Apple’s Time Capsule: Painfully Slow

We recently bought an Apple Time Capsule for backing up or main machines at home. The first thing we did was disable the wireless portion of it since we already have a wireless base station that's performing quite well (we've also been burned by bad Apple wireless products in the past, read: original Graphite Base Station had bad capacitors, an Airport Express that randomly drops the wireless signal, and two Airport Expresses that have faulty power supplies).

I needed to perform a restore from the time capsule to my PowerMac G5 via 100mbit/s ethernet. The total size for the restore was just over 90GB– it took just over 40 hours to restore completely. That's nearly two days! That's just wrong– there has to be a problem somewhere.

To it's credit, it performed as advertised allowing me to restore my computer completely from a backup. It just took longer than I believe it should have.

Needless to say, I'm now backing up my machine on an internal drive and leaving the Time Capsule for future generations until there's a fix.

Oh, and don't believe the estimate. It never went over 20 hours at any point.

After Halloween dose: Vampire IT products, part one

Congratulations. You probably think you got a bargain scoring that “free” printer from Apple when you bought your last computer. After all, they gave you a $99 MIR with the purchase– what could be wrong with that?

Well, first off, if you know me, you know that I think that printers are nothing but a money pit to begin with. I don't have a good report with printers, in both my personal and professional lives. Paper jams, junk faxes, dried ink, toner lines, network problems are only the beginning.

This little baby, the HP PSC 1610 All-In-One has a nasty little secret. The elephant sized power brick adapter it comes with has an appetite for AC power. After I got a Kill-A-Watt for my birthday, I've not been able to resist testing equipment around the house. I've always suspected this brick chewed power, even when it was off because of the dog-ear-curdling high-pitched tone it gave off and because it was warm (note: heat = power usage). So I plugged it in.

First off, what you are seeing is the printer amp usage while the printer is “off” (I use quotes here because obviously the printer isn't off, it's waiting for me to press the on button which should be relabeled wake up). While 0.12 A isn't a lot, imagine how many of these have been produced and purchased. How many of these are happily drawing their 0.12 A all over the world. That adds up to a lot of power and ultimately carbon emissions.

To be fair, I also tested it's power consumption while “on” but idle, not printing, just “ready.”

Yup, you guessed it. Consumption is the same if it's “on” or “off” and plugged in– a little counter-intuitive. So what does it consume while printing you ask?

Interesting, it draws double the standby power while printing (making a B&W copy, which coincidently revealed the black ink had dried up, see previous disdain for printers above).

The moral of the story is, don't believe your IT equipment when it claims to be off, it ain't. And there's never truly anything free.

No soap this year.

Sorry folks, there'll be no soap this year. The magical ingredient “lye” was recently pulled from shelves as it seems some were using it to make meth. (Sure, that'll stop 'em.) So now amateur soap makers have to turn to bulk purchases of sodium hydroxide. This brings up some problematic storage and safety issues since you have to buy a lot of it.

Ford Ruins Childhood Memories with Advertisement

The choice of music accompanying the new rash of Ford advertisements was in poor taste. For those that don't know, the music used was “Linus and Lucy” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio; this is better known as the theme music to all of the Charlie Brown TV specials. Now, whenever I hear this song on the TV I'm going to associate it with this advertisement. Bah!

BTW, the real holiday favorite Charlie Brown Christmas will be on this Tuesday, Dec 6 at 8pm.

Apple: Where are my movies supposed to go?

Seems Apple has a hard time deciding if your movies should go in your Movies folder in your home directory, stored in iPhoto (since they were retrieved from your digicam), or in iTunes. I guess once everyone is able to use Front Row it won't really matter since it will pull data from all sources and cobble it together in a nice GUI.

Feuding Internet Backbone Providers Cripple Portions of the World

I began noticing something was fishy a couple of days ago. While at work I was trying to visit certain sites, such as RealNetworks, they were not reachable. Oddly enough, the same sites that were unreachable at work were perfectly fine from home. Turns out Level 3 and Cogent have had a falling out.

On Wednesday, network company Level 3 Communications cut off its direct “peering” connections to another big network company called Cogent Communications. That technical action means that some customers on each company's network now will find it impossible, or slower, to get to Web sites on the other company's network.