Jason Ball's TechBytes

Technology & Venture Capital. Early stage venture capital news mixed with personal views and comments

Apple’s Backup 3.0 – Roadtest [Updated]

Bkp_128
I’ve been road-testing Apple’s new Backup since it’s release. Overall, I’ve been very impressed. I’m using it to backup daily to iDisk certain frequently-used files and also to my iPod.

The incremental backups means time spent backing up is minimal every day. And I haven’t experienced any of the Backup weirdness that plagued Backup 2.0- it was very unreliable and I almost never successfully completed a backup.

However, as easy as it is to backup- no backup software is worth its complied code if it doesn’t RESTORE reliably. Last night while playing around with the WordPress beta, my Safari preferences got nuked. (Yes, there appear to be some very nasty bugs for OS X users with the WordPress.com site).

This presented the perfect opportunity to test Backup’s restore function…

Backup_screenshot_5
Restoring my Safari preferences was a piece of cake: I had previously selected the "Personal Data & Settings" backup plan, so I opened that plan, selected restore, the date and source and then Safari settings.

The only criticism is that the entire backup had to be downloaded from my iDisk before the Safari settings could be restored- i.e. Backup didn’t selectively download those files. If the files are absolutely mission-critical, a short wait is a small price to pay for getting those files back.

The only other hole I had pointed out with Backup was the lack of a cloning option allowing bootable copies of your entire hard drive. I’ve come across a great program called SuperDuper! that appears to be even better than the venerable CarbonCopyCloner that CK swears by. It costs $20, but the combination of Backup and SuperDuper! is all the backup software you need to recover from a serious data loss situation.

And just because you aren’t backing up doesn’t mean a hard disk failure isn’t out to get you!


Update:

There are further QuickPicks for Backup 3.0 available here.

Filed under: Apple, Software

Apple’s Backup 3.0 – Roadtest [Updated]

Bkp_128
I’ve been road-testing Apple’s new Backup since it’s release. Overall, I’ve been very impressed. I’m using it to backup daily to iDisk certain frequently-used files and also to my iPod.

The incremental backups means time spent backing up is minimal every day. And I haven’t experienced any of the Backup weirdness that plagued Backup 2.0- it was very unreliable and I almost never successfully completed a backup.

However, as easy as it is to backup- no backup software is worth its complied code if it doesn’t RESTORE reliably. Last night while playing around with the WordPress beta, my Safari preferences got nuked. (Yes, there appear to be some very nasty bugs for OS X users with the WordPress.com site).

This presented the perfect opportunity to test Backup’s restore function…

Backup_screenshot_5
Restoring my Safari preferences was a piece of cake: I had previously selected the "Personal Data & Settings" backup plan, so I opened that plan, selected restore, the date and source and then Safari settings.

The only criticism is that the entire backup had to be downloaded from my iDisk before the Safari settings could be restored- i.e. Backup didn’t selectively download those files. If the files are absolutely mission-critical, a short wait is a small price to pay for getting those files back.

The only other hole I had pointed out with Backup was the lack of a cloning option allowing bootable copies of your entire hard drive. I’ve come across a great program called SuperDuper! that appears to be even better than the venerable CarbonCopyCloner that CK swears by. It costs $20, but the combination of Backup and SuperDuper! is all the backup software you need to recover from a serious data loss situation.

And just because you aren’t backing up doesn’t mean a hard disk failure isn’t out to get you!


Update:

There are further QuickPicks for Backup 3.0 available here.

Filed under: Apple, Software

Apple’s Backup 3.0 – Roadtest [Updated]

Bkp_128
I’ve been road-testing Apple’s new Backup since it’s release. Overall, I’ve been very impressed. I’m using it to backup daily to iDisk certain frequently-used files and also to my iPod.

The incremental backups means time spent backing up is minimal every day. And I haven’t experienced any of the Backup weirdness that plagued Backup 2.0- it was very unreliable and I almost never successfully completed a backup.

However, as easy as it is to backup- no backup software is worth its complied code if it doesn’t RESTORE reliably. Last night while playing around with the WordPress beta, my Safari preferences got nuked. (Yes, there appear to be some very nasty bugs for OS X users with the WordPress.com site).

This presented the perfect opportunity to test Backup’s restore function…

Backup_screenshot_5
Restoring my Safari preferences was a piece of cake: I had previously selected the "Personal Data & Settings" backup plan, so I opened that plan, selected restore, the date and source and then Safari settings.

The only criticism is that the entire backup had to be downloaded from my iDisk before the Safari settings could be restored- i.e. Backup didn’t selectively download those files. If the files are absolutely mission-critical, a short wait is a small price to pay for getting those files back.

The only other hole I had pointed out with Backup was the lack of a cloning option allowing bootable copies of your entire hard drive. I’ve come across a great program called SuperDuper! that appears to be even better than the venerable CarbonCopyCloner that CK swears by. It costs $20, but the combination of Backup and SuperDuper! is all the backup software you need to recover from a serious data loss situation.

And just because you aren’t backing up doesn’t mean a hard disk failure isn’t out to get you!


Update:

There are further QuickPicks for Backup 3.0 available here.

Filed under: Apple Computer, Software

Apple’s Mighty Mouse- Mixed Results [Updated]

Like any Mac devotee, I rushed out and bought me a Mighty Mouse as soon as possible. My first impression was good, then I installed Apple’s Mighty Mouse drivers and was met with horror as my System Preferences went haywire. They still switch on me at every restart. [Update] Apparently, this is a widespread problem.

Then my mouse started sticking when I would click. I thought it was me, but I’ve returned the mouse and am sitting here with a new one- I definitely had a defective Mighty Mouse the first time.

I still can’t program the scroll wheel to do a cmd+W. Hopefully, Apple will add more ability to program the mouse *exactly* like you want it, instead of how they want you to use it.

Overall, the mouse performance is fine for my needs- as long as I can add cmd+W- and is light as a feather. It’s just like using the original one-button apple pro mouse, but with the ability to right click. If you’ve got the spare cash, pick one up- just avoid the Apple Mighty Mouse Driver.

Update

Mighty Mouse number two has died. The scroll wheel stopped working last night… It’s going back to the Apple store tomorrow and I’m getting my money back.

Plus, my hand actually hurts from using this mouse. It is incredibly non-ergonmic. I’ve seen other people mention wrist and hand problems after extensive use of this mouse- I can coo-berate those claims. The Mighty Mouse has to be one of the worst releases from Apple in ages.

Filed under: Apple

Apple’s Mighty Mouse- Mixed Results [Updated]

Like any Mac devotee, I rushed out and bought me a Mighty Mouse as soon as possible. My first impression was good, then I installed Apple’s Mighty Mouse drivers and was met with horror as my System Preferences went haywire. They still switch on me at every restart. [Update] Apparently, this is a widespread problem.

Then my mouse started sticking when I would click. I thought it was me, but I’ve returned the mouse and am sitting here with a new one- I definitely had a defective Mighty Mouse the first time.

I still can’t program the scroll wheel to do a cmd+W. Hopefully, Apple will add more ability to program the mouse *exactly* like you want it, instead of how they want you to use it.

Overall, the mouse performance is fine for my needs- as long as I can add cmd+W- and is light as a feather. It’s just like using the original one-button apple pro mouse, but with the ability to right click. If you’ve got the spare cash, pick one up- just avoid the Apple Mighty Mouse Driver.

Update

Mighty Mouse number two has died. The scroll wheel stopped working last night… It’s going back to the Apple store tomorrow and I’m getting my money back.

Plus, my hand actually hurts from using this mouse. It is incredibly non-ergonmic. I’ve seen other people mention wrist and hand problems after extensive use of this mouse- I can coo-berate those claims. The Mighty Mouse has to be one of the worst releases from Apple in ages.

Filed under: Apple

Apple’s Mighty Mouse- Mixed Results [Updated]

Like any Mac devotee, I rushed out and bought me a Mighty Mouse as soon as possible. My first impression was good, then I installed Apple’s Mighty Mouse drivers and was met with horror as my System Preferences went haywire. They still switch on me at every restart. [Update] Apparently, this is a widespread problem.

Then my mouse started sticking when I would click. I thought it was me, but I’ve returned the mouse and am sitting here with a new one- I definitely had a defective Mighty Mouse the first time.

I still can’t program the scroll wheel to do a cmd+W. Hopefully, Apple will add more ability to program the mouse *exactly* like you want it, instead of how they want you to use it.

Overall, the mouse performance is fine for my needs- as long as I can add cmd+W- and is light as a feather. It’s just like using the original one-button apple pro mouse, but with the ability to right click. If you’ve got the spare cash, pick one up- just avoid the Apple Mighty Mouse Driver.

Update

Mighty Mouse number two has died. The scroll wheel stopped working last night… It’s going back to the Apple store tomorrow and I’m getting my money back.

Plus, my hand actually hurts from using this mouse. It is incredibly non-ergonmic. I’ve seen other people mention wrist and hand problems after extensive use of this mouse- I can coo-berate those claims. The Mighty Mouse has to be one of the worst releases from Apple in ages.

Filed under: Apple Computer

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Web 2.0 Meme Map

Tim O’reilly has posted a meme map from the “What is Web 2.0?” brainstorming session at FOO Camp 2005. Gives you a quick overview of what’s happing in development terms accross the web.Read/Write Web: Web 2.0 Meme Map:

Web 2.0 Meme Map
Click here for full image

(Via Read/Write Web.)

Filed under: Software, Technology

Renewal time at .Mac- Beg and plead

Dear .Mac Member,

.Mac membership now comes with 1 GB of combined .Mac Mail and iDisk storage. Because you purchased additional storage for this membership year, we’ve increased your total storage to 2 GB (and increased your monthly data transfer limit to 25 GB) for the duration of your current membership. This update has already taken place. You can use your Account Settings to take advantage of .Mac’s storage flexibility and reallocate storage to best fit the way you use the service.

In addition, .Mac is now available in French and German as well as in English and Japanese. You’ll also find that .Mac now includes new Backup 3 software and the ability to create .Mac Groups.

We value your membership and hope you enjoy these enhancements to your .Mac service.

The bold is my own emphasis. In other words, please, please don’t leave us even though we’ve finally increased the storage to 1GB 18 months after Gmail was introduced and even though our online .Mac services are still 3 years behind the competition.

Really, this is pitiful. Apple only updates .Mac at renewal time- and the renewals are always just enough to keep you hopeful. I use Typepad for blogging and photos- 1000x better than .Mac’s “Homepage” services in both functionality and usability. Flickr is equally impressive. Gmail and Yahoo mail are heads and shoulders above .Mac’s web-based mail. Yes, this is a point of contentition for me. Apple sells .mac email as “accessible from anywhere”. True, but you can’t find anything in there- search is joke.

Now we have “Groups” allowing family and friends to share a webspace. It looks like a poor excuse for a blog- which is what they should have launched with a neat blogging tool and podcast tool.

The bright spot in all this is Sync (which works for me, though that’s not the case for everyone) and Backup. Apple’s latest revision to Backup appears to be a good one. There are a few quirks and obvious over sights- like the ability to clone your disk- but overall this software is very good. I use Retrospect to backup my Mac. I run backups to my iPod, DVD and Firewire HD. Retrospect slightly exceeds Backup in the following areas:

1. Incremental Backups. Backup finalizes the session on a DVD, Retropect does not. This means you can completely fill the DVD (over the course of weeks) before the “session” is finalized. It appears I need to insert a new DVD with Backup- even though the one already backed up to is only half full.

2. Bootable Backups. Retrospect offers this, Backup does not.

3. Encryption. You can password protect your Retrospect backups. This is very handy when backing up to an iPod.

Backup does shine in its interface; I found it easy to create backup plans that suit .Mac, i.e. small daily, off-site backups. Retrospect is famous for its lack of usability and is very difficult to configure.

Apple has done well with Backup. Now, they just need to bring the rest of the service up to that level. That would be worth my $99 a year and I wouldn’t have the nagging feeling I’d just been had.

Filed under: Apple Computer

More on Skype

The relevant point of interest for me is the early stage investors. How much did they invest, at what valuation and how much did they make? This excerpt from Siliconvalley.com gives a pretty good idea:

Together with his partner Hartenbaum, Draper invested about $250,000 into Skype in late 2002. They became the first outside investors, and enjoyed a 5 percent stake. (And while the exact numbers aren’t known, they invested when Skype was valued at less than $2 million — meaning they’ve seen close to a thousandfold return.)

5% for $250,000 equates to a $5m post-money valuation.

The other key point for me obviously is that Skype is London-based. The siliconvalley.com article goes on to say:

None of the purely Silicon Valley-focused firms was in on this blockbuster deal. Rimer, who spent years in Silicon Valley, explains that he had to chase down Skype — something Silicon Valley investors aren’t used to doing.

“In Silicon Valley, all the entrepreneurs go from door to door on Sand Hill Road,” he said. “In Europe, you have to uncover every individual rock. There’s no hub, and entrepreneurs aren’t going to go out of their way to find you. We’ve got to do a lot more work.” How did Rimer find Skype? “We sent them an e-mail. . . . That’s how it all started.”

I’m still processing the bits that are surfacing. More news at 11:00.

Filed under: Venture Capital

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