You can never be too rich, too beautiful, or have too many backups
Today's Pointers column is about backups, but maybe a different kind than you're doing. Yes, it appears to have taken us nerds about 20 years to convince you non-nerds that backing up your data to some kind of automated system like Apple's Time Machine is something you should be doing (though I am constantly astonished at how many people still haven't even gotten that far), but now we want to take the next step: a second -- but this time, "off-site" -- backup. This doesn't negate the value of your local, connected backup in any way, but it can go even further in protecting your data and someday saving your bacon.
Apple's Backup just gets on with it, until it doesn't
Apple's Time Machine and the Time Capsule I bought to use it on are the best things I've ever purchased that I've immediately forgotten, and didn't even realize I was using. I'm not sure what I did to backup anything before that came along, but I do have a big, big box of neatly-labelled floppy discs in my office, and no way to use them. Well, that's not quite true: I have used a couple as coasters for my tea mug. It's startling to think that I have several years of data on those discs that are effectively lost to me -- I could get them back with a concerted effort, and spending some money -- whereas in theory I now have multiple years of data available to me in an instant.
Users, even power users, are often lackadaisical about this vital duty
Earlier this year, staff writer and long-time Windows user Malcolm Owen returned to the Mac following a five-year absence. Back to the Mac is a series of posts where he charts his progress in introducing Apple to his computing environment again. In this installment, Malcolm works out how to back up the Mini.
It's been some time since I first bought the Mac mini, and recent events have caused me to think about setting up some sort of backup scheme for it. I know it is bad form to not back up a computer from when you first get it, but I've been thinking about how best to do it, bearing in mind my existing backup systems.
Extremely powerful and comprehensive backup solution
Roll up your sleeves, get a coffee, and watch ChronoSync backup your hard drives. Or alternatively, roll your sleeves back down and nip out to lunch, because you're not needed here: ChronoSync has it covered -- and you can look in on it remotely, with the companion apps ChronoAgent and InterConneX. This is surely the most comprehensive disk backup and management application we've seen, and possibly that nature ever intended. That does mean it's complex, but you're not going to turn to this if all you've used so far is Apple's Time Machine.
Comprehensive backup and booting solution for Macs
Apple did a great thing in bringing Time Machine to the rest of us: it made backups a more familiar idea, and it made them far easier to understand as well. Something that is easy and familiar is something that you're going to do, and Apple was right that we really, really needed to back up our work. Now Apple is more focused on cloud storage than it is hard drives -- and there are several cloud backup services -- but the humble hard disk has a lot of advantages. It also has SuperDuper 2.7.5, which is a capable, albeit slightly technical, application for copying your data, and for creating a hard drive that you can run your Mac from in emergencies.
Upgrades Time Machine with iCloud Drive browsing
Simultaneous with the launch of iOS 8.1.3, Apple has also released the finished version of OS X 10.10.2. As anticipated, the one feature addition is the ability to browse iCloud Drive items from within Time Machine. Elsewhere, the update is dedicated solely to squashing bugs, such as Wi-Fi disconnects, webpages loading too slowly, and various security and stability problems in Safari.
Update should also fix Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail security problems
[Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix] Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.
Claims company knowingly infringed on two 3D UI patents from 1996
Apple has been named in a new lawsuit filed in San Francisco on Wednesday by patent non-practicing entity (NPE, often nicknamed "patent troll") TriDim Innovations. The NPE accuses the iPhone maker of knowingly infringing on a pair of patents from 1996 that covers a 3D workspace user interface, and claims that the company's Cover Flow technology, bought from Steel Skies in 2006, violates the two patents. Time Machine and Mobile Safari in iOS 7 and 8 also use the technology.
Time Machine add-on details backups
Tri-edre has released its latest issuing of its OS X back-up software, Back-In-Time 3. Optimizing users' experience of Apple's Time Machine, Back-In-Time displays the number of different versions of each file backed up and their respective backup dates, as well as whether items have been deleted and their availability within backups. The latest offering includes a new user interface, and improved navigation and search features. Virtual disks can be created for Time Capsule or for other Macs. Additionally, Back-In-Time 3 includes the ability to use the software without the need for administrator privileges. Back-In-Time 3 is available for download in full for $30, or as an upgrade for $10.
Overheating woes, Safari gripes and more
On the MacNN Forums, Mac Elite "FireWire" is trying to figure out why his iMac keeps shutting off when the CPU temp reaches 50°C in the thread titled "iMac doesn't adjust fan speed, and dies." Forum-goers are helping "Laminar" troubleshoot a problem in which Time Machine doesn't see his most recent backups.
Also snags wins on Smart Case, polyphonic note detection
Apple has scored several new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, according to AppleInsider. One of these is Consistent back up of electronic information, documenting the basic concepts behind OS X's Time Machine. The function creates incremental backups of a Mac, allowing people to restore an entire system or individual files back to earlier states. The patent application dates back to August 2006, before Time Machine was introduced in OS X Leopard, but still uses the term "time machine" to refer to the software.
Update helps users create easy, quick personal cloud for storage
Netgear has released a free update for its ReadyNAS line of network attached storage. The new version OS 5.3.6 adds several key features, including remote backup capability for Apple's Time Machine, ReadyDROP cloud-based storage implementation, mobile clients for ReadyDLNA media streaming, and more.
Completely overturns 2010 court verdict
Apple has won an appeal in a patent infringement lawsuit over the company's Cover Flow, Spotlight, and Time Machine interfaces, Bloomberg reports. The case was first filed in 2008 by company called Mirror Worlds. Although the firm briefly claimed victory in 2010, in 2011, a judge overturned a jury verdict awarding Mirror Worlds $625.5 million in damages. With the latest ruling, a judge for the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington has stated that Apple didn't violate the three Mirror Worlds patents which were the basis for court proceedings.
Known issues include problems with FileVault, Time Machine
Apple has released a fourth preview of Mountain Lion Server to developers. The code is also listed as build 12S219n, and follows just a day after a third update of the main Mountain Lion preview. A number of known issues are listed in the Server preview; among others, there are several problems each in the use of FileVault, Time Machine, and Game Center.
Range extends from Smart Covers to iTunes rentals
Apple has won the rights to 25 new US patents, covering numerous different products, Patently Apple observes. Some of these include a second patent on the iTunes Store and its rental system, and a fifth patent on Time Machine, featuring an interface capable of showing earlier versions of files. The former dates back to 2008, while the latter was originally submitted in 2007.
My Passport Studio now available in 2TB capacity
Western Digital just added a new 2TB capacity for its Mac OS X-oriented My Passport Studio external hard drive range. Other capacities include 500GB, 750GB, and 1TB, and the all-metal hard drive is compatible with Apple's Time Machine back-up feature out of the box. There is no power adapter needed when users plug it in using the USB 2.0 interface or one of the two FireWire 800 ports, which also boosts transfer speeds.
Also posts two new how-to articles
Apple has posted several new articles in its support database, including two that address specific issues. One deals with upgrading to Lion from Snow Leopard from a RAID volume, while the other explains some unexpected XSan Admin behavior when inconsistent or missing-name server records are used. XSan users also got a tutorial on advanced mounting options, while a fourth deals with restoring Lion Server from a Time Machine backup.
Catches glanced-over Time Machine bug
Apple has released a small but significant Supplemental Update for OS X 10.7.3. Although details are vague, Apple does note that the patch fixes problems with restoring from a Time Machine backup. The file is a 24.55MB download, and should already be available through Lion's Software Update utility.
Netgear Wireless Extreme is Mac first
Netgear started the week by launching a Wi-Fi router primarily tailored to Mac users. The Wireless Extreme has the cosmetic looks, but it purportedly has native support for Time Machine with drives plugged into the USB port. Dedicated software lets USB printers share properly on Macs and other platforms even if they don't completely work within Mac OS X's usual support.
Lion beta 11C55 turns on full iCloud
Apple gave developers a full view of iCloud integration in Mac OS X for the first time with an unusual Sunday release of a new Mac OS X 10.7.2 beta. The new 11C55 build already includes iCloud instead of requiring a separate install, like in earlier releases. No known bugs exist with the build, but users are expected to test both iCloud itself as well as Address Book, iCal, Mail, Safari, and legacy MobileMe support.
May require shrinking partition or deleting files
Some Mac owners are being prevented from installing OS X Lion, talk on Apple's support forums shows. In select instances users will pick a destination drive and be given an error message, such as "this disk cannot be used to start up your computer," or "this disk is used for Time Machine backups," even though the target was previously used to boot up Snow Leopard. The issue can happen regardless of how much space is on the drive, and whether or not a Mac meets other Lion system requirements.
Time Capsule may serve as iCloud home folder share
Apple's upcoming Time Capsule update could have more ambitious plans for remote storage based on an unverified rumor. Although it might not store iOS firmware, it would purportedly make Time Machine backups available online and let iCloud users sync their home folders between Macs. The approach Cult of Mac described would save Apple bandwidth at its North Carolina datacenter but still give an incentive to use the service.
Buffalo CloudStore drive hits stores
Three months after first mention, Buffalo on Monday shipped the CloudStor. The network-attached storage is one of the first third party drives to use Pogoplug's remote sharing service and turns the built in hard drive to a remotely accessible drive. The service is free and just requires controls to set what files are accessible.
Windows 8 History Vault to ape Time Machine
A leak Wednesday has uncovered plans for Windows 8 to imitate the behavior of Time Machine in Mac OS X. Nicknamed History Vault, it would use the Shadow Copies feature that came as early as Vista but give it a proper visual interface for restoring older files. The WinRumors shot doesn't provide many details of the restoration process but shows that users could use both real and virtual drives to make a History Vault archive.
WD intros 6TB My Book Studio Edition II
Western Digital put out one of the largest capacity dual-disk external drives on Thursday by introducing a 6TB version of the My Book Studio Edition II. The drive pairs two of the still-rare 3TB drives, optionally in a RAID mirror or stripe, and is aimed primarily at creative pros who deal with very large photos or videos on a regular basis. It comes pre-formatted for Macs; it can be reformatted for Windows, but it needs at least Vista or 7 to see more than 2.1TB.
Freecom shows magnesium bodied hard drive
Freecom has unveiled the thinnest external hard drive on the market with the Mobile Drive Mg range. It is designed specifically to match Apple MacBooks, and is housed in a lightweight magnesium enclosure. The drive is just 10mm (0.39in) thick, earning it the claimed distinction of being the thinnest in the world.
Filings cover iTunes, Time Machine concepts
Apple has won 19 patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, reports say. Some of the more prominent ones document the iPhone's treatment of audio playback and conference calls, as well as display, sale and downloading of media at the iTunes Store. A few of the iTunes concepts are noted to have been implemented as far back as 2004.
Transfers at up to 76MB/sec, iOS app access
Buffalo Technology is in the process of revamping its consumer-oriented network storage solution offerings, introducing a new V-series set of drives that feature higher transfer speeds than most competing NAS drives, as well as WebAccess i apps for iOS devices, giving users ways to stream and upload digital content directly to and from their mobile devices. Future models in the line will also feature RAID redundancy, and all the drives in the V-series feature Time Machine and iTunes compatibility along with built-in FTP and print server software.
Speeds up to 100 MBps, available in 1TB or 2TB
Western Digital has unveiled its new My Book Live home network drive that delivers transfer speeds of up to 100MBps using gigabit Ethernet connectivity. The new drive offers video streaming via its built-in DLNA media server and includes automatic back-up software for Windows machines. It is also compatible with Apple’s Time Machine.
Up to 16TB of hot swappable networked storage
Data Robotics has launched its DroboPro FS, a networkable file sharing and backup storage unit with up to 16TB capacity. The DroboPro FS is designed to give the small-to-medium business market redundant storage, networked backup, and file sharing over dual gigabit Ethernet ports and with VPN support. Unlike the Drobo FS, introduced earlier this year, the DroboPro FS offers native support for Time Machine, and supports Windows (XP/Vista/7/2003 Server/2008 Server), Mac (Intel processors and Leopard or later), and Unix/Linux. Storage can be expanded by adding SATA I and SATA II hard drives to fill up to eight bays.
Payments could reach as high as $625.5 million
Apple is fighting the outcome of Mirror Worlds' recent legal victory, Bloomberg now says. The company has asked US District Judge Leonard Davis for an emergency stay on the verdict, which could potentially result in a damage payment as high as $625.5 million. Despite earlier uncertainty, Mirror Worlds is believed to be claiming $208.5 million for each infringed patent.
Cover Flow, Time Machine cited as patent breakers
Apple is being ordered to pay at least $208.5 million in damages after losing a lawsuit to a company called Mirror Worlds, reports say. The latter party has accused Apple of violating multiple patents: three describing a "document stream operating system," and a fourth showing an information management system based on the document streams. The concepts involved are said to be nearly identical to those employed by Apple's Cover Flow and Time Machine.
Trash Magic 2 goes 64-bit, adds filters
TRI-EDRE has launched two software updates, Back-in-Time 2 and Trash Magic 2. Back-in-Time provides access to all of the data backed up by Time Machine, organizing it with a visual record. Files and folders can be copied to any location via drag and drop. A specific item's backups can be traced by dragging it to the Back-in-Time item list, where earlier versions can be accessed by means of a date slider.
Seagate GoFlex Home uses external drives for NAS
Seagate dipped into the world of simple network-attached storage by launching the GoFlex Home. The drive potentially avoids the common problems with future upgrades by using its own GoFlex system for the storage: the NAS has a modular base that takes any single disk, desktop-sized GoFlex drive for a swap up in capacity without having to replace the drive or open a bay door. Trumping some drives, the Home has its own Wi-Fi and doesn't need to be plugged in solely through Ethernet.
Drobo FS has native iTunes, UPnP, DLNA
Data Robotics on Tuesday stepped into true network-attached storage with a new Drobo. The Drobo FS uses the same five-bay arrangement as the Drobo S but adds a gigabit Ethernet connection to put its data on a local network. Besides raw storage, it acts as a server for DLNA, iTunes and UPnP media and adds native AFP and SMB (Samba) support.
Buffalo outs updated LinkStation Mini NAS
Buffalo on Wednesday introduced a newly updated version of its LinkStation Mini NAS. The dual-drive device features higher performance than the older model, and has near-silent operation. There is also a fresh UI and newfound support for RAID 0 (stripe) and RAID 1 (mirror) setups. The former allows for maximizing capacity, while the latter doubles up data for an added measure of reliability.
Apple TV 3.0 and price cut accomplish little
Most of Apple's networking peripherals sold only adequately during 2009, according to data from the NPD Group. The firm notes that Apple TV sales were up less than 10 percent in 2009, continuing a lethargic trend that emerged in 2008. The product has not been helped materially by the release of the Apple TV 3.0 firmware -- adding features like Internet radio -- or a price cut down to $229.
HP EX490 and EX495 Home Servers
In amidst its launches today, HP updated its MediaSmart Server line with an unusually strong emphasis on Mac support. Even as they're based on Windows Home Server, the EX490 and EX495 both can be administrated over the network using the current version of Microsoft's Remote Desktop Client for Mac. They can also be used directly to recover a Mac from a Time Machine backup created on the server and have a new media aggregator that automatically pools content from Macs and Windows PCs based on the media type, the individual computer or a given folder.
Toshiba External HDD
Normally known for its notebook-sized external disks, Toshiba this afternoon leapt into full-size drives with its External HDD line. The new entries try to be more attractive than the typical drive with a rounded, black-and-chrome look that lines up with the look of most computers, including its own. All drives have not only USB but eSATA for a particularly high-speed link on those computers that support the format.
Synology Disk Station 2.2
Synology America has released the beta version of Disk Station Manager 2.2. The firmware is used in unison with its storage server hardware to manage and access NAS servers over the network and the Internet. The latest version adds support of iSCSI and SNLA devices. The update also includes support for Apple's Time Machine backups, providing the ability to backup desktop data to their Disk Stations. The beta includes a built-in firewall function that users can decide which service or IP address will be allowed to access Disk Station. The firewall also blocks uninvited connections.
Verbatim today catered to those who want high-performance but portable hard drives through the SureFire. Every model has both FireWire 800 and USB 2 ports and will run the 2.5-inch drive inside solely on bus power, particularly suiting it to MacBook Pros that need the full 800Mbps of bandwidth. Their casing is both relatively sturdy and scratch-resistant aluminum.
Hitachi USB/NAS adapter
Hitachi has released a compact adapter under its SimpleTech label that allows any USB hard drive, memory stick or SD card to become a network attached storage device. The SimpleNET USB/NAS adapter includes two USB ports and a 100Mbps Ethernet jack to bring external disks online. The device is Linux-based and does not require reformatting of USB drives. Any USB-based storage device will work with the adapter, but printers are not supported. Hitachi says the adapter works with most networkable backup clients, including Apple's Time Machine.
HP MediaSmart LX195
HP tonight officially unwrapped a key update to its MediaSmart Servers in the LX195. The new version of the Windows Home Server is more compact and power-efficient than earlier models by dropping the existing AMD Sempron and Intel Celeron processors in favor of a 1.6GHz Atom and by removing interior expansion: a single 640GB drive provides storage, with 4 USB ports on the back allowing for more space through external disks. It's also the first MediaSmart Server to support Time Machine backups over the network on Mac OS X in addition to Windows Home Server backups.
Seagate started its week today by launching a device which comes closest to replicating the behavior of Apple's Time Machine backup for Windows PCs. The Replica performs an automatic, continuous backup of an entire Windows system and lets users either restore all their third-party apps and documents after a crash or else return individual files that might have been deleted or lost. The drive maker promises a simple process where the drive will auto-install and configure itself over USB.
PDF Studio, CoolIris
TM Error Logger 1.2 (free) can display additional details related to Time Machine error messages. Whenever Time Machine reports an error one can use the software to find which file or folder caused the problem and be directly linked to that location in the Finder. Version 1.2 has added additional install instructions and fixed the Donate button for Intel Macs. [Download - 1.8MB]
Xmart Volume, iWorkService
Currency Assistant 3.0 ($19) allows users to convert values between 174 world currencies (all major circulating currencies plus the 16 Eurozone legacy currencies). The software also automatically updates exchange rates over the Internet using the rates published by the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of Italy. In the latest release the software has been rewritten as a Universal Cocoa application, the currency conversion calculator has a fully revised interface and introduces several other new features. [Download - 2MB]
Mac OS X 10.5.6 crashes
Some users attempting to download and install the Mac OS X 10.5.6 update are are running into critical errors, discussions on Apple's support forums reveal. The most common problem consists of crashing or hanging, whether in the middle of an install or immediately thereafter. The crashes may be accompanied by kernel panics, though the contents of these panics can vary.
Mac OS X 10.5.6 update
As anticipated last week, Apple has posted its latest update to Mac OS X, v10.5.6. Available through the Software Update service or direct download, the patch consists mostly of dozens of fixes and performance enhancements, for issues such as sync and graphics. Sync reliability has been improved for Address Book, portable home directories and most notably MobileMe, which should now propagate contact, calendar and bookmark changes within a minute of their being saved.
myTracks 1.3 (free) allows users relate GPS tracks and the photos taken along those tracks to each other. Users can import the GPS tracks from a GPS device for from a GPX file which are then displayed using Google Maps. Version 1.3 allows users to switch form Google to the OpenStreetMap family and also allows location information (City, State, Country, ISO Country Code) to be specified for photos. The timestamps of photos can also be shifted to remove time drift between GPS tracker and camera lock and photos can be manually reassigned to track points. [Download - 29.6MB]
MobileMe, T. Machine fixes
The next version of Mac OS X, v10.5.6, should address problems in MobileMe, Time Machine and Mail, a note to developers suggests. Supplied with the latest seed of v10.5.6, build 9G35, the note asks for help in testing automatic syncing with MobileMe, particularly in regards to performance on notebooks, and on networks with high lag or limited bandwidth. The aim is to have changes propagated from me.com to other devices in a "reasonable amount of time," and improve syncing performance in general. Apple asks for special attention to the possibility of excessive or abnormal syncs.