jacob marttinen


I mentioned yesterday that I've finally gotten around to setting up a solid backup system. As I've recently had a few friends irrecoverably lose important data, I figured I'd take the opportunity to share my setup.

I've used OneDrive for storing my important documents for years, but it was too limited to act as a full backup system (especially for my growing photo library). So I did a bit of research and decided to base my backup system off the wisdom of Shawn Blanc:

A great backup system looks like this:

  • Local: an external hard drive at your desk that has a copy of the same files on your computer.
  • Off–site: Cloud storage of your most important files.
  • Automated: everything backs up on its own without you having to initiate the backup every time.

For an off–site backup, I recommend BackBlaze. They offer unlimited cloud storage for $50/year, and their software automatically runs in the background to keep everything on your machine backed up. I've used BackBlaze for a while now, but as it was only running on my personal MacBook Air (which hasn't been used in months), I spent an hour or so transferring the license over to my MacBook Pro (512GB SSD).

As for a local backup, I settled on both SuperDuper! ($27.95) for bootable drive clones and Apple's Time Machine (free) for a local file backup. I picked up a 4TB WD MyBook from Best Buy for $120 and partitioned it three ways: 500GB for SuperDuper!, 1.5TB for Time Machine, and 2TB for miscellaneous storage. I keep the drive at the office where Time Machine continuously runs and SuperDuper! does a scheduled smart update once daily.

This whole setup might seem excessive to some, but I've learned that losing important data is heartbreaking (especially documents and photos). Having my entire system run automatically makes it painless to keep my backups up to date, and $4.17/month is cheap for peace of mind.


Lately, I've found myself with an excess of free time. My NYC social circle is fairly minimal, and with my current work schedule including three full days off every week, I have ludicrous amounts of time for doing whatever I like. So I've been steadily whittling away at my list of self–improvement projects; since November, I've:

  • Set up a solid backup system
  • Set up OmniFocus as my task management system
  • Hosted a dozen guests in my tiny Manhattan apartment
  • Acquired a NEXUS pass
  • Gone paperless, including digitally filing my massive existing stack of documents
  • Worked my way up to a 50% savings rate
  • Started a consistent daily workout routine
  • Completed my 2014 taxes

But I've felt a little lost and empty these past few weeks. I'm wasting my days with unproductive time sucks, including: vacuous internet browsing, brainless consumption of HBO's infinite catalogue, mindless wall–staring, and unnecessarily OCD organization. I won't deny that the endless depths of this Northeast winter have contributed, but I just haven't felt alive since the New Year. Today, under the weight of yet another NYC snowstorm, I finally realized why: I don't have anything to do! My list of projects has finally dwindled away to nothing.

So I spent a few hours today writing down what's important to me; the result was a whole new set of projects to tackle. With these safely stored in OmniFocus, I'm already feeling much happier than I have for far too long :).

Tend to my relationships

I've unfortunately been neglecting to keep in touch with many of those who I consider my closest friends; sorry, guys :(. NYC has become this island separate from the rest of the world and I'm letting ties start to fade. An occasional text message conversation just isn't enough, so I'm going to regularly start visiting, emailing, and calling those closest to me.

Improve my writing abilities
  • Write something every single day (anything from a brief post here to filling a page in my Field Notes)
Health and fitness
  • Hit 10,000 steps every single day, no matter what
  • Add some variety to my fitness routine by regularly mixing in rock climbing, yoga, and volleyball
Broaden my technical abilities
Stabilize my finances
  • Work towards getting my savings rate up to 60%
  • Clear my debt by 2016 (only $24,000 in student loans to go!)
  • Max out the $5,500 IRA contribution limit for 2015
Marttinen Craftworks

This has been on the back–burner for a while now, and I'd like to start working with Travis and Aaron to see if we can make it a reality.

Summer 2013

For those who are curious as to where I've been and what I've been doing, I'll do my best to quickly catch you up with a series of maps.

After returning from Iceland, I decided it was about time I buy my first car. (I did have a supercharged 1989 Toyota MR2 for a year or so but that doesn't count because I never got it on the road.) After a bit of a snafu regarding my dream car (Scion FR–S; I was planning on financing but my employment by an American company caused them to cancel that), I ended up with a 2009 VW GTI (four–door, black on black leather). This ended up being a blessing, making it possible for me to cram up to five people and their luggage into my car at various points throughout the summer. (I did have seven people riding with me at one point, and the two Norwegians I travelled with for a while had enough luggage for a dozen, but those are stories for another day.)

Somewhere in North Dakota

Car secured, it was time to travel. The first trip was to Montreal (6/7–9) for the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix. Tyler Miller, Kory Chisholm, and Mitch Avis rode with me from Barrie, we picked up Ben McKague in Kingston, and met up with Karl Hakkarainen in Montreal. Two weeks later, I headed down to Maryland for Nicholas Hiivala and Marissa Dalecki's wedding (6/22) with my brothers Travis, Aaron, and Landon, and cousin Eerik Marttinen from Finland.

Reliability of the GTI established, my nomadic summer began. I packed up all my possessions into my trunk (two duffle bags of clothes and a shoebox of papers and memorabilia) and headed up to the Sault with my brother Aaron for Liisa Hakkarainen and Owen Hendrickson's wedding (6/29). Wedding over, I did a marathon trek out to Battle Ground, WA, stopping to sleep in Duluth, MN and near Billings, MT.

Most of you probably know that I'm a member of the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church. The OALC mother congregation is located in Northern Sweden, and (usually) every four years, they send their Elder preachers to the North American localities for a (sort–of) tour of church meetings. These start on the West coast and make their way to the East coast. These Elder's Meetings are an important event for my church, with enough people attending that we have to rent stadiums and event centres in some cities. I conveniently had a car, money in the bank, and several months off, so I decided to travel with the Elders.

After spending Independence Day at Long Beach, WA, meetings started in Battle Ground (7/5–8). From there, I picked up a few Alaskans (Paul, Otavia, and M'Kenna) and headed out to Kalispell, MT (7/12–14). A Norwegian—Jens Haug—jumped in with me from there and we travelled through Sheridan, WY (7/17); Moorcroft, WY (7/18); and Spearfish, SD (7/19–21). A few more Norwegians jumped in with me from there—John and William Amundsen—and we continued on to Lake Norden, SD (7/22–24); Minneapolis, MN (7/26–28); and Duluth, MN (7/31). Matt Raisanen rode with me from Minneapolis to Hancock, MI (8/3–5), and I continued on to the Sault (8/7) a few days later. Alicia Sarkinen and Katrina Kemppainen rode with me down to visit out Barrie and Toronto, and we continued on to Detroit, MI (8/9–11). Matt Taylor and Karl Hakkarainen jumped in with me for the last leg, and we drove down to Wilmington, NC (8/13); continued up to Nick and Marissa's place in Baltimore, MD; and finally ended up in Newark, DE (8/16–18) for the close of the meetings. Newark was especially memorable; thousands of people flooded to the city, where we held the meetings in the Bob Carpenter Centre at the University of Delaware. After meetings were over, we joined up with hundreds of other kids our age and swarmed NYC and took over the beach in Ocean City, MD.

With my start date at Microsoft approaching quickly, I began my trek back out to the West Coast. Talon Tanninen bought a one–way ticket to Delaware so I didn't have to make the drive home alone, and we started on our way: first Karl got dropped off in Barrie, Matt got dropped off in the Sault, we stayed nights in Duluth and Kalispell, and ended up in Battle Ground on 8/23. I pretty much slept my last few days of summer away, trying to recuperate from months on the road. I then found myself a couch to sleep on in Seattle for my first week of work, headed in for my first day at Microsoft on 8/26, and after >20000 miles on the road, the summer of 2013 drew to a close.

I intentionally avoided trying to memorialize the summer with photos and blog posts. Instead of forcing myself to capture the moment and take time away with writing, I instead tried to live every moment to the fullest. And although the countless bonfires, hundreds of new faces, dozens of new cities explored, and innumerable stories all blur together in my mind, I wouldn't have it any other way. This summer was special; I'll never forget it.


I know I'm several months late here, but pictures of my Iceland trek are on flickr.

I'm not going to say much here as words will never do justice to the beauty of Iceland. You can get the gist of the trip from the captions on flickr.

Some favourites:




Seyðisfjörður Hostel


Apparently Bill Clinton ate a hot dog here once. Now it's a famous tourist location. Icelanders...

Sun Voyager

The Time You Have (In Jellybeans)

Real–world Weekends

I'm due for an update, but Reykjavík is calling so I'll keep this brief.

Ben and I made a quick trip to Ottawa that first weekend off. We stayed at Franklin's place (in his parents' amazing house) and enjoyed a seriously chill weekend. Diefenbunker (Canadian Cold War museum) was a highlight, probably the most fun I've had in a museum. Pictures are on flickr.


Us boys (Karl, Rob, Rahul, and I) made a trip down to Detroit the next weekend for Alicia and Richard's wedding. The ceremony was nice (and humourous, in typical Alicia fashion), it was cool seeing a bit more of downtown Detroit, and we cycled exhaustion and rejuvenation through beach volleyball and hot–tubbing. Pictures are on flickr.

All tuckered out

I filled my weeks with work and errands. I implemented Remember Me for WM, did some networking in Karl's shop, finished up my Canadian taxes, sorted through and minimized all of my possessions, and did some trip planning.

I'm done school but life doesn't feel too different; perhaps it's because I've yet to find even a few moments of free time. There are no free weekends in sight (F1 in Montréal, weddings, convocation, Elder's, Seattle, etc.), and if this is the real–world I have no reason to complain. Still, I'm cherishing every moment of solitude that I'm coming across in this beautiful country of Iceland.


As is probably clear from my lack of updates over the latter half of the term, I started to feel the pangs of a lack of motivation and some serious IDGAF as 4B rolled on. It's not that the term was spectacularly busy; no, my schoolwork load was silly light, leaving me with plenty of time to dedicate to contract work for the WM team. I even had enough time to enjoy a few road trips and adventures.

Group photo at the bean

Aaron and I made a fairly spontaneous trip to Minnesota over Reading Week. We left at 11:30pm on the Friday, drove through a huge snowstorm, and made it just in time for Heidi Hiivala's wedding. I enjoyed my week, especially getting caught up with Lamar, Alicia, Nick, Charlie, Tonja, and the rest of the crew. We spent most of our days in Duluth, with a few days down in MSP for good measure. Aaron and I stopped in Chicago for a few days on the way home to meet up with Karl, Bonnie, and Brooke. Even with the wintry windy city weather, it was a great time. Check out the pictures on flickr.

Lamar's first taste of Canadian culture (he loved it).

Lamar and Dale made the trek to Canada a few weeks later. Although Dale was familiar Canadian culture (having lived here for the first half of his life), it was rather humourous watching Lamar go through some Canadian culture shock. Meetings in Detroit were a weeks later, made especially nice by appearances from Peterdenny, Marko, Åshild, Travis & Dannilee + Holden, and a surprise showing from Tonja.

Silly roommates...

Life in Waterloo wasn't too boring either. There was a serious performance streak, with Darude, Zedd, and Sigur Rós three weekends in a row. Anna was visiting Kory for a few weeks from Germany; it was nice seeing her again. Ben and I finally made it to the tour of the Observatory in the Physics building. There was the usual relaxing with the guys: Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and Top Gear on Monday nights; way too much pizza and cookies; exploration of campus and the city; and an almost unfair amount of laughter. And even though our season was over after the first round of playoffs, volleyball was a great time.

Kangaroo Visit

But through all that, I couldn't focus. I immensely enjoy coding for Work Market but I struggled to get into the groove of working remotely. My courses this term were interesting—and dare I say fun?—but my motivation for homework was embarrassingly low. Perhaps it was the early guarantee of an amazing job, maybe I was getting a little sick of school, or perhaps I was just going through a little NYC withdrawal. I pulled many an all–nighter, and things looked bleak at times (especially after my two–week no–show with WM), but the promise of summer pulled me through.

I finished my last exam (CS456 – Networks) this past weekend, and the boys helped me move my stuff to the parents' place on Sunday. The realization that my Waterloo chapter has come to a close hasn't yet fully hit, and I'm certain I'll have more thoughts as the weeks of freedom pass. Until then, I'll be spending my time in coffee shops, coding away and planning adventure.

New York Day

Rush of memories.


The days fly by way too fast when life is good; we're somehow already hallway through my last term of school! I'm living on campus this term—MKV, 404E—and it's better than I was expecting. There's a decent kitchen and living room, cozy bedrooms, no hassle of monthly bills, and some amazing roommates: Roman, Mickey, and Rahul.

Roman Z

Roman Zimine (4B CS) is a Russian/Korean dude. He's on the quieter side, but he's smart (he'll be heading to VMWare this summer), makes awesome food out of nothing, and is improving ridiculously fast at volleyball.

Mickey L

Mickey Laguta is an awesome (Latvian) dude, 3A Civil Engineering. Always happy and smiling, he makes life in this little apartment easy. From drumming and DJing to coming home and making blanket forts, I'm glad to know Mickey.

Rahul P

Finally, Rahul Prabhakar. He's in 4B CS but I met him for the first time at Peek in NYC (even though we apparently had a bunch of classes together). We get along as good as anyone can, adventuring and talking about anything and everything. Hopefully he'll end up coming to Seattle with me this fall!

Together, we form an interesting group. There's continually laughter filling the apartment, we cook food together, work out together,  play volleyball together, and relax together. I couldn't have asked for a better group of guys!

Blanket Fort!

I fill my days with work and school. I'm still working part–time for Work Market and getting tons done (assign/re–assign assignments, reports history, assigned user filter, and plenty of other fun stuff). And even though I'm taking my full five courses, school this term really is a breeze: ENGL119 (Communications in Mathematics and Computer Science) really is a bird course—the fact that it can replace the ELPE says all you need to know; HIST200 (History and Film, online) doesn't offer much resistance either, with readings, watching historical films, discussion boards, and no lectures; REC280 (Introduction to Tourism) is the last of my bird courses, and 100% of marks coming from four non–cumulative multiple–choice tests makes it the easiest of all; CS348 (Introduction to Database Management) is lightweight and a lot of fun, helping me get some theoretical knowledge on data manipulation; and CS456 (Computer Networks) is helping remove that big black box that is networking. All–in–all a pretty light term, but it's my most enjoyable term yet.

Sault Hot-tubbin'

Other than the daily routine, life has been busy. Rahul and I headed up to the Sault for meetings (Jan 18–20) with a van full of guys (Karl, Rob, Travis, Aaron, and Landon) and had a great time. There was a crazy amount of snow and some seriously frigid temperatures, but the hotel had an awesome hot tub and we got to see some seriously amazing people. Hopefully we'll be seeing everyone again in Chicago in a few weeks!

Sault road-trippin'

I also headed to meetings in Barrie the weekend of Jan 25–27. It was a relaxing time, but the best part was being (Travis and Dannilee's baby) Holden Iver's Godfather!

Holden Iver

Karl and Rob came down for the Saturday after meetings, and we toured campus, had dinner at Ennio's, played ping–pong and foosball, and got hooked on Shameless. Then Kory and Jeff made the trek down last weekend. It was a pretty chill time, mostly spent catching up with the guys (Matt, Tommy, Greg, Mitch, Dustin, Ben, and Calvin). Kory also gave me my Christmas present: a foosball shirt from Hamburg, an epic henley from Scotch & Soda, and some German chocolates. Thanks, dude!

Bringing us up to Reading Week, schoolwork has made the past few days fly by. I finally made it through all the meetings, midterms (DB and Networks), labs (Networks), and readings, and now I get the fun of a bit of a Reading Week adventure with Aaron. We'll see where we end up!

One Second

A must–read piece on life and death: