A place for Unix Thoughts and Ideas

Category Archives: Mac

Taming OSX Time Machine Backups

OSX’s Time machine backup feature is very simple to enable and to use.

Unfortunately, it is almost too simple and there are no mechanisms for capping the amount of storage used for backups and it will eventually grow and take over any sized drive.

Really the best way to work with it is to dedicate a partition to just Time Machine and nothing else.

Time Machine will prune backups as they age and  when you run out of space, but depending on that functionality is very limiting.

It turns out that Time Machine has a very handy command line interface called tmutil for listing and deleting backups. It also has some additional compare commands that look like they could be very useful for tracking down changed files.

m-m:~ $ tmutil
Usage: tmutil help <verb>

Usage: tmutil version

Usage: tmutil enable

Usage: tmutil disable

Usage: tmutil startbackup [-b|--block]

Usage: tmutil stopbackup

Usage: tmutil enablelocal

Usage: tmutil disablelocal

Usage: tmutil snapshot

Usage: tmutil delete snapshot_path ...

Usage: tmutil restore [-v] src dst

Usage: tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name]
       tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name] snapshot_path
       tmutil compare [-a@esmugtdrvEX] [-D depth] [-I name] path1 path2

Usage: tmutil setdestination mount_point
       tmutil setdestination [-p] afp://user[:pass]@host/share

Usage: tmutil addexclusion [-p] item ...

Usage: tmutil removeexclusion [-p] item ...

Usage: tmutil isexcluded item ...

Usage: tmutil inheritbackup machine_directory
       tmutil inheritbackup sparse_bundle

Usage: tmutil associatedisk [-a] mount_point volume_backup_directory

Usage: tmutil latestbackup

Usage: tmutil listbackups

Usage: tmutil machinedirectory

Usage: tmutil calculatedrift machine_directory

Usage: tmutil uniquesize path ...

Use `tmutil help <verb>` for more information about a specific verb.

The following is a example of listing my backups and then deleting one. Read more of this post


Vertically mounting the new Airport Express

Apple recently released a new update to their Apple Express product.

I have been very pleased with my Airport Extreme. However, now that I finally got a iPad and have been using it various spots around the house, I have been noticing a definite drop off on the wireless reception on the back half of my house.

This is easily solved with  “extending” my current “ wireless network.

Now I like all the improvements on the new airport express, primarily the ability to extend the network on both the 2.4 Ghz & 5Ghz  bands, but I’m one of those people who really liked how nicely the old one just hung off a outlet on the wall.

Looking at the plug for the power cord and I realized it look very familiar and fit perfectly with the my left over power plug from my macbook pro.

Now I can happily let sit on the wall.

Now I will admit that this is probably not the most optimum placement for the antenna. But for how I’m using it, it is perfect!

Getting a Cricket / ZTE A605 Broadband card working on Lion

I recently switched from a Sprint Broadband card to a Cricket Broadband card.

Surprisingly, my new card works significantly better than my old.

However, I found that the installation program and drivers didn’t work on Lion.

After some poking around, I figured out that the problem is that the installer program doesn’t recognize the OS Revision and instals the modules/ scripts improperly.

I doesn’t look like Lion is listed as support for any of the broadband cards and I wouldn’t be surprised if they all suffer from the same issue.

Here are the steps to get it working:

1. Install the software normally.
2. Before you reboot do the following in a terminal window:

sudo su –
cd /System/Library/Extensions/
rm -rf ACTScom*_panther
mv ACTScomCDFree_tiger* ACTScomCDFree.kext
mv ACTScomVsp_tiger* ACTScomVsp.kext
find ACTScom* -exec chmod go-w {} \;
find ACTScom* -type f -exec chmod -x {} \;
cd /Library/Modem\ Scripts
rm -rf ACTScom*_panther
mv ACTScom\ Modem\ Script_tiger* ACTScom\ Modem\ Script

3. Then Clear the extension cache with this command and reboot
sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches

4. The device will properly enumerate and show up in the network properties now, but will not be recognized by the broadband app. So, after you reboot, clear the extension cache again and reboot and the device will show up in the cricket broadband application.
sudo rm -rf /System/Library/Caches/com.apple.kext.caches