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Google Gmail snafu lesson: Backup, backup, backup

Ian Paul | March 4, 2011
Gmail is hard at work restoring service to about 40,000 Gmail users after a software bug deleted their e-mail messages, folders, labels and filters. So, while things are looking good for those users affected by the bug, this episode proves, once again, that while Web-based services may be robust, you still have to take responsibility for your own data.

Blogging

The best way to save all the hard work you put into your blog posts is to save them on your hard drive before posting them to the cloud. Many blog writing programs are compatible with the most popular blogging platforms such as Blogger, Wordpress, or Tumblr. Mac users can use a blog writing program such as MarsEdit ($39.95), which saves a back-up of every blog post you write using the app. For Windows users, Microsoft's free Windows Live Writer will save your posts written using the program to a file in your Documents folder called "My Weblog Posts." Most blog services also have an export feature to download all the posts you've already written.

Twitter

You could subscribe to your own Twitter feed using a desktop RSS reader such as NetNewsWire for Mac or FeedDemon for Windows. But most desktop programs limit how many items you can download via RSS. Another option is to try a free service such as TweetBackup and Tweet Scan Backup, which let you grab your past tweets and export them to your desktop. Keep in mind these services can only grab a chunk of your most recent tweets (Tweet Scan Backup only grabs 1000). If you tweet more than that or are coming close to that limit, make sure you back it up before all your 140-character witticisms are inaccessible.

Backing-up your data may be a pain, but if you want to maintain control while still enjoying Web-based services you owe it to yourself to back up your stuff locally.

 

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