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Online Backups

Text Box: Local backup to external or optical drives is an excellent practice, but it can't always protect your precious data. Just ask director Francis Ford Coppola. Last September, thieves stole not only his computers but also his backup device. The director lost 15 years of computer records, from writings to family photographs. Similarly, if there's a fire or flood where you keep your computers and PCs, you too can say good-bye to all those digital photographs, your music collection, and anything else you've backed up locally—even if you're smart enough to use backup software to back up to another on-site device, like a

Apple iPad

What it is: iPad is a book-size version of the iPhone, enlarged, minus the phone, and the camera.

The good: Apple has consolidated your Netbook, e-reader,

gaming device, photo frame, and iPod into a nice super-gadget. Features such as Bluetooth, 802.11n Wi-Fi, 10 hours of battery life, optional 3G wireless, and the App Store have many people eager to buy one.

The bad: The iPad's large size is as much a hindrance as it is an advantage.
The iPad can't entirely mimic many of the specialized products it seeks to replace. The iPad's limited multitasking capabilities and lack of integrated video camera, Flash support, and High Definition video output are serious drawbacks for  many users.

The bottom line: The Apple iPad is the first affordable tablet computer worth owning, but it won't (yet) replace your laptop.

hard-drive. You can, of course, store an external hard disk in a safe-deposit box, but that's a hassle, and chances are you won't update it monthly, let alone daily—and certainly not every time you update a file. If you want near-real time off-site backup, an online backup service is the way to go.
The services are inexpensive (typically about $5 a month), and the best ones won't noticeably slow down your PC use or Web browsing (after the initial large upload, at least). They also encrypt your data before, during, and after it's been sent to industrial-strength servers. There's no media to mess with, either. The service can start processing and uploading files automatically on a schedule or in the background. But though all these services give you the safety of keeping your data in a secure, remote location, there are real differences among them. The biggest differentiators are ease of use in setup, choosing files and folders for backup, and, especially, getting files back if you lose them. Some, such Symantec and, SOS Online Backup, offer wizards to streamline the processes. Beware: Others are still plagued with confusing interfaces, and some use confusing programmer-centric lingo.
There are also differences in security. Some, such as 
Carbonite and IDrive, go so far as to give you the option of being the only keeper of the decryption key. But be careful if you choose that option—should you forget your password, no force on earth can restore your data.
One last note; if you have huge files either Videos, very high-res pictures or thousands of emails, online backups
are not for you. There are limitations on the bandwidth that your service provider will allow and if you exceed them you will end up paying extra every time you use the Internet.