Sunday, August 16, 2009

How to backup time machine to a external hard drive connected to a PC

If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro in a PC network then you can understand that it is sometimes difficult to get along. Also, if you're at all like me, you buy as few apple products as possible because they cost waaaay too much.
So, lets get to the point shall we? If you have a macbook, and it has 5-8 hours of battery life... then you probably didnt buy it so you could keep it on your desk all day did you? No? I didnt think so, you want portability. I found that it is very hard to plug an external hard drive into my macbook pro and remain portable, and like I said: time capsule, apples wireless backup solution, is way too expensive. Today I will show you how to build your own time capsule to backup your mac wirelessly. It isnt hard as long as you follow my instructions.

Items needed:
Any kind of mac with leopard installed, preferably with latest updates.
A PC with XP, Vista, or 7
an external hard drive that you want to backup to. i recommend that the size of the hard drive be larger than your macs hard drive.

Note: This is not a perfect solution, your PC will need to be on for your mac to backup to it's external hard drive.

Phase One: Prepare the windows machine.
Find the name of this PC, it is usually under properties on the right click menu of "my computer"
Plug the eternal hard drive into the PC
Once windows recognizes it and installs its drivers: open my computer
right click the backup drive and click share
on xp, set up sharing as usual
on vista and 7, click advanced sharing
check share this folder
name it, and then click permissions
check full control
open network and sharing center
make sure that file sharing is on
Phase Two: Prepare the MacBook
open terminal
paste: defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
hit enter
quit terminal
Mount your network drive by clicking finder and pressing command+k or going to go>connect to server. type in smb://your_pc's_computer_name and then mount the backup folder.
select the network backup in Time Machine.
Start Time Machine (Menu button > Backup Now) and watch your remote location.
A file is created with the structure ComputerName_MACAddress.tmp.sparcebundle. Copy this file's name.
On your Mac, open Disk Utility. Click “New Image.” Use the following settings:
Save As ComputerName_MACAddress
Volume name can be whatever you want, i named it the same as my backup folder.
Change partition to “No Partition Map”
Change Image Format to “Sparce Bundle Disk Image”
Custom Volume size. Set the maximum you want to use on your remote location, my backup was 232GB, and I used 200GB.
Save the image file to your desktop. Move this file to your remote location.
Tell Time Machine to backup again and it should be working.

Contgrats, you now have a working time machine backup to a PC's external hard drive.
credit for a large part of phase two goes to Jason Davis

My new macbook pro

I just sold my old (although it was less than a year old) sony vaio and replaced it with a macbook pro. It was a solid purchase, and I am very happy. It is a great machine, but i cant wait for snow leopard to be released because safari and finder keep crashing on me.
Overall, the differences between my new mac and my old vaio are as follows:
Magsafe adapter
7 hour battery
multitouch trackpad
battery indicator lights
time machine.... there is nothing like it on windows
extremely useful Fn keys. I use the itunes controls, the screen brightness and keyboard brightness adjusters every day. I also love the volume controls and quick access to dashboard.
awesome dvd drive...
beautiful, in every respect

Wait, apple thinks User Account control is annoying?! They make you enter your password and give confirmation for everything!
Crashes more often than my old pc (running windows 7)
the eject button... if your going to put it there, why not make it eject a flash drive when it is selected also?
cannot write to ntfs drives or fat drives quickly. might be microsoft's fault.
lack of windows features: I'm used to having some features in operating systems i use by default, and after switching to mac I realized that it doesnt have everything that windows has, here are some examples:
A delete key on the keyboard, not backspace.
Restore files from trash
maximize windows
switch tasks easily... in leopard if you have two safari windows open alt+tab does not switch you to the other window, only a different application
jumplists... i know they arent even out yet, but osx 10.7 needs them.

Overall, I am very happy that I bought a mac, and I actually dont think I'll be installing windows on it. I feel somewhat like a traitor for getting both and iphone and a mac, rather than a windows mobile phone like the htc touch pro 2 and a dell... I really dont like apple due to their extreme overpricing, but its harder than it looks to boycott on principle ;D

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

We all can be heroes: Send a message, save the world (or your wallets)

Ok, so it isnt the best heroes reference, but thats besides the point. I'm trying to get as many people as possible to send a message to your cell phone provider informing them that you (the customer) are fed up with paying for unnecessary charges, and that you no longer want to hear that annoying lady from the 90's that tells you how to leave a message.

Please send this message, an altered version of it, or entirely your own message to your carrier. You can be anonymous, it doesn't matter... but if everyone sent one than they would assuredly change their policy don't ya think?

I am mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it about the ridiculous idea that we still need to be told how to use voicemail, and it turns out those additional messages are actually costing me cold, hard cash. David Pogue estimates that Verizon, for instance, is netting around $620 million a year thanks to these little annoyances.
On another note: At&t could easily include unlimited messaging within their unlimited data plans and not charge a penny more. And why not? We're transmitting more data when online and emailing than we are with a stupid little SMS which, by the way, is limited to a small number of characters.. But of course, you do nickel and dime us like we're still stuck in the early 90's... People are getting ripped off and overcharged for features that should come standard, and any carrier that integrates SMS into their data plans first will be my new carrier, and I'm sure other people will switch en masse. This is ridiculous... I know it, you know it, everyone knows it, and like I said before: The first carrier who offers unlimited messaging as a part of their data plans without charging extra, will get an enormous amount of business!
We're waiting, and the clock is ticking......

Verizon: Post a complaint here.

AT&T: Send e-mail to Mark Siegel, executive director of media relations:

Sprint: Post a complaint here.

T-Mobile: Post a complaint here.

Credit to commenters from, and to David Pogue for pieces of the above writing.