Using Time Machine to back up an external drive

Whether you are working with thousands of photos, hours of video or semesters of lesson plans, securing and backing up your data remains critically important. If you have all of your data stored on the hard drive in your computer, this can be as easy as plugging in an external drive and setting up Time Machine (on a Mac). More likely, if you work with a lot of photos and video like I do, you have most of your data on an external drive. In an ideal world, you would back these up using some sort of Network Attached Storage RAID array. Coming from a newspaper environment, I know this isn’t always a reality. Sometimes all you have are a few externals lying around. Did you know that you can also set up Time Machine to back up one external drive (a media drive or capture scratch for example) to another external?


To do this, we will first go to our Apple Menu Items in the top left, and select the System Preferences. From there, open up Time Machine. Once in the Time Machine preferences panel, click on “Select Disk…” and choose the drive that will serve as the Time Machine backup.


Next, click on “Options…” in the lower right corner. This will bring up a window showing you what drives are excluded from the backup process. By default, your external drives will be here. Your backup drive is automatically excluded from the backup process, as it wouldn’t make sense to back it up to itself. However, we DO want to backup the Media drive, so let’s remove it from this list by selecting it and hitting the minus symbol as shown below.


As currently configured, Time Machine will try and backup the Media drive along with any internal hard drives. But we only want to backup the external Media drive, so let’s add our internal drives to this exclusion list. Click on the plus sign next to the minus sign you used earlier, and then find and exclude your internal drives.


In my case, I have two internal drives that I needed to exclude from Time Machine backup. Once complete, you can hit “Save” and then turn on Time Machine.


Algae as jet fuel

Already we have discussed two innovators who are making the most of algae, both on land and in the sea. Today, algae takes to the air. According to Malia Politzer at the Phoenix New Times, Arizona State University scientists Qiang Hu and Milton Sommerfeld have discovered a way to utilize algae to produce jet fuel.

Politzer writes, “By selectively breeding algae using light, carbon dioxide gas, and nutrients, then removing the nutrients from the algae’s cell, the two scientists have created a strain of super-algae that produces oil at an extremely rapid rate.”

The project, which was ranked 11 on Time’s Top 100 Inventions of 2008 list, is one of 18 projects nominated for a World Technology Award in the Energy (individual category). It has already received $225,000 in funding from Boeing.

According to an August 2008 ASU News article:

The use of algae for multiple applications has several appeals, including:

  • Algal oil is very similar to other vegetable oils, but its yield is projected at 100 times that of soybean per acre of land on an annual basis.
  • Unlike other plants, algae reproduce quickly without roots and stems, and they never go dormant.
  • Algae can remove carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and recover nutrients from wastewater.

Hu and Sommerfeld are the co-directors of the Laboratory for Algae Research & Biotechnology (LARB) at the Polytechnic campus.

The Draper Richard Foundation

Each month the AshokaTech blog features potential fundraising sources for Ashoka fellows and other social entrepreneurs. Today we feature one such resource, and dig a little deeper to explain their selection process.


Co-founded by William H. Draper, III, Robin Richards Donohoe and Jenny Shilling Stein in 2002, the Draper Richards Foundation provides its fellows with $100,000 annually for three years. Along with financial support, Draper Richards provides assistance by sitting on an organization’s board and helping to guide them through their growth from a start-up non-profit to a successful venture.

Draper Richards is highly selective, awarding six fellowships per year to the 400 – 500 applicants. Their selection criteria can be viewed on their web site, along with a list of common reasons why organizations are not considered eligible for funding.

Some reasons include:

  • Organization is a program of a larger organization, rather than a stand-alone entity.
  • Idea is not unique or is a replication of a program that already exists.
  • Idea is unfocused. The organization is trying to solve too many problems or is using too many models and programs to achive its goals.
  • Scaling plan is not viable.
  • Idea will not create systemic social change.

It should also be noted that Draper Richards will only fund an organization at the beginning of their development. That is, only at some point between its inception and having 501c3 status for three years and with an annual budget of $300,000 or less. If you are currently an Ashoka Fellow and are reading this, that means that you are likely ineligible for this fellowship. As explained by Portfolio Director Anne Marie Burgoyne, “Historically, Draper Richards Fellows are much more early stage than Ashoka Fellows. In my experience, when I look at Ashoka Fellows in the Draper Richards portfolio, they are always funded two – three years after the Draper Richards grant.”

Burgoyne also addressed the requirement that organizations be national or global in reach, stating that if an organization is currently local in scale, “We want to see that growth happen during the life of the grant.” Also, “Better fits tend to be people who, when they start the model say, ‘I want to build a national network. I want to do something that I think will have leveraged impact across multiple locations.'” This would be in comparison to one who starts a model locally and later decides that they might expand nationally or globally. “Those are different thought processes and often are different thinkers that have them,” says Burgoyne.

In planning an organization, Burgoyne stresses the importance of disciplined thinking and disciplined execution. “I just think there is a temptation to try to do too many things or help too many people. When I look at folks in the portfolio who have been passionately focused on a handful of levers in terms of social change and programatic outcomes and things that they measure, they tend overall to be more successful. They raise more money. They impact more people in ways that they can actually look at and point to. And that tends to be the bias of the foundation.”

With a staff of two, Draper Richards is not set-up to be an incubator. As such, they cannot assist with an application prior to submitting (they do not accept re-applications). However, once an applicant is in the pipeline, that is, the 20% of applicants that the staff will communicate with, the staff tries to be as helpful as possible, given time and resource constraints. Burgoyne explains, “If you have a business plan I’ll take your business plan. But if you don’t have a business plan but you can give me two or three pages that describe how your operations work, I’ll take that.” However, with only six awardees each year, “we’re really looking for the people who appear to be able to go the distance and do this work.” For those that are currently in the planning stages with their organization, they do provide links to useful resources including business plan writing, venture philanthropy organizations and general non-profit resources.

To get a better idea of exactly who Draper Richards is, one need only look at the organizations that they have funded. Draper Richards Fellows include; Kiva, the world’s first person-to-person lending marketplace for the poor; Build Change, which builds earthquake-resistant houses in developing countries and changes construction practice so that homeowners and builders continue to build earthquake-resistant houses after Build Change’s intervention is complete; and Komaza, which works to unlock the economic potential of tree farming to generate life-changing income for rural families living in absolute poverty, among others. In total, the Richard Drapers Foundation has added 26 organizations to its portfolio.

The Manchester Report


The Manchester Report, a join venture between the Manchester International Festival and The Guardian, is an effort to address climate change by inviting scientists, engineers, campaigners and members of the public to submit their climate-saving ideas.

The top 20 ideas were presented to a panel that was chaired by Lord Bingham, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the most senior judge, until 2008, and included Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy at; Bryony Worthinton, director of; Chris Goodall, editor of; and Prof Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

According to Ian Katz, deputy editor of the Guardian responsible for environment coverage, “The ideas heard in Manchester ranged from the wackier edges of science fiction to well-advanced products poised to roll off production lines.” Ideas included giant algae stomachs, and idea similar to that of Invent Your World Competition winner Javier Fernandez-Han, energy bonds and ships that increase the whiteness and size of clouds.

You can view brief descriptions and video pitches of each idea here.

The Guardian is also encouraging its readers to vote on their favorite idea out of the panel’s top ten.

Which idea is your favorite? What do you think is the best way to use technology to address climate change?