Archive for May, 2006

Cross-Platform Network Backup Solution

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

I’m looking for a cross-platform network backup solution to replace Retrospect. If you post a suggestion that I end up using (even in part), you could be the recipient of free stuff. Read on for details.

Without going into to much detail, Retrospect can’t seem to consistently maintain a backup file set that exceeds ~600 GB using it’s Backup Server function. Faced with sporadic “chunk checksum” errors, the backup set has to be frequently repaired or replaced. This has only wasted my time, served to degrade the currency of each backup, and furthered my distrust of the whole system.

The following is a required list of criteria for a replacement solution:

– Backs up to a network location.
– Covers both Macs and PCs. Note that it doesn’t have to be the same software on each platform. I’m looking for a comprehensive solution, not necessarily just one software package.
– Backs up a specific list of directories.
– Updates the backup set instead of overwriting (e.g. sync vs. overwrite).
– Runs invisible to the user.

List of optional, but preferential criteria:

– Searchable.
– Supports an exclude list
– Smart checkpointing (e.g. keeps as many previous states as room allows).
– Configurable from a central location

Possible solutions I’ve found:
rsync on both the Mac and PC to a Mac hosting an rsync server.
SuperDuper on the Macs, x on the PC.

So what do I do? rsync could work but it might be time consuming to setup and troublesome to maintain. SuperDuper might work for the Mac, but that doesn’t help the PC’s.

Please submit your suggestions as comments to this post. If I use any of the posted suggestions I’ll buy the person who submitted the solution an iTMS or Amazon.com gift card. Please use a valid e-mail address when making your suggestions in order to be eligible. Links to viable solutions are permissible.

Windows Version of Safari?

Monday, May 15th, 2006

For the life of me I can’t understand why more people haven’t noticed this. Over the past few months I keep seeing these kind of comments in the Web Kit change log:

“Fix win32 build.
Disable ASSERT redefinition warnings for now.

* JavaScriptCore.vcproj/testkjs/testkjs.vcproj:
* kxmlcore/Assertions.h:”

“* kjs/number_object.cpp:
(NumberProtoFunc::callAsFunction): remove trunc() to fix win32.”

“Implement basic theme support on Win32. Still much to do, but
the backgrounds of buttons, textfields, checkboxes and radio
controls now draw correctly. Still work to do for the Classic look
and to get the foreground defaults of the controls correct. …”

Land support for JPEG image decoding on Win32…

I didn’t include the name and e-mail address of the people that made the commits, but it’s easy enough to find it in the log. I will note that each of these commit messages are from Apple employees, and not from some other part of the Web Kit community. The commit logs stop after April 5th.

I just sampled a few days, but that’s an awful lot of attention to the win32 platform, especially seeing that KHTML doesn’t run on Windows last I looked.

ActiveX Alert with the QuickTime Plugin

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Microsoft recently released a patch that changes the way Internet Explorer handles ActiveX plugins. This was to dodge patent infringement allegations from Eolas. Even more recently Microsoft released another patch to undo this, but with a promise that it will be permanent in future revisions and most certainly in IE 7, whenever that’s released.

The most important part about this change is that it effects a vast majority of Internet users, and in a rather annoying way. If the patch is applied IE will show a prompt every time it encounters a ActiveX plugin. This means, every Flash file, every QuickTime movie, anything that uses ActiveX controls, will see this alert or at the least require two clicks to activate its interface.

I think it has gone largely unnoticed for several reasons:
1. Many people don’t actually run Windows Update, of if they happen to they only grab the urgent updates and ignore the rest.
2. Some sites may have already implemented workarounds.
3. Developers forget to test in IE.
4. IE/Windows alerts are so frequent that people can’t help but dismiss them without reading.

After a bit of searching I came across a helpful Apple page on how to embed QuickTime into a page without causing these alerts, and as an added bonus the code lets the page validate as XHTML without any ugly hacks.

So much for the object tag being the solution to all problems.