Getting The Most Out Of Time Machine

OK So last post we talked about some back up strategies. Basically different strategies for different work flows with the value of your time and data being the biggest factors. 

I’ve been using Time Machine on my laptop for awhile. It’s easy to set up and forget about it. I wanted Time Machine to backup my documents and media files on my internal drive. But Time Machine’s default setting backup the entire drive. I think restoring your entire drive from a Time Machine backup takes up a lot of time and I don’t know if I trust the way it would reinstall my applications. Instead I’ve only used Time Machine to restore lost files and when doing a clean install I brought over my user files and preferences. 

So how can we get more out of Time Machine? 

1. Limit what gets backed up. Time Machine is a data hog. Because of my classes at I’m down loading several gigs of data each week. Plus podcasts and other video files I create and put a temp version on the desktop. Guess what it all gets backed up to my Time Machine drive. Here’s how: 

  • Open Time Machine Preferences
  • Click on Options. This window lists everything not to backup. If you have other drives by default they should be listed here
  • Start excluding folders and drives you don’t want backed up by clicking on the + button. For me, on my MBP I excluded: Applications, Developer, Digidesign, Library and System. Under my Users folder I excluded the Shared folder. Doing this excluded about 65 GB of data from being backed up. Data that for me I can reinstall if/ when something goes bad. 
  • I don’t keep my personal pictures of my kids and home movies on my internal drive. I use an external drive for that. You can use Time Machine to backup external drives to your Time Machine disk as well. So that’s what I did. I removed that drive from the excluded list and now I’m getting incremental backups of my pictures and home movies. 

2. Control when Time Machine backs up. Time Machine’s options are limited. If you don’t like the default setting of backing up every hour you can change it by manually adjusting a system preference file with a text editor or using Time Machine Editor. This little application allows you to change the backup schedule to your liking. Since it is adjusting a system preference file if you delete this application remember to reset your default setting from setting/ show default settings. 

That’s a quick look into how I’m using Time Machine and my other backup strategies yesterday.


February 12, 2009. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

Backup Stratagies

First let’s talk about backup strategies. Depending on what type of work you use your computer for you’re going to have different needs. I’m a Mac user so I’m going to focus on Mac solutions I’ve used. Let’s tackle a few backup tools I’ve used:

SuperDuper & Carbon Copy Cloner

I’ve use both these programs at times to create a bootable backup. I did this for mission critical systems like my media computer. Once I had the software installed I used one of these programs to create a bootable backup. That way if I updated some software that jacked up my system (like a few QuickTime updates have), I could pop the other hard drive in and I’m up in running in a matter of minutes. If you can’t live with the 1-2 days it takes to rebuild your system because you don’t have the time or a backup computer to work on this is important. You’re talking about a $100 or less hard drive to get you up and running again. 

Lately I’ve bounce between working on my MacBookPro or the MacPro in the media room. If one goes down I work on the other. So lately I don’t use a bootable backup, but I have when I didn’t have a beefy laptop or backup computer. 


Since I bounce between my MBP and the MacPro I don’t keep my media files on the internal drive. For the MacPro I use a G-Speed eS RAID. Because I shoot on an HVX-200a with P2 cards the G-Speed is setup as a RAID 5 so if a hard drive crashes it can rebuild on the fly. I use ChronoSync to sync my Design, Digital Signage and current video projects to a G-Drive Mini (it’s a bus powered firewire drive). This way I have my most important files on a RAID 5 and I have them on another drive. I like ChronoSync for this because it doesn’t create a backup per say but synchronizes content across drives. You can schedule the synchronization for certain times but I choose to synchronizes when the computer detects my portable drive connected. 

Time Machine

Time Machine is an incremental backup program bundled with Apple’s Leopard. It has a very slick interface for retrieving files that have been deleted or modified from the past. I use it on my MBP but not on the MacPro. I’m going to talk more on the next post about getting the most out of Time Machine. I use Time Machine on my MBP but not on the MacPro. My main use for it is to make sure I have a backup of my personal media files (music, videos and pictures). You can use Apple’s Migration Assistant to restore your user, files and settings to your computer if your drive fails or if you’re moving to a new machine. 

So what’s the best backup strategy for you? It depends, but you do need a backup strategy. I think the biggest variables are how valuable is your time and the data on your drives. Let’s break it down: 

-Clone/ Bootable Backup: If you can’t handle down time in case of a software problem or hard drive problem this is for you. Once your operating system and applications are stable create a bootable backup. This way you can plug the backup drive in and get to work within a few minutes. 

-Incremental Backups: This is what I do on my media drives with Chrono Sync. The most valuable files (my design, digital signage and current video projects) are synced on multiple drives. This gives me assurance in case one drive dies, the building catches on fire, one drive is stolen, etc…

-Time Machine: Time Machine is a simple backup plan. It gives you good assurance to restore deleted/ modified files. It comes bundled with Leopard and is a set it and forget is tool. I’ll talk more next post about how I get the most out of Time Machine.

February 11, 2009. Tech Stuff. Leave a comment.

FXPHD Roto 210 Class 3 Work

Here’s a grab from the shot for the week:


The challenge was to remove the camera crew in the background. As you can see this poses some problems with the chain link fence in the back of the shot.

The solution was to:
1) Track the balloons
2) Mask the balloons and create duplicate layers. While doing so change the position, angle and color of some of the balloons.
3) Apply the same technique to the wall to remove the boom mic

Here’s my final shot:

FXPHD Roto Class 3 Work from Dave Smith on Vimeo.

February 5, 2009. Video. Leave a comment.

Intro Video: Memory Sprint

Here’s the intro video we used last week. If you’ve been following along we’ve been creating videos from the Brain Age games to introduce our sermon series on “Don’t Forget To Follow The Directions”.

Brian Age: Memory Sprint from Dave Smith on Vimeo.

February 4, 2009. Video. Leave a comment.