Do your backups work?

A sobering tale from the operator of social bookmarking site ma.gnolia which lost half its users bookmarks through not having a decent backup. Interestingly they were running off 2 Xserves and 4 Mac minis.

  • They had RAID (but of course that doesn’t protect you from data corruption, as both copies get corrupted).
  • They did a FireWire backup (but of course that just backs up your corrupt database).

Hint: mysqldump is your friend.

Video interview on the Ma.gnolia site, with a transcript here.

Meanwhile TidBITs have declared Friday 13th as “Verify your backups day”. And remind us of the Tao of Backup.

Remember, sometimes the cloud blows away.

Using FireWire to hack your PC, Mac

A recent article on Slashdot about using FireWire’s direct memory access (DMA) capabilities to rewrite memory on a Windows box reminded me a lot of the 1st place winning 2002 MacHack hack “FireStarter” perpetrated by Quinn, which wrote a QuickTime movie of burning flames on the screen of any Mac you plug in via FireWire. As mentioned on TidBITS at the time.

Some of Quinn’s hacks are here.