Thursday, February 09, 2006

The simple life

When you sit down to create a blog, what do you write about? Maybe the simplest thing would be to write about things that I like.

Simple thing that I like: Walking. I walk about 5 miles every morning around sunrise. I live near the center of my town, but I can walk out of my back door and into about 600 acres of meadows, fields, and forests. Some of this land is owned by the town, some by land trusts, and some by private owners. There's an amazing trails network, that I help to maintain.

Non-simple thing that I like: Figuring out a reliable, easy way of backing my Powerbook up across our wireless network. I have an old Sony VAIO desktop sitting in a closet next to the wireless router, plugged into the router's Ethernet port. The VAIO has a firewire port, so I bought a 250GB LaCie Firewire drive. I connected the drive to my Powerbook and created a Read/Write sparse image (.dmg file) of the entire disk using SuperDuper!. Then I took the disk and plugged it into the Sony server and shared it under Windows XP.

Now, when it's time to back up, I just mount the volume from the Mac and use SuperDuper! to update the disk image. It took about 90 minutes to create the initial image with the disk connected to the Powerbook, and it takes about 10 or 15 minutes to do the incremental update.

The complications that I encountered were that the only file system that can be mounted by both a Powerbook and a Windows XP system is FAT32. Mac OSX won't mount NTFS disks, and Windows XP won't mount HFS+ disks. And FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4GB, which isn't big enough to back up an entire disk. So I had to reformat the disk as HFS+, then buy Mediafour's MacDrive, which lets you mount an HFS+ disk on a Windows XP system.

The total cost for this adventure was $265.94 ($188 for the disk, $27.95, for SuperDuper!, and $49.99 for MacDrive). But knowing that I've got a bootable image of my Powerbook disk? Priceless.

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