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.


I am a Mac

By: Marijn Rongen
November 25th, 2009

My switching from PC to Mac started during my second internship while I was in college. One of the people working at the same office used Apple machines for his design work. It was running Mac OS X Panther (10.3). From time to time I used to watch how things looked and worked, what I saw was very impressive. At the time I still worked exclusively with Windows XP.

Later on I got to follow the update and improvements of Panther to Tiger (10.4). Being more impressed and getting ever more frustrated by the little nags of Windows XP (inconsistencies, slowing down, you know how it goes), I was starting to get curious about the other operating systems available. Being a student with no real income I naturally found my way to Linux, in this case Ubuntu. Ubuntu was fun for a while but never really got my interest, so it was back to Windows.The office in 2006In 2006 a lot changed. Having graduated I stayed on as a part-timer at the company where I did my internship and I started a company called Active-Bits with a co-graduate. By that time I had some spare money saved up and Boot Camp, still beta at the time, was available.
Boot Camp, as you may know, enables you to natively boot and run Windows on a Mac. My dependency on Windows XP was the last barrier holding me back from going Mac, and now I could run both in one shiny white machine!Office early 2009The 13″ MacBook I bought back then still serves as a workstation on a weekly basis, it wasn’t an acquisition to regret. Windows XP was installed, and was still the main OS for me to work with.

I mostly used Mac OS X for entertainment. Using iTunes for my music collection meant an iPod couldn’t be far off and soon enough a silver iPod nano (2nd generation) was my music player of choice, it helped me get through many delayed commutes. The iPod nano was retired on the long awaited arrival of the iPhone 3G (first iPhone to be released in the Netherlands).iPhone 3GLeaving Windows XP completely for my design and programming work took the better part of three years. It wasn’t until early 2009 that the switch was complete. Windows has been no more than just a testing facility for several browsers since then.
Tipping the scale in favor of Mac was the release of Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) in 2007 and later the purchase of the beautiful 24″ iMac in early 2009. I’ve since upgraded to Mac OS X Snow Leopard.iMac & MacBookWorking has never been quicker, a good example is the switching between what sometimes seems like a gazillion screens. This a snap with Expose and saves me a lot of time. Some problems do occur while using Mac OS X but these are so few and far in between that I couldn’t mention one from the top of my head.

I can definitely say that I am a Mac, and will be for a long time!


DigitalColor Meter

By: Marijn Rongen
November 19th, 2009

This is a nice program if your in need of a certain color (on screen) in RGB or hexadecimal values.

The program is called DigitalColor Meter and is part of your Mac OS X. It is able to display the color value in several different formats including 8-bit RGB and hexadecimal.

DigitalColor Meter

A useful key combo is Shift-Command-C, which copies the color value as text for you to paste in your CSS for example.

DigitalColor Meter

If you are using Mac OS X you can find it in the /Applications/Utilities.

Windows users can download the program Instant Eyedropper, which has similar functions. It’s an older program and might not work on anything newer then XP.