1. Automated Scheduled WordPress Backups with XCloner

    Over the years, I’ve heard a few horror stories of web-hosts losing large collections of data that they’ve been unable to retrieve. I’ve always fallen into the “that’ll probably never happen to me” category, and have never taken back-ups more seriously than compressing my important folders and exporting my databases a few times a year. But, as I’m now managing more than five websites for family, a few bands, and a business – being able to regularly and reliably back-up all of their data has become a priority.

    In the past, my WordPress back-ups have been a tedious manual process. The most automation in scheduling my back-ups came from the monthly email reminder telling me it was that time again. Occasionally, I would run through my back-up procedure, dumping the MySQL databases for my sites, and packaging the files manually. But, between you and me, dismissing the email to worry about later was always the easiest way out. Even when I would go through with the back-up routine, the back-ups were not robust, as I infrequently pulled the database exports and compressed files down from my web host. What if my host went down, and all of my data was lost, including these back-ups?

    Meet the XCloner plugin for WordPress.

    This gem of a plugin backs up your files to a compressed package, drops the file on the hosted server, and provides options to beam it up to the cloud, via Amazon S3 storage, and also has the capability to send the compressed file to another location via FTP. With a cron-job, you can schedule XCloner to run back-ups automatically on any kind of schedule. The result is automated and scheduled WordPress back-ups of your MySQL databases and files, locally, and to the cloud.

    Go check out the XCloner plugin. It’s free, and has thorough documentation and support.

    This post is part of the following threads: My Digital Backup Strategy, Ralford.net – ongoing stories on this site. View the thread timelines for more context on this post.

  2. Planetary Messenger →

    I recently read Jacob Haqq-Misra’s Planetary Messenger, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the philosophies behind our existence.   Here’s a review I wrote for Jacob‘s book:

    Planetary Messenger, by Jacob Haqq-Misra
    Planetary Messenger, by Jacob Haqq-Misra

    Planetary Messenger reminds us that it is inaccurate to view Homo Sapiens as the single most important species in the universe, and that just because we as humans walk upright in what we consider to be a technologically advanced society, that not all forms of life behave the same. Modern cultures assume that for non-human life to exist as a civilized colony, it must first appear and operate similarly to ourselves.

    During Shane’s travels to The Planet Finder convention in Washington D.C., Haqq-Misra unravels the flaws behind this unlogical means of comparison, and introduces unique theories to challenge the conflicts between science and religion. Shane learns that the success of human kind is largely attributed to chance, and that the facts behind our existence – whether acquired through historical records, scientific fact, religious scripture or personal belief – will continue to evolve. Though it may not be easy, we must allow culture and religion to incorporate new and understood viewpoints if we want to comprehend the bounds of life.

  3. My New Pack

    My new Deuter ACT Trail 32
    My new Deuter ACT Trail 32

    A week or two ago I picked up Deuter’s ACT Trail 32. It’s an internal frame backpack that’s a little larger than your typical day hiking pack, yet big enough to carry enough gear to go on an overnighter or possibly a two day hike.

    If you want to take a tent and sleeping pad with you this backpack is probably not for you. In my eyes, this pack is ideal for warm weather trips where you’d need no more than a lightweight fleece bag or blanket and a hammock. But to my surprise, I was able to fit my 3 season sleeping bag in the bottom of the pack.

    The main compartment of the bag is accessable from both the top and the backside. The top has a draw string with a typical flap that buckles down after you draw it shut. The backside of the pack has a netted pocket (which I’ve been using for quick assess to trail maps) and a bungee mechanism for stashing a sweatshirt or fleece when you need to remove layers as you hike.

    The backpack fits firmly against your back and allows you to move without any jiggling whatsoever. It has a belt strap and a second strap across the chest to pull the arm straps closer together. On the inside is a pocket to hold a water pouch, with a hole in the front to route the drinking tube. On the outside at the bottom is a zippered compartment containing a backpack hairnet built to fit the pack. There are also numerous loops for tying down gear or clipping doodads with carabiners.

    I’ve taken the pack on two evening hikes so far (both behind Tussey Mountain) but have not yet camped overnight with it. One was two weeks ago around Bear Meadows, and the other was on a smaller loop off Kettle Trail and Shingle Path. I’ll probably do several more night hikes in the upcoming weeks until I can find a full weekend to backpack. And even then, I don’t foresee myself using this pack until June or July for weekend hikes, as I generally like to take my tent when I’m backpacking in colder weather.