Backing up using Time Machine

By: Marijn Rongen
August 28th, 2010

At the same time I got the Magic Mouse I also treated myself to a LaCie Hard Disk MAX Quadra. A 2TB version to be specific, with a range of connections from USB to FireWire 800. The drive contains an array of two hard-disks of 1 TB and is able to run in one of two RAID modes, RAID-0 and RAID-1.

Using RAID-0 means the data is spread across both disks while using RAID-1 means both disks contain exactly the same data. When using RAID-0 one will have 2TB of storage and when using RAID-1 this is reduced to 1TB (the capacity of the smallest capacity disk in the array). As I intend to use this drive as a backup system I opted for RAID-1, so in case one disk fails I can replace it without losing data.

In my search for a program to make automatic backups of my system I did not have far to look. Time Machine has been a part of the Mac OS X operating system since version 10.5 (Leopard) and automatically creates backups every hour.

Setting it up was easy, much easier than I initially anticipated. On first connecting the new drive it automatically asked my if I would like to use Time Machine to make backups on the drive. It only needed a single click of approval and it was done. After that it needed a few hours for the first backup but now it just needs a few seconds every hour to backup the files that have been created or altered since the last backup. Very easy, very efficient, very much recommended.

All this Time Machine talk just gave me a nice little brainwave, the Doctor Who mini-marathon I just had might have something to do with it: A TARDIS shaped backup disk. Would. Be. Awesome. With the light on top flashing during backup! If someone cares to make one of these I’d be willing to sacrifice some time to do a review 😉


Unpacking the Apple Magic Mouse

By: Marijn Rongen
August 15th, 2010

It was planned for a while and now I finally got around to ordering the Apple Magic Mouse. I’ve been using it for a few days now and it is proving to be worth every cent. What follows is a short unpacking and review of the Apple Magic Mouse.

The Unpacking

Stylish in generic box

The actual Magic Mouse and it’s stylish-as-always packaging fitting snugly in the rather generic looking box.

Magic Mouse

The Magic Mouse packaging reminds me of the iPod nano packaging.

Magic Mouse unpacked

This is what you’ll find;
– Magic Mouse
– Batteries (inside the Magic Mouse)
– Instruction booklet

Con: No Exposé or Dashboard
Having moved to the Magic Mouse from a (wired) Mighty Mouse there are a few differences. With the Mighty Mouse Exposé could be activated by squeezing the sides of the mouse and the dashboard could be activated by clicking the scroll-ball. These controls are absent on the Magic Mouse, so it’s back to the keyboard for these functions.

Pro: No cable, one extra free USB port
If you already use a wireless mouse this will not make any difference to you, to me it was a new experience. I held off on wireless mice until now, but I must admit it is ideal to have the mouse free from cables. Your motions are no longer restricted and there is one less USB port that is occupied. Pairing the bluetooth mouse with my iMac was easy, just needed a few clicks.

Pro: Easy scrolling by touch
This is exactly what Apple is known for, take a new or existing technique and apply it in a new way. Scrolling without a wheel or ball is so much easier, it is something you really must try for yourself. Most of the surface of the Magic Mouse can be used to scroll in any direction. No more sticky scroll controls!

Pro: Precise and nimble
Compared to the Mighty Mouse I feel it is more precise (it should be, laser compared to optical) and easier to slide. It is light but heavy enough, thanks to the batteries, so you will not accidentally launch it across your desk. Clicking is comparable to clicking using a Mighty Mouse.

In conclusion, I would recommend the Magic Mouse to any Mac user. I imagine it will work great on any other OS out there, but honestly I cannot be bothered to check that out myself.


Seriously Apple, free bumper cases?

By: Marijn Rongen
July 17th, 2010

You cannot have missed the latest Apple hype, the reception loss on iPhone 4. They held a press conference yesterday and I must admit I am not impressed. Usually you can count on Apple to have good responses to a flawed product, but this time they take the well traveled Microsoft way of denying there is a problem to be solved.

It’s not just iPhone
This struck me by surprise, Apple taking the defense by stating that the problem with the iPhone is a flaw found in other phones as well. Since when did Apple start to set their own bar to the standards of their competitors? If this is any indication of the future we should forget the “It just works” catchphrase and substitute it with “It just works just as good as the rest”. Not as appealing, eh?

Our calculation is wrong
This is something they stated before, the algorithm used to calculate how many bars are shown to represent your reception was wrong. Apparently it gives false hope by showing more bars than it should. Effectively Apple says by this that it’s reception loss is not just a phone problem, but reception worldwide seems to be at an all time low. Everywhere.

It’s only a small batch
Apple stated that they received only a small number of complaints, and this led them to believe that it concerned only a small batch. This contradicts their other statements which apply to the iPhone 4 in general and then there is this refund thing; people with problems can get a full refund. Why, if it only concerns a small batch, do they not get a new iPhone which shouldn’t have the same problems?

Free bumper cases
Yay, free bumper cases for all! Bumper cases solve the problem! Wait, what? I thought there wasn’t a problem, and it was just a small batch that is affected? Juxtaposition all around.
Who want’s a bumper case, just to be able to make a call? Who want’s a bumper case when it destroys the design. This may be a good solution for some, but in the end people want the iPhone, not a bumper case.

Apple should just admit they have made a mistake, take their losses and go back to the drawing board. This negative publicity focussing on the core functionality of a product is something they can do without.
Don’t be mistaken, I’m still an Apple fanboy, but I won’t be one of those early adopters the next time an Apple product is released. Not after this whole iPhone debacle.


Firefly meets epic 80’s

By: Marijn Rongen
July 9th, 2010

First off, Firefly is epic. If you’re a sci-fi geek and you haven’t seen it; shame on you, go out and get it A.S.A.P!
The opening sequence, although I like it, was a bit special. The whole country meets space mashup didn’t fly with the folks at io9 so they mixed up a new one in 1980’s action series style, just because opening sequence deserves to be as epic as the rest of the show. Spectacle ensues.

Here are a few spectacular 1980’s opening sequences, like Airwolf:

Street Hawk, didn’t know this one but it doesn’t get more 80’s than this:

And, just because it’s awesome: Magnum P.I.



Converting Motorpost to digital

By: Marijn Rongen
June 14th, 2010

Shortly after receiving the Märklin Motorpost from this previous post I converted it from analog operation to digital. This post will describe the process and what is needed for the conversion.

Märklin 60760 Decoder and LED lights

The parts needed to digitize the Motorpost (Märklin part no. 3389):
– Decoder and motor (Märklin part no. 60760)
– LED prints (Märklin part no. 300730)

Please note that this decoder is by no means the best choice available. I bought this set as it was the easiest way for me to upgrade the locomotive.

Body removed from chassis

The body removed from the chassis, the motor will be replaced as will the analog control unit in the middle.

Removing the old lights

Removing the old light print from the body. You need to remove the cabin interior to reach it.

Old and new lights side by side

The prints side by side, the reason for replacing the prints is a slight difference in the connections on the prints. The old prints will not work with a digital decoder.

New motor in place

New motor installed while the old one is still connected.

Ready for decoder

Old motor gone, along with the analog control unit. The new decoder is waiting to be connected.

Motor, decoder and elco installed

And everything in place and connected, including a huge 1000 µF elco to compensate for any power loss while driving over switches. The new components are kept in place by hot-melt (glue-gun).

With this new engine and decoder the loc runs very well.