It’s simple with minimal preference settings.
It makes a gorgeous demo for Steve Jobs during a Keynote. He only asks it to do the one thing it does well, and he uses dummy data on pristine machines to do it.
It’s buggy and brain dead until version 3 or 4.
I have a 3-way backup strategy and the only part that drives me nuts is Apple Time Machine.
From time to time, I get this:
“Unable to complete backup. An error occurred while copying files to the backup volume.” That’s so descriptive. So helpful. Not.
Sometimes it just works the next time. Sometimes it works when I run the backup manually. Sometimes it takes unplugging my external Firewire drive and a few restarts and it starts working again. Sometimes it takes reselecting the partition.
This morning, I decided to try and figure out what the problem really is. I checked in Console and found this (emphasis mine):
7/4/08 8:37:12 AM /System/Library/CoreServices/backupd Error: (-43) copying /Applications/.DS_Store to /Volumes/TimeMachine Backup/Backups.backupdb/Judi Sohns Computer/2008-07-04-083705.inProgress/10AA8D0E-B105-43B4-AAF4-878DA5975F5B/MommyBook Pro/Applications
Error copying .DS_Store.
What’s this do-or-die-bring-my-backup-to-a-screeching halt file? From wikipedia:
.DS_Store (Desktop Services Store) is a hidden file created by Apple Inc.’s Mac OS X operating system to store custom attributes of a folder such as the position of icons or the choice of a background image.
Well, gee, I don’t want that spreadsheet or important letter if I don’t know the custom attributes of the folder it’s in or what background image is on that folder in the Finder.
I started using Jungle Disk and SuperDuper to backup the same time I started using Time Machine. The number of times that Jungle Disk or SuperDuper has stopped cold because it had trouble with a single non-critical file: 0. Zero. Never.
Barring major disaster or hardware failure, backup software must work. No excuses. This is supposed to be effortless and accessible, right Apple?
Apple, instead of stopping Time Machine dead in its tracks because there’s some stupid error on a useless, hidden file how about you skip that file and back up everything else? Only stop dead on hardware errors or if critical files fail. For the rest, give me an error report at the end that tells me what didn’t work right and then let me decide later if I care.