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Messages posted by: Frederic Thomas
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James Bucanek wrote:Have no fear; I have Retrospect squarely in my sights.


To be clear, I am specifically interested in the backup server mode of Retrospect. Please don't take hints from their user interface


What's missing is probably better collaboration between instances

QRecall will eventually grow to include direct network support, so that captures and recalls can be performed remotely -- even over the Internet. (Please be patient; there's a lot of work to do between now and then.)


Great.

Fred
This is fine and is c.

My other suggestion above is to allow for easier more individually selected files. Sure, functionally, launching QRecall, editing the action, opening the filter section and entering a rule that prevents "DontBackupMe.doc" to backed up is equivalent to the finder CM. It's just a lot slower and error prone, as the rule would fire for all such documents (regardless of path) whereas the CM would only remove one.

In the same vein, a "skip today" and "skip forever" button pair in the activity would be nice. If you see QRecall starting to backup a huge file you forgot to skip, you can have it done from there. The "just now" option is useful for laptops. Yes you want the backup to complete before leaving but you can tolerate that the latest Leopard preview disk of 6+ GB is not backed up today cos you're in a hurry and you can always download it later.

The problem with rule based filters is that it's hard to visualize from a set of complex rules with files will be included and which will not be. In particular, you always find a file that it's not taken care of the rule because you forgot you had it (or, for caches and the like, you did not know you have).

Fred
Everytime something is cancelled by clicking in the little box of the activity window, it takes ages to actually do it.
The compact stage actually does not seem to be cancelable at all. Initially the box seems to accept clicks, but now it does not anymore and it's been running for 4:15...

If shutting down now breaks something, give me the choice: "stop immediately and loose 6 months of backup or close properly within the next hour or so?".

Now having this choice worries me because it means a HW failure would lead to a destroyed archive. The system should be resilient to that sort of abrupt failures. So why can't it do that by itself when I click the cancel button?

I would like "cancel" to be more reactive. Having to "force quit" is harder.

Fred
My problem is why a 40 GB volume with a 30 GB of data in the archive reports it has 36 GB free...

-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 32750038696 Jul 21 22:09 repository.data

That's 30 Gig allright but then why:

afp_xxxa 77468336 789216 76679120 1% /Volumes/TitiDisk

Something went very wrong here, file sytem wise...

Fred
So I had created an archive on a external USB disk shared by my airport extreme. I did a backup of a folder from Mac 1 (PPC). On the same archive, using the same key, I tried another backup of my home folder from Mac 2 (Intel).

While it was doing it, I looked at the volume and the Finder was telling me it had 30 something free gigs, however QRecall was reporting having backed up 40 something gigs...

Here's df:
afp_0TTnxu0Wm0lP14igPg0WadQk-1.2c00000a 77468336 789216 76679120 1% /Volumes/TitiDisk

here's ls -la of /Volumes/TitiDisk:

krapul:/Volumes/TitiDisk/IncyBack.quanta fred$ ls -la
total 64372000
drwxrwxrwx 9 fred fred 264 Jul 21 22:09 .
drwxrwxrwx 11 fred fred 330 Jul 21 17:12 ..
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 56 Jul 21 22:09 fill.index
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 201326648 Jul 21 22:09 hash.index
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 178872 Jul 21 22:09 layer.index
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 709 Jul 21 22:08 outline.index
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 6869040 Jul 21 22:09 package.index
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 32750038696 Jul 21 22:09 repository.data
-rwxrwxrwx 1 fred fred 1896 Jul 21 18:04 settings.plist

There's something fishy in here. df is not right with the files...

At the end QRecall told me something was wrong but not that much detail in the log (attached).

Thanks!

Fred
I would like to suggest:

a. extending the Finder Contextual menu to enable EXCLUDING a file from capture (add to the Filter exclude list)

b. extending the filters to support Color Label exclusion (exclude stuff with label "brown")

Both are useful for those files you do not want backed up for some reason. For example, recently VMWare had a mac beta that I tried and the VMs are in my home but I don't want them 2+GB files backed up, so I can just label the folder "brown" and voila, excluded from capture...


c. extending the filters to support some form of name/attribute filter, such as name contains ".cache"

This is most useful to avoid capturing caches QRecall does not (yet?) know it's cache (probably because Apple conventions are not followed).

Fred





I think the Mac world could do with an alternative to the moribund Retrospect. There's a million of solutions to backup stuff to a local HD, but very few solutions to replicate what can be done with Retrospect backup server: network backup every N hours (or ASAP) of potentially mobile mac (and windows) clients.

IMHO QRecall is very close to that goal (except for Windows). What's missing is probably better collaboration between instances and "home/server" detection (if the backup volume is on an airport extreme, it works).

Fred
OK, I have 2 computers and I am using the same key and the same file for both. This seems to me the most natural way to use QRecall in a home network operations, or ?
Doing this way is the best from a size perspective so files which are duplicated (f.e. with .mac sync) are not stored N time.

However it seems 2 QRecall instances cannot access the file simultaneously, is this correct?

Thanks

Fred
Admittedly, I made the 30 minute up . Here's what I get:

Finder: 25s (from a rebooted finder)
Qrecall: 1:20s

Finder says 25.37 GB and "find | wc -l" 151903 files. Imac G5 1.8GHz.

Again, I understand the logic. I am suggesting the UI is fixed as staring at a beach ball for 1 minute and 20 second feels very long (progress bar?), especially since the size of the full disk is known...

Thanks

Fred
OK I did not notice the check marks on the menu about show/hide/startup...

That answers the last question: it will come back if "show at startup" is checked but otherwise it will only be visible if QRecall is doing something...
How do I know the state of qRecall?

I can launch the program and there's this little status window. If I quit the program, the little status window stays around... but I am not sure to what it's attached? How can I find it back in the middle of 555 other windows?

Also, this little window only tells me what qRecall is doing. It would nice if it was telling me as well what qRecall will do when (i.e. "Currently: idle Next task: merge in 23:45 hours"). It would also be nice to be able to launch the program from the window?

Lastly, should the little window come back if I restart the Mac? I tried it but it does not come back?

(Note I have QRecallMonitor and QRecallScheduler in my process list)

Thanks

Fred
OK, maybe I was not very clear.

I am not saying it does not calculate fast enough. I am saying it would be best if it was not calculating at that point in time.

Your point is that it needs the calculation to provide "intelligent suggestions". But how good will be these suggestions if any of the accounted for sizes (data and backup sizes) do significantly change? The backup volume may (or may not) be dedicated to this backup task. The home folder size may increase quickly: just play with iMovie some more.

What I am trying to say is that, IMHO:

- to be really "intelligent", the software should re-evaluate the operating conditions regularly. Otherwise it's only "intelligent" for a short amount of time, and the wizard does not really warn about this (that its proposal only makes sense as long as the space ratio remains the same as time goes by).

- if it was re-evaluating space rations as time goes by (and maybe it is), then it's not necessary to have the size be calculated at that point. Just defer the analysis after the first full backup. Given qRecall "compression" technique, it actually makes a lot of sense to be smart only after a full examination of the data. I mean maybe the 20 Gigs of the user consist of 5 times the same 4 gigs of movies...

Don't get me wrong: I am all for a new good Mac backup solution. And what I have seen so far with qRecall is great. But from a user interface perspective however, I don't think having to wait for 30 minutes to be able to finish a wizard is good. If it takes that long, it should be done in the background, or something...
Capture Assistant is taking about half a century to figure out how much data is in my home. While it does so, you cannot continue. If you select something else (like Volume), it keeps on counting, but if you "Continue" and then "Go back" it has forgotten how much data was in home and starts again.

This could be improved. Backing up the home folder is a typical thing to evaluate backup software!

Fred
 
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