Daily Archives: Tuesday, 18th Dec 2007

More Mac Muttering

Following yesterday’s shocking Mac announcement, things have moved on a bit. For a start, the two screens thing just wasn’t working – there was far too little desk left, and I was running out of power outlets, which was annoying. So I’ve removed the old 17″ screen, fitted the supplied DVI to VGA adapter to the Mac Mini, and connected it to my Dell 20″ screen. I now have to press the source button a few times to switch from Windows to Mac, but that’s not a problem. I still have separate keyboards, mice and speakers as DVI KVM switches tend to be expensive, and in at least one case, reportedly flakier than a truckload of Cadbury Flakes. There’s also the little matter of the different layouts to deal with, and I need to get used to the Mac layout if I’m going to get anywhere with the new toy. And yes, I do find myself typing on the wrong keyboard from time to time, but that’s something I’ve been doing at work for years, so it’s unlikely to change.

The next change was making arrangements to back up the Mac Mini. After my nasty experience with a dead external drive, I’ve become a little paranoid about protecting my data. As one of the two 250GB drives from the old enclosure is in full working order, I decided to make use of it. I bought a new enclosure from USB Now. Well, I ordered a dual interface (USB and Firewire) one, but as it was out of stock, they sent me a slightly more expensive one for the same price, which is the kind of service I like. I fitted the drive to the enclosure, then hooked it up to the Mac Mini, using the Firewire interface. I reformatted the disk to the native Mac format, at which point the nifty Time Machine backup utility popped up and asked me if I wanted to use this new disk as a backup device, which saved me from firing it up and telling it to do that.

Time Machine is basically a “fit and forget” backup solution. It does a full backup immediately, then backs up new and changed files at regular intervals – the default being hourly. The clever bit is that it uses these backups to create point in time restore points going back to, as long as it can fit on the backup disk. Clever stuff, and infinitely easier to use and of more practical use than the rather unfriendly utility that comes with Windows XP[1]. Which means that non-technical users are much more likely to make backups than they would otherwise be – all they have to do is get an external hard drive and plug it in, and then accept the default options.

There have been reports of potentially nasty[3] bugs in Time Machine. Apple have already fixed some of these, but perhaps not all. We shall see…

[1] To use that properly, you need to know what a SYSTEM STATE BACKUP[2] is
[2] Hi Twisty :wave:
[3] Nasty as in “eating your data” :uhoh:

Weight Report – 18 December 2007

That’s better – today’s weight is more than half a pound lower than yesterday’s. Yay me, etc.

For the last time this year, I walked to work and got the bus home. Yes, the last time. I am now on holiday until 2 January, woo, hoo, etc. This holiday will involve a trip to Wales :cymru: :cymru: , which will be a Good Thing. My camera is insisting on a visit to Cardiff Bay, where I aim to be very geeky and do something silly with the water tower thingy featured in Torchwood. :smile:

Yessssss, Preciousssssss

Doesn’t time fly when you’re enjoying yourself? I was surprised to find that it was over a year ago that I mentioned the game of advanced silly buggers being played by New Line over the production rights to the movie of The Hobbit. At the time, there was a disagreement between Peter Jackson and New Line over money, which led to New Line getting very huffy and telling Mr Jackson that he wasn’t going to make the Hobbit movie, so there. But now it seems that they’ve kissed and made up, and Peter Jackson will be making the, err, two movies. Presumably that will be one of the Hobbit, and one of that cobbled together “prequel” thingy they were threatening last year. The movies are to be released in 2010 and 2011, so there’s not too long to wait.