Backing up my files under Linux

For the longest time I haven't been in control of backing up. I've done it, haphazardly, usually before I do something risky. Each time I have to relearn everything. Now I want to make it semi automatic.

1.) I went out and bought a nice big 1 TB external hard drive.
2.) I don't intend to keep the drive connected all the time. So the first thing I do when I want to backup is connect the drive. I'll do this by UUID since its a more reliable method. First I connect the drive. Next I type:

sudo vol_id /dev/sda1

and copy the volume ID of the drive. Then I issue:

Software Installed on Tiny

Tiny is running Ubuntu 7.1 (I think)
Started 2008-02-10 so there is lots missing from the list.

2008-02-08 Truecrypt 5.0
Upgraded from 4.3 which had stopped working. Had the data backed up previously so just went ahead and installed.
Downloaded software from Truecrypt
Upgraded cleanly with sudo dpkg -i xxxxx.deb
Had to modify the mount script to:
sudo truecrsudo truecrypt /dev/sda4 /media/hard_drive/documents/protected --filesystem=vfat
previously it didnt have an "=".
Truecrypt 5.0 has a GUI even under Linux.

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