Given that a sad number of wrimos every year lose their novels due to technical glitches and device failures, I thought it might be interesting to do an informal poll. I will document the interesting answers on a naperwrimo wiki page.
I use subversion to a Dreamhost shared host. I have a perl script that calculates the incremental word count (useful for word wars) and does a remote commit (I'm able to do this because I use vim to write my novel with the markdown mark-up, so the story is all in text). I've toyed with the idea of using WWW::Mechanize to extend the perl script to simultaneously update the NaNoWriMo server word count, but haven't done that part yet.
I use subversion because Dreamhost offers it; but there are other version control packages (like git) that would work as well. For that matter, there are perl APIs to google drive, though I'm not sure if files uploaded there would be diffed under version control.
I am very confident that subversion works. I do very frequent checks of my word count via my script and I can see immediately if the subversion commit ever fails (e.g., if the network connection is down). The one drawback is that I do need a network connection to do my backups but I rarely am writing in a location without that.
I have been fortunate to never have had to restore from backup, though I have sometimes used subversion to query earlier progress on my novel.
Usually, I export a zipped copy of my novel from Scrivener and save it to my external hard drive. This year, I'm actually writing in Google Drive because it allows me easy access at work, so I'm then copying everything into Scrivener as my backup instead of my primary. I should probably go ahead and back up my back up when I get home, though.
Google Drive. Then periodically I make a copy to Dropbox, which also keeps a copy locally.
I've been using Google Docs/Drive for the past year with zero problems. I always had the issue of a bunch of random files with different edits in them that were hard to manage, but Google Docs just keeps it all synched and it's much easier.
That being said, since you use Markdown, Tim, why not just use version control? And then you could store it on Github or something. I do that with my Markdown articles.
Google docs man. Seriously, best thing ever. Access my work from anywhere, at any time, from near any device. MAYBE once I reach a major point I download a copy for local use. The only time I ever lost a document in Google Drive was ONCE in my entire life and google was able to recover it.
What is your back up solution? Dropbox + two computers (desktop and netbook)
Why do you use it? Dropbox keeps copies of all my files plus 30 days worth of backups on the cloud. It also syncs between my two computers. I get in moods on which computer to use so I needed something anyways to sync between the two.
How confident are you in your solution? Very. As long as Dropbox doesn't burn down the same day as my home burns down, I'm good.
Have you ever had to restore from backup? I once misplaced a folder (I accidentally moved it into another folder) and recovered that before finding the misplaced folder. I also have had two versions of the same file (Dropbox will create duplicates if you alter a file on two different computers without syncing them first so one file doesn't override the changes on the other). That's the closest I got to needing a backup.
I am totally dependent on Google Drive/Docs. Since I do my writing and general internetting on a Chromebook, Google Docs is just the best option for me. I'm pretty confident in its security and reliability, but I do sometimes get anxiety about the fact that everything I've done in the past few years is there and it all depends on the Google servers...I need to go lie down now.
I did have an issue with losing work during my second attempt at NaNo back in 2007. I was writing on an AlphaSmart Neo, which was a pretty great little machine and worked well because I didn't yet have a laptop and needed to write on-the-go. I copy & pasted wrong at some point and completely lost 9,000 words. I took the next day off and made up the difference because I was so upset about losing it all. And I still won that year!
Here, you can get a copy of all (or select folders) ofthe documents in Google Drive at once by using 'Google Takeout', which will create an archive of all of them in the format you desire. You can also export any document individually from itsFile menu, again to whatever format you want. I recommend doing this any time you get anxious.
Hey, thanks for this! I have such an enormous amount of stuff in there that I don't think I could do a full Google Takeout. But it's nice to know that I can do individual documents if I need to. Thanks!
I use dropbox with Scrivener. There's a 'back up' option that I do several times a day. To avoid having hundreds of copies, I only keep the last 3 or 4. I bring the latest version from Dropboxup on another laptop occasionally to verify they're working. (I once had an issue with the zip version of back up giving me 0 length files, so I like to verify that the backups are working.)
Or you could put all your most important documents in one top-level folder (it doesn't let you pick a folder inside a folder), and it will allow you to select just that folder to export inGoogle Takeout. A lot faster than the manual export. Just sounded like you badly needed a few things backed up, is all :)
Stage 1: Scrivener's backup utility. This step just makes sure that I've got a local backup in case my computer shuts down unexpectedly and corrupts my file or dropbox has a little accident and revisions my files back to neverwhen.
Stage 2: Dropbox. My Scrivener document lives in a dropbox folder, so I can write/edit on my desktop or laptop. This (in theory) makes sure that my work is saved in the cloud, for catastrophic failures of home integrity.
Stage 3: NAS drive. This does a nightly backup of my work harddrive, saving all of my freelance work changes (including my writing) onto a separate machine. Cheap to build, fun to put together, and provides me with more peace of mind.
Stage 4: External Harddive. I have what I call "stacks," a seagate 1tb external that I only plug in to make big backups of finished projects. I keep it away from the rest of the equipment and unplugged, so it'll be safe if I get nailed by lightning.
Stage 5: (Last one, I promise) FTP Backups to a remote server. Every week I have my backup software zip up a large archive of my work documents and FTP them to the server that I use for my websites. Bring on the meteorites.
Incidentally, I'm reasonably confident in my backup solution(s), the problem is more determining what will work best and fastest in a given crisis. I did have to do a full drive-wipe and fresh windows install in the middle of my last project (which was a boardgame, not a writing project) but thanks to a step I forgot, it all worked out. So here it is:
Stage 0: Separate Internal Harddrive. I keep my work off the OS disk, so that in case of a serious windows fault, all I have to do is pull the work drive, wipe the system to zeroes, and reinstall. The part that takes the longest here is of course reinstalling all my work apps, but I got back up and running in about a day the last time I had to do this. It also means that I can yank the drive quickly in some kind of weather emergency, even if I can't get the whole computer.
To answer "why": I'm a freelancer, and I can't afford to lose work, it's as simple as that.
1.& 2. I simply use Dropbox and an external flash drive. Two copies at the end of every writing session. I also use OO.o so I can use their auto-save and recovery options when needed. And once I used a camera. (see below)
3. I have high confidence in my flash drives. I've had to use them often. (see below)
4. I have had to restore at least once every year that I've done NaNo. When my laptop hangs, the Open Office auto saves and recovers the best version of my document it can, but that doesn't always work. The flash copies are still my goto option and are easy to recover with. The weirdest thing that ever happened to me was a time when I finished my writing session, saved, backed up, then had an idea that I wanted to get written down quickly. I typed it in, and before I could save or backup, my laptop hung badly. The only thing I could think to do was to photograph my screen and restart the laptop. I was able to retype my notes from the photo and ended up with a few extra words to boot.
What is your back up solution? Flash Drive, Onedrive, Google Drive, E-mail, External Hard Drive, Hard Drive, print copy
Why do you use it? Let's just call me paranoid about losing
How confident are you in your solution? Pretty much 100% as I'm just psycho when it comes to back ups
Have you ever had to restore from backup? In the past yes I have. When switching constantly between a tablet (that always needs internet or no update) and a desktop I have lost things. I have also lost laptops to horrible crashes with no way of restoring. Heck it wasn't until I was wanting to check the final word count of my first novel in the series that I realized there was only a single copy that held all 74k. I now have more places for that but man oh man did that scare the living hell out of me.
NaNo 2012 - Win! (in only 12 days)
April 2013 Camp - Win!
July 2013 Camp - Win! (18 days)