Borkware Miniblog

March 31, 2011

My Time Machine Exclusion List

Filed under: off-topic, Questions From Friends, Random — Mark Dalrymple @ 12:18 pm

A friend recently asked me about my opinions on the Time Capsule. I had the first generation device. It was OK, but slow, and eventually died the death of the power supply.

I have the latest gen now, 2TB, and love it. With 10.6 over a fast network, I don’t notice the hourly backups. One thing I did notice as time went on that the backups were getting kind of big. I want my individual machine backups to be under 1TB so I could archive them to some terrorbyte external drives I already have. I’d exceed that if I backed up too much junk too often.

My main goal for backups is to restore my $HOME data in the event of a machine failure. I don’t plan on restoring the OS or Applications from the backup. I’ll just use whatever OS is on the replacement machine or install my own, and I’ll install applications as I need them.

Backup Loupe is a great application for looking at your backups and seeing what’s being piggy. A file that’s only 50 megs is not a big deal, but it becomes a bigger deal if it gets touched regularly and gets backed up every hour. Using Backup Loupe, and general foresight, I have built this exclusion list over the last year or so. Unfortunately the list is not in any sane order. I’m not sure what order it’s listed, since it’s not chronological.

Time machine exclusions

Some are pretty obvious:

~/.Trash – no need to backup trash.

/Library/Application Support, /Library/Caches and ~/Library/Caches, those will be re-created by applications. ~/Library/Application Support I do back up since it might have useful goodies.  [edit: Mark Aufflick suggests preserving /Library/Application Support/Adobe.  Personally I just use Lightroom and Photoshop CS5.  Lightroom is pretty well behaved, and I'll just reinstall Photoshop.  But if you had the full Suite, that'd probably be a huge pain].

/Applications, I’ll just redownload and reinstall them.

/Users/bork is a test user I only use for development. No need to back that up.

The various parts peculiar to individual app or companies are there because they’re either big, can be regenerated, or an app touches a file often. Camino is one of them. I don’t use it very often, but every time I do I have to back up 50 megs. So its application support directory is on the chopping block. Similarly, Chrome gets updated every week, and is pretty big.

/Developer and /Xcode4 are there because I’d fill up the Time Capsule just from Xcode updates. I can always download the latest one if I’m setting up a new machine.

~/junk is a directory I use to throw junk into (hence the name). NoBackup is a similar directory at the top level. I have one in Movies too as a place to store one-off iMovie projects. Once I create the final movie the project can go bye-bye, and I usually don’t feel the need to back it up in the interim. I can get the original footage from the camera again. If it’s something larger or more important, I’ll leave it in ~/Movies, which does get backed up.

~/Downloads is another place for stuff I don’t want to delete right now, but won’t cry if it suddenly went away. If I want to keep it, I’ll put it somewhere that’s backed up.

Lightroom generates previews of photographs so that the UI is more responsive. Those can be regenerated later, so they don’t ned to be backed up.

All system files, including /Library/Printers,and /usr are things that would come with a fresh OS instal. Things in /usr/local I can re-install as needed. Same with /opt.

My music lives on another machine, so I don’t need to back up ~/Music

I check with Backup Loupe every now and then to make sure there’s not a new suprise that’s getting backed up.

Addendum: courtesy of brad@cynicalpeak, there’s other trash directories, /.Trashes, /Volumes/*/.Trashes if you have multiple disks.  Also /var/folders is yet another cache location.

March 28, 2011

Borkware’s First-Timer’s Guide to WWDC

Filed under: off-topic — Mark Dalrymple @ 12:23 pm

Atm machienSo, you’ve just purchased your first WWDC ticket. Congratulations! Many folks have have published their “First-timer’s guide to WWDC”, so being a veteran of 6 or 7 of them, both in the modern age and during the Dark Times, I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon.

1) The ticket is expensive, so you’re probably short on cash now. Don’t worry about booking a hotel. The weather in San Francisco is really nice. It hardly ever rains. And if it does, there are many store fronts and office building entrances you can use for shelter. It’s also pleasantly warm 24/7.

2) Go to as many sessions, labs, BOF sessions, and parties you can at the Moscone center. It’s a virtual firehose of firehoses of information and activity. You won’t have time to bathe, so don’t even bother.

3) Get into the keynote line early. Most hardcore attendees start lining up Sunday afternoon. You’ll be guaranteed of a good spot if you get there late Saturday night. There’s really only 700 spaces in the keynote room, even though the videos make it look deceptively large (*cough* CGI *cough*). Due to health concerns, Steve’s Reality Distortion Field doesn’t extend past 10 or 15 rows these days. :-( May he rest in peace.

4) Don’t worry about food. In fact, you don’t have to really bring any money, credit cards, or Automatic ATM Machine cards. I can never remember my PIN Number anyway. Apple always lays out a huge spread of food from dusk to dawn and back to dusk again. Make sure to hang around friday evening for Prime Rib and Champagne night, in celebration of the end of a good conference.

5) A secret: you don’t have to wait until the end of a session for Q&A. There are microphones around the room. If the one you are at happens to be turned off, no problem. Bring your own bullhorn.

6) When asking questions in sessions, be sure to state your name, where you work, which platform you work on, which version of Xcode you prefer, and your opinion on the App store and C++ vs Objective-C. Be sure to complement the speaker on their sartorial choices. The sound systems are run rather hot, so please don’t speak too loudly into the microphone. Of course, if you brought a bullhorn, you can tailor its output to the conditions of the room.

7) Follow proper Labs etiquette. The labs where you can chat with Apple engineers are an invaluable resource. It is a scarce, shared resource, so treat it like you would computationaly: pretend to be a mutex. You walk into the lab you want and shout “I AM ATTEMPTING TO OBTAIN A LOCK ON THE MEDIA PLAYER FRAMEWORK ENGINEERS”. If an engineer is free, you’ll hear “LOCK SUCCEDED” from the back, and you can go to the engineer who just shouted and ask your questions. If no one responds wait until you time out, and try again. Expert tip: “spinlock”.

8) We’re all friends at WWDC. If a session looks to be standing room only, feel free to find an available lap.

9) The Thursday night beer bash is actually just a giant mosh pit.

10) Don’t forget that recording devices are forbidden. So please leave your voice recorder, iPhone, video camera, DSLR, pens and paper at home. The TSA has been contracted to provide session information security.

Have a great time! WWDC is an awesome experience.

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