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If you’re also the proud owner of a Linux desktop which you have extensively customized since installation, then you’ve probably given a thought to backup and data recovery.

Thankfully, when it comes to backups, there are plenty of good options out there for Linux these days.

These range from the powerful and versatile rsync command line interface (CLI) to Timeshift: an excellent tool for creating system snapshots for rolling back to a previous point in time that offers many of the same features that Time Machine (MacOS) and System Restore (Windows) do.

While my own Linux backup strategy includes both Timeshift snapshots and bare metal Clonzilla backups my approach to onsite 3-2-1 compliance — which requires that both backup copies be on different storage media — has for years simply consisted of adding more internal drives to my desktop.

This is …. not ideal.

And unless you’re lucky enough to have business-grade home internet (in which case I am truly jealous), pushing up backup data to the cloud — particularly the first time you do it— can take days, weeks, or, excruciatingly, even months.

As I tend to allow my desktop some shut-eye when I do, my previous approach (yes, really) consisted of attaching a Post-It to the front of my computer warning me not to turn off the device until the backup had finished running.

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Secondly, using an NAS makes it really easy to set up Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) — so, depending on the level you use, you don’t need to worry about disk failure on your onsite constituting an unforeseen threat to your backup strategy.

Just to be clear: RAID isn’t backup (it’s redundancy). But having your onsite backups on a RAID-enabled storage makes that onsite backup even safer.

Finally, consider the fact that Synology’s NASs run their own operating system, DiskStation Manager (DSM), which features a great cloud sync engine.

This makes it simplistic to push the backups your store on the NAS up to the cloud without having to get your hands dirty with things like cron scripting and automation.

All around, I would argue that backing up to an NAS rather than a local drive or plug-in SSD is a win-win.

Do I have you convinced?

If so, and without further a-do, here are the tools I managed to get running in order to replicate the previous functionality I had to back up my Linux Ubuntu 20.04 LTS desktop.

1. Grsync / Cloudberry for incremental backups

If you’re a fan of the Timeshift GUI like I am then you might be disappointed to learn that it does not support backing up to network devices as the target.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost.

You can simply use grsync or Cloudberry to sync full system backups to the NAS.

Note: I’m using some artistic license to call these ‘incremental backups’. They’re change-only syncs — but the end result, unless you dig a bit deeper into the available parameters, are full backups on the destination. (Incremental backups mean something quite specific even though sometimes any backups taken over rsync are described that way.)

In terms of the tools available to make : Grsync is a pretty bare-bones frontend to rsync. MSP360™ (CloudBerry) Backup for Ubuntu lets you take things a bit further by giving you the ability to create backup plans and have them run on a schedule.

Finally, you can use Cloud Sync to create a local to remote job in order to sync those system backups up to the cloud / to an offsite repository.

Setting up grsync between my Linux desktop and the NAS was quite straightforward although the progress does not support full-fledged backup plans and scheduling.

By contrast, using Cloudberry I was able to backup plans which I could set on schedule and run over the Local Area Network (LAN) directly onto the NAS.

Setting this backup up was as simple as entering the NAS’s local IP address and creating a new SFTP destination with the NAS’s local IP.

The one caveat to creating all these backups from any local host to the NAS is that the SSH server is not enabled by default in Disk Station Manager (DSM).

In order to open up SSH, rsync, and FTP access I needed to manually enable these servers on the NAS. This is done in the ‘File Services’ window:

2. Disk imaging with Clonezilla

In addition to taking more regular ‘incremental’ backups to various snapshots points for easy restore, I like to create harder ‘bare metal’ disk images too.

As mentioned, I typically use the excellent and very powerful Clonezilla tool to take these onto a separate SSD in my computer.

Replicating the process but backing up directly onto the NAS turned out to be extremely straightforward.

Firstly, as described above, I enabled SSH (and rsync for good measure) from the “Terminal & SNMP” part of control panel in DSM.

Next, I created a separate shared volume just to house the Clonezilla disk images.

As I have been testing a few different backup methodologies I created a new shared volume for each one just to keep things well separated on the filesystem — and to allow me to create new users just for individual backup services if required.

Next, I booted into Clonezilla in the usual way but of course opted for ‘SSH server’ as the backup destination rather than local device.

Some users prefer backing up onto the SAMBA server, which can also be enabled, but I had success just over SSHFS.

Finally, when the program asked where to mount as /home/partimag I replaced the default path with my new volume’s path relative to the root of the NAS:

In about the usual timeframe, the program then created a full disk image as normal on the NAS.

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Take All Your Linux Desktop Host Backups Over LAN Onto Your NAS

Performing backups onto an NAS makes a lot more sense than doing it onto your Linux desktop machine itself.

For one, like any server, it’s designed to be kept running 24/7 — so if you’re pushing large backups like disk images offsite you won’t need to keep your computer turned on while large amounts of data leave your network for the cloud.

No Post-It notes appended to your desktop required while the push runs for days or weeks. Just set the cloud sync up (whether manually or though a tool like Synology’s Cloud Sync) and let the server do all the heavy lifting.

By backing up everything on your Linux desktop to the SSD you’re already putting it on different storage media.

Synology’s NAS features a nice operating system (OS) called DSM that makes it even easier to configure running various servers on the device — and makes it easy to sync the onsite backups you can take onto it up to the cloud, thereby fulfilling an important part of the  3-2-1 approach.

Follow the above tips to migrate your Linux desktop backups onto a local NAS device.

Daniel Rosehill

You're reading How To Back Up Your Linux Computer To A Synology Nas

Airdroid: Connect Your Android Phone To A Linux Computer

Airdroid is a unique and useful application that lets you transfer files, send SMS messages and control your phone through your PC. It is available within the Google Play store and the iOS App Store and provides a useful alternative if you need to grab a file but don’t have a USB cable at hand. While Windows has a full rich client that allows easy access to the features, those of us on Linux have to use the web-based interface, but this doesn’t make the application any less useful.

For the purposes of this article, I will be demonstrating using Airdroid on Android and connecting to a Linux PC, in this case Ubuntu 18.04.

Getting Started

First, you will need to open Play Store and search for the Airdroid app. Once found, you can download and install as normal.

Open the app, and after the short introduction, you will be presented with the following screen. The free version is ad-supported.

If you take the latter option, then your PC and phone need to be on the same network; you can’t mix Wi-Fi with cellular and vice versa.

Whichever option you pick, you will need to verify your handset. The web interface needs you to scan a QR code on the screen, whereas the IP address option needs manual verification on the handset. Once you have done this, you will be presented with the following screen.

You can see an arrangement of icons that let you interact with your device. On the right side you can see your device details – in my case my Wileyfox Swift and the amount of space used so far.

Other functions are available like Files, which gives you a file manager, again allowing you to download or upload images, documents or anything you like to your device.

A word of warning: installing APK files can lead your device to becoming compromised. Always check where they are being downloaded from, and please use verifiable sites like APK Mirror. If you have any doubts, then do not install the APK.

Airdroid also lets you call someone from your desktop.

Matthew Muller

Matt has worked in the tech industry for many years and is now a freelance writer. His experience is within Windows, Linux, Privacy and Android.

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How To Back Up Your Iphone To An External Drive

It’s always a good idea to back up your iPhone in case you lose your device or something goes wrong with it. Most users will connect their iPhone to their Mac or PC and make a backup. However, you can also make a backup and store it on your external hard drive if your computer is running low on space.

In this article, we show you how to move or back up an iPhone to an external drive.

How to back up iPhone to an external drive

Apple will normally back up an iPhone to the inbuilt storage on your Mac or computer. However, if your computer is running out of space, you may want to move the backup file to an external drive. iPhone backups do take up a lot of space, especially if you’ve got plenty of apps, photos, and other data. Unlike an iCloud backup, a local backup on your computer will save app data as well, which will let you restore all apps with data if you change your iPhone.

Find your iPhone backup on Mac

Before backing up an iPhone to an external drive, you’ll first need to locate where the backups are being stored on your Mac. Here’s how to do that:

1) Connect your iPhone to your Mac and launch Finder.

2) Select your iPhone from the left panel.

You have now found the location of your iPhone backup on your computer.

Move your iPhone backup to an external drive

Moving your iPhone backup to an external hard drive is pretty simple. Now that you’ve located where your iPhone backup folder is, you should be able to move the backup in no time. Here’s what you need to do:

1) Locate the backup using the steps mentioned above.

2) Select the folder inside the Backup folder.

4) You can rename the folder on your drive to make it easier to find.

If you’re planning to always back up your iPhone to the external drive, then you’ll need to check out the method below.

Permanently change iPhone backup location

Changing the default location for iPhone backups on your Mac requires a little bit of fiddling. You’ll need to create a Symlink to the external hard drive so that your Mac will automatically use the location for future backups. Here’s how to get this done.

5) Launch Terminal on your Mac.

6) Paste the following code into Terminal

ln -s /Volumes/ExternalHarddiskName/ios_backup ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup/

7) Replace ExternalHarddiskName with the name of your connected external hard disk.

8) Hit return and close Terminal.

The Symlink should now be successfully set up, and you can check this by creating a new iPhone backup. Make sure that the external hard drive is connected whenever you manually back up your iPhone.

As mentioned in the beginning, it’s always a good idea to back up your iPhone to your Mac or PC. You can let iTunes or your Mac’s Finder automatically create or update the backup file when your iPhone is connected. If you’re running out of space on your computer, then you can always move the iPhone backup file to an external hard drive. iPhone backups can take up a lot of space if you back up all your apps, photos, and other data.

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Linux In Manufacturing: Building Linux Up

Kaiser Aluminum’s fabrication plant in Spokane, Wash., is 58-years old. But that doesn’t mean the plant, which is owned by the $3 billion manufacturing giant, is relying on outdated information technology. Kaiser’s plant is running a good portion of its manufacturing functions on Linux, using the open source operating system to roll 43,000-pound aluminum ingots into sheets of metal that will ultimately be turned into things like airplane wings or soda cans.

While Linux has become commonplace for Web servers, it’s still a rare sight in the manufacturing world. But with Kaiser and a few other companies leading the way, vendors and software makers that support the manufacturing industry are slowly porting their applications to the open source operating system.

Tom Cook, manager of manufacturing systems at the Kaiser plant, said he decided to use Linux in the manufacturing process when Kaiser reengineered its computing architecture several years ago. He and the programmers and engineers who work with him first designed their requirements. Then they found the solutions to meet those requirements. Linux was one. Kaiser is also running Unix, Windows NT, and specialized real-time control systems in various parts of the rolling mill operation.

There are more than 20 Linux systems in the plant’s production environment, Cook said. They track quality control, manage machines, monitor the production process, and produce quality reports.

Kaiser is also using Linux to run Oracle database software that tracks chemistry at the mill. In addition, many of Kaiser’s manufacturing systems engineers are running Linux on their workstations and Kaiser uses Linux servers for sharing files. The company is using Linux boxes from Interlogic Industries Inc., and VA Linux Systems Inc.

It is not easy to find manufacturers that are using Linux on the manufacturing floor — or at least those that are willing to talk about it. But more and more software vendors that serve the manufacturing industry are porting their products to Linux. Integrated Business Systems & Services Inc. (IBSS), for example, this year certified its Synapse Manufacturing system for Linux. IBSS offers a fully configurable manufacturing system that includes full plant automation, production control, tracking, and order fulfillment.

“We’re seeing an increased interest from our customers in Linux,” said chief executive Harry Langley. “Linux is growing in market share. It is an excellent platform choice for midsize and large manufacturing companies because of its reliability enhanced performance, remote administration functionality, and cost effectiveness.”

The small Columbia, S.C., company currently has three customers using its software. So far, none of them have requested the Linux version. But Don Futch, vice president of business development, said he thinks that will change once hardware manufacturers offer increased Linux support. Linux may also gain ground if Microsoft fails to deliver its Windows 2000 enterprise version on time, he added.

MSC.Software Corp., whose customers include the world’s largest aerospace and car manufacturers, is another vendor that has ported its software to Linux. The Los Angeles company currently offers a software package for Linux on Hewlett-Packard hardware, and soon will offer one with NEC. Clark would not disclose which customers were using MSC’s Linux version, but said it was fewer than a dozen.

Like IBSS, MSC.Software introduced its Linux version because it is cheaper for companies than comparable Unix versions, said Jay Clark, director of business development. “Any extreme performance simulation will require substantial horsepower, where the price-performance benefits of Linux will be huge,” Clark said. “A lot of those companies are still in the Unix realm and Linux is a great cost of ownership choice for those companies.”

Some companies are so convinced that Linux can be used successfully in the manufacturing space that their entire business model is focused on that area. One of them is Lineo Inc., a Lindon, Utah, company that develops embedded Linux and real-time Linux software.

Dave Beal, product marketing manager for real-time solutions at Lineo, said the company’s Real-Time Linux software is being used in small milling machines and computer numeric control machines.

Beal said companies will begin moving away from proprietary software now as product cycles end. “The timing is very good now. Proprietary systems on hardware have a 10 to 15 year lifespan and there are a lot of vendors coming to the end of that lifespan. The timing is good for (customers) to be looking around for alternative solutions.”

While few manufacturing firms have yet to embrace Linux, those that have say the choice is a good one. “Having done it, we’re quite pleased,” said Kaiser’s Cook.

How To Get Your Android Device’s Notifications On Your Computer

While I’ve set up my machine in such a way that mostly everything I need is available on the machine, there are still a few occasions where I need to pick up my phone. One of these is when I receive a notification for something.

Having to pick up my phone to see what notifications I’ve got and getting distracted from my computer work is something I really hate a lot. Why can’t we receive our phone’s notifications on our computers so we don’t need to take our eyes off our computer screens? 

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Luckily, there are a few ways to get around the issue. There are some apps available that let you bring your Android device’s notifications to your computer. They basically keep an eye on your device, and when a notification arrives, it’s quickly mirrored on your computer so you know what it is about.

Here we take a look at three methods that help you do the task on your devices. Also, be sure to read our previous article on linking up your Android device to a Windows 10 PC.

Use Pushbullet To Access Android Notifications On Computer

Pushbullet was one of the first few apps that allowed users to bring their notifications to their computers. The app has really helped a lot of people from getting distracted by letting them see their phone notifications on their Windows or Mac machines in real-time.

Setting it up requires installing an app on your Android device and then installing an extension in your desktop browser.

Head over to the Google Play Store and download and install the Pushbullet app on your device. Launch the app and sign in using your preferred method.

The app will ask you to provide it with access to your notifications. Tap on Enable, find Pushbullet on the following screen, and turn the toggle next to it to the ON position.

Grant the app the other permissions it needs to properly run. Once you’ve finished that, tap on Mirroring at the bottom of the main app interface. This is where you’ll find the notification mirroring option.

On the screen that follows, enable the option that says Notification Mirroring. You may enable Only while on WiFi as well if you’d like for your notifications to be mirrored only when you’re on a WiFi network.

Open a new tab in your browser and install the Pushbullet Chrome, Firefox, or Opera extension.

Once the extension is installed, tap on Send a test notification in the app on your device to test the feature. You should get a notification in your browser if everything’s properly set up.

From now on, Pushbullet will send all the notifications you receive on your Android device to your browser. No more phone-picking to see what’s up.

If all notifications sounds a bit too much for you, you can customize what apps you want to receive notifications on your computer in the Android app on your device. This is really handy when you want to view notifications only from a few chosen apps you have on your phone.

Mirror Android Notifications On Computer With AirDroid

AirDroid is actually a full smartphone management tool letting you access almost all types of your device files on your computer. It has a feature called desktop notifications that let you view your phone notifications on your computer.

It works more or less the same way as Pushbullet but is quite a good alternative if you aren’t a big fan of the former app.

Install the AirDroid app on your Android device. Then launch the app, tap on Me at the bottom, select Security & Remote Features, and tap on Desktop Notif.

You’ll find a large green button saying Enabled Permissions on the following screen. Tap on it.

You’ll now need to provide the app with access to your notifications. Turn on the toggle next to AirDroid to do it.

Get back to the app and you’ll find yourself in a new menu. Enable the option that says Notification Mirror service at the top. Then, enable other options to customize how you receive your notifications.

Head back to the main app interface, tap on AirDroid Web, and note down the IP address you see on the following screen.

Enter the IP address in a browser on your computer. Accept the prompts on your device and your computer will be connected to your device via AirDroid.

You’ll now receive all of your phone’s notifications on your computer. You can send a test notification from the notifications menu in the app on your phone.

You’ll want to use AirDroid over Pushbullet as the former doesn’t require you to install anything in your browser. Also, the former lets you do much more than just mirroring your notifications, so that’s also something to be considered while deciding which app to go for.

Access Android Notifications On Computer With AirMore

AirMore works pretty much the same way as AirDroid and so here I’ll briefly show you how to get it up and running on your devices.

Make sure that both your smartphone and your computer are connected to the same WiFi network.

Download and install the AirMore app on your device. Launch the app, tap on the three-dots at the top-right corner, and select Get IP.

Access the IP you see on your phone’s screen in a browser on your computer.

In the app, tap on More at the bottom, tap on the gear icon at the top, tap on Notification Mirror service, and enable your notifications for this app.

How To Set Up A New Google Account On Your Android Device

Whether you just got your first Android device or you just need a new way to contact people, you might be looking for a way to create a Google account. It might sound like a confusing process, but it’s pretty simple. Here’s how to set up a Google account without any hassle. You’ll find step-by-step instructions below.

Before we get started

Before you jump in, keep in mind that US citizens have to be at least 13 years old to set up a Google account and 18 to add a credit card. Why would you want to add a credit card? You can use it to buy apps and games on the Play Store, subscribe to YouTube Music, and pay for other services Google offers. Google will also ask for a phone number in order to recover your account if it’s lost or stolen.

As most of Google’s services are free of charge — including Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Photos — adding a credit card is optional, and opting out won’t be a problem.

How to set up a Google Account on your Android or iOS phone

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Creating a new Google account only takes a few minutes, and there’s no limit to the number of Google accounts you can have. Grab your Android device, open the Settings app, and select the Accounts option (on iOS, go to Mail, then Accounts). The next step is to tap Add account at the bottom and choose Google.

A page will appear to sign in to your account or create a new one. Select the Create account option and then follow the on-screen instructions by entering your personal information (including a phone number), selecting a username and password, and completing the process by agreeing to the terms of service. If you happen to run into issues with services like Gmail, we have guides to help you get back on track.

Step-by-step instructions to set up a Google Account on Android or iOS:

Head into the Settings of your device.

Select Accounts. In iOS, this setting is inside the Mail option.

Tap on Add account.

Select Google.

Pick Create account.

Follow on-screen instructions by entering your personal information, selecting a username, etc.

Tap the I Agree button to create your Google account.

How to set up a Google account using a browser

Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Not digging the mobile phone method? It can be easier and faster to fill out forms and create an account using a computer and web browser. You can definitely do this whole thing online.

Simply go to the Sign Up page and start filling out your information. This will include your name, username, and password. Hit Next and fill out the next form. Select Next again and verify your identity by confirming your phone number. Google will ask you if you want to link your phone number to your account and offer other services. Follow the instructions, and your account will be created.

Step-by-step instructions to set up a Google Account on a browser:

Go to chúng tôi Sign Up page.

Enter your name, username, and password.

Select Next.

Enter your phone number, recovery email, birthday, and gender.

Select Next

If you entered a phone number, you can verify it now.

Follow instructions.

Done!

Frequently asked Google account questions

Yes, open your browser and head to chúng tôi to retrieve your password.

Yes, because Gmail actually resides as a service inside of the larger Google umbrella.

In order to see your devices, head to your Google account. Open the Security tab and select Manage all devices. Here, you’ll see all of the devices that you’re signed into.

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