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Thoughts on Time Machine

Time Machine icon

Of all of the new features in Leopard, Time Machine definitely looks one of the most significant and as a concept it looks pretty neat.

Over the last few days, I’ve put Time Machine into practice and I’d like to share my thoughts.

  • The initial backup after you set it up is a pain. The entire system gets backed up (40 GB in my case, when I’d set it up) and you get an annoying progress window. It doesn’t quite happen in the same ‘in the background’ way it’s promised initially. The initial backup can’t be interrupted either – it’s a good thing it only has to be done once.
  • Subsequent backups are completely automated, in the background and incremental. Provided you don’t shift around tons of data in the space of an hour while your drive is connected, there’s very little to back up each hour so it happens virtually instantaneously and you don’t notice it.
  • The interface is very eye-candy-y and I think some of the effects can get in the way a little bit when you’re just trying to restore something. However, being able to use the full power of the Spotlight architecture inside your backups is pretty cool and is a real boon when trying to find a specific file from a specific backup.
  • A little more configurability with regards to how much disk space Time Machine uses and retention policies would be nice. How it’s done right now does keep it simple, but how hard would it be to implement a slider as to how much of the drive to use. Right now, it means you have to re-partition the drive with a data partition too if you want to do so, as the backup partition is completely monopolised by Time Machine.
  • The backups aren’t in some crazy proprietary format – they’re just the files copied to directories on the disk. It’s simple to restore files even without using the Time Machine interface and all your data is nice and accessible. That means if I have a major MacBook catastrophe, I can plug the backup drive into my Linux box, mount the HFS+ partition and copy my files. Interoperability for the win.
  • Having backups completely automated is going to save me so much time and effort – and my backups wll be more up-to-date, should I ever have to use them (I haven’t yet on the MacBook).

So, overall – Time Machine is a really cool feature. If they add some more options to configure it just how I like it and maybe offer a toned down interface as well, it will be the most awesome desktop backup solution ever.

FOSSwire 2.0

Thanks to the extremely hard work of Jacob (coding and architecture) and Chris (design), and not really me (I did keep posting though), FOSSwire has just relaunched!

Well, FOSSwire, we’ve had some ups and downs, but overall it’s been a good year. We now have quite a reader base compared to when we started.

But now isn’t the time for reminiscing. (really, never is the time.)

You may have noticed some changes around here. Did FOSSwire get a haircut? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. But we did add several new features:

  • Tabs: Now, instead of a bajillion categories, we now only have five, and they are shown as tabs at the top of the page. Who doesn’t like tabs?
  • Tags: This is where the mass amounts of categories were thrown. We didn’t really know what to do with this new feature in WordPress 2.3, so we’re just using it as our new category home.
  • The Metabar: Chris calls this the Ãœberbar. To each their own. The important thing is this is home to many more features, including:
    • GNOME vs KDE vs XFCE wars
    • FOSSwire Video: Yep, we finally support video. Expect many more posts to have this feature.
    • PkgBase Automatic Installers: This is what we were suggesting with this post. You can now enjoy a one-click style install feature for systems that support it. And for those that don’t, instructions are given.
    • Expertise Level: Know before you read a post how difficult it will be to do. Most commonly used in the Tips & Tutorials section.
  • Post Ratings: For anything that can be reviewed, such as a software or game release, we can now assign a rating out of 10 to it.
  • Caching: You won’t notice anything (other than comments being delayed) except for the site running a lot faster. We’re using a custom-built caching system that is by far faster than WP-Cache.

Those are most of the features, but we’ve made some cosmetic changes here and there. We think you’ll like it.

This relaunch marks one year of FOSSwire, and I’ve been extremely happy to be a founding contributor and hope we continue to enjoy as much success as we’ve had (and hopefully more)!

One year.


It’s gone pretty quickly, and in the past year I’ve managed to push out 210 posts. It isn’t quite one a day, sadly, but still, I’m pretty happy with how much I’ve put into FOSSwire personally.

Of course, I must again point out that the overwhelming majority of the work for this new release was not done by me! I’m not taking credit at all – not until content I’ve produced arrives 😉 .

So, here’s to the next year!

Leopard is here

So Leopard is here and it is very very nice. I haven’t had an awful lot of time to actually sit down and just play – it’s mostly copying stuff from my backup over, getting things running smoothly again. I will report back with thoughts later!

Picture 2

As you can see, Spotlight is furiously re-indexing all the stuff I just copied, so it is pegging my CPU (usually just one of the cores though, so it’s still snappy and responsive) and making it very very hot (see the menubar for the CPU core temperature)!

More Leopard stuff soon.

Upgraded to WordPress 2.3

It’s taken me a little while to do some testing and making sure everything is all good – but my personal blog is now upgraded to WordPress 2.3.

WPGet is also upgraded to 0.7 as well – so I’m now actually using the latest version of my own software too!

MacBook contents backed up and frozen, awaiting Leopard

So I’m officially ready for Leopard.

The entire Macintosh HD volume has been backed up (60 GB of sparseimage!) and frozen (I’m not touching it in terms of saving anything important) and I’m ready for my shiny Leopard disc to arrive to do an erase & install and then copy selectively the good stuff back.

Now we just hope UPS decide to deliver it tomorrow morning not evening (or worse, later than tomorrow!). Go on UPS, make me happy.

Kubuntu Gutsy

I downloaded it when I came in this evening and I’m just finishing prepping to clean install it over Feisty (7.04), which is currently my primary operating system on my desktop PC.

I’m choosing to do a clean install because it’s about time my KDE preferences and everything else for that matter were cleaned out and I started afresh.

October really is turning out to be operating system month – less than 8 days now until I’ll be upgrading myself to Leopard on the MacBook; provided everything ships in time.

So – here goes Gutsy!


I’m gravitating back to it. After a while of using Zooomr, and since what has happened since Mark III, it really isn’t fulfilling my needs; stuff still feels broken, the upload page doesn’t work at all on Firefox on Linux and to be honest, I much prefer how the Mark II architecture worked.

So, back to Flickr I go.

My old account is junked up with rubbish, so I’ve actually gone onto a fresh Yahoo account and created a new Flickr account using it. From now on, you’ll find all my new photos and stuff on my Flickr.

Which is:

And my profile is:

Feel free to friend me and all that stuff – I’m too lazy, so come and find me and add me. 🙂

I’ll be needing somewhere to stick the unboxing photos of Leopard. Not that there’s an awful lot of unboxing involved, but I’m not going to break the tradition now, am I? 😉

I wants me some Leopard

Leopard image

The question is – do I venture to Southampton to buy it from the Apple Store proper, or do I buy it online and get it shipped to my door?

Considering I’ve never bought anything in a real physical Apple retail store yet, I’m tempted to head down there if I can and go pick up a copy in person. Either way, Leopard looks pretty cool and I’m definitely interested in grabbing a copy for my over-6-month-old MacBook. :O

UPDATE: I pre-ordered it yesterday. Should be here on release day apparently.

Because everyone loves a little database humour

WPGet 0.7 is (finally) released

After a significant development hiatus, I am very pleased to announce the immediate release of WPGet 0.7!

So in case you sort of forgot what it is after all this time, or for any newcomers to WPGet, here’s what it does. WPGet is a script that is designed to allow you to include a short summary of your recent blog posts on your website. Specifically, it works with WordPress and is great for integrating a WordPress blog into a site that isn’t completely powered by the WP platform.

You can see a great example of WPGet in action on my homepage. The sidebar on the right includes a brief summary of what’s on this blog. That is, in essence, what WPGet does (although it is fully customisable for what you want to do).

So enough introduction (you can read more of that sort of thing at the project page), let’s take a look at what’s new for 0.7:

» Read the rest of this post…