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Fast and awesome backups

There are many ways to save data; copy individual files by hand, copy entire user folders or clone entire partitions. The issue with most simple backup approaches (especially the ones I’ve tried in Windows), may store all the data I want, but making the backup bootable is often quite tricky. In this little post I’d like to show some awesome and free apps for Mac OS that allow you to save the entire Mac, and on top of that, make your backup bootable, so you can:

  • boot into your account from any Mac and have a mobile version of all your data,
  • start from the external drive, e.g if your internal one dies or you break Mac OS, and carry on working as usual (maybe a bit slower than usual if you’re running over USB)
  • swap the internal and external disks if you want to upgrade size, and
  • even store the Windows bootcamp in a bootable form to the same partition.

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My time machine died…

My 4TB backup drive doesn’t seem to have recovered from yesterday’s power surge, and has major issues functioning as my time machine volume. So far I found my setup pretty elegant. It consists of a Synology NAS (the DS-play variant) and my 4TB (external) hard drive.

The NAS is in daily use since it contains all my important files that I do not (and for my Uni’s research point of view must not) lose. On the 4TB drive I initially had set up a time machine from my Mac before I bought the NAS, and I did that pretty quickly over USB 3.0. When plugging this USB drive into my NAS it was not only possible to make the time machine volume accessible via the network, but I could launch the NAS’s built in time machine legacy support!

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Say good bye to Spotlight files

Let’s make this short: I have a NAS, I use it with Windows, Mac and even Ubuntu, yet that rather rarely, and the only operating system that decides to litter lots of indexing files on my storage is Apple’s offspring. Anybody who’s seen the hidden .DS_Store directory knows that those tiny files may have negligible size, but their nuisance factor is still present. So, if you were super smart like I am and set up an SSH server on your NAS, you can use the simple bash commands to search and delete all .DS_Store and associated directories. Using

find . -name ".DS_Store" -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf

followed by

find . -name "._*" -print0 | xargs -0 rm -rf

deletes all .DS_Store directories and associated Spotlight folders in your current directory, respectively. Alternatively run

find . \( -name '.DS_Store' -or -name '._*' \) -delete

to achieve the same in one line. Hope this is useful, at least for me it was.

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Homebrewed Mac Software

Once I was told that (sensible) beer consumption may increase mental performance, but I was skeptical. Since my discovery of Homebrew, I was shown how ignorant I have been! Those out there using Linux must know the Advanced Packaging Tool (APT) –  does sudo apt-get ring a bell? Although there is the AppStore to install Apple’s approved Mac OS applications, a Terminal based packet manager is missing, unfortunately. This is where the Homebrew kicks in. Just like MacPorts or Fink, it is an open source package manager for Mac OS, but arguably the best out there. So, let me show you how to get started with Homebrew and why I follow the community’s consensus on it being the better package manager out of the bunch.

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Something on OpenCV

OpenCV is a great package of libraries for computer vision, offering a vast number of tools. Last time I used it in collaboration with the xbox Kinect for my module at University named Visual Intelligence. Now I want to get back into some CV programming and thought I show how to pretty quickly set up OpenCV (3.0.0 at the time of me writing this) on Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) and get it running in Xcode.

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