Time capsule rules!

I’ve got to admit, Apple’s Time Capsule rules!
Starting off was a little slow. The initial backup was 60Gbytes or so and took
nearly 16 hours to finish. I did this over the wireless connection. It
wasn’t a big deal. I had my laptop plugged in and just left it on overnight.
The transfer rate average to be about 1.2MB/sec (~10Mbit/sec) but as you are
watching, it really drags on
My girlfriend’s MacBook got backed up as well.
So now I’ve got this nice wireless backup going on. Both laptops share the backup drive without interference.
It’s a little of a let down at that point. You start up “Time Machine” and all
you see is exactly what’s on your desktop. After that, it starts to back up
every hour. The interface took a few tries before it really sank in how it
works. I’d expected to drag and drop to get to a backup file since it provides
a “Finder” interface to the backups. Instead, there is a “Restore” button to
bring things back.
Another thing that outsmarted me is that I kept checking for when the next
backup would happen. But it wouldn’t happen. The big “Power off” letters in
the Time Machine menu didn’t click for a long time. Finally, I realized it
wouldn’t do the backup unless I add my laptop plugged in to power. Makes pretty
good sense since you don’t want a lot of disk activity if it’s running on
batteries.
In the event of a my laptop disk failing, I’m supposed to be able to have the
install disk go to the backup and recover the system to any point in time.
Hopefully, I’ll never have to find out if it works but what’s the expression:
“Hope is not a plan”.
You can check out the Time Machine features.

Gettting Grab screen writing jpeg instead of tiff files

By default, “Grab” on MacOS saves the file as .tiff. Why? There’s no preferences to change it. Fortunately, there’s a pretty easy way by opening a terminal window and running the command line:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type png

You need to reboot for it to take affect. You can make other choices: jpg, tiff, etc.
You can also set the “location” and read the current values

defaults read com.apple.screencapture

C#: Silly syntax hint

I found myself wanting to make sure a couple objects that spport IDisposable were cleaned up. I’d written

    using (DurationLogger log = new DurationLogger(s_log, "Writing CSV file"))
    {
        using (FileStream fs = File.OpenWrite("temp.csv"))
        {
             // ...
        {
    }

A simple transformation makes it much more readable:

    using (DurationLogger log = new DurationLogger(s_log, "Writing CSV file"))
    using (FileStream fs = File.OpenWrite("temp.csv"))
    {
         // ...
    }

Mama Mia

I saw “Mama Mia” Fri night. gallery07_pics_r1_c1.jpg
We went for my birthday. It was fun but not inspirational. I’m proud to say I only knew a few of the songs.
Times Square was packed! The sidewalks were 10 people deep with no room to pass.
After that, we went to an Iranian New Year’s party. Sorry, no photos.

Apple’s Time Capsule and Airport Express

I had a Linksys wireless router (WRT54GS) but it’d been acting a little flakey
the past 1/2 year. It kept getting confused about assigning IP address
(e.g. DHCP) and generally being unreliable. I’d been looking at Apple’s Airport
Express for a few months. I wanted some way to hook up some decent speakers
wirelessly and also thought it’d be nice to be able to have the printer
available over the network.
Last week, they announced the latest generation
with the latest wireless standard: 802.11n (Cost: $99). Not a big deal for me.
I already had a strong enough signal and am more limited by my cable modem then
any wireless network. But the new offering made me want to upgrade.
Sadly after installing the Airport Express it turned out not to be sufficient.
I have an older computer using ethernet and a phone using VOIP — both need an
ethernet jack and the Airport Express doesn’t have any extra (just the one for
the WAN). I tried to get the Linksys to act as a dump router and connect
wirelessly but no joy.
The other thing I’d been thinking about was backup. I’m normally pretty good
about backing stuff up. I’d tried using an old notebook drive via USB but it
wasn’t big enough. So I hadn’t really backed anything up. I also needed to get
my gf’s MacBook doing backups too.
So I decided to buy the 500GB Time
Capsule
which is both a wireless router and a backup hard drive (Cost:
$299). So I spent a little more than I’d planned (what’s new?).
I couldn’t believe how easy everything was to setup! In 15 minutes I:

  • Had the router connected to my cable provider with the phone and old computer connected
  • Had both laptops connected wireless using WPA2 for security
  • Got the printer connected wirelessly (through the Airport Express)
  • Had iTunes playing through the Airport Express to some speakers)

The software design is just so superior! Being able to query info about the
device and use that to do the setup. I didn’t even have to enter in the printer
name. I just read what the Airport Utility was telling me and either entered a
password or clicked on “Next”.