Backing up Gmail with Gmvault

This weekend I have been experimenting with Gmvault ( in order to back up my various Gmail and Google Apps accounts to my computer. I’m using Mac OS X, but almost all of this will work with Linux too.

Firstly I downloaded the software, extracted it, and ran the following command once to download all of the mail in each account:

./gmvault synch

I then wrote a script to automate the process:

#change to the correct directory
cd /Applications/gmvault/bin/
#run a quick sync on all my gmail and google apps accounts
./gmvault sync -m -t quick
./gmvault sync -m -t quick
./gmvault sync -m -t quick
./gmvault sync -m -t quick

Once that was working, I automated it with cron to run a few times a day.

Restoring the email to another Gmail account is a slow process, and you should probably only do it a few times a month (and always overnight). Again I’ve scripted this bit, but have commented everything out unless I actually need it. Having done the initial upload, and because I now have two local copies of everything, I’ll probably only run this one monthly.

#back up all downloaded email to a dedicated gmail account in the cloud
#./gmvault restore
#or just for the last month
#./gmvault restore -t quick

Further reading:

Thoughts on travel

This summer I will be spending two weeks away from home, during which time I will spend a fair amount of time on aeroplanes (two international flights, plus two local Canadian flights) and in hotels. I am quite used to hotels, and carry around a fair amount of technology designed for hotel living, but this trip is going to be more challenging, and I think I need to plan in advance what clothes, accessories and gadgets I need to keep me productive and connected throughout such a long trip.

My hand luggage usually contains my 11″ Macbook Air, plus my iPhone, Kindle, and associated chargers. I also carry a UK 3G dongle, and several USB drives (including one I can reinstall my Mac from should I need to). I sometimes also carry various adaptors and cables, depending on where I am travelling and what I am there to do. I also plan on taking plug adaptors for any country I will be visiting, chargers for all my devices, and an additional device to charge my phone if a plug socket isn’t available.

Usually I don’t take a bootable clone of my laptop with me, because it makes more sense to keep my backup drive somewhere safe whilst I am travelling. For a two week trip I may invest in a new external drive though, or will at least have a smaller USB drive with a bootable installation of OSX with my settings and applications intact – just in case of emergencies. I should also look at how often I think I will be able to get online in Canada, and perhaps pick up a cheap pay-as-you-go 3G device to cover any shortfall.

I will also have my old iPod with me as a backup music device, and will also wear a watch rather than relying on my phone to tell the time. Time keeping is even more important on trips which involve a lot of travelling between places, and I need to make sure any timekeeping anxiety is minimised.

I also plan on packing slightly differently for this trip. Part of the reason for travelling is a family wedding, and so I need to make sure I have smart clothes with me. I will fly in the usual combination of loose many-pocketed combats with no belt, slip-on shoes, and a loose cotton shirt. But I will also style the rest of my wardrobe around things that can be work with a suit jacket and/or waistcoat. This should cut down on luggage, and ensure that everything can be worn with everything else.

I also plan on packing a second bag for the shorter (English) section of my trip, and arranging for it to be waiting for me when I get back to the UK. That way I am not carting things all over the world that I won’t need until the last few days of my trip.

Yes, I’m not travelling for ages, but I find it is useful to have these thoughts sufficiently early enough to do something about anything I may have forgotten.

Music that is currently rocking my world

There has been so much good music released over the last few weeks. Unfortunately this has coincided with me being very busy, and so I’m still very much playing catch-up.

Things I have discovered so far that are well worth a listen include:

  • Primal Scream – More Light
  • The National – Trouble Will Find Me
  • Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
  • The Indelicates – Diseases of England
  • !!! – Thr!!!er
  • Bill Ryder-Jones – A Bad Wind Blows in my Heart
  • Mark Kozelek & Jimmy LaValle – Perils From The Sea
  • The Postal Service – Bankrupt
  • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories
  • The Fall – Re-Mit

I’ve probably missed a few, but those are the ones that I am most impressed with on first (or second or twentieth) listen.

One Movie a Day – part 5

17th April – Closer. I’ve seen this before, but it didn’t make a huge impression on me for some reason. This time I enjoyed it a lot more, and I think it covers a lot of themes that interest me right now. I would recommend this one to most people actually, and think it could provoke interesting thoughts and conversations.

28th April – Hannah and her Sisters. This one follows on thematically from Closer, although that was very much not intended as they were recommended to me by different people. It’s a Woody Allen film, and it is one of the good ones. I don’t think there is much more to say than that, apart from that I enjoyed it and will now be hunting out more Woody Allen films with a view to watching a few of them over a weekend at some point.

28th April (later) – Adaptation. This has been on my list a while, and was another recommendation (like most of what I have watched recently). I really enjoyed it, and found that it explored a fair few themes that I can relate to quite closely. It also makes me want to watch ‘Being John Malkovich’ again at some point soon, as I think the two movies have quite a lot in common.

29th April – Blue Velvet. Heading back to David Lynch, because I wanted comfort viewing, and apparently I find Kyle Machlachlan and Laura Dern comforting (maybe because I’ve seen them in so many David Lynch movies). I’ve seen this a few times, but it is still something I come back to every now and again and I always seem to see something new.