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New backups: Arq to Wasabi

Sunday 27 August 2017

This week CrashPlan announced they were ending consumer services, so I had to replace it with something else. Backups are one of those things at the unpleasant intersection of tedious, difficult, and important.

A quick spin around the latest alternatives showed the usual spectrum of possibilities, ranging from perl hackers implementing rsync themselves, to slick consumer tools. I need to have something working well not just on my computer, but others in my family, so I went the consumerish route.

Arq backing up to Wasabi seems like a good choice for polish and price.

One thing I always struggle with: how to ensure my stuff is backed up, without needlessly copying around all the crap that ends up in my home directory that I don't need backed up. On a Mac, the ~/Library directory has all sorts of stuff that I think I don't need to copy around. Do I need these?:

  • Library/Application Support
  • Library/Caches
  • Library/Containers

I add these directories to the exclusions. Should my Dropbox folder get backed up? Isn't that what Dropbox is already doing?

Then as a developer, there's tons more to exclude. Running VirtualBox? You have have a 10Gb disk image somewhere under your home. I have something like 20,000 .pyc files. The .tox directory for coverage.py is 350Mb.

So I also exclude these:

  • .git
  • .hg
  • .svn
  • .tox
  • node_modules
  • .local
  • .npm
  • .vagrant.d
  • .vmdk
  • .bundle
  • .cache
  • .heroku
  • .rbenv
  • .gem
  • *.pyc
  • *.pyo
  • *$py.class

Of course, as a native Mac app for consumers, Arq doesn't provide a way that I can supply all these once, I have to fiddle with GUI + and - buttons, and enter them one at a time...

Lastly, some files don't seem comfortable with backups. Thunderbird's storage files are large, and while Arq copies only certain byte ranges, they still amount to about 300Mb each time. Should I even back up my email? Should I still be using Thunderbird? Too many uncertainties....

Coverage.py podcast

Sunday 6 August 2017

I was a guest on the Podcast.__init__ podcast this week: Coverage.py with Ned Batchelder. We talk about coverage.py, how I got started on it, why it's good, why it's not good, how it works, and so on:

I've only listened to a small part of it. Getting ideas out verbally is different than in writing: there's no chance to go back and edit. To me, I sound a bit halting, because I was trying to get the words and sentences right in my head before I said them. I hope it sounds OK to others. Also, I think I said "dudes" and "guy" when I could have chosen more neutral words, sorry about that.

Tobias has been doing a great job with this podcast. It's not easy to consistently put out good content (I hate that word) on a regular schedule. He's been finding interesting people and giving them a good place to talk about their Python world, whatever that means to them.

BTW, this is my second time on Podcast.__init__, and it seems I never mentioned the first time in this blog, so here it is, from two years ago: Episode 5: Ned Batchelder. The focus then was the user group I organize, Boston Python, so a completely different topic:

And in the unlikely case that you want yet more of my dulcet tones, I was also on the Python Test podcast, mentioned in this blog post: The Value of Unit Tests.

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