, backs up changed files to my work desktop's hard disk, and launches an AppleScript to bring up a couple applications. When I'm done, I type eject in a Terminal window, my iPod unmounts, and login.keychain is locked (flushing ssh keys in the process). On my home PowerBook, the process is the same.

So I know my backup system works well, because I test restores whenever there's a problem with the iPod (perhaps twice a year). But I still feel nervous erasing it before sending it away. I actually did this today -- a couple months after its 2-year anniversary, my 60gb iPod photo's battery won't last an hour. Apple told me they'd fix it under extended AppleCare, but changed their minds and cancelled the repair -- without telling me. I paid the $70 and sent it in today; I'm running off our old 10gb iPod in the interim.

For the next step, I'm moving my website into Subversion. I already keep Julia's school site & Bjorn's site & documentation in Subversion, and last week I got sick of making manual backups of a piece I'm writing for TidBITS, so I reorganized and checked in my writing (not that there's much of it). Tonight, I threw out 4gb of my 7gb ~/public_html in preparation for checking in (most of) the rest of it.

Backing up a Subversion repository is easy, and will bring me to about 99% of important data backed up (not counting MP3s -- are already replicated to 2 Macs & an iPod -- or iPhoto libraries, which require different handling, but should back up quite well via rsync; but I have to get Julia's few [important] pages into Subversion too).