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Author Topic: OSX Leopard: TimeMachine - Mostly Brilliant  (Read 2160 times)
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« on: February 04, 2008, 06:49:34 PM »

OK, so I'm over my rant about Spaces in the other thread, time to give credit where it is due.

TimeMachine is flat out brilliant and, with the exception of a couple little gotchas and inconsistencies (most of which scheduled for patching in 10.5.2) a work of art.

But a quick moment from our sponsors: The Backup Police.
Are you one of those that does not backup with the discipline you'd either like to or should? Are you one that has gotten bagged not having a recent enough backup of something that was really vital? Perhaps you've accidentally backed up OVER something that you really shouldn't have, or used your backup CD as a coaster for your coffee and ruined it. Tsk Tsk.

Yup, been there, done that, even got the tee shirt.

Time Machine setup was beyond trivial: plugged in an external drive. IT came up and said, "Would you like to use Time Machine as a backup device?" I answered yes. The only creepy thing was that since the drive was new, it said "I will have to erase the disk and reformat it to make it usable, is that OK?" Of course I knew that was OK, but the message had a slight sphincter factor in any case.

And that was it. PinkHat's machine was backed up (or the process was started in any case).

TimeMachine keeps backups hourly of the last 24 hours, daily for the last 30 days and weekly thereafter until your disk fills up. But here's the important thing - since it's essentially doing incremental backups, the space is not that bad at all.

All of this was pretty nifty and I was pleased. I opened up the Time Machine disk and looked and there were the backups and I could easily browse around and open documents from any of them - the TimeMachine backup mechanism keeps the delta-thread updated on each icon, so by double clicking on an icon, I had <that> version of <the document I wanted> instantly.

All of that was pretty cool, until I double clicked on the Time Machine icon in the dock. All my screens went black except the main one... the folder I had open moved to the middle and iterations of that folder stretched back into a seemingly endless path towards infinity... OK, it's just a bright light in the middle, but it's really cool. And the star field that slowly comes towards you as you're browsing is also a really nifty touch. But I digress. Now with an arrow pointing in towards the center and another pointing out along the perspective line, I could scroll back and forward in time on the folder I was looking at. A little bar graph on the right showed me "Where abouts in time I am" while looking at it and also allowed me to jump to a particular time. All modes of the finder worked - even Cover Flow, which was particularly impressive, seeing how I was looking at documents that were older and in some cases, already deleted.

Now, I can duplicate whatever I need for myself... I have been BF'd by bad backups enough to know how to take care of myself. But for PinkHat, this is a godsend. She has a capability to look at her files in a way that no backup software that I've ever seen can. And with the upcoming TimeCapsule appliance (a wireless router and 1TB server-quality drive all wrapped up into one little device, instantly recognized by TimeMachine apparently) backups will be even easier and not even be "at her machine" freeing up her external drive for more documents, photos and movies.

Yepper, TimeMachine is absolutely a wonderful addition to OSX and extremely necessary to the general computing population. It is a beautiful, and polar opposite balance to the charlie foxtrot "Spaces" of which I've commented prodigiously about in another thread.


It is now believed, that after having lived in one compound with 3 wives and never leaving the house for 5 years, Bin Laden called the U.S. Navy Seals himself.
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