Time Capsule Time Machine Debugging – Tips to Curb Your Frustration

The Apple Time Capsule is a great device.  I have the 500GB model, Lis bought it for me a few years ago for the holidays.  It provides wifi/wired connectivity to a few devices in my home, my imac, mba, iPhone, Canon mx860 wireless printer, my Boxee Box, and my Windows 7 machine. I have a 500GB WDD external HDD attached to my TC for movies via my Boxee Box and a extra backups.  I also recently moved my itunes library to my Time Capsule so I can share it between devices in my home.

The Time Capsule (TC) provides automated incremental backup for my imac and my mba without fuss and provides a nice UI for restoring files which I rarely use but I like the peace of mind of not having to worry about backups outside watching a circle spin near my clock once in awhile.

While this is a great Apple multifunction device, it does have problems at times.  Most of our Apple products work flawlessly and we are spoiled by the convenience of a stable, intuitive, and refined operating systems and devices.  The Time Capsule is a great device but when it has problem, it can be a real pain in the ass to resolve.  If you use a few tools that I will highlight in this post and use resources available in the wild I assure you that you can overcome any problem with this device in a matter of hours.

Backups are full or you do not have enough space left on your TC to complete a new backup.  Exclude files.  Time Machine Preferences -> Options.  You do not need to backup your Archive directory of every app or discography you downloaded.  Backup your important files with Time Machine.  Take your heavy weight GBs of mp3s or videos and back them up elsewhere.  Start fresh, wipe the TC disk and start a new backup if you are still having issues.  Let it run overnight.

Backups fail and I don’t know why

Very helpful error!  So now you must check logs for more details.  There is a handy dashboard widget that sorts through the TM logs called Time Machine Buddy, this widget reads the Time Machine logs and lets you know what may causing the error.  In this case I had a permissions or file error from files copied from a Windows machine:

So I went ahead and excluded this directory as its not completely important that its backed up, its backed up elsewhere as well.

I tried to run backups again and they failed , so I excluded a the entire /Pictures/Archive directory.  The files in this directory had odd paths and were copied from a Windows machine so they are on warning and instead of checking each dir/file for now I just excluded this entire directory since its backed up in another place as well.   Turned TM on/off and tried to backup again.  It worked, backup finished.

Backup speeds are slow, take days, randomly fail, I cant copy files over 2GB over wireless.  Open airport utility.  Disconnect other devices.  Stop all other devices connected to the Time Capsule.  They may be effecting the network. 9 out of 10 times when I’ve tried to copy a 6GB bluray to my TC and they have failed, I’ve stopped all other network activity and let the copy go, it will complete quickly and shred the previous copy time by 3/4ths.  I’ve come to the conclusion that the Time Capsule just cant balance multiple bandwidth intensive threads very well.

If you are still having problems with Time Machine check these resources as most likely someone else has experienced the same problem and the solutions is out there.  Check Airport Utility, restart the Time Capsule, and search your error message on one of these sites.
http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=1253&start=0
http://forums.macrumors.com/

Time Machine Editor
http://timesoftware.free.fr/timemachineeditor/
Lets you edit the Time Machines backup interval

Time Machine Buddy

http://www.bluedog.com.au/default/Time_Machine_Buddy.html
Dashboard widget that reads your system logs and lets you provides data on what could be causing your TM issues

So learn your device, have patience with it, and most of all put forward effort into working with it.  It works with you so give it the courtesy of debugging, checking logs, and working through its quirks before condemning at it.  Please post you solutions, thoughts or questions in the comments if you have problems comment and I’ll try my best to help.

Btw happy world backup day!

Automating NZB Movie and TV Downloads

SABnzbd
http://sabnzbd.org/

SABnzbd is a usenet reader/downloader that is highly extensible and handles downloading, verifying, repairing and unpacking .nzb files for you.  Its lightweight, written in Python and runs on almost every OS; OSX, Windows, Linux, BSD.

CouchPotatoApp
http://couchpotatoapp.com/
http://forums.sabnzbd.org/index.php?topic=4636.0

CouchPotatoApp connects with SABnzbd and nzbmatrix.com and lets you maintain a want list of movies and helps automate searching, handoff, and post download file modifications.

CP scans every X hours for titles you add and allows you to configure with different options such as file size and quality.  It also renames and moves files which is very useful if you download and store on two different machines or drives.  This app is also Python based and multi-platform.

Have a look at some of the work this app is doing for you in the log

15:06:52 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.renamer] XBMC metainfo for imdbid, tt1542344, generated
15:06:44 INFO  [    app.lib.cron.subtitle] Finding subtitles for: /Volumes/My Passport/New Movie 2010)
15:06:44 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.trailer] Finding trailers for: /Volumes/My Passport/New Movie (2010)
15:00:22 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.renamer] Moving file "/Users/michaelkahn/Downloads/complete/Movies/-----/newmovie.avi" to
/Volumes/My Passport/New Movie (2010)/New Movie (2010).avi.
15:00:22 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.renamer] Quality Old: 0, New 700.
15:00:17 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.renamer] Creating directory /Volumes/My Passport/New Movie (2010)
15:00:17 INFO  [     app.lib.cron.renamer] Trying to find a home for: newmovie.avi
15:00:17 INFO  [          app.lib.library] Retrieved metainfo: {u'common': [{u'comment': u'Has audio/video index (5.6 MB)',
u'mime type': u'video/x-msvideo', u'image height': 304, u'frame rate': 24.0,
u'producer': u'VirtualDubMod 1.5.10.2 (build 2540/release)',u'image width': 576, u'endianness': u'Little endian', u'duration':
 u'1:32:49', u'bit rate': 1000000.0}], u'audio stream': [{u'compression rate':
11.300000000000001, u'compression': u'mp3', u'sample rate': 48000.0, u'duration': u'1:32:49', u'bit rate': 135800.0,
u'channel': 2}], u'video stream': [{u'image height': 304, u'compression': u'xvid', u'image width': 576, u'bits/pixel': 12,
u'duration': u'1:32:49', u'frame rate': 24.0}]}
14:33:27 INFO  [        app.lib.cron.yarr] Finished search.
14:33:27 INFO  [          app.lib.sabNzbd] NZB sent to SAB successfully.
14:33:26 INFO  [          app.lib.sabNzbd] URL: http://localhost:8080/sabnzbd/api?apikey=-----&mode=addurl&name=http%3A%2F%2Fnzbmatrix.com
%2Fapi-nzb-download.php%3Fid%-----%26username%-----%26apikey%-----&cat=Movies
14:33:26 INFO  [          app.lib.sabNzbd] Sending 'New Movie 2010 DVDSCR XviD PEER' to SABnzbd.
14:33:15 INFO  [.lib.provider.yarr.search] Checking if http://nzbmatrix.com/api-nzb-download.php?id=-----&username=-----
&apikey=----- is valid.
14:33:05 INFO  [pp.lib.provider.yarr.base] "New Movie (DVDSCR) (2010)" is too large to be Screener. 2775.04MB instead of the
maximum of 1000MB.
14:33:05 INFO  [pp.lib.provider.yarr.base] "New Movie 2010 DVDSCR AC3 XViD T0XiC iNK (diff group)" is too large to be
Screener. 1413.12MB instead of the maximum of 1000MB.

Very convenient.  After CP finds a movie that I added to my want list, it sends it to SABnzbd, then it moves it over to my SAN (/Volumes/My Passport).  From there my boxee box has the SANs location saved and scans for folder updates every few hours.  So all I have done is added a movie I want to see to the CP want list and soon after its released its ready to play in my living room.  I have heard that Sick Beard is good for TV shows but I do not miss too many on cable with my DVR.  I highly recommend SABnzbd x CP x Boxee for automation and ease with viewing movie downloads.  Enjoy!

Setting up Apache / MySQL / PHP on Snow Leopard Server

Apache
Turn on the Web service in Server Admin
Server Admin -> Select your server -> Settings -> Services
Select the Web checkbox
Click Save
Web should now appear on your Server Admin side pane
Start Web Service

or via terminal
[code lang=”bash”] sudo serveradmin start web
sudo serveradmin fullstatus web

[/code]

MySQL
Turn on the MySQL service in Server Admin

Server Admin -> Select your server -> Settings -> Services
Select the MySQL checkbox
Click Save
MySQL should now appear on your Server Admin side pane
Start MySQL service

or via terminal
[code lang=”bash”] sudo serveradmin start mysql
sudo serveradmin fullstatus mysql [/code]

PHP
In a terminal window edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

[code lang=”bash”] sudo nano /etc/apache2/httpd.conf [/code]

uncomment this line:
LoadModule php5_module           libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

Restart Apache
[code lang=”bash”] sudo apachectl restart [/code]

Create a phpinfo.php file and drop it in an active site directory or /Library/WebServer/Documents

[code lang=”php”][/code]

Browse to http://yourserverip/phpinfo.php or http://localhost/phpinfo.php to verify

Easy enough right? 🙂

Susan Komen Race for the Cure 5k 10/17/2010

This past weekend a few of us from the HostDime office did the Susan Koman Race for a Cure 5k.  It was our second time doing this run at UCF.  Last year we had a great time did a casual jog/run and this year we took it a bit seriously.  Alex V and myself trained for about 6 weeks, Alex F jumped in a few weeks in.  We started off on the treadmill working on pacing and eventually did a few weeks outside at local park.  There were a total of 7,565 participants, 545 survivors and 334 race teams.

This was everyones first chipped (timed) race.  Alex F ended the race at 25:01 @ #102, my time was 27:38 @ #226, Greg was a second behind me at 27:39 @ #227 and Alex V had a 29:07 @ #347.  Not bad out of 1170 chipped runners.  Full results here.

Starting Line (I am right in the middle) Route around UCF
The team pre race The team with Chester Cheetah post race

We are looking forward to our next 5k and we plan on doing another in Dec and January.