Time Machine desiderata

Apart of the wireless and case problems, I’m actually a reasonably happy Mac user — which is, indeed, somewhat surprising after 10 years of Linux on the desktop. Among the things I like a lot with MacOS 10.5 (Leopard) is the TimeMachine backup pr…

Apart of the wireless and case problems, I’m actually a reasonably happy Mac user — which is, indeed, somewhat surprising after 10 years of Linux on the desktop.Among the things I like a lot with MacOS 10.5 (Leopard) is the TimeMachine backup program. It follows Kristian’s law: Nobody wants backup, everybody wants restore. And the user interface for restoring data is cheesy enough to actually work. Kudos for that.Well, almost: To be compliant with Norm’s law, there need to be at least two backups, on two different hard drives. And while Time Machine is indeed totally capable of doing that, it involves manually switching backup disks, and a lengthy first pass while the “new” disk is first used. Both of these seem unnecessary — Time Machine should be able to recognize a backup drive, and it should be able to keep track locally of where it’s putting backups, and what has happened since the last one to any given medium.The other surprising gap is a lack of encrypted backups: On the one hand there’s FileVault for encrypted home directories, and ample support for mounting encrypted volumes. There’s even dynamically growing encrypted volumes, and support for easily creating them hidden in the hdiutil command line tool.I’m seriously puzzled why TimeMachine doesn’t make that kind of support available automatically.Let’s hope that things will improve soon, both from the wireless perspective, and in TimeMachine.Later: It appears as though multiple disk mode works reasonably well; in particular, the additional pass through the entire disk stopped occurring after a while. However, there’s still the dance through the preferences whenever the backup disk is changed.